Human Hair 101 (aka: How to avoid shenanigans!)

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This post was originally published on September 09, 2015 by Heather Hershey

I was on FaceBook the other day chatting with some wig friends (Trish, Linda – this is a shout-out to you!), when I encountered a really interesting and, frankly, sad conversation thread about all the counterfeit human hair shenanigans going on online, on eBay more specifically.

I hear horror stories about this ALL THE TIME.

You find an ahhhhmazing deal on a virgin, Remy, Blonde European hair wig on eBay for only $400…and when it arrives it’s a big bushy mess of frizzy Indian hair that was bleached into oblivion and looks like an unraveled basket on your head.

That’s right. You have become a “basket case”. 

Some people think this is due to the dye. This is only partially true. I actually blame the hair itself, as well as folks having unrealistic expectations of what we can do with it.

People demand impossible things and manufacturers do their best to oblige, often with mixed results. This is also true of biohair  – and hairstylists friends will confirm that the struggle is real! I mean, think of the people who want Beyoncé hair on a Best Cuts budget, for example. Great Clips can only do so much and some things just don’t come cheap. 
So let me break this down for you a bit.

The dye used on most human hair wigs is not the same that you would use on your own hair, but is instead the EXACT same pigmentation used on the synthetic wigs made by whichever company you buy it from. The synthetics are a textile, so in that case it makes sense. In human hair, though, it’s a bit more complicated.

Though it may not result in additional damage to the hair (because honestly, the nitty gritty chemical processing is virtually the same between human hair dye from Sally’s and those textile dyes except vat processed on a much larger scale), it certainly results in watered down colors that aren’t as vibrant as hair dye that is made for human hair. I am under the impression that the principle reasons they use textile dyes are twofold: 1) Convenience because those materials are already on hand and 2) they hold better than human hair colors, which is a good thing for folks who don’t want to have to recolor their wigs. The rub there, though, is that human hair dyed with textile dye still fades, just not as quickly.

A bigger problem in my mind is actually that no one in “the biz” clearly articulates what the processing limitations of the hair are. The biggest problems come in when folks expect light brown or even blonde Asian, Brazilian, or Indian sourced human hair to be tangle and damage free. This is an unrealistic expectation.

I feel like it’s my job to set people straight (because it is). So, let’s just get deep with it: that kind of hair is usually a 1B naturally, which is very, very dark. It is also generally quite resistant to color processing.

Let that sink in for a minute.

That’s right. It’s a paradox. The most common hair types used for human hair wigs – and the kinds most likely to need color processing – are RESISTANT to color processing. 

These kinds of natural hairs don’t take well to intense lightening and almost always frizz out as part of the process. It doesn’t matter what kind of dye it is – the damage results from the “lifting” process that removes the melanin from the hair shaft. You can sometimes circumvent that by processing with low volume developer over a long period of time, but if you’ve ever tried that yourself you probably know that the hair still comes out kind of fuzzy and brittle, at least compared to what it was when virgin.

A lot of manufacturers get around this by dousing the hair with silicone, which slicks the scales on the hair shaft back into place…until the next wash. So, as soon as you get it home and wash it, they seem like they just kind of frizz out and fall apart.

So why do manufacturers use these kinds of hairs on virtually all human hair wigs?

That’s an easy question to answer…even though the answers may be genuinely difficult to hear.

The main reason is because of its availability. There is quite a bit of color and texture homogeneity among folks of those ethnic types (Brazilian, Indian, and Asian). The hair is almost always straight and almost always a 1B. (The only exception is that Brazilian hair is almost always wavy or even curly, but is still usually a 1B.) This makes it possible to take hair from multiple individuals to create a single wig. (Side note: this also means that wigs made from these kinds of hairs are almost always thicker than wigs made of European hair, which can only come from one person’s head per wig.)

