How do you tell a potential partner that you wear wigs? Part Two

 
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Part one of this article is available here.

PART TWO: My personal rules for handling this

NOTE: These are my strategies. I definitely advise you to experiment a little to come up with a solution that you are comfortable with. Everyone’s different and what works for me may not be a comfortable solution for you. 🙂

    1. Come up with a game plan in ADVANCE. This involves asking yourself some pretty tough personal questions about where your boundaries are in terms of how far you are willing to discuss things and how much curiosity you are willing to indulge. You will also have to determine what kind of negative reactions you are willing to accept, if any. I, personally, will not date anyone who is judgmental of wig wear in any negative way whatsoever. It’s just too big of a part of my life! I will literally drop a $20 bill on the table (or however much pays for my meal + tip) and GTFO because as a very wise woman once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
    2. Because of my strong stance, I tell potential partners right away. For a lot of people – especially heterosexual men – profound hair loss can be an absolute deal breaker. (Again, go back to my point above about cognitive dissonance. I wish this weren’t the case, but it absolutely is.) By putting it out there right away, you can weed out all the people who would make a big deal out of this right away before you would end up in a situation where you would have to tell them face-to-face. If on an online dating site, you can post this right in your profile. This can be done relatively discretely by posting pictures of yourself in various wigs and waiting for people to ask you directly about why your hair changes so much. This can also be done overtly by putting a statement about it directly in the text of the picture captions or body of your profile.
    3. If you make this public knowledge up-front on your dating profiles, be aware that you DO NOT have to pay attention to every question people ask you about your hair. You can (and probably should) ignore people who want to reduce you to a sideshow attraction. Those trolls can just as easily google wigs, so let them and save your energy. (Hell, send them a link to my blog or this article and maybe that’ll sort them out! LOL)
    4. When on dates, try asking fun questions to the other person about their opinions about hair. This can be about specific hair cuts, colors, social views about hair, women who change their hair a lot, etc. All of these can make fun topical segues to help you break the ice about your wig wear.
    5. Frame the situation as something that plays to their advantage. (Appeal to their fantasies.) I have historically always framed it as the opportunity to “look however I want, whenever I want.” Your partner wants to date a blonde for a day? PRESTO! You’ve got the hair for that. How about a redhead? No worries, you can accommodate that too! Make them a part of the process. It becomes much more fun for both of you that way and then they are much more likely to embrace your wig wear . . . and they may even become part of the purchasing process! (We have husbands buy wigs for their wives in this store all the time, for example.)
    6. If someone makes a rude comment, try your best not to take it personally. It’s difficult. I know that. However, you’re better off knowing they’re a knuckle-dragging troglodyte sooner rather than later. Internally thank them for saving you the guess work and cut your losses. 😉
    7. Do NOT try to convince someone to change their mind if they are opposed to dating someone with hair loss. People have extremely specific and individualized notions of what they consider attractive. Honestly, I don’t get down with the PC police. I think that telling people they’re wrong for liking what they like is misguided. Instead, we should focus on not barking up the wrong tree to begin with to avoid the headache. (IMHO)
    8. Likewise, do NOT feel obligated to “educate” someone who is rude or overly curious about it if you are not comfortable talking about it. You get to dictate the boundaries about your own hair loss and how you talk about it. (Remember, you’re She-Ra: YOU have the power.) You don’t OWE it to anyone – particularly a total stranger in the beginning of the dating process – to disclose more or less information than you are comfortable discussing. Once you establish your boundaries in step #1, stick to them!

Hopefully this article is helpful to some of you! 🙂

This is an excerpt from our CysterWigs Knowledge Base. Check it out on our private site to see over 500 articles all about our store, wigs, and how to wear the hair!

How do you tell a potential partner that you wear wigs? Part One

 
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From a customer e-mail:

Heather,

A personal question for you. How do you bring up to a new person you’re interested in that you wear wigs? I’m sure it’s easier for you because it’s your livelihood, but I’ve heard some horror stories about people freaking out when you tell them. I’m just worried when I meet someone I really dig that it’ll be hard to tell them. Anyway, sorry for all the angst, just wanting some advice. Have a great day!

