Cancer is a life-changing disease on many levels; it can catch you and everyone else off guard. It is an ordeal for which no one can prepare. While medical interventions such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy have seen improvements over the years, one side effect adds anxiety to some female patients more than the disease itself.
Chemo-related hair loss doesn’t affect all cancer patients, and while some can cope with it quickly, some have difficulty accepting it and feel profoundly sad or anxious. In reality, hair loss is the one side-effect that’s difficult to conceal.
Many cancer patients that go bald or experience hair loss can relate to the sentiment that “people are staring.” Whether they do or not, or it’s just in their head, doesn’t matter. What matters is how it makes them feel inside. The feeling is that of discomfort and self-consciousness. It’s as if you’re losing a part of your identity, and it can make you feel like a different person.
Wigs give a sense of normalcy and remove prying eyes, even for a few hours. Some cancer patients say that wigs provide them with a sense of calm. Doctor appointments, therapies, and laboratory tests are stressful in and of themselves, but once they go out into the real world wearing that clump of hair, they feel that sense of self come back as if everything is back in its proper place again.
Such is the power of wearing wigs for cancer patients. We can’t deny the positive impact it may have on their overall well-being. On a personal level, this resonates well with our brand as we’ve given our fair share of help for chemo patients, and we’ve seen up close how a thing as simple as wearing a wig can bring that genuine smile back to their eyes and lips. Here are a few tips to help cancer patients ease that anxiety and give them back that self-confidence and identity when choosing their hair wig.
Stick with the Old or Try a New Do
There is a silver lining in everything that happens, even with chemo-related hair loss. At any point that your hair is already falling or thinning out, grab it as an opportunity to think of and try out different hairstyles.
Ones that you’ve never dreamed of wearing in your life, such as full bangs, or going for a color you’ve never tried out, like cobalt blue or platinum silver. The possibilities are endless this time around. You can even opt to buy multiple wigs for different occasions.
Imagine looking at yourself in the mirror while you try out a hundred different mixes and matches for your personality. Or just stick to that reliable old hairdo you’ve been wearing for years before the hair loss. Whatever your choice is, you choose it because it makes you feel confident, whole, and ultimately happy.
Keep Those Old Pics of Good Hair Days
If you have that fantastic selfie of the best hair day in your life, months or years before your chemo-related hair loss, don’t lose it. You’re not keeping it for sentimental reasons alone, but that picture will be a reference for your wig stylist or wig salon if you want to replicate your old hairdo or want something similar with a few enhancements.
An amazing salon can provide the appropriate human hair wig with the right texture, length, and color. To make it more “you,” you can have it cut, customized, and styled to your preferences. You best believe you’ll wear that ‘do with the utmost confidence and swag.
Match Your Hair Wants and Needs with Research
If you still can’t decide what you want as your hair wig and the different kinds of wigs confuse you, then it’s time to do some research. There are only two types of wig strands to choose from: human hair and synthetic hair wigs.
The critical difference between these two types of wig fibers is the materials manufacturers use to create them. Human hair wigs are made from natural hair, while synthetic hair wigs are made from modacrylic fibers.
In terms of the natural look, human hair wigs are the best option to choose as they look, feel and move like natural hair. In terms of pricing, synthetic hair wigs are affordable, ranging from $300 to $500. Quality-wise, human hair wigs are meticulously collected and made, costing between $800 to $6,000.
Synthetic wigs can last about six months or more with daily use, while human hair wigs can last about a year or more when you couple them with proper maintenance routines. In terms of styling, human hair wigs give you multiple options like coloring, texturing, and heat-styling. On the other hand, synthetic wigs are pre-styled but relatively easier to maintain and should not avoid heat-styling.
Some clients have reported experiencing sensitive and drying scalps with chemo-related hair loss. Choosing the wig type according to wig base is another factor, as some wigs can be itchy and uncomfortable on the scalp.
Lace top wigs and monofilament wigs have hand-woven hair fibers tied to a lace or monofilament mesh that fits naturally on the scalp and is breathable while giving the impression that the hair fibers are naturally growing out of the scalp. Polyurethane wigs are perfect for shaved heads, with the scalp looking the most natural out of the other wig types but is less breathable and can be uncomfortable after long hours of wearing.
Fitting Your Wig
Some doctors advise cancer patients to cut their hair short two or three weeks before chemotherapy treatment to avoid sloughing off of their long hair once the treatment begins. It’s best to do a wig fitting when your hair is already short or during chemotherapy when the hair has started to thin.
But if you don’t want people seeing you with temporary hair loss or bald hair, it’s OK to fit the wig with your hair still intact. Be sure to choose an adjustable wig, or consider using a wig grip band and wig liner to securely and comfortably wear your wig without any hitch.
Learn Wig Maintenance Routines
Wearing the wig is easy, but maintaining it is tricky. If you’re wearing a human hair wig, you might think it’s the same as caring for your natural hair since it is just human hair. But in reality, it is pretty different, especially if the hair has undergone chemical processing like hair dyes or coloring.
Some hair products, such as shampoos and conditioners, have formulations exclusively for wig use to maintain softness and sheen. Even the hair combs should be a factor to consider to avoid tangling, and a wig stand and storage container to protect your wig from dust and dirt when not in use.
With proper wig maintenance routines and cleaning, you can expect your wig to last more than its intended shelf life. If you want to learn how to wash your human or synthetic hair wig, you can give this article a read for more detailed info: How To Make Your Wigs Last: A Guide.
Cancer has many changes that come with it, and it is understandably a scary process. But with the right guide, choosing the right wig can be a breeze for you, and your sense of style doesn’t have to suffer. A hair wig can give you back your sense of self and enhance your personality until your treatment ends and your natural hair starts growing again. If some real-life accounts are anything to go by, some cancer survivors continue to wear wigs because of the plethora of style options they can do.
Chavie Russell Wigs can attest to this, as our human hair wig collection is designed with chemo-related hair loss in mind for ultimate comfort without sacrificing beauty and style. Our wigs are perfect for helping you regain confidence and contribute to your overall health and wellness. Book a free consultation with our wig experts, and let us help you find a wig you’ll love.