Real or Synthetic Hair
The most asked question I get is whether a client should get real or synthetic hair wig. My answer to this question is always, it depends. A wig, just like any other product, has features; and like any other product, you want to make sure you get the features you want. So, let’s discuss the feature of real hair and synthetic hair to help you decide which features are important to you.
Before I jump into the features discussion, I want to say that none of the information below matters if you don’t have a high-quality wig. Both real hair wigs and synthetic hair wigs come in vast levels of quality. Woman In Disguise takes care of that for you as we only offer high quality real hair and synthetic hair wigs. This means that our real hair wigs are soft and healthy hair. Most importantly our wigs are 100%-real human hair, with no yak or other non-human hair added. Our synthetic hair wigs are real-hair like not in only how they look but also in how they feel. None of that shiny, plastic looking synthetic for us! Ok, so onto the features to think about…
Real hair gives you the ultimate in styling flexibility. Just like our real hair we can use heat tools to curl, straighten, and roller set our real hair wig. Real hair wigs are typically in a cap style that allows for changing the part and exposing parts of the hairline. A real hair wig can be colored, but it’s a must to color test first. If you want to be able to change the look of your wig from straightened to wavy to curly then real hair is a great option.
Synthetic hair gives you less styling flexibility. Typically heat cannot be used on synthetic wigs. In my experience, heat tolerant synthetic does respond the same way as real hair does to heat styling tools. You may get a little wave but you won’t get a curl for example. It is possible to use a steamer to make small changes in the synthetic hair, slightly loosen a curl, but you won’t take a wavy wig and make it straight. Color changes are not possible with synthetic wigs. Luckily synthetic wigs come in so many color options that this is not a problem.
There is a trade-off for the styling flexibility of real hair in terms of styling maintenance. When you wash your real hair wig it is like our real hair and requires restyling to look its best. I always have one freshly washed real hair wig not styled in my studio so my clients understand it is not a wash and go option. Beautiful and flexible, but real hair wigs definitely require time to look ready to wear.
Synthetic hair wigs on the other hand provide very low style maintenance requirements. When you wash your synthetic wig, it will maintain its shape, curl, and style with no drying, curling, or straightening. A quick wash and set your wig on the wig stand and when she is dry she is styled. It’s that easy.
Both real hair and synthetic hair wigs should not be washed after every use. My rule of thumb is every 5 wears unless it looks like it needs it sooner. You should use shampoo, conditioner and styling products made for wigs on both real hair and synthetic wigs.
The price of real hair wigs is driven by two key features. First is the quality of the hair. Quality is determined by its origin, how it was collected and how it was processed for color. The other key cost driver is length. The longer the hair the more you pay. As a general rule of thumb, real hair wigs that are priced below $800 are on the low end of the quality scale. There can be significant difference of cost for real hair based on quality. For the same inches of length, you could spend $500 up to $5,000 based on quality features.
The features that drive price in synthetic wigs is the quality of the synthetic hair and not the length. High quality synthetic looks like healthy, real hair and feels very similar to real hair. Certain styles that are very popular can also impact price. The other key price driver in synthetic wigs is the cap style. The cap is what the hair is attached to and fits on your head. Caps that are lightweight and breathable will more expensive than lower end caps that can be hot and itchy. There are cap features that also impact price. Hair is attached to caps in two primary ways, either by machine in wefts or by hair being individually attached by strands to the cap. Caps that are fully machined are less expensive than caps that have hair partially or fully attached by hair strands. The cap structure impacts the styling flexibility of the wig which is associated with cost. Rule of thumb is that a good quality synthetic wig will range from $150 up to $500 driven by cap style.
Real hair offers features that synthetic doesn’t in terms of wearing options. Real hair wigs can be bonded or adhered to a scalp for multi-day wear. Because the hair is real it can stand up to activities such as going in a swimming pool, showering, and sleeping in it. These activities can reduce the life of your wig, but they can be done with a bonding real hair wig. It is important to purchase a cap that is meant for bonding. Synthetic wigs are not designed to be bonded.
