Wig success! And then a huge FAIL... Back to the hat

So I finally made the decision to get a wig. After a year and a half of alopecia areata out breaks, resulting in a patch that looks as though it might never regrow. I decided to invest in a nice wig thanks to the help of my grandma and boyfriend. It was a big decision:

1. During the summer it is really hot in DC and I did not want to deal with it.

2. Taking care of the wig seems intimidating

3. Getting a wig signified to me that I was accepting I might need a wig forever and that my hair may not ever grow back. SCARY! and probably the real reason I have put this off.

As a recent graduate student grad who is underemployed working on a quarter time Ronald McDonald Grant for children in highly contentious custody battles, interviews - "without my hair as I knew it" - leave me nervous and insecure and investing in this expensive natural looking wig changed me life...

for less than 24 hours.

This wonderful woman at Crown Wigs in Alexandria, VA fitted me perfectly and even accepted the tears that over came me as I saw myself with hair for the first time in over a year and a half.

She answered all of my questions: Can I swim with it? Can I exercise? How do I clean it? When can I clean it? Will it make me hot? I had all these questions because I had never worn a wig full time and had no idea how to take care of something so nice. I made this full disclosure.

I wore the wig out of the store, beaming. The next morning I woke up and wore the wig to my immunology appointment, where the doctor commented on how I appeared more confident and healthy looking.

After my appointment, I went home and cooked myself some lunch. As I opened the oven to remove my pizza something felt weird. I immediately slammed the oven door and ran to the mirror. The bangs of the wig were singed.

Destroyed I called my boyfriend. The smooth shiny real looking hair had become a hardened birds nest in less than a second. When he came home he declared what I was scared to admit... this was a problem bigger than us.

I am too embarrassed to leave the house even with a hat on after the oven incident, so this morning my boyfriend called the store. She shared that there are no exchanges or refunds or warranty! I feel so stupid. How did a smart lady like me not think that the heat of an oven could effect the wig?

My boyfriend is going to the store in person after work with the wig to see if she can trim it or treat it in some way so that we do not have to pay again.

So here are my questions:

1. Should my wig have come with an instruction/care manuel so that I could have avoided this situation? Did the wig shop owner have an obligation to tell me about this hazard?

2. Is there a non-profit that helps individuals afford wigs?

3. Does this happen to all wigs?



Views: 1394

Comment by HilEspi on August 20, 2013 at 6:39pm

Wise - Thank you for confirming that this can happen. It's a super bummer. Good to know when I get home I should take it off. It was my first real day with the wig and when I got home I decided it was probably better that I keep it on as long as possible to get used to it! You live you learn! Back to interviews bald!

Comment by HilEspi on August 20, 2013 at 9:10pm

Aimee, thank you so much for this site. It will be helpful! He is awesome. He managed to get the store to kinda replace the wig, or at least acknowledge it was their bad and I got another WIG!

Thanks for passing along these little tricks, I suppose like anything it is a learning process.


Comment by Cheryl, Co-founder on August 20, 2013 at 11:50pm

I am glad to see that the owner is willing to work with you. Synthetic hair can cause some problems when exposed to high heat, I remember singed one as well. The hairpiece looks great on you!

Comment by Dina on August 22, 2013 at 9:22pm

A human hair wig would never do that. My advice is to invest in one - you won't be sorry. I would suggest staying away from the Wig-Pro brand, I recently got burned by this company. I purchased two wigs of the same style because I like to have 2 to work with and both of them knotted from day one, to the point where they weren't wearable. Jon Renau makes beautiful wigs, I am wearing one and I am very satisfied!
Your pictures are gorgeous and that wig style is so beautiful on you!

Comment by Amy-Rose on August 22, 2013 at 11:22pm

I know the feeling, it was so hard for me to admit to myself that I needed a wig. Synthetic wigs can be fabulous if you are diligent with the care that they need. They can look great for quite a while if you're always using detangling sprays, conditioning sprays, washing them with shampoo made for synthetic fibre, and if they have a bit of length—keeping it off your shoulders (clipped up). The place I bought my synthetic wigs from didn't tell me any of this, and I quickly ruined them by not realising how to care for them. They wouldn't refund me either.

Unfortunately all synthetics that aren't heat resistant fibre will melt if you are near open fires, ovens, and heaters. But you definitely should have been warned about this from the beginning. I'm glad you got a new wig!

I too recommend investing in a human hair piece. I have just received my Freedom Hair wig, and after wearing synthetics with a year—this one has totally changed my life. They look amazing, are comfortable, wont come off even on a rollercoaster and help you feel like yourself again! They are pricey as are all human hair wigs, but absolutely worth every penny.

