I *NEVER* Thought I Could Pull off This Look!

When you have thinning hair, there are just some things you shy away from. You may remember a post I wrote not too long ago about the first time I wore big earrings to work. Who knew something so mundane would be totally eye-opening for me?

Pre-hair, there were other things I’d avoid at all costs. Scarves are cute, don’t you think? Never would I be caught dead in one (I’m talking about decorative scarf/wrap/thingies, not utilitarian ones for cold weather) as the bulk around my neck would look odd against the lack of volume on my head.

Funky hair colors or bold highlights were out as well. Aside from the fact that I didn’t want to spend ANY additional time in my hair stylist’s chair, there’s no way I was going to field comments about my new, eye-catching hairdo at work the next day. No way, no how.

A flat-iron was a tool I never imagined I’d use. Why would I want to press my thin hair to be even thinner an an attempt to get it stick straight? Of course, on synthetic hair (most of them, anyways, synthetic hair is available in heat-friendly fiber) I don’t use a flat-iron either, BUT, I can successfully wear my hair pin straight if I want to, without looking like a drowned rat.

Hats are handy sometimes, at least I think. I live in the South so I don’t need one for warmth, ever, but I can imagine their use in other climates. Wearing a hat would freak me out because I’d be wondering what I looked like when I took it off. Plus, I’d be concerned with getting my concealers all over it. I did wear a ball cap once in recent history for a company soft ball game. I was the only one after the game who kept it on.

Sunglasses were even difficult “back then”. I still wore them, of course, but I’d have to think twice about if I wanted to rest them on top of my head. My concealers did an awesome job of hiding my hairloss, but even just a few short minutes of sunglasses on top of my head would create a dent in my hair. Not the best look, unfortunately.

Alright, so you get where I am going, right? There are just things that you learn to avoid, or things you worry about in a way no one else ever would when your hair, well, sucks.

This year my husband and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary. We’re pretty low-key people, but as 10 years is a milestone, I wanted to look extra special. So I broke out the one beauty item I never in a million years expected to ever wear.

RED LIPSTICK.

As in, “look at me, I’ve got nothing to hide and I think I kinda-sorta look good” red.

Red Lips

And guess what? It was awesome. My husband was floored and very complimentary, which in turn made me feel even better about myself.

The best part was that no one even gave me a second thought. Sounds sad, huh? But seriously, all I looked like to anyone who saw me was a normal-looking girl out on the town with her husband. I didn’t look like what I always imagined people saw me as, which I’ll keep to myself since some of what I thought about me wasn’t always the nicest.

Wearing hair has given me so much of my life back. I no longer have to give my look a second thought when I’m presenting at work, or picking out clothes, or just going out to eat with my husband.

I’m happier around my kids, I look people in the eye and–heck!–I’m even saving money by not visiting my stylist for colorings (does anyone else wonder why us “hair-challenged” girls still pay full-price for a stylist’s services when we have so much less hair on our heads? I used to be out the door in less than an hour with a cut, color AND blowdry but I’d still be charged the same price as the women next to me who was there for hours).

Those are just a few of the benefits to wearing hair. There are so many more I could come up with! After my anniversary dinner, though, I’d have to say that saving money is one of the best perks. I’m definitely contributing more to the red lipstick fund, now.

For those wondering, I’m wearing my Long Synthetic Topper in 8H14, by Jon Renau, purchased at Gallery of Wigs. You can read more about this hair topper here!

Ellen Wille Wigs: Mega Mono Wig Review

As promised, here is my official review with more photos of one of the most gorgeous Ellen Wille wigs out there, the Mega Mono. In my last post about synthetic lace front wigs, I told you about how this Ellen Wille wig kinda, well, stole my heart. As soon as I saw this beautiful color, I knew I had to try it. So, here’s my Mega Mono wig review!

