Wig Support FAQ

The Wig Support Group was formed to answer questions about hair replacement options and to give support to men and women who are experiencing hair loss. We have compiled here a list of the questions that reference the most common concerns of newcomers. If you would like to become part of the Wig Support community and post questions, comments, or feedback of your own on our Message Board, please feel free to go to our sign-up page.

  1. Choosing a Wig

    1. Types of hair
    2. How to measure for fit
    3. European head measurement equivalents
    4. What do manufacturers mean by a capless wig?
    5. What is a stretch cap?
    6. Mono caps and mono parts
    7. About skin parts
    8. Lace front wigs
    9. Vacuum or suction type wigs
    10. Custom made wigs (hand-tied mono caps)
    11. How long should I expect my wig cap to last?
    12. Types of hairpieces
    13. Integrated wigs and hairpieces
    14. The manufacturers
    15. Other hair alternatives
    16. If I have a medical condition, will my health insurance pay for my wig?
  2. Maintaining your Wig

    1. First wearing
    2. Adjusting your wig's ear tabs
    3. If your wig cap feels too large...
    4. Can I thin my wig myself?
    5. What kind of scissors do I need to trim my wig?
    6. Chin straps for wig styling
    7. Hairbrushes for wigs
    8. Hair sprays for synthetic wigs
    9. Shiny new wigs
    10. My new wig makes my scalp itch!
    11. The hair fiber "sticks up" on my wig!
    12. The bangs on my new wig won't lay flat!
    13. Can I add curl to my synthetic wig?
    14. Curlers (rollers), brushing
    15. Steaming and re-styling
    16. Keeping wigs unfrizzed and detangled
    17. Sunlight, heat, humidity and wig fibers
    18. Washing and conditioning synthetic wigs
    19. Washing and conditioning human hair wigs
    20. Can I dye or color my synthetic wig?
    21. Wig storage
  3. Keeping Your Wig on Securely

    1. Keeping your wig on securely
    2. Tape Tabs for Wigs
    3. What is a 'Comfy Grip' headband?
    4. Attachment methods for hairpieces
  4. Hair Loss Questions and Wig Support

    1. What might be causing my unexplained hair loss? Can therapy "X" help regrow my hair?

    A. Choosing a Wig

    A1. Types of hair

    There are three types of hair, synthetic, processed human hair or unprocessed human hair. Each type has advantages and disadvantages.

    Synthetic Hair

    In general, synthetic wigs may be the best choice if you have a limited budget, have little time or capacity to provide homecare and maintenance or if your hair loss is a temporary condition. The major benefits are easy care, reasonable price, permanent color, easy styling and usually quick availability. Most synthetic wigs today are made with Kanekalon fiber that holds its shape and color. On the negative side, some synthetic wigs tend to be stiffer and less flowing then human hair. Constant rubbing on the collar or a blouse or exposure to heat causes the fiber to frizz. The base can be itchy (although rare) and synthetic hair cannot be colored or highlighted. The synthetic fiber used in wigs today has improved significantly over the past 10 years.

    Human Hair

    The major benefit of human hair is that the hair can be colored and permed. Also, you can use a curling iron or electric rollers to curl the hair. Heat is not a problem with human hair as it is with synthetic. The human hair also lasts longer than synthetic hair, although the caps of both types of hair last the same (about a year). The drawbacks are that they need the same kind and amount of care as growth hair, and are generally more expensive. In time the wig might become a little thin up top, which can usually be re-ventilated professionally (if it's a hand-tied or monofilament).

    The best available human hair (HH or hh) is European hair that has never been processed in any way. The second best is Remy Asian or Indian Hair. The Asian hair has thinner strands and is perfectly straight, while the Indian hair is a thicker strand with a bit of a wave. Some of the better HH wig brands that Wig Support founder Kathy recommends are Georgie, Wig Pro, Louis Ferre, and Alan Thomas, though there probably are many other companies that make high quality HH wigs. Vacuum wigmakers such as Peggy Knight Solutions also use human hair in their wigs, although you cannot have any hair on your scalp in order to achieve the vacuum seal on these models.

    For a ready-to-wear, Remy or European HH wig, plan on spending anywhere from $400 - $2500, the high end being for the European hair wigs. It is a good idea to try on a few ready-to-wear HH styles and caps first and see if they feel comfortable on you. You will save yourself some money if you are able to fit into a ready-to-wear wig in a style that you like, rather than the much more costly custom version!


    Some companies offer a blend of human hair and synthetic hair. I find this blend very heavy and there really isn't any advantage because you still can't use heat on the hair and it is more expensive.

    A2. How to measure for fit

    Measure your head circumference with a tape measure around your hairline. Then measure from ear to ear (hairline to hairline) and from front to back (hairline to hairline).

    A head circumference of 21", front to back measurement of 13 1/4", and ear to ear measurement of 13" usually indicates a small or petite size wig is needed.