A secondary reason is that it is relatively predicable and easy to process, at least in terms of the entire wig making process, not necessarily color processing.
The tertiary and infinitely more depressing reason why most human hair wigs are made from these kinds of hairs is the general scarcity of naturally lighter (IE: European) hair. Part of the scarcity of European hair is due to the diversity among individuals in the gene pool. The hair tends to vary greatly from one person to the next and this makes mass production and harvesting quite difficult because you can’t mix the hair from two or more individuals together to make a wig. This makes European hair wigs more delicate, more precious, a little thinner than Asian hair wigs, and definitely more expensive even before taking into considering the cost of the cap construction.

The depressing part of the scarcity issue is one of the darkest not-so-secret secrets of the wig biz: exploitation. Women in Western developed countries do not feel the same economic pressure to sell their hair for money that women in other, less wealthy cultures do. Almost all of the European hair in the world for wigs comes from just a handful of Eastern European countries and regions in Russia where the poverty is absolute and not relative…and even in those places, women adhere to Western standards of beauty and are highly reluctant to sell their hair.

In summary, regarding human hair:

– I recommend Brazilian, Indian, or Asian sourced hair for folks who like dark colors or dark colors with limited highlights. These kinds of hairs really seem to hold up nicely to minor color processing that does not require intense lightening. (Brazilian holds red nicely, as a side note.)

– For anyone who wants lighter colors, I recommend European hair (from a reputable, vetted source since the stuff’s so expensive and there are so many counterfeits on the web). European hair is basically the only kind of human hair fiber you can get that does not need to be color treated in order to achieve blondes and light browns…but those colors are more rare and are often more expensive because of it. (Edit: I wanted to add that if this hair doesn’t set you back a few grand, minimum, it is most likely counterfeit. Virgin European hair is quite scarce and precious, for reasons which I have explained above. The entire process of harvesting and supplying hair for these wigs is more expensive as a result, so the retail cost is also substantially higher.)

– If you can’t afford a Remy, virgin, European hair wig from a reputable source, then make peace with darker hair colors OR stick to synthetics. Your life will become much less frustrating that way. 😉

– Or, conversely, make peace with the fact that severely color processed (IE: lightened) Asian, Indian, and Brazilian human hair will be frizzier, but can be treated with moisturizers and silicones in order to achieve a manageable, albeit less than perfect, texture. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing complementary care products  with your wig, such as argan oil serums, conditioners, shine sprays, and perhaps even a silicone sealer. This hair will be damaged as a result of color treatment (IE: lightening to anything lighter than a dark brown) and will need lots of care to keep it looking as good as it does out of the box. Also, while you should NEVER put shampoo or astringent chemical cleansers directly on your wigs, this is EXTRA super duper true of these wigs! All it takes is one shampoo wash directly applied to the hair and – BOOM – it can turn into a frizzy, unsalvageable, hopelessly tangled mess.

– If something seems too good to be true online (especially on Alibaba or eBay), it probably is. For example, if you buy a “virgin” Brazilian, Asian, or Indian hair wig in ANY color other than a 1B…that is most likely NOT a virgin wig. These will almost always be a 1B, a 1, or a 2. They will always be very, very dark.

– Have realistic expectations of the material your wig is made of. Each kind of fiber (synth, human hair, HF/HD Synth, etc.) has its own best uses and limitations of what kind of styling and coloration it can handle…and this REALLY trips people up a lot!

