To shave or not to shave? That is the question! by Kerry

 
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The answer to this question would be so much easier if we all looked like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta – beautiful and angular, the focus shifted solely to our well-balanced and perfectly proportioned facial features. Plus, she still has hair – only a quarter inch long, but it is still obviously more hair than I have had since age 12. Oh, and did I forget her perfectly shaped skull? That’s right – no obvious lumps or odd knobs or lines. I have this odd crease in the back of my head – it kind of looks like a smile where no hair grows. But still I shave my head and I love it.

I didn’t shave my head when I first started wearing wigs – I liked what little hair I had and went au naturel when working out, so every 6 to 8 weeks I was still making trips to the stylist for a trim. I continued to suffer in silence as they asked me if I had tried this product or that to make my hair grow, look thicker, to try and make it look like… more. None of those things worked and I had been trying them my whole life.

Just cut my darn hair already.

Then I went to my usual place and my usual stylist wasn’t there – it was a new lady I hadn’t seen before. I explained what I wanted – I had no hair and that was OK because I was now wearing wigs, but I wanted to keep my hair short and neat because I still exercised without a wig. She seemed to understand. It felt short when it was all done, but I was late and really didn’t care to look at how little hair I had in the salon, so I left. I went to my class at the gym and my best friend noticed my haircut. And then she noticed how short it was. And then she noticed the line that looks like a smile in the back of my head – there for everyone to see. Technically this was the first time I had my head shaved – exposing this weird feature for the world to see. After that, I started wearing wigs everywhere – including to the gym

I bought my first pair of clippers a few weeks later and took the real leap, neatly shaving my head using a guard in the privacy of my own bathroom. I took a picture of myself when I first did it – I do not look happy because I wasn’t. It was still a hard thing to do, despite already resolving to wearing wigs for the rest of my life. This was the final step – this was true acceptance that I have no hair.

It was hard looking in the mirror – I felt like I had chopped off what little of my femininity was left. I had given up on hope. This was the last bit of grief for my hair I had left. Luckily the feeling only lasted a little while. Then the freedom set in. I would never sit in another stylist’s chair, waiting for them to try and pitch some hair growth product that was never going to work. If I didn’t want someone to see me without hair – it was going to be out of my choice only and not out of need. I wasn’t going to have crazy bedhead when I woke up because I no longer had hair. I didn’t have to take my wig off and see my sparse hair plastered to my head looking gross and awful. I kind of liked this!

Shaving my head is quick, clean, easy to care for, and it feels good. My biohair doesn’t pop out from under my wig. My wigs are easy to put on. I don’t have to do my hair – no blow drying, no dyeing, the only reason I still use shampoo is because it doesn’t dry out my scalp. And in the winter, I can lotion my whole head – it feels amazing!

I think that whether you shave your head or not is a completely personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer. But here is what I think:

Pros
• It is cooler in the summer
• My wigs stay cleaner – with less oily hair underneath
• It is easier to put my wigs on, no biohair to tuck
• I don’t ever have to go to a stylist to get my hair cut again
• It is economical
• I (feel like I) look kind of bad-a** (lol) without my wig

Cons
• It is colder in the winter
• It can be an adjustment – it can be kind of sad to let go of the hair you still have
• There is no biohair to pull out to blend the edges of your wig – or if you do grow sideburns you kind of look funny without a wig – shaved head and sideburns
• If I want to grow my hair out again to switch to toppers it is going to take forever

Oh! And I highly recommend NOT shaving your head down to the skin. Like everywhere else on your body your skin has to get used to it (think razor burn and bumpy skin – on your head) and if the skin is not perfectly smooth, nicks and cuts are possible (OUCH!). Plus, it requires more upkeep. I shave my head with clippers every month or so, but shaving it all the way down is a weekly thing. Just things to consider. So if you are ready to shave your head- go for it! Be prepared for the little bit of wistfulness or full on grief you may feel once you look at that reflection. Or maybe you will rock it like Natalie Portman from the beginning, but either way you will get to a point of freedom that I think you will love.


You can see all of Kerry’s guest blogger posts here.

The Long and Short of It: It Isn’t Just Hair (Converting a Non-Believer) by Kerry

 
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I met Sue when I was a temp worker at a company back in 2011. I had not started wearing wigs yet and the thought had not even crossed my mind, although that journey would begin less than a year later. She was in the cube across from me and although quiet (and mysterious! she would say – but only because she is Korean and that is what people expect her to be, lol) she has the brightest smile, is very clever and funny, and has the most wonderful laugh – she thought I was hilarious and we were quick friends. I only worked at the company for a few months before moving to another state, but we stayed in touch and I soon knew it was for a reason, although it would be another five years before that reason was fulfilled.

When I moved back last summer, I asked Sue to lunch. I was excited because she had only known me as my former self – without very much hair and having very little herself I thought this may be a great opportunity to show her what wigs were about. I had told her I started wearing them and she seemed…skeptical. I thought she would be shocked to see me with hair. She was not – she absolutely didn’t believe me that I was wearing a wig! I even wore a long, curly wig – so completely opposite of my short, cropped, fluff of a ‘do that was my biohair – and I almost had to remove it in the restaurant to convince her it wasn’t mine!

I think a lot of people, including myself and Sue, have this preconceived notion that a wig = fake, obvious, costume, ridiculous and isn’t it such a pleasant surprise to find that this is not the case! This was the first of many revelations for Sue, who was going to be hard pressed to be convinced of giving wigs a chance still.

I didn’t want to pressure her, but I did want to offer her the possibility – so we discussed the matter further. Sue had started losing her hair when she was young, and as a Korean bride, was shamed on her wedding day to have so little. Her mother had offered to get her a wig at one point, but her offer was made decades ago and all they knew were the short, cropped caps of ill-fitting curls that some of us can still picture, possibly sliding off our dear grandmother’s heads. Not a fashionable look for a young mother and wife.

So Sue soldiered on, living her life and ignoring her reflection, focusing on her marriage and her son, earning a Master’s degree in computer programming. Here she was now, her son grown, divorced, and working – still ignoring her reflection (it is old habit, you know), carefully combing her hair, keeping her appearance neat and still with that smile made of sunshine and laugh so sweet.

During our discussions and learning these details about Sue (boy, could I relate to ignoring the reflection in the mirror, focusing on others and ignoring everything else) I found her arguments to be about wanting people to like her for her genuine self – and worrying that wigs would obscure that.

“I want people to like me for who I truly am, I don’t want them to think I am fake.”

Ah! Now there is an argument. And I get it! She felt as though she would be deceptive by wearing a wig. That not only would it look ridiculous, everyone would know, and they would think of her as a liar.

“Sue,” I said, “Are you wearing a bra?” Shocked, she replied, “Of course!”

“Well, that isn’t very honest of you, is it? Your boobs are probably a bit higher in a bra than they really are – it is kind of a lie.” She laughed but I knew I had struck a chord.

While there was much more to the conversation, the point was this – we wear clothes: pants, underwear, shirts, shoes – we are ill equipped for the world without them. We don’t think of people as lying when they are wearing these things, they are simply doing what is socially accepted and what is best to help them survive in the world and fit in with society. We tend to only give people who can navigate society successfully a chance – to see them for who they are. You aren’t going to have a meaningful conversation with a person in a coffee shop who isn’t wearing pants. You are going to be too busy wondering why the heck they don’t have pants on and probably trying to get away from them to listen to what they have to say or taking measure of the content of their character.

Hair, especially for women, is the same. We are expected to have a full head of hair. When we don’t have it is when it becomes distracting. While people will eventually see past that, it does make it a little harder, doesn’t it? It becomes a hurdle to seeing who you really are, as opposed to a deception made to obscure yourself.

Sue lost her hair when she was young through no fault of her own. It never hid her smile or her smarts or her hard work – and a wig wasn’t going to hide any of that either. She agreed to give it a go.

She came to my place – I kind of have a lot of hair 😉.

This is Sue.

And this is Sue with hair (notice the smile!). A couple hours and a few selfies later – Sue was on her way to becoming a believer.

Six months later, Sue came for another visit – I had more wigs I told her and she could take her pick! She had just come from a job interview and the change in her was remarkable. Friends and family accepted the new Sue and encouraged her, giving her compliments. I swear she was walking a little taller when she came over, and it wasn’t the heels. Sue felt good about herself and it showed. She was more confident – what makes Sue, well Sue – showed even more clearly now.

I was so darn proud of her. She was so scared of wearing wigs. Scared of what people would think. Scared of her own reflection, and she did it anyway.

Deciding to wear wigs is not easy as we all know. Losing our hair – for whatever reason – it wasn’t our choice and certainly not our fault. And we need to acknowledge that. And we can do something about it to make ourselves feel better. To help people see the real person inside – to see past our hair.


You can see all of Kerry’s guest blogger posts here.

The Long and Short of It: Wigs and Dating (as if dating after 40 isn’t complicated enough….) by Kerry

 
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Hi everyone! Kerry here (that’s me bald and then wearing Brittaney by Envy in Creamed Coffee) and I wanted to share my story on dating and what I have learned in the 5 years I have been wearing wigs. Because while we all have different experiences, maybe my story can help someone.

Let me start by saying that I have had hair loss since my early teens and was married without the Victorian intricate updo of hair that I had dreamed of at the age of 21.  I made do though, and I was happy.  My new husband had been going bald early, too – so we had that in common. It was annoying and there was some shame and wistfulness for a full head of hair, for longer hair, for anything but what I had, but I was focused on ignoring it and it didn’t really seem to matter.  We divorced in 2012 because we just grew apart – we are still very good friends to this day and are  focused on raising our daughter.

So, that being said, I was still deep in denial of my hair loss and busy living my life. I met Rich in 2012 – way early to be dating after my divorce, but we did nonetheless. My hair was never a problem – even my crazy bedhead in the morning (my hair was thin and oily, so yeah – crazy bedhead!).  We were in love and he thought it was cute – something only someone in love could ever say, lol.  It was a quick 6 months and our flame burned fast and bright.  For complicated reasons, we broke up. I was beyond devastated. But that’s not the end of that story….

Flash forward a year and I’m in a different state, at a new job in a new industry, thinner and happier than I have ever been in my life and finally ready to look for love again. I start a dating profile. This is me au natural in the boxing gloves – I would blow dry and fluff what little hair I had and let the comments from hairstylists asking me if I had tried this hair loss solution or that one roll like water off a duck’s back. I had ignored it for this long, I was good at it!

And I wasn’t going to let that or anything else stop me. After all, I have enough personality and smarts to make up for the hair or whatever other physical deficiencies I have – I just needed someone to give me enough of a chance to get to know me and they would see past it all.


Then I met Shane. Shane was a lot of fun – a truck driver and a funny guy. He loved to talk, and we connected over the phone immediately. The first time we met, sparks flew. He was outgoing and sweet, very big on social media announcing our relationship and our dates to his friends on Facebook. It was a lot of fun! We took this picture about 5 weeks in because he wanted to post our first couple picture for his friends. It was the only couple photo we would take. He texted me from on the road and explained that he didn’t want to post it because you could see how little hair I had. A really rough phone call later and he had me convinced I needed a wig. I didn’t know where I was going to get one. I didn’t know how I was going to afford one. I didn’t know anything other than all that shame and fear I had been suppressing was now overwhelming. I needed to figure this out, to escape the pain and embarrassment I thought I was keeping well-hidden for so long. Long story short, that is how I found Heather and Cysterwigs – as so many others have. I found a resource and more importantly a truly relatable, straight-forward woman close to my age wearing wigs! I bought my first wig from Cysterwigs – on Heather’s suggestion I got Jamison by Estetica in a color close to my natural hair color, R2/4. I announced it on Facebook – “I wear wigs now, so expect me to have a good hair day every day!”


Shane never saw me in a wig – we broke up soon after that phone call about my hair, but for other reasons. He had served his purpose in my life and left quietly, thank goodness.

About a month later, back in the online dating game, I met Stephen. This was the first guy I would be dating that I would have to “reveal” my secret to. I didn’t know how to handle it. I decided to wait and didn’t mention it while we talked or during our first date, which despite us both being awkward, went pretty well! Texting a few days later, Stephen gave me an opening and with my heart pounding in my ears (I really liked him!) and my coworkers and boss egging me on, I told him. I guess it was a big moment for me because I saved (most of) the conversation:

I was overjoyed. He was cool with it. We continued to date for almost 2 years. In all of that time, he saw me without a wig once for just a moment, a few weeks into our relationship. He said he had thought I had less hair than what I did have and that was about it. I was so ashamed and embarrassed that I had walked around half bald for so long, here was the first person who had never known me like that and I didn’t want to lose him. So I had a cheap “sleeping” wig that I wore on nights spent over. I was happy…for a little while at least.

About a year and a half into the relationship we had a discussion – he thought I should show him my head (I had started shaving my hair off at this point) because it would be better to do it on purpose than full of shame and when I am sick or some other necessity. I thought about it for a week and decided he was right. He was spending the night at my place and I told him I was going to sleep without my hair for the first time, that I would come out of the bathroom and let him see. I wanted him to be prepared. I took my wig off and left it on the counter and came out. No expression, no real reaction. He was just OK with it. We went to bed and I tried to be cool. He turned away from me and feel asleep with his back to me. It felt like rejection. I quietly slipped out of bed and put my wig back on, never revealing my bald head to him again. We broke up months later for other reasons, but really – that was the beginning of the end.

I dated a few people after Stephen. I had different wigs on in my online profile pictures, but what women doesn’t change her hair? I felt like it was an M. Night Shyamalan movie – all the clues were there from the beginning. I revealed to one guy I had dated (my new rule was to wait until the third date) that I wore wigs. He seemed a little shocked but OK with it. He then brought it up at our next date, saying “I said I was OK with you wearing wigs, but now I’m not so sure.” It made me mad. I responded, “Well, since I’m the one wearing them and I’m OK with them, I don’t see why the hell you wouldn’t be!” Why should I have to make him feel better? We ended up being friends for a while, but honestly – he was a selfish person. When someone shows you who they are – believe them.

So, remember Rich? (He’s the one holding the giant hammer, lol). The one I dated too soon after my divorce and who loved my bedhead? Well, I really never stopped talking to him. We kept in touch for those 6 years we were apart, each dating other people, but never really letting go I suppose. I moved back and after almost a year of not talking (we got in a fight about something stupid, as most fights are) I reached out to him. Those complicated reasons we had broken up over were now in the past, and I was a new woman. I was well out of my divorce, used to being on my own, I had lost weight, found wigs, found my independence. My hair never mattered to him and it still doesn’t. He is one of the few people in my life that I feel perfectly natural having a conversation with, being around, just being me – without a wig on. Why? Because unlike Stephen who tried to feign that it didn’t matter, it really doesn’t to Rich. He loves me with all my faults. He shows me off to all of his friends at work and thinks I look great in every wig. I can breathe around him. Relax.

Does that mean we are meant to be – that this is my fairytale ending? Probably not. Life doesn’t work that way. But, I have had a good selection of relationships and I know what feels right now – how it should be. I should feel comfortable with my partner – hair or not. Because it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we get along, whether we have similar life goals and good conversations, that we have fun together, that we are best friends. We have enough in common to relate to each other and enough different to keep it interesting. Hair doesn’t really figure into any of that.

I am glad for Shane coming into my life and pointing me in a new direction. And I am glad he left soon after. I am sad that things didn’t work out with Stephen, but that memory of him falling asleep with his back to me makes me even sadder. I wish I had found that out earlier in the relationship. If I do end up dating again, I think I will just put it in my profile – a small blurb that reads, “Oh and I wear wigs – so expect me to have a good hair day every day.” 😊


You can see all of Kerry’s guest blogger posts here.

The Long and Short of It: The Milano GripCap In tan

 
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Have you seen the new GripCap by Milano? I thought it was a really cool idea, but wondered how bulky it was, how hot it was, and if it was something I would get a lot of use out of. It is basically a wig cap (made out of a bamboo knit) sewn to an adjustable wig grip. I’ve worn regular wig caps underneath my wig grip (something you should do with a hand-tied wig to protect the knots) and found that the wig cap or the grip move around, because the grip can’t stick to the nylon cap – annoying!

I’ve been wearing the GripCap for about three weeks now, and I love it! Just for reference, I have a petite/average head and was able to adjust it so it fits me perfectly. I could sleep in it, it is so comfy! The bamboo knit cap is very lightweight and doesn’t feel warm at all. I was a little concerned that it would be too much cap on my head, but it is made to stretch – so I find the fit to be great with some give for someone with a larger head or more hair. I think that this would do well to hold down your biohair and make the fit of your wig that much more comfortable. I don’t plan on ever buying a regular wig grip again, I love this product so much! Not only does it protect my scalp from my wigs, it protects my wig from the oils and sweat from my scalp. It’s like underwear for my head! (lol)

The packaging says to hand wash – so I threw it in with some of my wigs and washed it in the bathroom sink and hung to dry. Putting this in the dryer is probably not going to hurt the fabrics, but it will make the Velcro curl from the heat – so definitely follow the manufacturer’s directions. I currently have only the tan GripCap because it is a good color for underneath my monofilament top wigs, but I want to get a dark brown one for under my standard cap brunette wigs to help disguise the wefts. I’ll probably get a spare tan one, too because I literally wear this every day now! So if you are looking for something that is not only comfortable, but going to protect your head and your wigs, I highly recommend the GripCap by Milano!


Product Listing:
The Milano GripCap in tan (also available in Brown)

You can see all of Kerry’s guest blogger posts here.

CysterWig’s #wigpower Contest Announcement

 
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Happy Friday, everyone!  I am super excited to announce CysterWig’s #wigpower contest!  Starting today and running through Friday, September 15, we are looking for the 10 best photos and captions that demonstrate your #wigpower (this includes toppers, too!).

For example, my #wigpower is that I can go from blonde, to brunette, to redhead faster than Clark Kent can change into Superman!  (I’m kind of a huge Jon Renau Miranda fan – I’m wearing Miranda in 12FS8: Shaded Praline, 4/33: Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, and 30A27S4: Shaded Peach)

So what’s your #wigpower?  Be creative, have fun with it, and best of all – show the world your super powers!  Each winner will receive a $25 gift card to cysterwigs.com and one winner will be featured on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds each #superwigsaturday through November!  To submit your entry, you can tag us on Twitter or Instagram @cysterwigs #wigpower, you can post on our Facebook page, or you can email us at photos@cysterwigs.com by 11:59 pm EST 9/15/17.  Please include the name of the style you are wearing and the color with your submission. I can’t wait to see what your super powers are and share them with the world!

xoxo -Kerry

CysterWigs Digital Media Assistant Manager and CCHD Solutions Specialist