    A 22" head circumference, front to back measurement of 14 1/4", and ear to ear measurement of 13 1/2" usually indicates that one needs an average size wig.

    A 23" head circumference, front to back measurement of 15 1/4", and an ear to ear measurement of 14" usually indicates a large size wig is needed.

    Some wig manufacturers also make wigs in a Petite/Average and an Average/Large size. These are helpful if all of your measurements fall in between the standard wig sizes.

    When your three measurements are not exactly matched to any one of the standard sizes, choose the wig size that is indicated by the largest measurement.

    Here is a helpful link to the Paula Young Wigs website which offers "how-to" photographs and clear directions for measuring.

    A3. European head measurement equivalents

    For those converting centimeters to inches: 53.5 centimeters is equal to 21 inches, 56 centimeters is equal to 22 inches, and 58.5 centimeters is equal to 23 inches.

    A4. What do manufacturers mean by a capless wig?

    In the beginning, (of the wig manufacturing business!) the caps were made with a solid material. The hair was not sewn on wefts and then added together with ribbons. It was hotter and more uncomfortable. There weren't even any adjustable straps in the back!!! And there was only one size...average. So the term "capless" doesn't really mean that there isn't a cap. It just means that the cap is made with wefts of hair sewn together. The manufacturers are also creating lighter caps by making the ribbons that hold the wefts in place even thinner. And of course, the manufacturers are making the wigs with less hair. (About time!) Anyone can wear this type of cap...with or without hair.

    A5. What is a stretch cap?

    The stretch caps are a material and elastic combo. Except for the vacuum wig, all wigs have the stretch cap. Some of the tops are different (i.e., mono top) but for the most part, the caps are all the same. If you go to the 'Default Album' in the photo section, you can view the inside of a wig cap.

    A6. Mono caps and mono parts

    A 'mono top' or 'monofilament' top is a hand made see through mesh top (just like the men's toupee's) that you can part anywhere and can see through to your own scalp. Very natural looking and very cool, they have the advantage of letting your scalp 'breathe'. It comes in full hand-tied wigs (the whole wig is hand made and has netting instead of weft on ribbon design) or the regular machine made (weft on ribbon design). It also comes in human hair or synthetic. You can't get the mono top all over the head but you can get a mono top with a "hand tied" (fibers sewn by hand) mesh cap. (The 'mono tops' are actually a more refined version of the 'hand tied' wigs mesh cap. Mono tops are very tightly woven so you can barely see the mesh cap whereas the the hand tied is more of a loosely woven mesh). The mono top does not stretch. The hand tied is elasticized.

    There are two different types of mono tops. One is the single layer mono and one is the double layer. Rene of Paris and the new Jon Renau's have the double layer mono tops. This type of mono top looks like scalp whether you have hair or not. You don't have to be concerned about your natural hair showing through a double mono cap. Even is you have dark hair and wish to wear a blonde wig, your own hair will not show clearly enough through the mesh material to make a difference! However, the double layer mono is also a little heavier than the single layer style. The single layer mono (most of the other companies have this type) is still very natural looking even if you have hair underneath. Kathy's favorite is the double layer, but the lightness of the single layer is a consideration especially in the warmer months. Both types are very natural looking!

    A 'mono part' is a little strip of the monofilament material just on one side. The mono part on a wig extends to the hairline.

    You can see a photo of the inside of a mono cap and a hand-tied wig in the 'Wig Pro Album' in the club's photo section.

    A7. About skin parts

    When a wig is specified to have a skin part, the top of the wig cap has a "skin scalp polyurethane" at its part. This means that there is a little white plastic piece sewn into the top to make it look like a natural scalp. These are not as light or 'breathable' as the mono tops. At one time however, skin parts were the best available. A photo of the inside cap of a wig with a skin scalp is in the 'Default Album' of our photo section.

    A8. Lace front wigs

    These wigs have hand tied mesh fronts where the bangs are located. A lace front is like a monofilament top, only more fine. The lace is nearly transparent, lays flat on the head and simulates a natural hairline. The hair is tied one hair at a time and is tied less dense that at the crown. Often times short curly "baby hairs" are tied onto the very edge to give the illusion of the fine hairs that grow at the hairline. This is the type of hairline that is seen in expensive hair systems for men, and wigs for movie and media use. The lace fronts are frequently replaced because they are delicate. There are not many wig styles available in lace fronts, probably because of the high cost and the fact that the mesh is rather delicate for daily wear.

    You can see a photo of a lace front wig in the 'Henry Margu Wigs Album' of our photo section.

    A9. Vacuum or suction type wigs

    A vacuum or suction wig is worn by a person who has no hair. A mold is made of the person's head so a cap can be custom made that fits perfectly to the shape of their head. The cap has a suction effect because of the perfect fit and the fact that no air can get under the cap. There are 2 type of material you can get in the suction caps. One is a hard fiberglass type of cap and the other is a soft polyurethane type. You can usually get this type of wig in either synthetic and human hair. There is a downside, though. Because the cap doesn't breathe, they are very hot. You can learn more about this type of wig at the Peggy Knight website.

    A10. Custom Made Wigs (hand-tied mono caps)

    Custom wigs are made with a hand-tied (mesh) netting instead of wefting. If you have no hair or very little hair, you will probably feel more comfortable with the mesh netting. You can also get this type of cap in a ready made wig, although now that the wefted caps are so lightweight and comfortable, manufacturers have stopped making large selections of this style. The ready made styles that have this kind of mesh cap and mono top are usually long human hair 'raw' wigs, that must be cut and shaped into the style you want.

    Custom wigs are very costly and do not last any longer than regular wigs , except for the vacuum type. There is a photo of the inside of a mesh cap, mono-top wig in the 'Default Album' of the photo section.

    A11. How long should I expect my wig cap to last?

    The caps of any type of wig - whether made with synthetic or human hair - are made with elastic and elastic eventually wears out. These wig caps will last about eight months to one year if you wear the wig eight hours a day every day. If you wear it only now and then it will last a lot longer.

    Vacuum wigs last longer because the caps do not stretch out. They can last for two or three years depending on use and care.

    A12. Types of hairpieces

    These are the most commonly available types of hairpieces:

    Ready Made

    The ready-made styles are the most common. In this design, the cap is generally made in sizes extra petite to large with majority in size medium. The adjustable back on this type of wig has either hooks, Velcro or and adjustable band to make the wig fit securely. Machine produced ready-made wigs with synthetic hair offer low cost, ease of care and fast delivery often within 3-4 days. Many styles are available and prices range from $39 to $300. Hand-tied ready made wigs provide a more natural looking scalp (monofilament tops). They can be made of synthetic or processed human hair and allow individualized styling. Hand-tied ready-made wigs range in price from $400 to $800.

    Custom made

    Some manufactures offer custom shaped net base wigs. This is usually accomplished with a series of different cap sizes and shapes that are fit to the client’s head. Custom versions of this type of wig can be made in 4-6 weeks. The hair is usually hand-tied onto a net base to provide a more natural look. They range in cost from $1,200 to $1,800. Some allow for fitting while the client still has hair and can be worn through hair loss and re-growth patterns common with alopecia areata or chemotherapy treatments.

    Custom-made vacuum wigs

    The custom molded bases are usually used for permanent and total hair loss. A plaster mold is made of the clients head and the base is formed from this mold. The precise fit creates what is called the suction or "vacuum" type fit. These hairpieces can be worn without adhesive and are the most secure and natural looking but are very warm and sometime uncomfortable in the summer months or in warmer climates. They require 4-6 months to make and range in price from $2,000 to $4,000.

    A13. Integrated wigs and hairpieces

    There are a few definitions of integrated wigs. One type is a custom wig made with your own hair plus the addition or integration of other human hair. Another type requires integrating your own hair with the wig hair, sometimes called a honeycomb wig. This kind of wig cap has large holes in the cap where you can pull your own hair through the cap to blend in with the rest of the wig hair. You can get this type of wig either custom or ready made.

    A 3/4 cap is just that. You use your own hair in the front. There is a comb in the front and a comb in the back of this type of wig so it can be securely attached. These are often called pull-through wiglets. To view a picture of a pull-through hairpiece, go to the club's 'Wiglets and Hairpieces Album' of the photo section.

    The care on both of the above mentioned type of wigs is the same as regular wigs.

    A14. The manufacturers

    Here are some helpful comments on the major wig manufacturers from Kathy, who owns a wig shop, and is the founder of Wig Support:

    First of all, Adolfo, Cheryl Tiegs, Directions, Dolly Parton, Reflections and Revlon are the same company.

    As you know, Dolly Parton Wigs have been discontinued. The best selling Dolly Parton wigs have been made under the Revlon name with new names. For instance, "Dolly's Choice" is now "Ingenue."

    Adolfo wigs and colors are more of a conventional styling. Their colors have a lot to be desired, not really keeping up to date on all the nice new colors and highlights.

    Revlon (directions and reflections) are beautiful wigs, keeping up to date with the styles and the colors. (It's hard to believe that Adolfo and Revlon is the same company.)

    Eva Gabor, Gabor Next and Raquel Welch are the same company. Gabor makes more of the conservative styles. Gabor Next makes more upbeat funkier styles and Raquel Welch, as you all know, is making very nice trend-funk styles (new word :-))

    I really like the quality of Aspens human hair. It's some of the best I've seen. I like Aspen for their wiglets (both human and synthetic) and some of their new mono tops are very pretty. The only problem I've had with Aspen is their quality control. Sometimes if I re-order on a certain style wig, it won't come in looking the same. They do have some nice styles though.