Ellen Wille Wigs: Inside of Mega Mono

Like most wigs, there are a few standard areas of the wig cap to pay attention to:

  • Lace front: You see this running across the top of the wig. In this pic, I’ve trimmed it a tiny bit (more to come on that).
  • Mono top: The middle-front top of the wig has a mono top (monodirectional), which gives that area a scalp-like appearance. The hair can be parted any way you want in this section.
  • Ear tabs: See the shiny things flanking either side of the mono top? Ear tabs are meant to help keep the wig in place. Inside are wire/bendy things/something that you can adjust by pushing on this area to help “mold” the wig closely to your head. I think these are beneficial especially if you don’t have any bio hair.
  • Tighteners: The tighteners/adjustable tabs are used to tighten or loosen the wig.

    Ellen Wille Mega Mono Cap

    Lace Front of Mega Mono: Ellen Wille Wigs

    Here’s a pic of the Mega Mono before I cut the lace–just to give you an idea of how it looks right out of the box. If you look closely you can see the lace right below where my part is. It bothered me so I cut it back pretty drastically, which is totally ok! It’s meant to do that, if you want.

    Ellen Wille Wig Tobacco Rooted

    Ok, so on to what everyone wants to look at. Take these next few pictures of the Mega Mono Wig by Ellen Wille and look at them closely. Blow them up to 8×10 and hang them on your wall if you want. But know that NO ONE looks at our hairline and part as closely as we do. I’m not saying that because I think it looks bad (because, I don’t!) but I know everyone is going to have nose-smudges on their computers/phones/tablets. Just remember, due to our lovely condition, we are more hair-aware than ANYONE out there!

    Ellen Wille Wig Hairline

    You’ll see in the image above that I’ve trimmed the lace front back significantly. The lace front was tricky for me…unlike the toppers I’ve been wearing, there is no rim to use as a guide to where the hair should begin. I kept wanting to trim further and further back, but at some point you just have to stop and let it be.

    Close up of Mega Mono

    Here’s an even more close-up pic of the Ellen Wille Mega Mono hairline with the lace trimmed back.

    Ellen Wille Mega Mono

    I think having a deep side part helps with this look. Also, since the hair is parted on sort of a diagonal, it causes more of the lace to be covered which I think is a good thing.

    And here, of course, is a pic of the wig from the front. Over-exposed as always (sigh).

    Mega Mono Wig Review

    Finally, no wig review would be complete without a photo outside. I remember the sun being in my eyes, ha.

    Ellen Wille  Wigs Tobacco Rooted Wig

    Pros of the Ellen Wille Mega Mono

    What I really love about Ellen Wille wigs is the lack of unnatural shine that some synthetic wigs get. Some synthetics (wigs or toppers) have an artificial shine to them that gradually lessens the more you wear it (there are some tips and tricks to get rid of it faster which I’ll talk about soon), and I found that is the number one drawback of synthetic hair. Ellen Wille wigs look 100% natural right out of the box. I really wish some of the more readily available synthetic companies (are you listening, Noriko and Jon Renau?) would figure out how to do the hair fiber as nice as the hair fiber that Ellen Wille wigs have.

    I’d say the fit is average – my head is not too large nor too small and it fits me just fine.

    Cons of the Ellen Wille Mega Mono

    Not many! The hair fiber itself is so incredibly realistic, but I still struggle with the lace front and the knots. You might be able to see it if you look at my photos, but the knots underneath the lace front are dark. With human hair, you can get bleached knots so that they are invisible under the lace. That’s not happening with darker wig/topper colors.

    I think my hairstyle disguises this well, but the fact that I am aware of this means I’m not 100% comfortable in this wig.

    Closing Thoughts on Ellen Wille Wigs: Mega Mono

    I do love this wig. I love how the hair moves and I love how natural it looks. The density is perfect, too, as it’s not “wiggy”. If I could find a way to make peace with the lace front, I’d be wearing this in a heartbeat. I actually wish this wig was made in a non-lace front as I would love to try to integrate some of my bio hair with it. That’s difficult to do with a lace front.