This is an AMAZING question and one to which there is no one bulletproof, sure-fire answer, unfortunately.

I am going to discuss this in two very different ways. First, I am going to go through my philosophical stance on the matter. Secondly, towards the bottom of this article, I will dole out some concrete, practical advice for how I handle this. I think are both are important, though, so I will address both as thoroughly as possible.

PART ONE: My philosophy on this

The truth: Dating is BRUTAL. People can be a-holes. There is always the possibility that someone, somewhere, will be super-immature and get freaked out by the fact that you wear helper hair.

You can’t control other people or how they respond to this information. You can’t help how they react to your reality. STRANGERS CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO BE AS STRONG AS YOU ARE. It is in moments like this that you see what they’re made of…and it’s their weakness and intolerance that shows, not yours.

I’m not going to say something trite like, “Well, it’s their loss.” (Even though it’s true.)

What I will say, however, is that you need to focus on the one thing you do have control over in this situation: YOU.

You can either let their weakness and insecurity leave a mark on you and define how you feel about yourself . . . or you can choose not to let it mar your spirit or damage your heart. YOU are in control of this. Never forget that you always have the choice. Don’t get me wrong, here! I am a sensitive person. I know that the initial sting happens subconsciously, whether or not you intend it to. This is a process and it takes practice. The more you build up your own confidence, the harder it is for other people to tear it down without your permission. It won’t happen overnight. Give yourself permission to be hurt when someone hurts your feelings . . . but also know when it’s time to face that insecurity head on. 😉

One of my favorite quotes about this (to put in your pocket for a rainy day) comes from Eleanor Roosevelt:

Give yourself time and space to experience the emotion, and then ask WHY that person’s opinion matters so much to you. A lot of us run away from the answer and place all the blame on the other person for being a douchecanoe when in fact it was our own inner mean voice that was doing most of the abuse on our behalf. We give away all of our power when we do this!

Most of the time, you’ll find it’s not because the person who said something about your hair really mattered at all. The only real crime they committed, aside from being an insensitive jackass, was that they gave voice to an insecurity that we hold secret deep down inside ourselves, a tiny, hidden voice that we are desperately afraid other people will hear:

“I am ugly because I have no hair . . . and because I am ugly, I am a lesser person.”

DUDE.

You are soooo wrong.

First of all, if this is something you wrestle with, I just want to say I love you and I send you EPIC internet love. <3 <3 <3

This is a very common thing. Most women with alopecia struggle with this flavor of Hell at one time or another. You are in excellent company . . . and almost ALL of us are beautiful with or without the hair, for the record!

This insecurity is normal and makes complete sense. It crops up because of the social stigma surrounding hair loss, especially in women. Hair is our “crowning glory” (I freaking hate that term!) and is a secondary sexual characteristic that helps people separate the masculine from the feminine in social situations, even in the progressive 21st Century. Frankly, it would be weird if you DIDN’T occasionally feel the pressure to conform to this social norm! The fact that this makes you insecure just means you have eyeballs. You are a normal, thinking, feeling, observant member of Western society.

For just a casual, strictly non-scientific example of this, look at the picture I just took (below). (I am at a Panera Bread, writing this article for you and drinking some delicious hazelnut coffee.) The people with their backs turned to me all have long hair, except for the older one at the end. This signals to us socially that these people are 1) women, 2) young-ish, and 3) relatively healthy . . . all without them turning around to show me their faces. The woman on the end, on the other hand, has short grey hair, which signals that she’s 1) probably female based her build, 2) mature-ish, and 3) you can’t draw as many conclusions about health from short hair as you can long hair.

So, like I said above, when it’s ALL AROUND YOU, it is very difficult to avoid feeling the pressure to conform and a lot of insecurity when you CAN’T.