    Rene of Paris and Noriko are the same company. I love the Rene's styling and I LOVE their mono tops. Rene makes their mono tops a special way so that even if you have hair, it still looks like scalp. Most companies make their mono's see through and very sheer so that you actually see the scalp. Rene has designed a way so that their mono's look natural with or without hair. The fit of Rene's caps are very comfortable also. Now, I'm speaking of what most of my customers feel the most comfortable in. For the most part, the Rene's caps always fit very well in both the mono and the regular cap.

    Henry Margu drives me crazy with their color rings. They have 3 and different wigs use different color rings. Their fiber is nice but many times I find that the tops of their non-mono wigs look wiggy. I just got in a few new mono tops from Margu and the tops even have mini mesh fronts sewed in front. VERY NICE! That is a good design that I haven't seen in any other company yet. Generally speaking, Margu wigs need some styling and cutting before you can wear them.

    I'm not that familiar with European Naturals Eva. Maybe Deb can enlighten us on this company. I know when I did carry a few of their wigs years ago, they were very heavy and un-natural looking. I would think that their wigs have been re-designed and brought up-to-date by now.

    Louis Ferre - They make a great looking wig and their synthetic fiber is some of the silkiest I've seen. They were on the cutting edge of the mono industry. I think Ferre was one of the first to have mass produced the mono tops! This company is not as big as some of the others which means that they come out with new styles more often. The only problem is, Ferre comes out with nice new styles and doesn't come out with the photo's of the new styles right away.

    Jon Renau - Their new wigs are adorable. (Their older wigs had a lot to be desired) Their caps are getting very light weight and they are doing great things with their colors.

    Estetica has really changed their look over the past few years! They are coming out with reasonable mono top wigs and wiglets and their colors are very nice also. I think the "wiggy look" days of Estetica's wigs are over.

    I can't really rate these manufacturers on a 1-10 scale because they all have their good qualities. It really depends on what you are looking for. They are all good manufacturers.

    A15. Other hair alternatives

    Wigs made from artificial or, increasingly, real hair, kept in place by adhesives, are becoming more natural-looking.

    Sutured hair pieces may be permanently stitched into the scalp, i.e., synthetic hair fibers or the real hair of others is permanently attached, sewn in or "shot" (like tiny barbs) into the bald scalp by non-medical technicians. Although claimed to be safe, it is not, because whenever a foreign object is permanently placed in the body there's almost always a consequent infection or skin allergy.

    Hair weaving, also called "hair intensification" or "hair integration," involves adding to thin hair by weaving or braiding human hair or synthetic fibers into existing hair. Apart from the expense (anywhere up to $2,500), this poses two problems: first, it may be difficult to keep your hair and scalp clean. And second, it stresses existing hair and may cause it to fall out.

    The American Hair Loss Council advises that only people with plenty of healthy hair should consider hair weaving. And even they should plan to keep the "intensified" hair for only a few weeks.

    Hair weaving. The procedure is not surgical but merely cosmetic in that it attaches extensions, either natural or synthetic, to existing hairs. On the downside, the extensions must be repositioned every four to six weeks as the hair grows out. Hairpieces. Toupees seem to be out of favor with Baby Boomers. Hairpieces have gotten a bad name because so many men wear cheap ones that make them look as if a weasel died on top of their head. It's very hard to spot a good toupee, but the dreadful ones get noticed.

    If you're thinking about a hairpiece, your best bet is to go to someone who offers a free consultation. Synthetic pieces are better for active, sports-minded men because they hold up to weather and water better and are easier to keep clean. Natural pieces tend to look slightly better at first, but the harsh processing done to Oriental hair--the largest hair source--makes the hair break down sooner. As for comparative costs, figure about $150 more for a natural vs. synthetic piece in the $1,000 category.

    A16. If I have a medical condition, will my health insurance pay for my wig?

    Those losing their hair from chemotherapy or from Alopecia may be able to be reimbursed for your wigs from your insurance company. You have to have a prescription from your physician stating the following or something similar:

    'Hair prosthesis for chemotherapy induced Alopecia' or 'Hair prosthesis for Alopecia Areata'

    If your insurance company rejects the claim, appeal it! Many wig-buyers have been completely reimbursed for their wigs and accessories after they have appealed their claim.

    B. Maintaining Your Wig or Hairpiece

    B1. First Wearing

    It is very rare that a wig will look exactly as it looks in the ad photos when first pulled out of the box! The main thing is to remember this, and not to panic when you look at your new wig after you first put it on your head!

    Some people like wig caps - thin nylon stocking caps that hold your hair up and in place, but many people feel that they make the wig feel hotter and more uncomfortable. Be careful with wig clips, if you choose to use them. They work great but....they will break your hair off after a while. You should always remember to reposition the clips every few months.

