Need advice on getting the perfect wig? Get Trevor Sorbie's top advice and information here
The single most important thing about making a wig look real is to ensure that the wig is customised to suit your face shape- in my experience you don't need to have a real hair wig to make it look real.
It's about getting the right advice and having the wig cut and shaped to suit your face. Also you don't need to pay a fortune. Most wig suppliers can fit and customise a wig from around £70.00. As I write these words technology is advancing and the quality and variety of wigs that are available increases all the time.
If you just walk into a wig shop and try on a wig it will normally not suit you immediately. This is because colour choice, customising of the wig, and correct product usage are essential for the most effective finished result.
There are many different types of wig but here is a brief explanation of what is most commonly available.
- Synthetic hair wigs
Synthetic hair wigs are made from a fibre - much like clothing fabric. But believe me once the wig has been customised and styling product added it looks incredibly real, and is, in fact, my favourite choice. Synthetic wigs are easy to take care of and you can wash the wig in warm water - condition it (using a fabric conditioner) and then as it dries it will re form its shape - this makes it very easy to take care of especially if you are feeling unwell.
- Real hair wigs
These are made from 100% human hair - generally speaking this hair comes from Asian countries where it is accepted practice for women to sell their hair. This hair is then cleansed, chemically treated, coloured and made into a wig. You need to take good care of a real hair wig and remember that just like real hair; it has to be blow-dried into style after each shampoo. A real hair wig is more expensive then a synthetic hair wig and requires more care.
I don't recommend this service as a made-to-measure wig can take up to two months to make and will normally not be ready before your treatment begins. Made-to-measure wigs are normally worn by people who suffer from "alopecia" which is permanent hair loss.
- Customise or ready-to-wear
It really comes down to availability and suitability. You can buy some wigs that you can wear immediately but, in my experience, most wigs look more life-like when they have been trimmed to suit your face shape. Many wigs have over 40% too much hair in them and need to be thinned down to look more natural. Also, just as when cutting real hair, a wig should be customised to the individual. For example, layering around the face, or cutting a fringe - it really does make a big difference and with a wig the this is what makes it look real.
Products and care
It is extremely important to take good care of your wig. To wash and clean regularly and to understand what type of products you can and can't use.
For example, a synthetic wig is not real hair so you can't use tongs or straightening irons on these as they may melt the hair! However, you can use hair serum to make the wig shiner and more life-like. Generally speaking each wig will come with a care and advice label to tell you how to maintain the condition.
Trevor Sorbies - Wig head check list
Before looking through this check list I really recommend that you have spoken to your Consultant and know what is available to you from the NHS.
- Locate a local salon or wig suppliers that can offer you advice
- Think about what type of style you would like - just like a normal visit to the salon, take some pictures from magazines and think about what style you would like - have fun here, it's a chance to change your looks if you wish
- If you have already lost your hair then take along a picture of how your natural hair used to look
- Decide whether you want a real hair or synthetic wig
- Ensure that you have spoken to your Consultant to see if you are eligible for an NHS prescription towards your wig. When contacting your wig supplier ensure that they can process this for you and that they are able to explain how the process works
- If you are buying a wig for medical reasons and are not using a NHS prescription then you can claim back the VAT. Ask your wig supplier for a VAT exemption form
- Prior to your treatment I recommend that you have your own hair cut into a shorter style so that if you do lose your hair it is not such a shock.
- Call around to local salons and wig suppliers - ask if you can talk to someone on the phone or go in and have a consultation
- Make sure that you budget for your wig and know all of the expenses involved.