Wearing wigs and hair pieces can be an awesome way to protect your hair and give you a break from time consuming daily maintenance. Wigs are also a great way to experiment with a new hairstyle or look. If you have gone through a period of hair loss, damage, or breakage; wigs can protect your hair during the regrowth and healing period. With so much freedom, it is easy to see how one could forget to care for their own hair underneath. Hair neglect can lead to or cause further hair loss and/or damage. Hair loss and thinning in people who constantly wear close-knit or tightly meshed wigs is due to continuous friction coupled with low scalp circulation.
Here are some fundamentals you need to know in order to take care of your hair while wearing wigs, ultimately avoiding hair loss and thinning:
*Tip: Take wigs to a professional for custom fitting or have them make a custom piece. They are not always as expensive as you think, but beware that you get what you pay for.
Make sure that the mesh of the wig along the hairline, as well as the barrettes, bands, or clips used to hold the hair in place, don’t exert too much pressure and are comfortable. Make sure the clips are properly in place. Hair snagging in clips and other holding agents can cause significant breakage.
*Tip: A true hair care professional can show you how to properly wear, adjust, and take care of your wig unit.
Your scalp receives less stimulation during wig wear. Therefore, scalp massages are very helpful in promoting scalp circulation and hair growth. As a licensed massage therapist, I can testify to the many benefits of improved scalp circulation in encouraging healthy hair growth.
Don’t put your wig over wet or damp hair. It creates a breeding ground for germs and fungus. This can also provide perfect conditions for mildew due to the heat and moisture.
This brings me to point number five. The more you sweat on the scalp, the more frequently you need to shampoo and condition your hair. Shampooing and caring for your own hair will help keep your wig clean and prolong the life of your wig unit.
Keep your hair moisturized underneath your wig cap. Do oil your scalp as needed with light oil such as jojoba or almond to avoid product buildup. Do not overload your hair with products while underneath the wig. This contributes to product buildup, clogged pores, and possible hair loss. A good way to remove product buildup is with an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse, Baking Soda Scrub or clarifying shampoo.
Protein and deep moisturizing conditioning treatments are needed every 4 to 6 weeks to keep the hair strong and supple. This decreases your chances of breakage and encourages healthy hair growth by strengthening your hair. Bentonite Clay Masks are excellent.
*Tip: Do not fall prey to relaxing or coloring your leave-out if you are choosing to use a partial or half-wig unit. Select a unit that compliments your natural texture or select a unit requiring no leave-out.
Continue with your regular trim schedule. If you don’t have a regular trim schedule…please do develop one that is in accordance with your hair needs. Traditionally, that would be every six to eight weeks. Once quarterly or even once or twice annually is possible with a lot of care depending on your hair type. My hair grows very fast and splits very easily. I get trims every four to six weeks.
Do give your hair and scalp some Vitamin D/Sunshine from time to time by going wig-less. This is an essential vitamin that many of us may be missing. Prolonged wear of wigs can result in length retention but fragile hair long term. Taking a break gives the hair and scalp air to breathe...literally.
Avoid bunching your hair up under a wig or cap. Having your hair balled or folded under a wig could cause severe breakage. Keeping your hair braided or wrapped up neatly will help keep your hair healthy and keep your wig in place. If your hair is longer than shoulder length, consider wearing your hair in a wrap or inverted ”inside” braids underneath the wig. If you have very dense hair, smaller braids will assist with your wig unit lying flatter to your scalp and may increase comfortability.
Regardless of your reasons for wearing a wig, it is important to remember to still care for your own hair and scalp. Wigs are not a vacation from your healthy hair regimen. Cuticle damage cannot be seen by the naked eye right away. It occurs to the outside layer of the hair and is caused by the constant rubbing of the wig against the hair. This begins to physically manifest as an overall dulling of the hair. To fix wig damage, perform corrective conditioning treatments once a week and consider getting a haircut to remove hair that is damaged beyond repair.
Do you wear wigs? What tips would you add?