    First, take your new wig and hold it by the bottom where the tag is and shake it really well. Then put the wig on and "finger comb" it into place. This enhances the natural look of the wig, and detracts from the 'perfect wig' look. Kathy, the founder of Wig Support, recommends just pulling a little of your own hair out around your face. Otherwise, the cap will slide and not feel secure. You should always brush or comb your wig every day just as you would do to your own hair to keep it fresh looking. A vent brush is a wide toothed (bristle) plastic brush with open holes in the back of the brush. This brush is great for drying hair with a blow dryer because the air passes through the open back! Kathy likes it for wigs because the bristles are nice and wide so it doesn't cause static and doesn't put a lot of stress on the hair fiber. She recommends any wide bristle brush (preferably plastic). Remember to always brush or comb your wig from the "ends up". That way, you won't tangle the hair or put excessive stress on the fiber.

    If you still don't like what you see, remember, ALL wigs can be trimmed and thinned. Human hair or synthetic. If the person at the wig salon won't do it for you, then call around the beauty shops and find someone that is good at cutting and shaping wigs. Keep in mind you may not be used to seeing that much hair, if your own is now thin! After the wig is trimmed and thinned, try spraying some wig conditioner on and smoosh the fiber with your fingers. The conditioner will help the synthetic fiber return to it's original condition after it has been styled.

    You can always add a hair band or pin up the sides. Be creative! You can brush and style your wig all you want.

    Also, wash it after you wear it 25 times (all day) to get all the pollutants out of the fiber.

    B2. Adjusting your wig's ear tabs

    The ear tabs on your wigs are near your temples. They do not have to be placed exactly at the temples, as long as the wig feels comfortable. Just make sure that the tabs are even on either side of your head. This way you know your wig is on straight. Also make certain that the tabs, which have small metal 'stays' in them, are bent toward your scalp. If they are bent outward, it can give your wig an unnatural look.

    B3. If your wig cap feels too large...

    If you find that there is excess cap (like a bubble) in the crown or back of your head, or if the cap rubs against the back of your ears and causes irritation and/or itching, your wig cap may be too large for you. You can have a wig stylist or hair professional take 'tucks' in your wig to re-size it.

    If you want to try this yourself - Turn your wig inside out. Just below the ear tabs, take up the ribbon (bottom to top) and fold over. Sew in place. Go on to the next ribbon and do the same until you have "tucked" all the way across the wig. Make sure the tucks are even all the way across the width of the wig. Start by tucking about 1/2 an inch. If this is not enough, tuck another row just above the first row. Remember to leave some leeway, or when you wear the wig, each motion of your head will make the wig slip back from the front hairline. If you have a bit of extra room, your wig will stay on better. However, you can also remove any tucks you've sewn if the cap proves to be too small.

    B4. Can I thin my wig myself?

    You can buy a pair of thinning shears at Sally's Beauty Supplies or any beauty supply shop that sells to the public (at some of the supply shops you have to have a hair dressing license to purchase supplies), or you may be able to buy them online! They sell for about twenty dollars U.S. Don't get cheap ones because they really don't cut well.

    To thin a wig, cut very close to the cap just once. That means to cut once right through the hair. Then go to a different spot....and so on. You need to be very careful to cut the under layers so that the top layer of hair is smooth and lays flat. Hold the hair out straight from the back of the wig, and holding the scissors vertically, make the cut on the underside of the hair. The only problem you may have doing that is with a longer wig that you may want to wear up. Thinning scissors are sort of like pinking shears and they thin by cutting the hair short underneath the top layer of hair. Once your longer wig is worn and sheds some, you may be left with little short hairs sticking out when you try to wear it in an updo. Therefore it may be worth the expense to have a professional stylist do it for you.

    An alternate way to thin wigs that is more time consuming and requires patience, but leaves fewer short hairs behind - Using a sharp pointed scissors, section the wig into thin parts or fine sections, as if you were going to put the sections into perm rods or curlers. Then, starting at the underneath of the first section, holding the scissors point in, snip out bits of hair, right at the root, or wefting. Proceed all along the rest of the wig, snipping under each section in the same manner, slowly but surely reducing the density of your wig and giving it a much more natural look.

    If you do decide you want to learn to thin your own wigs, it is recommended that beginners try either technique on an old wig for practice first!

    B5. What kind of scissors do I need to trim my wig?

    Special scissors aren't required for trimming wigs - .regular stylist's scissors are fine, but be aware that cutting synthetic hair will dull your scissors a lot quicker than cutting human hair. Use the same styling scissors that you would use on natural hair. Stylist's scissors are available at beauty supply stores in most areas.

    B6. Chin straps for wig styling

    Chin straps are elastic chin bands held by clips to the sides of your wig, that will keep your wig securely in place on your head. They are useful to have if you are going to do a great deal of heavy brushing and styling on your wig while you are wearing it. With most daily brushing and combing, however, you will not need to use a chin strap.

    B7. Hairbrushes for wigs

    Here are some recommendations from Kathy, our Wig Support founder:

    There are a few different types of brushes and combs that you can use on your synthetic or human hair wigs. The most popular are the wire brush, the styling bristle brush, the tease combs with the pick attached on the end, and the wide toothed pick or comb. The two that I use the most are the tease comb with the pick attached (great for lifting and back combing or teasing) and the wide toothed pick (great for combing out longer wigs.) I don't like using the bristle brush for anything other than teasing or back combing because the synthetic bristles usually add static to the synthetic fiber. The wire brush is great for extracting the cut hair from a wig!

    B8. Hair sprays for synthetic wigs

    Gabor, Raquel Welch, Adolfo and Revlon all make reliable hair sprays for synthetic wigs. You can buy them at wig salons, online wig sites, or at some beauty supply stores. You can also use regular hair spray on synthetic wigs. You might get some spray build-up on the fiber, resulting in a chalky or powdery look, but you can add 1/4 cup of sudsy ammonia to your wig shampoo when you wash the wig, to remove the build-up, if that happens.

    B9. Shiny new wigs

    Some wigs may look very shiny when first purchased. This shininess may vary with different manufacturers, colors, and styles. If you feel that your new wig has too much shine for you, try washing the wig a couple of times. This usually works to tone it down a little.

    B10. My new wig makes my scalp itch!

    Try washing the wig. Many times, it is the sizing in the material that causes the itching. If that doesn't work, you can always wear a wig cap underneath your wig. If certain spots itch you, there is also something called 'comfort tabs' which are little sticky fuzzy pieces of material that you can adhere to the spots that are bothering you. These can be bought in wig salons or some beauty supply shops.

    Sometimes, a wig cap that is too large will also cause itching - especially behind the ears. You may need to take a tuck in the wig cap to make it smaller.

    B11. The hair fiber "sticks up" on my wig!

    You can try steaming your wig where the fiber sticks up. Get a hand held steamer ( a clothes steamer is good) and hold the steamer close (but not too close because you'll frizz the fiber) to the fiber as you brush or comb your wig. This should make the fiber lie closer to your head.

    B12. The bangs on my new wig won't lay flat!

    The bangs on some wigs stick out because of the "perma-tease" at the base of the cap. This "perma-tease" is put in at the factory to give the top of the wig lift. It also gives you the choice of wearing the bangs off your face.

    Believe it or not, the bangs will eventually lay flat. Here is how you can speed up the process. Tease the bangs from underneath. Then tease a little on the top of the bangs. Now lightly smooth the bangs down with a comb or brush. You may have to keep repeating the process a few times until the bang memorize the style you want. When this wig is packed at the factory, they usually pack it with the bangs going back (stupid stupid stupid). So you are going to have to train the bangs to go forward.

    B13. Can I add curl to my synthetic wig?

    To steam curl into a wig, take a round brush, roll the hair onto it and hold a steamer to the brush for a few seconds. Optionally, a curling iron can be used instead, which can be an easier process. You have to use the LOW setting and then TEST a little piece of hair under the back of the wig to see if the temp. is too hot. You will frizz your wig if it is (not good). It actually melts the fiber.

    Another way to safely curl/recurl a synthetic wig is to carefully roll the synthetic hair onto a roller that will grip the hair without using a bobby pin or anything metal. Use wrapping paper on the ends (like when getting a perm) if you need help getting and keeping the hair straight on the roller. Once the hair is rolled on the size rod you want the curl to be, take your wig to the sink and spray that curl with hot water, let it set a minute or two, then spray again with cold water. Let the wig dry overnight or however long it takes. Gently remove the rollers and your wig has a new curl!!! This way takes a bit more time but is less likely to frizz the hair.

    B14. Curlers (rollers)

    For curling human hair wigs, sponge rollers are recommended. If they are still available, they work very well and will not damage the hair.

    On synthetic wigs, you can use the regular old fashioned pink rollers or the bristle rollers.

    B15. Steaming and re-styling

    You can use a regular travel steamer (made for taking the wrinkles out of clothes) to curl and re-style your wigs. To do this you can put the wig on a canvas wig block (available at beauty supply stores or at wig salons), clamped to a counter to keep the wig firmly in place.

    You use the travel steamer as you would a blow-dryer on your own hair. Take a round or roll-brush, roll a section of hair onto it, then direct the steam onto the brush for a few seconds. Let the wig-hair cool before you remove it. You can also steam height into your wigs this way, then spritz with some wig spray to hold.

    You can also use a curling iron on synthetic or human hair wigs, which is an easier process. On synthetic wigs, you must use the 'low' setting and then TEST a little piece of hair under the back of the wig to see if the temperature is too hot. You will frizz your wig if it is - it actually melts the fiber. If you steam with spray on the wig, it tends to dry rock hard and extra stiff.

    B16. Keeping wigs unfrizzed and detangled

    Unfortunately, there isn't any product available that will prevent a wig from becoming fuzzy or from tangling. You might try brushing from the "ends up" (under the back of the wig) each time you wear the wig, which will help prevent tangles. You can also try trimming the ends of your wig a tiny bit as they become frizzy. Remember to keep your wig clean with regular shampooing. There is a wig detangler spray by Jon Renau that works very well removing the tangles of synthetic wigs. You can even try some 'Static Guarde' fabric spray! Just spray very lightly, not too close to the wig hair.