  • Synthetic hair (modacrylic, Kanekalon fiber) cannot be color processed because it is a textile. The dye is literally injected into the hair as it is created. This hair can be styled with steam or other forms of wet heat. It is generally considered shake-and-go as it is pre-styled at the factory to be ready to wear, more or less, right out of the box. This is the easiest kind of hair to wear, in my opinion, and is generally what I recommend for new wig buyers. Synthetic wigs are relatively inexpensive (at least compared to human hair) and come in a wide variety of styles, colors, textures, and cap constructions.
  • Heat-friendly synthetic (Futura fiber, HD fiber, True2Life fiber, etc.) has similar color processing to the above. I consider this stuff best suited for styles cut ABOVE the collar line…and paradoxically, you’re most likely to find it used for really long wigs. This is a big pet peeve of mine and fairly blatant example of how the wig industry kind of takes advantage of naïve new clients who are by and large more likely to seek out this material. This hair is very elastic, which accommodates the styling, but also causes issues with friction, static build-up, and tangling. Heat-friendly fiber is more prone to being pulled and distorted due to this elasticity, and its propensity to tangle means these wigs have a shorter general wearable life than their traditional synthetic counterparts. So, another paradox: heat-friendly wigs are generally bought by people new to wigs who think they are a less expensive alternative to human hair. They want the versatility of being able to style their hair…but the more they style the hair, the faster it clumps and tangles! These kinds of wigs are actually best for folks who want an occasional change of pace – and not for daily wear and/or styling – unless the cut is above the collar. 
  • Exception: I really like heat-friendly synthetic/human hair blends. Adding human hair to a heat-friendly synthetic blend cuts down on the elasticity and static build-up issues, resulting in an overall more durable wig. I consider these worth the additional cost if you are considering a heat-friendly synthetic wig. It’s amazing what adding some human hair to the mix can do!
  • Human hair wigs are generally a blank canvas in terms of style. They will most likely need to be washed (make sure you heed my notes above) and perhaps even cut before they can truly be wearable. This is because, unlike a synthetic wig, most of these do not come pre-styled, and they generally don’t hold the style even if they are. (The only exception being the handful of pre-permed or naturally curly wigs on this site.) This hair comes in a lot of variations of color, texture, length, and quality. I hope I have cleared some of that up during the course of this blog post.
  • Regardless of the material, cut back on washing and styling (including combing) as much as you can. Be sure to moisturize the dickens out of your human hair with high quality (as in, not from Walmart or Rite Aid) care products. These are the absolute most important things you can do to prolong the life of your wigs!

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that most stores aren’t going to emphasize the limitations because they make money off the glamor and fantasy. They just tell people what they want to hear so they buy, buy, BUY. Telling people the truth is a buzz kill. (I think you might be shocked by how many random emails I get from people who are angry that I list potential wearable life expiration dates on my product listings! It’s a real downer to some people, I guess.)

I hope this post has been informative and helps folks avoid wasting money on counterfeits and other bad hair on the interwebs…because to me, throwing money down the drain on a lie is way more of a buzz kill than spending a little more – more appropriately – on the real deal. 🙂

– Heather @ Cysterwigs

(Sorry for the essay. I’m known to be super long winded about hair! LOL)

About PCOS.

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Originally Posted on May 10, 2015 by Heather Hershey

I recently received an email from a YouTube subscriber who wanted to know more about PCOS. I thought this might be great info for anyone who wondered why we put the “Cyst” in CysterWigs!

Hi Heather,

I just saw your channel and, specifically, your YT Vid about the giveaway. What I am curious about is what is PCOS?  

PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (sometimes also called PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome or Stein-Leventhal Disease).

PCOS is a chronic (meaning there is no cure and it develops over the course of many years, perhaps as the result of lifestyle variables or environmental factors), systemic (meaning it effects multiple body parts and systems, and sometimes even the whole body), syndrome (meaning that it is a collection of multiple typical symptoms as part of a cluster; no two women experience the same symptoms in the same way).

Please see my commentary here for a detailed explanation of what PCOS isn’t:

PCOS is not caused by cysts on the ovaries. In fact, cysts on the ovaries are not even diagnostic for all women, as a large percent of women with this disorder don’t even have the cysts. In fact, women can still have PCOS after undergoing a full hysterectomy – so the name is a misnomer.

This is a chronic disorder and at this time there is no cure. Once you have it, you will ALWAYS have it, regardless of how much weight you lose or what kind of diet or medication you’re on. A diagnosis of PCOS means that you will have to manage the disease your entire life – even after the onset of menopause. 