Here's their website if you want to have a nosey, and google Anna Fitzpatrick for an example—she is a model and wears Freedom wigs :) Good luck.

Comment by Stephanie on August 23, 2013 at 10:49pm

Admitting I needed a wig was one of the hardest pieces of dealing with alopecia for me, so I'm with you there. I got a synthetic and insisted it had to be long because that was what "my hair" looked like. I have had problems with 'clumping' in the back and I think it is due to friction. It brings me right back to feeling bad about it again. It was what Amy-Rose talked about.

I am going to move to a human hair wig and have thought about Freedom - I'm a little unsure of the price though. Can someone let us know the approximate cost?

Thanks for this conversation..it's another area where I felt like it was just me that was going through it!

Comment by Amy-Rose on August 25, 2013 at 10:46pm

I had the exact same problem with my long synthetic, it would bur due to friction on clothing (especially wool) and end up looking like an old barbie doll's hair. My first one burred so badly in 5 days that it was practically unwearable. I found that I have to always keep them clipped up, and only occasionally leave them down. So for $600NZD + a pop, synthetics are really quite disappointing and don't last very long for the price.

The price for Freedom wigs really depends on the length you want. My Freedom is a 14 inch (past my bra strap) and cost me $4900NZD, but luckily I had a government subsidy which knocked 1k off the price. Pricey, but really worth saving for. If looked after properly they can last for years, my agent's daughter has had one that has lasted around 6 years I think (although she does have more than one). So if you added up the amount of money you would spend on countless synthetics over the years, it all adds up.

I still alternate between my long synthetic and my freedom to prolong both of the wigs' lives, but the freedom beats the synthetic hands down. Hope this is helpful!

Comment by Bev on August 26, 2013 at 5:02pm

I always wear synthetic and I love them! Yes, you can't open the oven door or put your head over a pot of hot steam, but I don't cook with my wig on anyway. I wouldn't leave one lying around in a hot car either, btw. However, the ease of throwing it on and just finger combing and out of the house I can go with only a moments notice and still look great without all the hair products, blow dry, curl, back comb and spray. I sleep in atleast an hour extra now every day. I don't miss having to fix my hair and I always washed it and went thru this daily so synthetic wigs are by my preference. I'd hate to go back to having to style my hair every day before I could leave the house. Synthetics have spoiled me! They come in fabulous styles and very natural looking colors and some now come with roots which adds realism without paying the extra for a monotop. I would never go back to having to do my own hair again. Synthetic wigs are washed in cold water, turned inside out to day over night and ready to shake and put on in the morning. I can't imagine why anyone would pay more money for a wig that they would have to fix because it wouldn't hold it's own shape or style. Freedom sounds like captivity to me, lol. I have a friend with a natural wig and honestly, my synthetics look better but I wouldn't tell her that! Anyway, I wish you and your new wig well!

Comment by Bev on August 26, 2013 at 5:15pm

I guess I failed to mention I buy shorter above the shoulder styles because I don't look good in long hair and never wore my own hair long. Short synthetic wigs that don't rub your shoulders don't get the friction so you don't have any frizzy ends. They are super easy to care for and stay nice for a long time before you need to replace them. I can usually get 6 months or more from a name brand like Raquel Welch or Noriko, or Jon Renau and I wear wigs every day! These are beautiful, natural, modern styles that you don't need to worry that anyone will know you have a wig on, because you can't see it. They don't cost a fortune and some have lasted a full year. I really think you need to embrace wigs because believe me, they are your friends! I wouldn't go back to the devilment of trying to fix my own hair for nothing!! I was in such despair over my hair loss until the day I finally broke down and got my first wig. I haven't looked back since. Had I known then what I know now, I'd have had one a lot sooner! I actually love them and have a lot and they are now my hobbie as I can't get over how good I can look with so little effort. I hope I've been helpful and that you have started to feel better. Life is what we make it!

Comment by Amy-Rose on August 26, 2013 at 6:12pm

Human hair wigs aren't for everyone, nor are synthetics. It comes down to personal preference and what you want out of your wig. If you're okay with having short hair—synthetics are perfectly fine because they wont rub and bur on your clothes. But if you're after long hair I wouldn't recommend them. (I know from experience that they are not worth the price I paid for a month of wear.) Also, freedoms and other custom / human hair wigs allow you to swim, surf, bungy, ride on rollercoasters and all sorts in them—this is an important thing for me personally.

I had a pixie cut synthetic wig that lasted 6 months which was fine, but my long one didn't even last 5 days. However, synthetics are great if you're just after a cheap(ish) style change.

And just to add a note; I never have to style my Freedom. I chuck it on in the morning, give it a comb and I'm on my way. :)


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