Have you ever heard of the term cognitive dissonance? This is a term social psychologists use to describe the discomfort associated with being confronted with an opinion or fact that deviates from our own inner narrative or world-view. The discomfort is the result of us having to adjust our own interpretation of reality in the face of this new information.

For a lot of us, especially during the initial stages of our hair loss, we construct a careful inner narrative where, if we hide everything perfectly, no one will ever know. We clutch onto this belief like a security blanket: our newly-purchased hair is our life preserver, our gateway to normalcy; as long as we keep everything locked down and spend oodles of cash on high end hair, no one will ever know. The truth is SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will always know that you’re wearing helper hair, whether that’s a significant other, your mom, a best friend, or just some little old lady you run into in the frozen foods section of the grocery store who just beat breast cancer and, having been a wig wearer herself, can spot even a good lace front from 40 paces away.

Cognitive dissonance can also result when we try to force our world view into existence when it is clearly impossible. In this case, I am referring to the wishful thinking that people will universally be kind and accepting of our hair loss simply because it would be hurtful to us to think otherwise (as I outlined above). I would love to think people have the capacity to grow and become this fabulously open-minded . . . but I am a realist and know that the people around me can be kind of ignorant sometimes and, for better or worse, have limitations.

We must be prepared to cope with life in the world we actually live in, which is not the same as the world we wish it were.

Much of the discomfort we experience in these initial transitional stages is the result of this cognitive dissonance. Our world view is a fantasy. We can never hide enough to shield ourselves from occasional bitter moments 100% of the time. We must be prepared to talk to people about it when they “out” us – and we must also have an internal, emotional strategy in place to deal with these incidents when they occur . . . because they will.

Click here for Part Two.

This is an excerpt from our CysterWigs Knowledge Base. Check it out on our private site to see over 500 articles all about our store, wigs, and how to wear the hair!

My First Year in Wigs: What I have learned – Part Three by Rachel

 
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Part 3. It’s a great idea to try a low density wig as your first wig.

Well I just finished up my very first full year of wearing wigs! It has been QUITE a journey and I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work for me. Here’s another thing that I’ve learned during the past year.

Most of my friends knew I started wearing wigs due to alopecia. But people who I didn’t see on a regular basis couldn’t help but notice the TOTAL change in density of my hair. So I was questioned quite a bit. I was always honest and open with my hair loss, and had no problem explaining that I started wearing wigs. I also knew that not everyone would be comfortable with me telling them about my wigs. This is why I suggest that first-time wig owners look into some low density options for your first wig!

For years, wig manufacturers have used permatease when making wigs. The permatease is there for a reason. It actually gives the wigs have some style and lift, but the main reason it’s there is to ensure that no one sees the wefts of hair on wigs. It helps disguise some of the wefts when you style your wig.

Although permatease and high density in wigs can be helpful for styling and disguising wefts, it also makes it look like you have a LOT of hair. In some cases it can even cause your wig to look wiggy. Some people prefer permatease. Especially long-time wig wearers because they’re used to buying wigs when high density and permatease wigs were all that were available from wig manufacturers.

Well, the times have changed and wig manufacturers have caught on to the fact that many new wig wearers these days want ultimate realism when it comes to wearing wigs. This is where low density wigs have come into play. Low density wigs have little to no permatease and sometimes just have less fibers sewn into the wig as well. The low density helps the wigs look more natural since it’s closer to most people’s bio hair density. This makes the transition to wearing wigs a little easier since a low density wig will more closely match the hair density you had prior to hair loss. Low density wigs are also less detectable to the the untrained eye, aka, people who might be more prone to ask questions about your new hair.

Sometimes, wigs with lower density must be carefully styled since there is a greater chance of “weft visibility” if the fibers aren’t perfectly placed. Please keep this in mind if you are interested in a lower density wig.

So in a nutshell, low density wigs might make transitioning from no wigs/bio hair to wearing wigs much easier! Give it a try!