This disease used to be called Stein-Leventhal Syndrome and for a long time doctors thought that removing part of the ovary would cause a cessation of symptoms. This treatment, however, only worked some of the time. That is because this isn’t an ovary issue; It’s a hormone issue. This is a bad thing because hormone issues are much more difficult to treat and understand. In fact, many doctors don’t know anything at all about this disease and think that birth control pills and a diet can cure it. I WISH! 🙂

PCOS is a systemic metabolic hormone disorder, with the principle hormone in question actually being insulin. Insulin creates havoc in women with PCOS and causes weight gain. The fat cells are, in and of themselves, hormone producing and the hormones generated by the fat cells interact with the ovaries and create imbalances of testosterone, estrodial, progesterone, thyroid, and many other hormones…and can often lead to even more irregularities with insulin on top of all that! This often leads women with PCOS, especially those who are a little older like me, to feel like they are on a roller coaster where progress seems to come in small doses with severe rebounds and set backs. 

Insulin biology is a hard thing to overcome, even with medications, diet, and will power. Treating it like a gynecological disorder or a fertility problem (PCOS is the #1 cause of female infertility in the Western world) may help deal with some of the symptoms, but doesn’t address the underlying cause. 

This is why I always recommend that women with PCOS seek out the opinion of a qualified endocrinologist in lieu of a gynecologist or general practitioner. This is a very complex disorder that affects many different systems within the body and the only kind of doctor qualified to treat hormone disorders is a hormone specialist – an endocrinologist. 

Just a little food for thought!

In addition this, another important nugget of info about PCOS are the symptoms. Here, is a fairly comprehensive list of the most common ones, with an asterisk (*) next to any that I have, just in case you are curious:

 – Missed periods/abnormal periods*

– Very heavy periods that last a very long time* (both of these symptoms are just different flavors of a common PCOS symptom called amenorrhea)

– Hirsutism (excessive hair growth in funny places, like the face)

– Cystic acne*

– The classic “string of pearls” ovarian cyst presentation apparent during a pelvic ultrasound

– Rapid, mysterious weight gain that does not correlate with a change in eating patterns*

– Rapid, mysterious weight loss that does not correlate with a change in eating patterns

– Obesity*

– Vitamin D deficiency*

– Infertility* (PCOS is the #1 cause of female infertility in the US. In fact, many women don’t even know they have it until they try to conceive (TTC).) 

– Sharp pelvic pain 

– Male pattern baldness* (androgenic alopecia)

– Female pattern baldness* (also called androgenic alopecia, but present as a more diffuse hair loss throughout the scalp)

– Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black, can be fuzzy and soft like felt or kind of rough and scaly

– Skin tags

– Pelvic pain* (generally sharp, stabbing pain – but if you experience this symptom see a gynecologist ASAP because it could be a number of other things!)

– Depression and/or anxiety* (Could, again, be caused by other things such as environmental factors; it’s usually just something made worse by PCOS due to hormone fluctuations.)

– Sleep disturbances without any obvious cause* (insomnia is common in women with PCOS)

– Excess fat deposits in androgenic placement*: upper arms, middle or lower abdomen, upper back; instead of female placement: breasts, hips, butt, thighs. (FTR: I have both; what this really just means is that a big belly is usually abnormal fat placement for women, who tend to store fat in the boobs, butt, and thighs.) 

– Strange, spontaneous reduction in breast size*

– Deepening of the voice

– Faster and more intense fight or flight response and/or decreased impulse control and/or anger management (from hormonal fluctuations)

– Elevated blood glucose levels*

– Type II Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus); PCOS is often a precursor to T2D and most women with PCOS will become diabetic during their lifetimes

As you can probably tell, PCOS symptoms can be caused by a LOT of other issues, ranging from the psychological to the infectious. Because of this, PCOS is notoriously hard to diagnose. It is a diagnosis of exclusion. If a doctor diagnoses you on sight, or without testing your blood or a pelvic ultrasound, then seek a second opinion. This diagnosis should not be given lightly.

