No politics, policy or macro econ here tonight. I want to talk about something else.

Wigs! Yes, real wigs, the kind one puts on one’s head and not politicians from a popular political party that existed in America about a century ago but is long since defunct.

My wig venture started after my first post-lockdown haircut went terribly wrong. My hair had looked so much better over the previous year when I was cutting it myself than when I walked out of the salon last April. It really bothered me that because I had been putting off getting a haircut for several months before the lockdowns began, I had plenty of hair to get the new shorter side of mid-length shag style I had been coveting, and what I got was scalped and would have to start growing out my hair all over again.

My new look was not even close to the picture of the shag I showed to the “stylist.” I think it was more like a chin-length bob combined with garbage disposal hacks all over – more intense at the bangs. I have wavy hair, and the stylist, if one would even call her that, cut my bangs to about an inch and half, so that once they dried, I looked like Twiggy.

If I had gone to another stylist to fix this tragedy, I would have ended up with a pixie cut or perhaps just a shaved head because there was so little hair left to salvage.

So, there I was, fully COVID vaccinated and wanting to get out of the house, but too embarrassed about my hairdo to go anywhere! I wore a hat to run errands. I lived like that for about a month, until I watched some videos about wigs. Afterward, I realized that the picture I took with me to the hair salon had been of a wig. I believe that a few of the other styles I’ve admired on others around town were also wigs because I’ve seen them in the wig catalogs.

I had never considered wearing a wig previously. I thought they were for people seriously in need of hair because of natural thinning or medical conditions that cause hair loss. But in my case, I was in serious need of hair because of a rabid or intoxicated stylist. Even though these needs are not that much different in the same moment, I hemmed and hawed, and dragged my feet about getting a wig until one day I was looking through a wig catalog and saw the exact same picture I had taken with me to salon. In that moment my mind was made up. I had to have that wig. There was no question about it. I wanted that hairdo, and nothing was going to stop me from having it.

I now have five wigs with one in route. They’re so darned cute and most of them are shake and go. After preparing my real hair so that it doesn’t stick out, I grab one, give it good shake, stick it on my heard,  use my fingers to shape it into place, take a quick look in the mirror to be sure it looks the way it should, and I’m ready to go. No blow dryers, no hot tools that I must stand in the bathroom for way too much time to use, and I’ve got the style I want – for that day. Maybe I want a different style or a different color the next day. I can have that too in a matter of minutes with no damage to my real hair.

The biggest bonus I can think of is that if I don’t like the style or color I receive, in no way am I stuck with it for months. I can send it back with very little pain and embarrassment involved (and do it while wearing an adorable hairdo).

I don’t really get the stigma involved with wig-wearing. Even after my hair grows back, I will still wear them.

If anyone is interested in getting into wigs, here are a few suggestions:

Measure your head before buying your first wig. Be sure to buy the wig closest to your size, and always be sure to check the size chart at the site you are ordering from. Not all wig outlets have the same definition of average. This is not to say that nothing can be done if a wig is a little tight. There are things that can be done, depending on the style and construction of the cap. But you don’t want one that is too big. It will itch, the ear tabs will hang down too far, and it is more destructive to make a large wig smaller beyond what can be done with adjustment straps. And you probably don’t want to have to spend a ton of time on your new wig before you can wear it.

If you have hair, even short hair, get or make wig bands if you don’t buy wigs that are close to the same color as your hair. Going without wig bands, thinking that the cap will stay on with bobby pins or just by itself is masochistic. I’ve been there and done that. Wig bands keep my real hair from sticking out and keep the wig securely on my head. I won’t go anywhere without one.

I also use a wig cap with the band if I am worried about my real hair sticking out, like when wearing a dark wig while my hair is light.

I had no luck with the little snap wig clips that are sewn into the wig. The hair from the wig kept getting stuck in the clips, and it was doing more harm than good. So, I took them out of the wigs I sewed them into, and just use a band.

Don’t get sucked into buying a lot of products to care for your wig. You can use regular shampoo to wash it with, or gentle laundry detergent.  You can also use liquid fabric softener to condition it with.

Don’t use sea salt spray on a synthetic wig. Don’t use regular hairspray. I have not needed hairspray or styling balm for my wigs, and I believe the less superfluous products I use on them, the longer they will last. If your wig is shiny you can use regular dry shampoo from the grocery store or some baby powder – be sure to comb it out.

I use root cover to cover the hair at my temples. I’ve also used it on my non-rooted wig to smooth out the look on top. It stains the wig cap, so be sure you want it on the wig in a more permanent way before spraying.  In my case I wanted it to stain the cap and I had no problem doing it (with basic caps and non-rooted wig, you will understand why I would want this if an when you get there).

The biggest tip I can offer is to expect variances. No two wigs look alike, not even of the same style from the same manufacturer. Sometimes, wigs ordered online will look nothing like the picture. My second wig did not look like the picture at all. I ordered a wavy, loosely curled, mid-length wig, and got a limp, lifeless, stringy wig that was too long because it had no curl and barely any wave. I bought it on clearance and could not send it back. So, I watched lots of YouTube videos on how to style wigs. I spent tons of time on this wig and it still looks stingy. I wear it only some times. And it happens.

Now I said there wasn’t going to be politics in this post. But the biggest problem I have with buying wigs are the degrees of variances on these wigs. If they are going to advertise a curly wavy wig, it should be curly and wavy, not straight and limp. The deal with straight and limp is really a problem of crappy quality control, and not really giving a hoot about the customer or how much their money means to them. Many of the people on YouTube doing wig reviews are associated with wig retailers, and they will try to talk you into to keeping a wig that was misrepresented in the photos shown to you and that you don’t really want. Do. Not. Listen.

In fact, from time to time, I will post here when I get a bad wig. I will post where I bought it from, the style and color, and who the manufacturer is. If the cap is too damned small, or big, or the style is flat and limp when it’s supposed to be curly and wavy. And I shall start with:

India by Rene of Paris in Ice Blonde.

I bought it from The Best Wig Outlet for $158. The manufacturer is Aderands Hair Goods. The color is gorgeous, and the cap fit nicely after cutting the adjustment straps out. But these are the only highlights, I am sorry to say. It’s supposed to be a mid-length wavy/curly wig according to both the description and the manufacturer photos. What I received was a longer, straight wig with a little flip on the bottom and very front on the sides. It was limp, stringy, and the arrangement of peramatease made no sense for a straight wig, so it stuck out strangely in the back. It had to be thinned, trimmed, combed, some permatease removed, and packed with dry shampoo before it looked decent. Even then, I do not wear it much. It is my hard lesson wig that I won’t soon forget.

Do not buy a wig online that you cannot return. Use PayPal or a credit card with purchase protection for payment. Don’t remove the tags or do anything to it other than try it on (with a wig cap) until you are sure you will be keeping it. If you don’t like it send it back. If you get a hassle trying to return complain to the BBB, Yelp, or anywhere else you may have a voice. Use your purchase protection to make a claim after you’ve tried to return and were given a the run around or charged excessive restocking fees. You don’t have to put up with it.