    To remove the frizz from the nape of your wig, you can use a curling iron. First test a piece of hair from underneath the wig - where it won't show if the fiber becomes frizzed - and be sure your curling iron is on the LOW setting. If your result is smooth, pull the curling iron through the ends of the frizzed section of the wig a few times. Then re-curl the section of hair, and cut and thin the ends to finish.

    B17. Sunlight, heat, humidity and wig fibers

    If you spend a lot of time outside, the sunlight "pinkens" up the color. The darker colors are not affected but the frosts, lighter browns , blondes and even the lighter reds get a pink hue to them after a while. It's not really noticeable unless you compare your wig next to a new wig. It's a very gradual color change. The humidity has no effect on the synthetic fiber, hence...NO BAD HAIR DAYS!!! Since most human hair wigs are processed, you may eventually have to re-color them if they fade (remember that synthetic wigs cannot be dyed) but because they are made of human hair, they behave as natural hair does and on humid or rainy days, human hair wigs may frizz or lose their curl.

    Intense heat such as oven, fireplace or gas grill heat will frizz your synthetic wig if you get too close. Did you ever open your oven and feel your eyelashes melt? (when you are wearing mascara) That big blast of heat will frizz (melt) your wig fiber. Try to step back from the heat when you open the oven door and let out that big blast of heat, and then take out whatever you are cooking! Or, you could put a scarf or cloth napkin on to cover the front of your wig while cooking. Be careful though...sometimes you forget you are wearing a wig and that is the time you will frizz your wig. It only takes a moment!!!

    B18. Washing and conditioning synthetic wigs

    If you wear your wig every day for at least eight hours a day, wash your wig with wig shampoo made for synthetic hair about every three weeks. If you wear a wig less than that, wash your wig when the fiber starts to feel heavy and loses its sheen. Just follow the directions on the back of the shampoo bottle. In the summer though, you should probably wash it every two weeks especially if you wear it all day and exercise in it. Since wigs have elastic caps, washing them too often will stretch them out more quickly.

    You usually soak the wig in cool water with one ounce of shampoo. Rinse the wig in cool water (remember never hot!) and let dry overnight on a wig stand. Turn the wig inside out if it has any curl or wave just to keep the curl nice and fresh (although you won't lose the curl if you don't do it this way). Some wig wearers swear by soaking their wigs in liquid fabric softener mixed with wig conditioner to make them extra silky. A caution though - some fabric softeners have a lot of perfume which may be an allergen and irritate your scalp.

    If you get a hair spray build up (your wig will start to get a powdery look to it) use sudsy ammonia to get it out. You can use 1/2 cup of the ammonia to 1 1/2 quarts of cold water, and let the wig soak for 10 minutes. If the wig dries and still has that powdery look to it, wash it again the same way. You always should use a good wig conditioner (Eva Gabor makes one) on your wig after you wash with sudsy ammonia, as it will tend to dry out the fiber.

    Dry your wig on a towel or collapsible wig stand. Don't dry or keep your wig pulled down on a head form...This tends to stretch the cap out faster. Your wig will probably dry completely overnight.

    B19. Washing and conditioning human hair wigs

    You should wash your human hair wigs every few weeks or when they loose their bounce and the hair starts to look and feel heavy, and looses it's sheen. You'll also notice that your wig's style will not stay in as long and will lose it's manageability when it is ready to be washed.

    You can use any good shampoo made for natural hair on human hair wigs. Be sure that after you wash your human hair wig, you always apply a moisturizing conditioner. Hair that is no longer attached to the body is not being nourished by natural oils, etc., and therefore need extra care to maintain pliability and silkiness. If your human hair wig begins to look static-y or fly away, you may need to use heat styling (in the form of blow drying or smoothing with a curling or straightening iron) to restore the shiny straight silky texture that it had when it was first purchased.

    B20. Can I dye or color my synthetic wig?

    You cannot dye synthetic wigs. You can rinse them though with color rinses such as Roux "Fancifull Rinse" which is available at any Sally's Beauty Supply store or drugstore. You can't rinse them lighter, but you can add color to rinse the synthetic wigs darker or a richer or different tone (ash or gold).

    Plain water may take out most of the rinse, so be careful in a soaking rain storm when wearing your wig after applying a color rinse. You may get the rinse on your face and clothes. To get the rinse completely out, you should use a good wig shampoo or sudsy ammonia.

    B21. Wig storage

    Keep your wig on a wig stand when you are not wearing it. This will air out your wig nicely and not stretch out the cap. It's also a great tool on which to air dry your wig after it's been washed. Only keep the wig on a Styrofoam head or head block long enough to style it. You can keep your wig on the heads - just don't pull the wig pulled all the way down on the heads. After you finish styling, just lift up the wig so that it's not completely on the head, just resting on the head.

    One of our talented members, Deb, has devised a display fixture to keep wigs on and in good condition for storage. She hot glued some wooden dowels of differing heights with Styrofoam balls on their ends, to a good weight wooden board. In the back row are tall rods, the center row has medium rods, then the shortest rods are in the front line. This way you can store lots of wigs in a much more efficient space. You can see a picture of Deb's wig stand in the 'Great Wigs' album of our photo section.

    C. Keeping Your Wig on Securely

    C1. Keeping your wig on securely

    Many full wigs with caps that are well fitted do not need any additional attachment during normal activities. This is especially true if you do not have any hair. However, wigs do tend to slide a little on human hair because it is silky. For more security, full wigs can be attached to growth hair with mini clips or toupee clips, or to parts of the head without hair using double-sided tape. Toupee clips are small clips that bend open and bend closed. They are very secure and will not allow sliding or blowing up. Sew in as many as will make you feel comfortable. When any hair clips or toupee clips are used they should be rotated periodically, to avoid putting prolonged pressure on growing hair in the same area.

    Another way to keep the wig on more snugly is to try pin curling your hair around the back of your head with bobby pins.

    One of our members has had good results with a commercially available roll-on liquid adhesive called 'It Stays', which is also used to secure bathing suits and evening wear.

    For women with total hair loss, a custom molded "vacuum fit" or suction cap will require no tape or clips.

    C2. Wig tape and plastic tape tabs

    Some wigs come with attached plastic tape tabs on which to affix wig tape, because the tape won't adhere to the elastic or mesh of the cap. Sometimes these tabs are not pre-attached, but are included in the new wig's box. If you need plastic tape tabs, you may be able to get them from your wig salon, or perhaps you can find something at a crafts supply store that you can cut to size, and sew into your wig cap.

    It is possible that you may be allergic to wig tape. This doesn't happen often, but if it does, you just may be very sensitive. Try using a smaller piece of tape or cut the tape you use into smaller pieces.

    C3. What is a 'Comfy Grip' headband?

    The 'Comfy Grip' is a polyurethane head band that is filled with silicon. It is worn under your full wig to keep it from sliding. It is available on many online wig sites or at some wig salons. There is a picture of this product in the 'Wig Accessories' album of our photo section.

    C4. Attachment methods for hairpieces

    There is a variety of attachment methods available depending on your individual pattern of hair loss, personal lifestyle and desire for security. Hair weaving or bonding (i.e., gluing or tying a hairpiece to existing hair) is generally not recommended as it can place too much strain on the existing hair. One good option is to use toupee clips. These are small clips that bend open and bend closed. They are very secure and will not allow sliding or blowing up. Sew in as many as will make you feel comfortable. When any hair clips are used, they should be rotated periodically to avoid putting prolonged pressure on growing hair in the same area.

    D. Hair Loss Questions and Wig Support

    D1. What might be causing my unexplained hair loss? Can therapy "X" help regrow my hair?

    Probably the majority of Wig Support members with unexplained hair loss have been searching for a solution to their situation for months or years - by first visiting their Primary Care Physicians, then dermatologists, endocrinologists, gynecologists, nutritionists, trichnologists, and even psychologists - anyone who might provide the one clue which would reverse the problem.

    As many of our members have already learned from visiting forums whose focus is sharing information on hair loss and therapies, there is unfortunately no single answer that addresses or corrects all individual situations. Thinning may be symptomatic of inflammation, iron or ferritin deficit, or be caused by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or diabetes. Occasionally it is genetic or age-related, caused by poor nutrition, weight loss or stress. For many women, changes in hormonal levels are often to blame. However, in the experience of our community, women with hair loss have tested high, low, or perfectly normal for estrogen, progesterone, and androgen levels. Some women's hair started thinning when they began taking birth control pills, some when they stopped taking them. To add to our confusion, most people with these conditions have no hair loss whatsoever! We simply do not know the etiology of most alopecias.

    Therefore, the hormone or drug that helps one person has no effect at all, or even exacerbates shedding, for another. Further, many therapies seem to work for a while - only to cease being effective after half a year or more. And Wig Support exists because many hair loss conditions are not reversible - at least immediately - by any means. We say this after having shared resources with others who have followed literally hundreds of discussions on dozens of web-sites such as Hairsite, Keratin.com, and SoulCysters (for PCOS).

    With such potential for dialogue that may expand to virtually overwhelm chat related to the focus of our wig oriented community, our members have mutually decided to limit threads regarding hair loss questions to sharing the pros and cons of specific remedies that they are currently testing or considering, instead of more speculative, open ended discussions. We always want to know if something that our friends are trying has helped or harmed in any way!!! Wig Support recommends you try visiting some of the discussion forums mentioned above for further information and support on hair loss, if you haven't already done so. They are chock full of valuable tips and insight.

    This document Copyright 2002 by Kathy Berardino. All rights reserved.

    If you have any suggestions, corrections or comments for this FAQ, please email jigglypuffml@yahoo.com.