You don’t need to have polycystic ovaries to have PCOS. The symptoms coupled with any of these can be diagnostic all on their own…

 – Excessive testosterone in the blood

– Odd ratio of luteinizing hormone (LH) to follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in the blood*

– Pre-diabetes and/or insulin resistance*


Left untreated, PCOS can eventually lead to:

– Infertility

– Diabetes Mellitus

– Hypertension

– Stroke

– Heart Attack

– Coma

– Death

This is a chronic disease that disables and kills very slowly…as in, over the course of several decades in most cases. Because of that, it is easy to take it for granted until it’s too late.

If you suspect you have PCOS, then it’s a good idea to seek a competent specialist in the disorder. I recommend going to an endocrinologist in your area…and NOT a gynecologist or general practitioner. This is a complicated hormone disorder and requires a lot of very specialized training in hormones to truly understand. Who better than an endocrinologist (AKA: Hormone specialist)?

PCOS should NEVER be self-diagnosed because so many other disorders could case the same symptoms…and some of those disorders can be immediately life-threatening, including untreated hypothyroidism.

Word to the wise: finding a doctor who is well read on this disorder and knows what they are talking about can be VERY difficult. Be prepared to visit several doctors until you find one who takes your symptoms seriously and is up to date on the latest PCOS research. A LOT of new information has come out about this disorder in the last decade alone!

I have been diagnosed with Hypothyroid and also have, what I thought was, male patterned baldness, but I have other symptoms as well that have not been diagnosed and am trying to find answers.  I was investigating going on hormones, when I came across your channel.

If you are being treated for a clinical (as opposed to a “subclinical” – IE: tests come back normal yet symptoms, such as lethargy, are still present) case of hypothyroid, then you are probably already on hormones! Lots of women with PCOS also have insensitivity to TSH and T3. It is common for these conditions to be comorbid (as in, they occur together). A competent endocrinologist should be able to help you with both of these chronic conditions. 🙂

For the record: alopecia can also be caused by hypothyroid.

If you are seeing an endocrinologist for hypothyroid, then ask them about PCOS during your next appointment. If you are NOT seeing an endocrinologist for hypothyroid…then this might be something to consider. Thyroid issues are hormone issues, and again, my advice is to seek a hormone specialist for it. 🙂

If you are diagnosing yourself – then I urge you to stop.

These are very complicated disorders that can impact various body symptoms. Heck, most trained doctors don’t even know much about these diseases, as the jury is still out about the causes. They are still debating the name and classification of PCOS, for crying out loud!

However, I urge you to see a doctor. Seriously. Either of these conditions can be very serious if not handled properly. Like I hinted at earlier, untreated hypothyroid can cause problems with your heart (the same can also be said for hyperthyroid) and should be considered potentially life-endangering. Take it seriously and see a doctor if this is a self-diagnosis!

But, again, what I want to know is, what is PCOS? And what are the things you pointed to on the under side of your jaw at the chin.

That was cystic acne. Cystic acne is very much unlike the regular, run-of-the-mill breakouts most people get during puberty. Cystic acne occurs much deeper under the skin and is caused by hormones, so no level of exfoliation or cleanliness can stop it. (Though I spend a small fortune on topical stuff and good concealer anyway to try to minimize it’s appearance.) This type of acne presents in large round bumps that are often warm to the touch, very inflamed, and quite painful. Mine also itch when they come in. Spironolactone (Aldactone) is usually prescribed to women with PCOS who have this issue. In my case, I’ve found that it really helps a lot! Even still, I still get the cysts. The only difference now is that I get one or two at a time in stead of a “Beard of Acne” (that’s really what it’s called!) that is typical of women with PCOS.

Now you know!

– Heather

Some easy peasy synthetic care tips!

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Originally Posted on June 01, 2015 by Heather Hershey

A client of mine recently sent me an email asking some great questions about synthetic wig care that I thought might be fabulous to share with you all!