So, there you have it, the real hair versus synthetic hair run down. I tell my clients that once you get into the right quality level of wigs, like we offer at Woman In Disguise, there are not good or bad features. What’s important is to know what features are important to you so when you wear your ready-to-wear hair you feel beautiful, authentic and bold.
The other day I overheard a woman make the statement, “I risked it all”. It caught my attention and my imagination. What did this person, shopping in the same grocery store as me, looking at the same containers of yogurt, do to risk it all? Had she walked away from a life of leisure to move to Timbuktu to find herself? Had she put all her life savings into her big idea? Did she put her physical safety on the line to complete a grueling challenge? She walked away having selected her yogurt, continuing her phone conversation and I never got the answer. I do know that I had an immediate gut reaction that nothing I had ever done made me worthy to stake that same claim. I had visions of overwhelming acts of courage, big, huge acts that just are not on my experience wheel. But luckily, as I checked out the soup aisle I cut myself some slack. Perhaps my expectation of what constitutes risk is bit high and my assessment of my own risk taking is a bit too low. It seems to me that risk is a very personal thing, what seems no big deal to one person can seem incredibly risky to another. For me, dance competitions feel hugely risky, others are in their sweet spot on the dance floor. Put me in front of 200 people to speak and it’s no problem; yet for others it is riskiest thing they can imagine doing. Our unique experiences, fears, insecurities and confidences define our personal definition of risk. And when I think about choices I have made, challenges I have taken on, I can say I have risked it all once or twice. Regardless of our definition, I think it’s important to give ourselves credit for the risks we take. To step outside our comfort zone and open ourselves up to loss, whether big or small, deserves credit. So, if you overhear me saying, “I risked it all”, chances are it has something to do with me and the cha-cha.
I read an article recently that talked about when childhood ends. The time when we move from building forts to making plans. When we start to care more about what others think than what brings us joy. I connected with the sentiments in that article, both as a mother watching my kids grow and as an adult who can still recall the joy of forts and make-believe. It made me think about what I really enjoyed as a kid. I loved my birthday, I couldn’t wait to get older! I loved filling my bed with stuffed animals and dolls, I never slept alone. I loved building forts, but I loved tree houses even more. I loved raking the fall leaves and jumping in the pile for hours. But what I liked most about being kid was the general state of silliness. I think about how much time we spent as kids laughing or trying to make others laugh. Making up jokes, putting on plays, dressing up, tickle battles, being crazy and not being afraid to stand out for a good laugh. I am happy to say that I am still silly. I love to act dorky, make weird noises and do crazy dance moves. My kids capture a lot of this silliness on their phones. My daughter will ask me if she can post it. I always tell her yes, because I am proud that I still have room for silliness in my life. But most importantly, I want my daughter to make room for silliness in her life. So, as we go about making our plans let’s remember to schedule in some silliness.
This weekend I went to the Great Outdoor show. It was like a Home and Garden Show, but for doing outdoor activities, everything from hiking to fishing. One booth in particular caught my attention, I was drawn to the name of it, the Keep It Wild Co. I wasn’t alone wither, women in particular were drawn to this booth. I love the idea of being wild, that's so inviting to me. I think about how much time I spend trying to color within the lines, to get the rules right, to keep things in control. The idea of being wild is exhilarating. To be free of the shoulda, coulda, woulda thoughts and just be in the moment. To use every sense to take in the world and feel with abandon…yes, I want to be WILD!!! When I think back on my most fun memories, they are memories of being wild. Wild comes in many forms and we each will have our own definition. For some it may be climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and for me it is dancing with abandon. What I was reminded of in that booth is that I love my wild side, I need my wild side. I am declaring my commitment to making room for my wild side and that I will add some wildness into my life on a weekly basis. I am smiling just thinking about it. So, when you see me out on the dance floor being a little wild, you’ll understand. Now go get your wild on!