    I’m going to continue to wear this now and then but it’s not going to be my every day look…at least, not yet. But, I can assure you…someday is probably closer than I think.

    Be sure to check out my first post about this wig, too.

    What do you think?

    If you have a minute, head on over to wigs.com to check out all the other colors this wig is available in.

  • Gulp! The “W” Word

    I know I won’t be in my toppers forever so I figured it was time I started getting used to the “W” word. You know it, right? A W-I-G. That’s right, a wig.

    What do you think? Scary?

    I decided to try a synthetic lace front wig for a few reasons. First, as you know, I love the convenience of synthetic hair. I like that I don’t have to style it, and I LOVE that it doesn’t fall flat in the humid weather that plagues 90% of the year where I live. Secondly, so many people I know recommend synthetic lace front wigs over non lace-fronts for their natural appearance. I’ve seen some incredible synthetic lace front wigs, particularly on blondes.

    Why blondes, you ask?

    Synthetic lace front wigs (as well as human hair) have just that in the front – a band of lace-like material that extends over your forehead to give the look that hair is growing out of your scalp. It’s ideal for off-the-forehead looks, in particular. It’s also really a must-have for those with extremely weak hairlines (check!) or those with total alopecia. The problem with some lace fronts, however, is that the hair is knotted (to secure it) just underneath that lace. In human hair wigs, that knot can be bleached so that you can’t see it underneath the lace. Synthetic hair, however, cannot be bleached…therefore the knot can be evident and look like a dot. This isn’t a problem, typically, with lighter hair (hence my comment about blondes) but it can be an issue with brown-and-darker hair colors. I was fairly concerned about this as I obviously want my hair pieces to be undetectable.

    During my web travels, I fell in love with the Tobacco-Rooted color by Ellen Wille. EW is a European brand sold here in the States by Wigs.com. As soon as I found this color, I knew I had to have it. As luck would have it, the Mega Mono wig came in this color. I was sold.

    Check out this gorgeous color!

    Tobacco Rooted Ellen Wille Mega Mono Wig

    Ok, great, so the color is to die for. But, how does it look on? I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how non-wiggy lace front synthetic wigs can look!

    Synthetic Lace Front Wigs Ellen Wille

    I’ll be blogging more about wig-specifics in the near future, but I’ll give you some of my initial thoughts about wearing a wig.

    Synthetic Lace Front Wigs – My (Limited) Experience:

    The first thing I notice while wearing it is that I am beyond hyper-sensitive to the fact that I am, well, wearing a wig. When I first started wearing my toppers, I remember being really aware of them on my head. I guess what I feel about wigs now is similar to what I felt back then and the feeling of “wearing something” will lessen with time. It really only took a few days to forget about my toppers, so maybe the same thing will happen when it comes to wigs. But, I’m not wearing wigs full-time, only experimenting. Until the day comes that I’m 100% committed to them, I’m probably always going to feel a bit out of sorts.

    The other thing that takes getting us to is the fit of the wig. Some synthetic lace front wigs (all wigs, really) can be bought in smaller or larger cap sizes; mine only came in a standard size. I think it fits me fine (?) but it feels somewhat restricting to have something feel secure at both the forehead and the nape. That’s actually one of the nice things about having a lace front – it does feel nice and secure since the lace is a somewhat stretchy material. I don’t feel like it’s going to slip back (there are products to help with this that I’ll blog about soon, promise!) The nape area also has velcro fasteners that you can adjust for a more snug fit. I feel if they aren’t very tight the wig feels strange, and if I loosen them it feels strange as well. I’ll show you pics of this in my next blog post.

    I can’t stress enough that I KNOW it’s because I am not used to wigs that it feels weird, and it’s discouraging to feel like that again (it’s been soooo long since I felt this way!). I know I have to keep practicing and playing until I feel more comfortable in wigs.