If any of you have synthetic wig care tips you’d like to share, please feel free to leave it in the comments. 🙂

On May 24, 2015, at 11:58 AM, Ms. X wrote:

Hi Heather,

You provided me with so much help with my RW Salsa wig and I do sincerely appreciate your assistance.  Since I am a wig newbie, I need your aid again regarding wig products so my one wig will stay as nice as possible for the longest time.  

1.  Can you recommend shampoo, conditioner, and any other wig products that are absolutely essential?  I probably won’t use any type of hair spray.

I do not use wig shampoo on my synthetics. I only use liquid fabric softener as directed in the video above and the Biotera leave-in conditioner Simply Stylin’ Silicone Spray. I also use Envy Renu and Repair on the ends of my hair after washing and to keep curly wigs from frizzing. I also like to use dry shampoo in between washings. I use it on the outside to reduce shine and the inside of the cap to keep it fresh smelling. This is very helpful in warm weather! I also think the Jon Renau wide toothed travel comb is a lifesaver!

Batiste Dry Shampoo

Simply Stylin’ Spray (lightly scented)

Envy Renu & Repair

Jon Renau Travel Comb

And that’s about all I use on my synthetics. 😉

2.  I want to avoid tangles, of course, but what do I do if the wig does develop tangles?

Depends on the kind of wig (synthetics vs. human hair vs. Remy human hair), the texture (straight vs. curly vs. wavy), and the length.

3.  How do you know when it’s time to give up on a wig and toss it?  

This is a very subjective thing. I tend to discard a wig or donate it when it starts to feel fried and brittle towards the end. The best way to tell is to get a magnifying glass and look at the ends. If the ends are kinked up all over the place, it will be difficult to salvage. You can steam it straight, but that will kill the body and volume.

Another indicator for me, especially on short open capped wigs, is if the permatease begins to fail. This happens about a month in and will make the wig look like it’s deflating. I will try to make a video about how to revitalize the permatease with a virgin toothbrush. It’s easy, though. You just use a comb to separate the tracks on the top of the cap and take the toothbrush to the back of the weft, right near the roots. Gently brush back and forth several times until the permatease becomes fluffy again. It’s pretty easy!

If you are comfortable styling and revitalizing your wigs, you can get a lot more life out of them than if you aren’t. If you can’t put work into salvaging it – or like me – you just don’t have the time, then that’s usually a good sign that the time has come. For a short wig like Salsa, the permatease failing will be more likely than the fibers themselves failing (by kinking up, which is how synthetics break down; they don’t get split ends).

Although I only spent $140 on the Salsa wig, I am somewhat afraid to wear it because I don’t want to damage it.  I know that sounds crazy, but I don’t have $140 or more to spend on a new wig every couple of months.

Wash as infrequently as possible. Because the hair doesn’t come directly in contact with your scalp, there just isn’t a need to wash that often as long as you keep the inside of the cap relatively fresh and clean.

Use the dry shampoo on the hair and inside of the cap instead. 🙂

Never use anything more finely toothed than the wide toothed comb mentioned above. 

These two principles of care – as simple as they are – will dramatically extend the wearable life of your Salsa!

Thanks so much for your assistance.  I understand from reading your blog and the website that you are ridiculously busy, so please don’t worry about the time it might take to answer this email.

Thank you so much for understanding, Ms. X! 🙂

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

– Heather

A letter to wig newbies.

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Originally Posted on June 25, 2015 by Heather Hershey

NOTE: This is a recent response to a customer email. I have changed the name and some of her specific details to protect her privacy. I think this is good info for anyone who is new to wigs.

~ Heather

Hi Amy! I am very sorry for the delay. I generally answer the shorter emails same-day, but when it comes to the longer ones, I like to take my time so can give them the consideration and kind of response they deserve.

Please see my responses below:

On May 28, 2015, at 2:24 AM, XYZ <> wrote:

Hi Heather, 

I just started loosing my hair because of something my doctor says is Alopecia Areata.

Oh no! I know most cases of A. Areata are autoimmune. Do you think this is stress related? 