It’s summertime and sandal weather but my feet are a mess. Every time I look down at my flip-flopped tootsies I dream of a nice pedicure. I color my toenails myself, but it’s not the same. In addition to a pedicure making my feet look great, a pedicure feels so good! But, I have accepted that my feet will continue to look sub-par and be pedicure free a little longer. You see, I made a goal for myself and as my motivation and reward I said I wouldn’t get a pedicure until I obtained it. And here I sit, longer than I thought, without hitting the goal. I have almost given in, telling myself that there are good reasons I haven’t hit the goal, circumstances changed, things beyond my control…the list could go on. But inside I know that I wouldn’t enjoy the pampering. That the joy of a good foot rub would be diminished by the knowledge that I hadn’t earned it. When I look down at my less than perfectly painted toes, I do dream of a pedicure. But I mostly think about how amazing that first pedicure is going to feel! I know that my delight will be less about the foot massage and more about knowing I earned it. I find the things I value in life and that bring me joy do take work, commitment and yes, a little sacrifice. So, in a way, it’s kind of nice to be reminded of that every time I see my messy feet.
I just finished an article by Debbie Harry in the Mayissue of InStyle magazine and it brought back so many memories. Growing up, I dressed up and played Blondie more than any other star. I was memorized by her, she had that “it” thing they talk about. She was cool, beautiful and I loved how she was different. She had her own style and was never afraid to be herself. I connected with her spirit of experimentation and expression with my own hair as a teen. I liked different colors, shaving the sides, trying a little bit of everything. I still like the feeling of changing it up, trying new things, and being bold. I was happy to read that Debbie is still having fun with her hair and unapologetically rocking her trademark platinum blonde at 72. It was even more fun to read that she uses wigs to change up her look, to try out black and brown hair. It’s fun for me to think that all these years later I have something in common with my idol. That we both experiment, create and have fun with our hair. That we have brought that part of youth with us on our life journeys makes me feel connected to a kindred spirit. So excuse me now, because I feel the need to put on my pink wig and rock out to some Blondie.
In my former corporate life, I traveled a lot. I had a rule that for long international flights, I needed a two-hour window from landing to my first meeting or I would travel in the night before. The reason was pretty simple, I needed time to get ready and look presentable after a 10 plus hour plane ride in coach. Long plane rides wreak havoc on my makeup and in particular on my hair. An international flight in coach typically leads to every strand of my hair standing on end. My best advice to women travelers, whether for work or leisure, is to bring a wrinkle free dress, basic makeup and your extra hair in your carry-on bag! The quick transformation can be remarkable! I enter the restroom looking like a jet lagged bag lady and exit looking darn good and feeling almost human.I have to admit, there was a time when I would have felt vain to schedule travel plans around my beauty requirements. For years I somehow equated wanting to look good with being egotistical. I worried about being able to back up the effort I put into my physical appearance with what I could actually bring to the table. This was true in just about every aspect of my life. For years my friends called me the bag lady runner because I would go running in the most ridiculous unmatched clothes. I somehow convinced myself that the more coordinated my running outfit was the faster I would be expected to run. I am happy to say that I now enjoy running and working out in very cute and matching clothes. I am wiser and realize that it is not vain to want to look and feel my best. I also realize that what makes me feel beautiful can change and evolve on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel beautiful in no makeup, an old t-shirt and shorts complete with sweat and dirt from a great trail run. The next day I may spend two hours trying to get my cat-eye liner just right.I have come to understand that that it’s confidence not vanity to believe I am worthy of feeling beautiful. In those moments, I can wear a paper bag and feel gorgeous.I think we need to make up our own beauty rules, whatever they may be, that make us feel our best. Go ahead, put on lipstick for the gym, strap on heels for the grocery storeandapply mascara to walk the dog. Remember, when we feel beautiful and strut our stuff it’s not vanity, it’s confidence.