    Regarding the lace front–my next post will be a detailed write-up about this wig in particular, so stay tuned. I’m not sure what I feel about lace fronts quite just yet. I can certainly see how lace fronts make for a more natural look, but there’s actually quite a learning curve when wearing them, in my opinion. The lace itself is about 3/4″ long, and definitely needs to be trimmed back for the most natural look. Don’t worry–they are meant to be cut back! But, if you cut too far back it can fray. If you get makeup on it, it can be more noticeable. If you pull on it too much, it can stretch. There are just lots of little nuances with lace that make it somewhat difficult to work with when you are first starting out. BUT, as with anything else when it comes to this hair-wearing journey, it will take time to figure out if lace front synthetic wigs work for me and in what capacity. Practice makes perfect!

    I’ve only worn it a few times while running errands with my family. I’m always watching people’s eyes during interactions. I’m watching to see where they look–are they looking at my hairline? Are they looking at my hair just a little too closely? It’s kind of funny since these are the same questions I always wondered to myself before I started wearing toppers. I distinctly remember wondering, “are they look at my (weak) hairline?” Or, “are they looking at my scalp just a little too closely?”. It’s funny how it all comes full-circle, I guess.

    I’ve never noticed anyone acting out of the ordinary, so I feel pretty comfortable that this synthetic lace front wig is just another hair piece I can add to my arsenal that is undetectable. I actually never expected a W-I-G to look this good. I have enough “hair knowledge” to know that wigs these days probably don’t look as wiggy as what the stigma dictates, but it was good to see that with my own two eyes.

    So, what do you think? Does it look pretty natural?

    I think I’ll definitely be trying other synthetic lace front wigs in the future as I need all the practice I can get.

    Sore Scalp, Hair Loss: What Gives?

    For many women, a sore scalp and hair loss go hand in hand. As if the hairloss wasn’t enough, a sore, sometimes burning, irritated scalp enters the picture. Or, the hair loss comes after experiencing a sore scalp for awhile.

    One of my readers asked about scalp soreness and hair loss earlier this month, and I promised her I’d do some digging. I know plenty of fabulous women in the hair loss community so I asked them for their take on it. Many of the women have experienced a sore, painful scalp during their hairloss journeys. I asked them what causes it (to the best of their knowledge) and what their experiences were like with it. Because I have not experienced this myself, I’ve asked their permission to copy and paste their responses so that you can read feedback “direct” from them. I’ve corrected some instances of grammar or spelling errors, but all of these experiences are as true-to-form as possible in hopes that this will help some of you!

    I was excited to see that Nizoral shampoo and Benadryl have really helped some!

    “It could be LPP or subcutaneous lupus. I had a red, bumpy, HOT scalp the first 9 months of hair loss. That’s the reason I did 3 biopsies. It gets hotter as the day goes on. With a negative result from biopsies it is then considered in your head and they want to put you on Elavil. They do believe it is psychological (derms) even though we damn well know it’s not. Or is it? I’m just so glad it gone. I wanted to die it was so awful.”

    “It could also be something as simple as Seborrheic Dermatitis which is totally treatable, or an allergic reaction to something that she needs to remove from her house or diet… has she seen a derm?”

    “I was also tested for scarring alopecia which can cause scalp redness and burning.”

    “Sometimes if the hair loss is rapid or in times of heavy shedding, there can be scalp pain like tingling or burning. I had that – it was like I could feel every follicle! I never found anything that helped, it just went away when the shedding slowed down.”

    “My scalp hurts all the time. I can hardly brush my hair. Although its like a soreness. Feels like bruising. It gets better when I take anti-inflammatories but [the relief] never lasts. I was given a steroid to put on it but never really used it because it was messy. I don’t know what’s wrong with me except that I was told I have fibromyalgia. I’m also being tested for some other stuff because my joints are all inflamed.”