My doctor says it has nothing to do with the fact I was dying my hair, but that the stress on my hair from dying it probably didn’t help the hair at all. He says it has everything to do with stress.

You just answered my question for me! 🙂

My doctor said the stress has taken its toll on my body.

I believe it.

I don’t believe this- I’ve been under a lot of stress before so it doesn’t make any sense. 

If this really is A. Areata, then the underlying cause is autoimmune:—d/alopecia-areata/who-get-causes

However, like all autoimmune diseases, it is greatly exacerbated by stress. This is probably what your doctor was getting at. Whether the underlying cause is hormonal or autoimmune (A. Areata is ALWAYS autoimmune), stress will have a negative impact and make things much worse.

Additionally, like a lot of autoimmune diseases (such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis) the disorder may happen well after the onset of adulthood, so you should not compare your current biological stress tolerance levels to those of your younger self. Unfortunately, these things change. Listen to your body and make peace with it’s limitations. Your journey will be much smoother if you practice compassion towards your body.

Doctors, in general, make a bad habit of spending as little time with their patients as they can because their time is very tightly managed by insurance companies.  This means that it’s highly likely that your doctor just explained this in shorthand and didn’t give you all the details. The website I linked above should be able to help with that.

What kind of doctor is this? If this is a dermatologist, seek a second opinion. I recommend – provided that your insurance and budget permit it – going to a rheumatologist (IE: a specialist in autoimmune disorders) as well as an endocrinologist (IE: a specialist in hormone disorders). This will help eliminate other biological causes and bring you some clarity about the nature of A. Areata, if that is indeed what it is. (Sounds like it, though.)

Extensions just irritated me and my scalp- and the pulling probably made it worse actually.

They probably did. Traction alopecia is another kind of hair loss caused almost exclusively by extensions.

I’m feeling seriously disfigured. Not myself. I’ve always had thick long beautiful hair.

Of course you feel that way! This is a massive blow to anyone, especially women. When my hair would fall out in clumps, I was completely inconsolable. It takes time – sometimes years – to make peace with this. Do yourself a MASSIVE favor and resist the urge to be critical of your mourning period…because it’s normal to mourn your hair, it is not selfish or vain, and it’s deeply personal. Give yourself the space and the time to come to terms with this in a way that is best for you. Give yourself the freedom to express your loss and experiment with your new self-image. In time, believe it or not, this can actually become fun and even liberating! I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but just you wait. 😉

On a serious note: I also recommend only telling people who need to know, like your spouse, your mom, a therapist, a BFF, etc. Making it a public issue will give people permission to comment on it, and that can sometimes make matters worse. If you need to talk to people, be very selective and seek out folks online who are going through the same thing. People may not be able to empathize with the loss you are experiencing unless they are actually walking in your shoes.

People can be very quick to trivialize this and take the position that, “It’s just hair, what does it matter?” (To which I generally counter, “Then why don’t you shave your head in weird, uneven spots and get back to me about how great YOU feel!” LOL) This is a very personal journey and it may be hard to avoid internally criticizing yourself if others feel free to comment and add fuel to the flames. Stand your ground and be your own best advocate both medically and psychologically. A lot of women are not used to being that assertive – we’re trained from birth to be people-pleasers. However, you took the step to write to me in the first place, so I have no doubts that in time you’ll be just fine. 😉

Then, once you are more personally comfortable with your wig-wearing new “you”, you can choose to go more public at your own discretion. Just make sure it’s your decision.

Remember: if someone asks you about it directly outside your sacred circle of chosen confidantes, it is THAT PERSON who is being forward and rude and you are in no way socially obligated to indulge them with an answer. The world doesn’t have a right to know your business – especially about something highly personal like your health – unless you want them to know. At any rate, never forget that the power is yours. 🙂

After looking into wigs, I found your sight, and your YouTube videos about wigs and your story. I want to thank you for sharing everything you have. You are so brave! I’m in such an early stage of this I still hope I can get hair back, but if it doesn’t grow back, I hope I can be as strong as you!