Here is a link to low density wigs at Cysterwigs:

My personal low density favs:
Arrow by Ellen Wille
Code Mono by Ellen Wille
Arya by Tony of Beverly
On Edge by Gabor (Make sure to watch the youtube reviews on this style! It looks much different than the manufacturer’s photos)
Codi XO by Amore


You can see all of Rachel’s posts here. Part one of the series is located here and part two is here.

How to Talk About Hair Loss

 
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By CysterWigs Contributor

It can be hard enough when you look in the mirror and see that you are losing your hair, but it can be even harder when you’re trying and failing to hide it from others. Whether it is a slight upwards glance during a conversation or full blown unsolicited advice, you need to get comfortable talking about hair loss and you might need to do it fast.

Nobody wants to talk about something that’s affecting their self esteem. But the topic of hair loss might have the boldest strangers engaging with you. If you’re lucky, it will be a shared moment where they offer comfort using their own experience. On the other hand, you could be bombarded with questions and advice that might be rude or even useless.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate around this touchy subject.

Set your boundaries

This is easier to do with close friends and family than people you don’t know. Initially, when you start to notice your hair loss, then you can decide if you want to talk to those close to you individually or as a group to let them know what you are going through. You can use this time to explain that you are dealing with your hair loss in the best way that you see fit.

During this time, you may choose to seek out their advice, or you might want to ask that people refrain from giving you any. However you choose to approach it, make sure that you are very clear and do not let anyone make you feel bad about your decision.

Be honest

You often find through conversation that many people have been down the same road as you. If the opportunity arises, use your current situation to educate others within reason, but also bear in mind that you don’t really have to explain yourself to anyone.

Don’t take it personally

There will be stares and people who make harsh comments, but remember, this is a reflection of them rather than you. Never internalize other people’s thoughts or feelings and stay strong in knowing that your hair is only a small part of who you are.

And if all else fails you could always make a t-shirt stating the facts or hand out business cards with all the information you want to give out about your hair loss, saving you having to tell the same story time and time again. Hey if you’re bold enough, it couldn’t hurt. 😉

My First Year in Wigs: What I have learned – Part Two by Rachel

 
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Part 2. Believe me! Don’t use that brush on synthetic hair!

Well I just finished up my very first full year of wearing wigs! It has been QUITE a journey and I have learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work for me. Here’s another thing that I’ve learned during my year of wearing wigs.

After I got past the whole issue of purchasing a long heat friendly synthetic as my first wig, I learned another valuable lesson in wig wearing. Even though you are going to be tempted to use that detangling wet brush on your synthetic wig, DON’T DO IT!

My next two wigs I purchased on my journey were Miranda by Jon Renau and Rachel by Jon Renau. Both of these styles were actually pretty curly out of the box. When you get a curly wig, the curls tend to be VERY defined right out of the box because they were just styled at the manufacturer. Now the styling is in your hands. Many of us wig wearers don’t like to wear those well-defined curls right out of the box. We like to separate them a little bit so they’ll look a little more natural and “self-styled” before we wear them out in public. So what did I do with those luscious curls right out of the box? I took a Wet Brush and brushed straight through the curls to separate them. Well, that TOTALLY backfired. *facepalm*

When you brush through a wig (even with a great detangling brush like Wet Brush) it over-separates the beautiful curls on the wigs. So instead of having natural-looking curly wigs, I ended up with poofy afro-like wigs. It was a total bummer and took a lot of work to even make them wearable in public. Especially the Rachel style by Jon Renau. It took a lot of wetting, combing, and silicone spray to get it in wearable shape.

So what are you really supposed to do to separate those curls? Use your fingers! I honestly wouldn’t even recommend a wig comb for this. I have a couple curly wigs that have NEVER had a comb touch them. I only use my fingers for Mila and Girl Mono. Longer wavy or very loosely curled wigs like Blaze will definitely require a light combing (with an actual wig comb) after wearing it, but don’t over do it! If you just take it easy, you can avoid a frizzy mess!

So again, I leave you with this advice. Avoid using brushes on your wigs, folks! They will make you sad!


Product Listing:

You can see all of Rachel’s posts here. Part one of the series is located here and part three is here.