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To pony or not to pony? PART 1

May 28, 2013

For my first column, someone suggested I address ponytail related questions: “Should I spend that kind of money on something that can only be worn in a pony?” “Can it only be worn up in a pony, or also down as a full sheitel?” And of course “What’s the difference between a $600 pony and a $3000 pony?”

Why to buy a pony:
For starters, I am a big believer in the philosophy “you get what you pay for”. In most cases, and if you have an honest sheitel macher, more expensive wigs are more expensive for a reason and cheaper wigs… You get the point. If you’re thinking about buying a new, gorgeous, expensive wig but can’t afford to go all out, then don’t buy a cheaper sheitel and expect it to be the same. If you’re going to buy a ponytail sheitel and expect it to be just like a more expensive wig, it won’t. Wigs made to be worn in a ponytail and priced accordingly are made from cheaper, more processed hair and will behave poorly when worn down. Often this is because the hair is so processed that it gets stick straight right away, very knotted, oxidizes and changes color much faster than other better quality hair, etc… 

Processed hair refers to dyed or otherwise color treated, relaxed, body-waved or permed hair. Each of the above mentioned treatments compromises the quality of the hair, and shorten the lifespan of the sheitel. Manufacturers and hair suppliers have to do something with their frizzier, coarser hair too, so they apply all sorts of treatments to make it useable. This treated hair often goes into ponytail wigs so that they can’t get all knotted if they’re up in a pony all day. 

That being said, there are lots of motivating reasons to get a pony sheitel: price, comfort, and flexibility in styling. 

#1 They are cheaper than comparable length, better quality wigs. The lower cost comes primarily from money saved on the hair. There are very few shortcuts taken in production that can save the manufacturer money, so just understand that the lower prices come from lesser quality hair. Then again, for less money, you don’t mind abusing it and working it a little harder than your more expensive wigs. 

#2 They are believed to be more comfortable, as the hair is off of your neck. Unfortunately this is only part true. Most people fail to realize that a pony wig has to fit better than any other wig, because you need full coverage. When you pull all the hair away from your face and neck, you have to be completely covered for tznius and aesthetic reasons; it just won’t look natural if your own hairline shows. The pony wig has to be extra snug, actually, with lots of extra clips and combs to keep it in place and to keep your coverage intact. They can also be very back-heavy when you sweep all the hair into a ponytail and put all the weight of the hair into one central place in the back of your head, putting even more pressure on all those extra clips and combs. But the bottom line is that if you get very sweaty (I see a surge of poytail sales in the summer months) then you can’t beat having all that hair off of your neck, but still having the full coverage that a full sheitel (as opposed to a fall) gives. 

#3 They serve more purposes than just wearing in a half pony. Again, you have to be carful not to expect a ponytail to able to be worn down if the hair or construction just won’t cooperate, but if it will, you can wear it half up, in a full pony, under hats (like thos cute new slouchy berets everyone is wearing pushed back on their heads), in a bun… As a matter of fact, more of my customer would rather put their poytail wig into an “updo” for a wedding than abuse their more expensive wigs with all that hairspray, bobby pins and teasing involved in getting dressed up. Doing that actually frees up your dressier wigs for sheva brochos the week after, too.

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