It isn’t vanity, hair makes a huge difference to our wellbeing, confidence and self esteem. But as many of us know, age and health can have an effect on the appearance of our hair over the years. Thinning and hair loss in women, known as telogen effluvium, is a natural part of ageing as well as a side effect of some age-related medical treatments, such as HRT.
In these circumstances, a wig or a hairpiece can be a godsend. We think nothing of enhancing our looks with false nails, make up, eyelashes, tans, etc. so why not a wig? The manufacture of wigs has advanced so far in recent years that they have are now so realistic that nobody will ever know you’re wearing one… unless you tell them!
Hair loss in women and wigs
Many people with hair loss that has been caused by alopecia or cancer chemotherapy prefer to wear a wig.
In recent years, wigs have improved greatly and it is no longer painfully obvious that someone is wearing one. Companies such as Natural Image have excellent selections of wigs for all occasions. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) will supply a wig if a consultant or doctor considers it necessary. These are free of charge for hospital inpatients, for under 16s, for 16–18 year olds in full–time education and if you or your partner are getting Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or the guarantee credit of Pension Credit. People on low incomes may get some help towards the prescription cost. Also, they are VAT-free if required for medical purposes.
Synthetic wigs are lighter than real hair and look extremely natural. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of styles to choose from. They can be washed and come pre-styled, so their hairstyle stays in shape after washing. This is very helpful if you’re very tired from medical treatments. It does not matter if an acrylic wig is worn in the rain and they’ll never lose their shape. Acrylic wigs can be obtained quickly as they are affordable and stocked in wig salons. They should be replaced once or twice a year.
Most people have two: one to wear and one to wash. For totally bald heads, you can buy grips or special adhesive tape to stop the wig slipping, and some women also use them for extra security. The most important is comfort so try a few on for size and style!
Real human hair wigs. Some people still prefer a real–hair wig, and these cost much more than acrylics each even when obtained through the NHS in the UK. However, they can last a long time. They must be protected from rain as they can go frizzy or lose their shape just like a natural hairstyle. They take a little more work than an acrylic wig, because they have to be styled and set like real hair and you should buy a proper wig head for styling it.
Due to the price of human hair wigs, it’s not advised to buy them online as they truly need to styled and customised by a wig salon. Natural Image retailers will sell human hair wigs in the shops and can help fit and style the wigs as well as help with any NHS wig prescriptions.
7 tips for choosing a hair piece
- If you decide to buy your wig in person from a wig salon, find one with a private fitting room so you’re more comfortable. Bring friends or family along for support.
- If you buy online, you can try on your wigs in the privacy of your home.
- You will probably feel you look very odd (even though you won’t) in the first few wigs you try on – especially if you try a new style/colour or if you have not seen yourself with hair for a while. Wear the wig around the house for a while to get used to it.
- You could try a style similar to your own so it’s easier to get used to. Persevere until you find one you like.
- Each time, make sure you put the wig on properly – it is quite easy to put a wig on backwards. (The tapes to adjust the size will be at the back.)
- At home, take care of your wig while not wearing it. Use a wig stand to preserve the shape of the wig.
- Remember that at a party you will not be the only one wearing something false. What about makeup, false nails, tans and teeth?
Choosing a style and colour: You might feel comfortable choosing a style and shade that matches your own. But it doesn’t have to be identical. Most wigs come in dozens of shades including natural looking grays. When in doubt go a shade lighter or warmer to brighten your features.
Consider your lifestyle: What does your day involve? Will you be wearing your wig everyday? Be sure to keep your typical daily or weekly activities in mind when you try different wigs. Remember synthetic wigs are lighter and easier to manage if you’re tired or busy.
Have fun! Take this opportunity to have the hair you always wanted. Try on as many styles as you like.
If you found Body confidence: Hair loss in women useful, you’ll find many more hair and beauty tips for older women on our fashion and beauty channel.Last modified: August 6, 2021