Thank you. And thank you for sharing you story with me. Again, I am sorry for the delay, but this was such a personal and touching email that I wanted to give you the time – and the kind of reply – you deserve.

I have absolute confidence that you will be ok. You will come out even stronger after all of this than you were going into it. It just takes time. One of my favorite quotes should be your new mantra:

In adversity those talents are called forth which are concealed by prosperity.


If anyone knows about struggle, it’s a dude from 65 BC. I mean – no running water?! No internet? FUHGDABOUTIT.

I’ve never even thought about wigs before because I’ve always had pretty hair. Something close to my hair style so its not such a dramatic change from my real hair to a wig. And something that has a good looking ‘scalp’ so it looks real. Since this will be my first wig, I was curious about the color of the wigs. You have something on your sight about a possible exchange of colors to see them? If you have anymore info on that, that would be great.

It’s just the color rings. Here’s the info on that:

Also, I have read on your sight (or heard you say on your videos, maybe I’m not sure) that I could possibly send you a picture of me. Would you be able to help me pick out my first wig?

I would be happy to send some suggestions along. Definitely include a price range, because that is going to dictate what I can suggest.

Also, remember that buying your first wig is a lot like shopping for a wedding dress. It is a highly emotional process and you should definitely take your time. Also, there is a very high probability that you could end up going through several wigs before you find “The One” that you feel comfortable wearing in public. That is just the reality of this game. A large part of that is psychological – there isn’t a wig on earth that is going to feel or look just like your biohair. Because of this, a lot of newbies are quick to reject hair, even if it looks good on them, simply because they had unrealistic expectations. If you think of this as a garment – like a really nice sweater or a pair of glasses – instead of a cure or your grief – you will have much greater success and your frustration will be much lower than if you think a wig is going to make you feel 100% better instantly. For most people, that’s just not a realistic outcome. This is a process, and it takes time and some trial and error. 

If you are very limited in terms of income, I actually suggest making your first purchase from a brick and mortar hair salon so you get the chance to try stuff on before you buy it. They can also provide customizations and tips that can help you throughout the process.

As a general rule of thumb, buying online is less expensive ONLY if you are any one of these things:

1. Not risk adverse and don’t mind if the hair is a little different than expected because you are interested in trying and finding something new.

2. Experienced enough with wigs that you can easily customize or style anything that doesn’t work out of the box.

3. Experienced and know exactly what you’re buying.

4. Well off enough that you have some money to play with and you consider buying wigs fun (again, like shopping for a nice sweater or a purse – IE: the garment mentality I mentioned above)

Wig newbies can sink hundreds (sometimes thousand, if you’re talking about human hair) of dollars on hair before they find what they’re looking for because the lack of experience makes the whole process very daunting if they are thinking with their emotions. The risk is higher with buying online because there are limits to the technology and our ability to convey what certain colors and styles look like. If you’re ok with taking a chance – then you’re fine either way! If you aren’t though, and you’re super picky and only perfection will do, you are in for a world of frustration if you choose to buy exclusively online. This is why brick and mortars can be a great way to start the ball rolling on the right foot. Yes, they can be more expensive up front, but you won’t have the same level of anxiety because you can often leave with the hair you tried on same-day and you’ll know EXACTLY what you’re getting for the money…there’s no guess work involved. That is worth the money to a lot of people, especially if everything about this is foreign to them. 

I hope I was able to help you. Have a lovely evening and please let me know if you have any questions about anything in this email.

– Heather

Could price increases be on the horizon?

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Originally Posted on January 02, 2015 by Heather Hershey

I got this in the mail today and thought I’d share. This is typical of the kind of emails we get at CW from manufacturers regarding price increases and policy changes.

I will let you know via this blog if the prices for any brands go up this year (2015).

So far I have confirmation that Estetica and Louis Ferre will be increasing their prices (wholesale as well as retail).