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Solving your wig wearing woes

December 21, 2012

Many wig wearers go through their days “can’t wait”-ing to take their wigs off. So many women who’ve been wearing wigs for years are still uncomfortable daily.

Since I have a pet peeve about fitting wigs properly, I have lots of tips to share on how to make the experience a little easier on everyone, from kallahs to seasoned wig wearers. Some of the most common complaints are: #1 “The clips and combs are killing me/pulling out my hair” #2 “my wig is constantly sliding back/moving around” (otherwise known as “I have to check the mirror all day to make sure its in the right place”, #3 it’s itching and last but not least is #4 reports of headaches and pressure. Often, some or all of these are connected issues. Below are a few tips and helpful hints to find, diagnose and alleviate some of the discomfort.

#1 Clips and combs issues: its a common misconception that if the clips and combs in the wig are bothering you, that you have too many. My first recommendation when someone tells me that the clips are bothering them is to add more. If you have most of the weight of your wig held on by only one comb, it will grind into one spot on your head. Adding more clips across the front of your wig may distribute the weight of the wig more evenly across your head, and balance the pressure more gently throughout several spots. Also, you can try moving the clips and combs to less sensitive spots on your head. Sometimes just a half inch further back away from the front edge of your hairline, or further up or down from the center (closer to or further from your ears) can be a much less sensitive spot.
I also recommend to some of my more sensitive customers and to those complaining about bald spots from the combs to move their clips and combs occasionally (once a year or two) to give a specific spot on their head a break and a chance to recover and re-grow some hair. Some people even have the clips and combs in a slightly different position in each of their wigs so that they rotate the wear and tear and each spot of their head. These clients can wear a specific sheitel on a day when one spot is feeling particularly sore and another wig on a day when another spot is too sensitive. My final warning is NEVER to dig in the clips and combs, only to put the sheitel on a little too far forward, then slide the whole thing back a bit so that each comb grabs just a few hairs, just enough to hold on to your head. Digging the combs into your hair can cause added pressure and breakage at the roots of your hair, and the beginnings of a bald spot…

#2 The solution to your wig slipping back all day is usually not about your clips and combs, but they often help. Before you go adding tons of clips, first have your fit checked by a professional. Often sliding is mistaken for the wig being too big, but I find it usually to be the opposite. If the foundation of the wig (the inside cap) is too short from front to back, it will pull backwards constantly, usually from the pressure of your own ponytail stuffed into the back. Adding clips and combs will make the wig stay in place better but add tons of pressure and start causing headaches. First try getting a haircut on your own hair: cut, thinning, layers; anything to lessen the amount your sticking into the wig. This may lighten up the load your putting on those clips that are already in, and cause less slipping. If that doesn’t work you may need an extension added to the back of the wig to make more room for your hair to fit in.
Some types of hair are just slippery or finer than others though, and just have a hard time holding on to combs. Some people have a habit of making a small braid at the front of their hair for the center comb to hold on to. I firmly believe that this causes the most breakage at the roots and that you’ll eventually have nothing left for the comb to hold on to, but some people are successful with it. Others try to clip their hair flat against the back of their head, but this doesn’t work for everyone either. For people with hairlines that come very low in the front of their face, clipping your hair flat against the back of your head can make the depth of your head too long a distance for the sheitel to cover. The way wigs are constructed, the bottom of the back of the sheitel has slack to hold onto your hair. Too much hair down in the back of your head though, will make the wig feel heavier. So if its at all possible for you to cut it and you’re no longer emotionally attached to the length, please help yourself alleviate pressure, pulling and slipping by getting a haircut on your own hair frequently.

#3 Itching is a much harder problem to diagnose. It may come from just being brand new, and as future washes soften up the cap and it gets broken in, all itching issues may just go away. But if its terribly intolerable, you may want to have your fit checked: if the wig is too tight, it may be rubbing you raw in certain areas. The most common areas to get irritated are at the clips and combs, at your temples, behind the ears or at the bottom of the nape of the neck.
If its at the clips and combs, double check all of the above tips about clips. If all else fails, check if the enamel coating on the clips has worn off, or if the clips themselves are broken. You may be allergic to the metals in the combs: try re-coating them with clear nail polish, or maybe they just need to be replaced. If your itching is along the hairline, ask a professional to loosen up the cap for u a bit, until the first few washes have passed and the cap softens up. Usually if the wig is sitting on top of hair, it doesn’t itch, but in areas where your skin is a little more exposed (like at the temples where everyone’s hairline recedes naturally a little) your skin may be rubbed raw by the cap. This usually goes away, but if after several washes there’s no improvement, you might want to research having a silk or cotton lining added into the wig, or wearing a cotton liner/cap underneath. This could be an expensive proposition, so try your best to wait it out for a few washes first. Itching behind the ears and at the nape tend to mean the cap is a little too large or too long at the back. These particular areas of itching should be addressed by someone who is particularly good at fitting. (If the stylist who sold you the wig cannot address the problem for you, you may have to go elsewhere and pay for the help, but these areas have a tendency to cause headaches, so address it sooner rather than later.)

#4 Headaches and pressure problems are the hardest to solve, because they could both be caused by so many different issues. First go back through all the above mentioned solutions to the other problems. You might find that even though you don’t feel them directly, your clips and combs are the source of your pain and moving them can solve it very simply and cheaply. Getting a haircut on your own hair might also be the simple solution. Covering our hair often makes us forget all about it and neglect to realize that it can affect how your wig sits on your head, so make sure to maintain your own hair length so that is doesn’t cause you problems. (Keep in mind that during pregnancy your hair may grow super fast or thick and may need to be cut more often than usual). Itching issues listed above can also be the source of your headaches: that’s not to say that itching can cause you headaches, but your cap rubbing in certain sensitive places may also be causing headaches. Specifically, there are pressure spots behind the ears and on the neck that, if rubbed wrong, can cause headaches too, not just itchiness. Also if your wig is fitted too tightly, headaches and pressure are common.
At the end of the day, it might pay to just see a professional (preferably the one who originally sold and fitted the wig,) as some of the services and repairs you need should be included in the price of the wig if its still under guarantee. Not every stylist will be able to diagnose and solve every problem, but be persistent and you may find someone who can figure it out. After all, its not worth wearing the wig is its causing that much discomfort. 

I always say its a mitzvah to cover our hair, but its never a mitzvah to suffer for it. Hatzlacha!

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