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?

Video: How I Integrate My Bio Hair with a Topper

I thought I’d make my first video showing how I integrate my bio hair with a topper – in this case, my Noriko Milan in Marble Brown. I’ve actually had this piece for over a year; it was the first one I ever bought! No, I haven’t worn it for a year straight (that would be pretty miraculous if a synthetic lasted half of that amount of time!). Rather, I tried her a few times very early on in my hair-wearing experience, but resurrected her on my recent vacation and well, the sparks were reignited.

Please view the video, but then come back to read my comments about this video after. I definitely have several things to say about it.

So, I’ve never done a video before (um, as you can tell) and I had such a hard time trying to get it to work. How in the heck do people do makeup tutorials and stuff where they need both the camera and a mirror?! I think I need to do a set up where I am looking directly into a mirror with the camera right next to it. In short – sorry for the way this is laid out.

I also felt so weird talking to nobody, and I don’t feel like I sound like myself AT ALL in this video. But, maybe the joke’s on me and that’s exactly how I sound.

This isn’t edited, either. I was going to cut it at the beginning and at the end to get some of the junk off, but I actually liked the way my part looked as I went to shut off my camera (check out those roots!) so I left it.

Bottom line: even though I have a blog out in cyberspace showing off my bald spots, I was 10x more insecure putting this video out there than any blog post I’ve ever written. Is that weird? Hopefully, if I do another one, I’ll loosen up a bit and not seem so stiff. :)

I hope this helps to show just how easy it can be to integrate your topper with your bio hair in the morning. The video itself is just over five minutes, but if I’m not “explaining” my process, it could easily be cut down to two minutes. The first time you play with one, it can take awhile but it gets so much easier each time you do it.

The biggest piece of advice I have, is IF you can, to take just the tiniest bit of your bio hair and leave it outside the topper. Even my limp bio hair has a bit of lift right at the root – this natural body presented over the rim of the topper really helps to integrate it fairly seamlessly.

As always, if you have any questions on how better to integrate your bio hair with a topper, let me know!

Here’s a pic I took a few days after the video. I feel much better posting pics!

Integrate bio hair with topper

P.S. I don’t know why I make a face each time I snap a clip in the video. I swear, it doesn’t hurt!

Yes! You CAN Wear a Topper or Wig on Vacation

A while back I posted that I was going on my first vacation wearing helper hair – it was funny to see the hair all laid out and ready to be put into the suitcase. With me, I brought me Noriko Milan as well as the Jon Renau Long Mono Topper – I actually brought two of these. One was a newer one to wear in the evenings, and one was the older one to wear in the pool.

We took a cruise and vacationed in Mexico and Key West and I know what you are wondering: How HOT was it?! Honestly…this is a tough one to answer. I live in the South where it’s 80 degrees or higher nine months out of the year, so I got used to wearing my topper in extreme heat VERY quickly. I do remember the first few times I wore my hair out in public, around this time last year. I did feel a temperature shift, but I don’t recall if it was because I was super-aware of it on my head or if because it actually made me hotter. I’m thinking it’s probably a little of both. Now, though, I don’t feel the heat from it AT ALL – my bio hair has actually not seen (felt?) the light of day since last October so I’m sure it would feel completely different if I didn’t wear hair one day. But, eh, that’s not happening.

During the day, I wore my hair up most of the time. We spent alot of time at the pool and on the beach so I wore my older Jon Renau topper (Long Mono in color 8H14) most of the time. It really didn’t get wet (maybe splashed a little) but in case that it did I wanted to make sure not to ruin my new one.

(If it had gotten wet/sandy/etc. I probably would’ve just been sure to rinse it as quickly as I could when I got back to the room. I’m sure it would’ve fared pretty well as it IS just plastic. Another option would be to bring a spray bottle filled with water [or douse yourself with some from a water bottle] if the hair would’ve gotten sea-salty. Kind of cumbersome, I know, but at least there are options.)

Jon Renau 8h14

Pretty easy-peasy up do! Just twist it up along with your bio hair and clip it with a butterfly clip. Worked beautifully!

Some nights I wanted to wear my hair down, and I thought bringing my Noriko Milan in Marble Brown was a good option for that. I wasn’t wearing this piece “in real life” so I was happy to give her some good use! I re-fell in love with the gorgeous fiber and density on the piece (but more on that later. See some pics of my Noriko Milan here). This old gal actually stayed on quite well, even on the windy cruise ship.

Topper in wind Noriko Milan Marble Brown

Speaking of staying on, all of my pieces did really well in terms of staying in place while being active. There was one day when we were in Key West where the wind was nothing short of brutal. I did experience a bit of discomfort with the front area pulling as we were walking face-first into the wind. A quick readjustment of both the front clip(s) as well as my hair clip probably would’ve solved the issue, but my son was being needy while wanting to be held, I had bags and I was sunburned…so I just let it go.

One thing my husband and I did do was parasail – it’s not the most high-impact watersport by any means, but my toppers survived taking off and landing, as well as a quick dip in the ocean (granted, my hair wasn’t dipped, it was only to my waist!).

So, ladies, don’t be afraid to take your hair on vacation! In fact, no one knows you, so trying hair on vacation (be it for the first time or a different style) is actually the perfect time to wear toppers or wigs!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: