My hair and CysterWigs the Journey Comes Full Circle by Kathleen

Hi folks Kathleen here with my hair journey..my story…how Heather and CysterWigs changed my life. Sounds a little dramatic but its true. Below is me nine years old and in fourth grade. So proud of the hair thingy I made on a loom. Feeling like a princess because my mom made me a princess dress. I am not yet aware that my hair isn’t the prettiest. My mom as she did on special occasions put my hair in pin curls the night before. The curl was pretty in the morning but by the time my photo was taken it had flopped. The awareness that my hair wasn’t like everyone else’s didn’t start creeping into my head for a couple of more years.

By the time I was eleven I knew my hair was thin. Pressure clips were the only thing that stayed in my hair. I had a pixie for years but begged my mom to let me grow my hair long like everyone else. (She was sweet and didn’t want me to be disappointed ) From fourth grade to eighth grade I let my hair grow. This was as long as it got and stopped. The years of being self conscience about my hair had already begun. I wasn’t pretty because my hair wasn’t pretty. At least that’s how I felt. My hair was so thin you could see the shape of my ears..it barely covered them. I never had braids or pony tails or updos. My hair wasn’t part of my persona or identity. I became the comic of the group and became known as the artist. That’s how I coped. In ninth grade I cut my hair into a pixie and wore short hair until I started wearing wigs.

I have very few photos of myself before I started wearing wigs. I hated getting my photo taken. I would panic when it rained or was humid or windy..I knew all the work I put into my hair..the products the blowdrying the hairspray wouldn’t matter and my hair would flop five minutes after going outside. Little by little my self esteem was taking a hit. It was very insidious. I didn’t notice…it just happened over time. I made jokes to cover my embarrassment. Fast forward I met my husband at eighteen we married after college and two years later I had my first baby Bridget. I was born maternal and was in seventh Heaven…my hair not so much. Remember those perms? The curl (if you could call it that 😉) would last a few days to two weeks..why do it at all then? It made me feel like my hair was thicker.

Below in image 4 is me several years ago holding my grand puppy Cody. I told you I was maternal…😂 This is my hair clean and in it’s natural state. I remember that day I didn’t blow dry it because it was so hot and humid (I live in Georgia) and there was no point in it.

Above in image 5 is one of the last photos I could find before my wig adventure began. Its dyed which damaged my hair but also gave it some body. I was at a Polo game and photo shoot and it was hot. This was a good hair day for me.

Almost two years ago on a whim I decided to wear a wig because I wanted to grown out my hair to see its real color. I was 57 and in my family we don’t really get gray. I remember people always thought my mom and dad dyed their hair..lol not hardly. My dad? Too funny..and the only thing my mom would do on special occasions is wear lipstick and maybe some blush. Now I also knew my hair grew really slowing and would take over a year to grow out. I wasn’t thinking any further into the future than that.

I started looking for wigs online and on youtube and came across Heather and CysterWigs. She was funny sweet open and so informative. Now the back story is about twenty years earlier I did get a wig so I could look good if I had to drop the kids off at school in the morning before I did my hair. It was bought at a wig-shop..it was awful..too big too full and looked like a helmet but it was the shortest one I could find. I wore it once and gave it away. I found CysterWigs on Facebook and sent a message. I was looking for a blonde but nothing brassy. Heather responded and was so helpful we went back and forth a few times and she made some suggestions. She wasn’t a sales person..wasn’t pushy at all. I was so impressed. She innately realized this is a process and everyone goes at their own pace. The most important thing I came away with from our conversation was I wasn’t alone and there’s nothing wrong with me. Such a weight was lifted. I felt there was hope. Hope that I might finally get some “hair” that looked pretty on me.

I decided to get a pixie. A style I would have worn in real life in a color I could never achieve because my own hair always became brassy after I dyed her. I got Evan by Jon Renau in Blonde Brownie 22F16. One mistake I made. (I didn’t listen to Heathers suggestion that I get a wig with no monofilament features) I am a Taurus (stubborn) So Evan has a lace front. 😜 My first impression was wow thats a lot of thick hair. No one will believe its my own hair. I put it on..this is common I’m sure but I thought it looked sooooo wiggy too thick. I did like the color though. Remember I’m stubborn..this helps me out tremendously at this point. I thin/cut the bang area until I felt it looked more natural on me. The first time I wore it the itching from the lace front was unbearable. I thought I would scratch the skin clear off my forehead. I wore it maybe two hours. I thought there as something wrong with me. I figured I was the only one this ever happened too. Silly me…I signed up for CysterWigs newsletter and looked into their online community and started reading..I wasn’t alone..Heather explained that it takes awhile for your brain to get “used”to the feel of your wig and the lace front etc. She was right! Within a few days(of wearing Evan around the house) she didn’t itch anymore..yippee! 💃🏼This also gave my family time to get used to seeing me in normal thickness hair.

Below in image 7 is the way I introduced my wig to my friends and family. A soft announcement. Almost two years ago. That’s all I wrote..New do… I expected a few people to say it looks nice for a wig. I was blown away by the response..everyone even folks who never commented on my posts said they loved it. No one thought it was a wig..no one.😊

So basically that response changed everything..I went to my dogs veterinarian for my first outing got complimented on my hair and proudly and without any self consciousness announced its a wig! In that moment I felt it was my mission to help others. Have fun! Life is too short! To be fair I’m old..lol and never much cared what others thought of me…I didn’t have a full head of gorgeous hair that I lost as a young woman…I’m not sick …I just have naturally ultra fine thin hair. I am very fortunate and I know it. I want wigs to be as commonplace and accepted as coloring your hair.

As time goes by I buy more wigs..am get very involved with CysterWigs online community and feel very connected to my wig sisters. I post continuously on Facebook. So as not to bore my friends and family I start posting on my instagram account. Turning it from my art to my wigs. I become friends with Heather, Kelly, Jo, Lori, Taz…so many wig sisters. My self esteem sky rockets…😉

Below in image 8 is my first before and after. I am starting to wear makeup. Something I hadn’t done in years. Push up by Ellen Wille was the first wig I felt I looked good in…really good. It was more me..the color was warm and pretty. I could go out in the rain and it was still pretty. 👍🏻

I love Heather she is an amazingly intelligent loving caring young woman. I haven’t purchased from any other store since starting this journey. Why you ask? Because for me its more than hunting down a deal.(though bewtween signing up for CysterWigs Newsletter and being a VIP member I do get great deals 😏👍🏻) Heather has integrity and I live for integrity and believe me its rare now a days. Loyalty….rare rare rare. I love that she not only is in business because she herself wasn’t happy with her helper hair experiences she educates the public..wayyyyy before anyone was doing youtube videos. She is passionate about helping I admire that..it’s refreshing. Everyone I have come in contact with from CysterWigs has been professional and helpful and I never feel rushed.

Image 10 above is my post that Heather saw and wanted to use as my first photo tutorial for CysterWigs blog. I was so honored. I didn’t think anything of my posts. I just thought if I could help or answer one persons question I’d be happy. Well one thing leads to another..from occasional guest blogger to freelance graphic artist to now an employee and their Instagram Extraordinaire (yeah I added the extraordinaire part 😉) and blogger for CysterWigs. What’s funny is when Heather asked me if I would be interested in becoming part of the CysterWigs team I told her..well everyone thinks I work for you already. Lol 😜 I love what I do..I feel passionate about the subject of wigs and how it can totally transform someones life. I know I’m not alone in that feeling.

So the take away here is wigs can change your life. CysterWigs is the best company out there in my book and I love and admire everyone on the CysterWigs team. Heather, Kerry, Taz, Gina, Lucas, John and so so many more. From thinking I’ll wear “one” wig for a year to having a “few” more 😉 to working for the company that has change my life for the better. Life couldn’t be any sweeter.

Below are several photos of me in various styles for your viewing pleasure as they say…Be bold experiment and by all means have FUN & ENJOY!

Bryn by Envy in Lighter Red

Madison by Estetica in R30/28/26

Voltage Elite by Raquel Welch in Glazed Vanilla

Kenzie by Tony of Beverly in Cherry Punch

Mimosa by Belle Tress in Champagne with Apple Pie

Play by Ellen Wille in Mango Rooted

Isla by Tony of Beverly in Minx

Isla by Tony of Beverly in Sunset Red


You can see all of Kathleen’s posts here as well seeing her talent as an amazing artist at KathleenRyanArt.com.

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16 Comments

  1. Sheree
    May 29, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Hi Kathleen, this is a wonderful post! I’ve always thought wigs were fun, and years ago, I purchased a few really, really cheap costume wigs (like in 30 or $40) for Halloween or other fun events. My hair has always been fine and thin, and I highlighted it three decades. It was never great hair, but I didn’t feel like it detracted from my physical appearance until my mid 40s. That’s when I noticed more and more of it falling out, likely because of perimenopause, fibromyalgia, genetics and who knows what else. As though the symptoms of fibromyalgia didn’t make me feel awful enough, my hair and made me feel so old. In March 2017, I started experimenting with real wigs. I quickly ran across Heather’s website, and have been a loyal customer for over a year, I believe. Like you, I think it’s important to destigmatize the wearing of wigs. Wigs are just beauty products like make-up and jewelry. I just changed careers six months ago, and wearing wigs has been such a confidence booster for me. Becoming an RN at age 50 has been quite the challenge. Wigs help. I’m proud to tell people I’m 50, and when I receive a compliment about my hair, I thank them and tell them it’s a wig.
    I loved your post. Thank you for sharing your story. ❤️

    • Kathleen Ryan
      May 30, 2018 / 3:20 pm

      Well first and foremost congratulations Sheree on becoming an RN. That is no easy endeavor….all the best to you. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and I loved your story!…and what better timing for you to start wearing “ real” wigs with the start of your new career. Thank you for commenting and sharing your own story. Best-Kathleen

  2. May 29, 2018 / 11:51 pm

    Eileen, this is so warm and heartening. I love you in these reds and blonds. You are a natural redhead, so they look gorgeous on you. And each one gives you a different look.

    I used to have a lot of hair, but it was very fine and has thinned over the years. Finding wigs has enabled me to experiment with styles I tried to wear with mixed success, and to keep from looking too “old” prematurely. It is also my plan to grow my dyed hair out some day (it is shoulder-length right now) and see what it looks like. I have been dying my hair since I was in my twenties, because I didn’t want to see any grays. I have no idea what I have under the Madison-Reed dye!

    In any case, I too found Heather and Cysterwigs to be the best people in the business and I won’t go anywhere else.

    Thank you for being so helpful. You are just like everyone else there: a treasure.

    • Kathleen Ryan
      May 30, 2018 / 3:27 pm

      Hi Liz thanks for sharing your own story…you’re funny you have no idea what your bio hair looks like since you’ve been dying it for so long lol. Isn’t that something else? I started dying my hair in my teens..no one thinks anything of that but boy wear a wig and people want to know why? Nuts huh? Aren’t we lucky to have found CysterWigs so early in our wig wearing adventure? Thank you for the kind words..best-Kathleen

  3. Cynthia Lewman
    May 30, 2018 / 6:40 pm

    Kathleen, this is such a wonderful post that also hit close to home. I especially love seeing your face brighten and lighten as you gained more confidence with wigs through your photos. I had the same experience. My husband often comments about how touched he is seeing how wigs have given me so much more happiness and confidence every day. I agree that Heather changed my life when I started this journey two years ago. I love Cysterwigs and the wonderful community they provide. Thank you for posting!

    • Kathleen Ryan
      May 31, 2018 / 5:25 pm

      Awe I’m glad you could relate..for so long I thought I was the only one right? I love seeing all your new looks its empowering to say the least..thanks for your kind comments Cynthia…its sounds like we started this hair journey around the same time..:-) best-Kathleen .

  4. Liz Lyons
    May 30, 2018 / 9:49 pm

    Kathleen, first off, I apologize for getting your name mixed up with Eileen (also on Cysterwigs). You were sweet not to say anything.

    Secondly, I agree about the stigma wigs have endured, while everyone is fine with all sorts of embellishments, like makeup, jewelry, plastic surgery, facial peels, wearing heels to be taller. It’s ridiculous.

    None of us were born perfect. What we do to look and feel better is perfectly normal. And, we decorate our world by doing so, which makes it a prettier place.

    Hugs – Liz

    • Kathleen Ryan
      May 31, 2018 / 5:29 pm

      Hi Liz,
      No worries there isn’t a better name you could have used as it was my mom’s name Eileen Brophy Rother..shes been gone 18 yrs and would have been so supportive and thrilled about my wigs and what I’m doing…so hugs right back atcha…;-) best-Kathleen

  5. Adrienne
    June 6, 2018 / 4:33 am

    Kathleen you look sooo beautiful in every single color and style! They all look so natural on you! I’m having a bit of trouble in this department. I can’t seem to find the right shape in the right color. They all look wiggy on me. I’m a natural medium auburn but the sides are starting to grey.

    • Kathleen Ryan
      June 6, 2018 / 5:10 pm

      Hi Adrienne! Thank you! ..I’ll tell you a secret..attitude..yup if you like a color or style then own it. How to do that? Cutomize your wig..maybe you need to trim it..maybe thin it..also the make up you wear can really help. To ease into wigs colors etc..stick with the more natural reds…Having gray on the sides can be incorporated or not. My own bio hair is a boring light brown. If you’d like email(kathleen@kathleenryanart.com) me a photo of yourself and what styles appeal to you and I’ll give you some ideas. I don’t know if you knew this but on CysterWigs website you can seach using your face shape..you can also learn what faceshape you have..this is all fun but can be a lot to take in so I encourage you to contact the CCHD( client care help desk) they’d love to answer your questions.
      Our CCHD team is available 10 am – 6pm (EST/EDT)
      Monday – Friday (excluding most major US holidays)
      Email: support@cysterwigs.zendesk.com
      Phone: 1-888-992-9447

  6. Dana Bougon
    June 23, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    Hi Kathleen,
    Thanks so much for this post. It’s nice to learn about your “Wig Story”. I’ve seen so many
    pictures of you modelling wigs ~ and every single time my first thought is, Every single wig she puts on looks fabulous on her! She is SO pretty…

    Maybe you can help me out ~ I’m looking for a wig with no permatease or very little. I’m new to wigs and haven’t even gotten up the courage to wear my first wig (Jon Renau Elle) our in public yet. The first one I bought was Ignite ~ too much permatease, roots were too dark for me & it wasn’t blonde enough overall. I returned it and ordered Elle in Creme Brûlée. I LOVE IT. She is the hair I’ve wished for and tried to achieve my entire life. Sadly, I think I might be too old (54) to wear this length. I’m thinking I’ll get a little cut off.

    Back to where I was before veering off… can you recommend a few wigs that have no or little permatease, a full or partial mono cap and not a crazy amount of hair? There doesn’t seem to be very many out there. I was considering Kristi but i’d love to know if there are any others.
    Cysterwigs already feels like family!
    Thanks again!
    Dana

    • Kathleen Ryan
      June 24, 2018 / 10:35 pm

      Hi Dana aren’t you sweetheart thanks for the compliments..well heres a lists of low or no permatease styles I think you would enjoy. 1)Pippa by Tony of Beverly (mono top and lacefront(I have this in Sunset Red and LOVE it) 2) Eve by Envy- lace front and I believe mono part( I dont have this one but it looks super cute and its on my list..both Taz and Heather have done youtube reviews on her so check them out. 3)Opulence by Gabor lace front mono part..stacked short bob..think Ignite without all the permatease..its very sleek(I dont have this one yet..but will 😉 4) Victoria by Jon Renau 100% hand tied lace front..no permatease( I almost ordered this..I would suggest getting in on the pre-order and getting it in one of Jon Renaues new blondes I suggest Laguna Blonde 🙂 use coupon code SUMMERLOVE30 on these style( some might not be eligible I’m not sure off hande 5) Mariska Petite by Jon Renau 100% hand tied lace front..( I hve this and love it..think pixie bob and it comes in the new Jon Renau bllonds…I hope this lists helps..good luck and certainly ask the help desk too they would have a more extensive list.. these are just a few I think would make you happy…feel free to ask me anymore questions…and good luck -best Kathleen

  7. because of
    September 25, 2018 / 2:45 am

    Thanks for your post Kathleen, you really do look great in every wig! I’ve bought a few wigs now and am getting closer but haven’t found the “right one” yet. I’m going to keep trying though and one day won’t worry about how windy it is outside because of my thinning hair. LOL!

    • Kathleen Ryan
      September 25, 2018 / 4:18 pm

      Awe yes ..and you know a funny thing will happen..wigs you thought you didn’t like or weren’t “you” you’ll start liking. Its a process and part of that process is getting used to seeing yourself in wigs..enjoy the journey and don’t hestitate to contact our help desk they are very knoweldgable and would love to help you find styles you feel like yourself ( only better 😉 in) all the best -Kathleen
      Got questions? We’ve got answers.
      Our CCHD team is available 10 am – 6pm (EST/EDT)
      Monday – Friday (excluding most major US holidays)
      Email: support@cysterwigs.zendesk.com
      Phone: 1-888-992-9447

  8. Marcy Lilly
    October 13, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    Hi Kathleen! Thank you for this. I, too have always had thin hair which is probably genetic. My grandmother wrote the same wig for at least 20 years! My Dad was very thin, although he never went bald, as some men do.
    He was gray by the time he was 21.

    My mother, and her mother had great thick hair and she never needed to color it!

    Mine has been thin. I did the perms and although I hated them, I permed my hair while it was short and as it grew the curls relaxed and gave my hair some body, which lasted a few months, then back to cutting it and perming it. This usually took about 9-12 months.

    Once I had kids, I just gave up. 😂 As they became teenagers, I started coloring out the early gray.

    I’m now 60 and after styling my hair *just so* in order to cover my evermore thinning hair, and ugly scalp, I started watching videos on Cysterwigs and learning about wigs. When I stepped out of the shower and my husband said “you’re hair really is thin”, I took the leap. July 7, 2018, I wore my first wig and it’s been life changing.

    Thank you again, you, Heather, Taz and everyone at Cysterwigs. You have helped me so m7ch! 💙💙💙💙

    • Kathleen Ryan
      October 14, 2018 / 8:39 am

      Hi Marcy..thank you for your kind wirds..:-) your story sounds so familiar..thats exactly how I feel…I am so thrilled for you. Enjoy the fun of wig wearing and thank you for sharing your own personal story..best-Kathleen

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