A few years back when I started wearing wigs I had such a difficult time wearing colors that didn’t match my every day hair color. I had a very limited idea of what colors would look good on me. It was difficult for me to even try on different colors, much less seriously consider wearing them out, yet as I became braver, venturing beyond a shade or two of my natural blonde, I was pleasantly surprised with how many colors I look good in. My recognition and acceptance of different colors didn’t happen overnight. As I wore wigs more often, I continued to push my hair color boundaries. In the process, I moved from having a self-critical eye to a discerning eye. My self-critical eye was on auto judgment mode and deemed anything different as a bad choice, but my discerning eye didn’t rush to judgement. This realization has given me breathing room to try something new and different. It helped me decide how I feel and what I like and I don’t like. It is my discerning eye that recognizes how great I look in golden reds but sees that mocha browns don’t do me justice. I guarantee you that you can wear several different hair colors and look great. I am so confident in this because chances are you have already done it. A fun way to find colors that will make you look and feel great is to go through photographs starting from when you were a kid and look at all the hair colors you have worn in your life time. Use yourdiscerning eye to recognize which ones you love and which ones don’t do you justice. If you haven’t had many different colors this same exercise works for hairstyles and lengths. The real fun is in stepping back and recognizing how open to change we can be. I love to watch my clients go through this process in a styling session. At the beginning of a session, there is hesitation and concern about what will look good and by the end I will see a woman not able to pick what single color or style she looks best in. I love when the critical-eye is shut down, and we allow ourselves permission to enjoy something new in ourselves. Yes, I am smiling right now thinking about that, it’s good stuff. So, shut your self-critical eye, find that picture and figure out what color you will rock!
People ask me why I started Woman In Disguise and I want to share the simple answer. I want people to be happy. I want you to be happy. I think being happy is a good thing. I think it is important to be happy. I want to create experiences that make you smile. I want you to create and explore. I want you to be brave and step outside your comfort zone. I want every woman to experience the happiness of transformation. So what will you do today to be HAPPY?
This blog is dedicated to my dance teacher Tudor. His patience and amazing coaching skills make me a better dancer; his support and friendship make me a better person.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about mistakes. It’s a relevant topic for me since I have been learning a new dance routine. Believe me, making mistakes is not new to me. I make mistakes of varying size and consequence on a consistent basis. And I must say that I am good at deconstructing my mistakes, attempting to understand where it went wrong. As a self-aware, reflective and mature adult, this is what I am supposed to do. We have all been told since childhood to learn from our mistakes and to not make the same mistake twice. I am guessing I have spent countless hours and untold energy examining my mistakes based on this mantra. I believe there is value to reflecting on my mistakes, but dancing has taught me that this approach doesn’t always work.
I have accepted the fact that every time I dance I am going to make mistakes. I don’t say this lightly, as if I am ok with making mistakes. It's just that ballroom dancing is hard and mistakes simply come with the territory. I have also realized that my usual approach to “mistake management” doesn’t work on the dance floor. So I needed a new routine; thanks to Tudor I am learning the steps to cha-cha through my mistakes.
Step One: Own it. I need to tell myself that the misstep is the step I intended to take. In that moment resist the urge to think back; simply use that step to get me to the next one. The dance moves too fast; there is no time to think about the misstep I can only think about the next step.
Step Two: Wait for it. When I make a mistake my natural instinct is to try to speed up to “catch” the beat I missed. This is a futile effort because that beat is gone and in the past. What I can do is slow down, breathe and wait for the next beat. If I am focused on catching what I missed the new beat will pass me by.
Step Three: Sell It. Smile through my mistake, dance as if I nailed it, and boogie on. And what I’ve realized is that when I am willing to do this, the audience boogies right along with me.
So that’s it…three steps. But they aren’t simple steps. We’ve been taught to stop our dance when we make a mistake. To figure out the misstep before we take the next step. When I am on the dance floor there is no time for that. Before I know it, the song will be over and I won’t have danced my dance. And that would be a shame because I love to dance. So I could use the mistakes as a reason to stay off the dance floor or I can listen to Tudor and shake it ‘til I samba.
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