    “I suffered with burning scalp, as well as pain and soreness. This was in the beginning of my hair loss or when I first began to notice it. I came here for help. A friend told me to buy Nizoral shampoo (hard to find, try Amazon) and wash whenever I felt it, and also take 1-2 Benadryl. It really helped me. There were times the shampoo was enough. I was so thankful to her for this, I’m happy to share and hope it helps her.”

    “I have Lichen Planopilaris, which is an autoimmune disorder. If someone has redness and an itchy scalp with hair loss, those are the symptoms. Treatment is low dose antibiotic (similar to what is used to treat acne) and topical steroids. I think the earlier you catch it the better. If someone is having these symptoms, they should get a scalp biopsy and try to see a derm who is a hair loss specialist.”

    “Felt like sunburn and poison ivy on my head at the same time. No diagnosis, but after an ER visit docs recommended that I try Benadryl when the flare-ups happened. I did and it helped.”

    “Lauren, I just read all the comments and there are now two of us where benadryl helped. I was shedding 300-500 hairs a day (150-200 in my bed when I would wake up and then non-stop watershed during the day. Once the shed slowed (3 + months) I didn’t have so many of these unbearable attacks. I also tried tea tree oil on my scalp at night. Benadryl seemed to help the most.”

    “For me it was hormones….going on birth control and synthroid leveled my hormones and stopped the scalp pain!”

    Potential Remedies for a Sore Scalp with Hair Loss in Women

    It seems many women have had success with Benadryl (I can see how that might help with an itchy scalp, or an inflamed one) as well as with Nizoral shampoo. The Nizoral is actually an anti-dandruff shampoo and can help with the same symptoms the Benadryl does: itchy scalp and inflamation.

    From what I understand, these symptoms can be devastating…for less than $20 for these two products, I would definitely try them out.

    What have your experiences been with scalp pain? Do you tend to have an itchy scalp with your hair loss, or is it more of a burning, bruised or sore sensation?

    Do You Have Four Minutes?

    Just a quick post about a music video that I recently saw that I thought was *perfect*. If you have four minutes today (less, even), please listen to this beautiful song and accompanying video.

    Pay close attention to what happens at 1:30!

    The ’80s Called…

    The ’80s called…they want their bangs back! Ok, I know these aren’t ’80s bangs (which I rocked!) but they are a trend I thought I’d never see again, especially with my hair loss.

    I had my baby nine months ago and promptly started the post-partum shed around three months after he was born. Boy, was that EVER traumatic for someone with hair loss to begin with! I wanted to punch every new mom who was blessed with thick, lustrous hair (what’s that?) during their pregnancies who lamented that they were losing so much hair they were “about to go bald!” Or, “I’m going to need to get a wig since I’m losing so much hair!”

    …Really?!

    My shed stopped at about six months post-partum and the post-partum hair regrowth began. The super-short wispies are starting to growth out to something more substantial, and I’m not sure what to think of my new “look”:

    Post Partum Hair Regrowth Bangs

    Forgive the lack of shirt – I was about to hop in the shower! But taking a pic was just too tempting to pass up. I saw a bit of post partum hair regrowth peeking out from below my headband. For the fun of it, I decided to brush that regrowth down to see what I’d look like. Holy heck, I have bangs for the first time in forever!! Alright, so I know they aren’t REAL bangs that are workable…and I also know that directly above them I have a huge, glaring piece of scalp, but they were still surprising to see!

    Since most of my hair loss is concentrated up front (pre-baby), it makes sense that the majority of what I lost (that is now coming back as post partum hair regrowth) is up front, too. I’d love if all of this growth was all over my head, but it doesn’t look like it continues all over. Maybe a little, but not as much as you see here.

    Since I have no choice but to let it grow, I’m going to keep a close eye on how it looks to see if I can maybe pull off some side-swept bangs with my toppers, eventually.

    I know there are some moms that read this blog – how did the post-partum shed affect you?? Did you also get some wacky post partum hair regrowth?