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Buying a wig? What you need to know

On Christmas eve I was contacted by a woman who had lost her hair as a result of chemotherapy and was desperate for a wig.

It wasn’t because she had left it too late or that her hair had fallen out too rapidly or unexpectedly. It was because she had been fooled by online wig stores and had been sent what she described as ‘clown wigs’.

Unfortunately, this is a familiar story to me, with my experience of this scenario, one of the reasons I established Tammy Lobato Wigs.

It was after I had a couple of bad experiences with wig stores and thought I would try an online purchase. The wig I chose was synthetic, past the shoulders, chocolate brown and wavy on a model who was just gorgeous. It was $250. When it arrived, I was immediately apprehensive when I saw the colour was a dark orange kind of colour, an 80s kind of perm with synthetic material that felt like elasticised string. I never took it out of the box. I had seen all I needed to see to know that I had been sucked in.

When I look online I see advertisements for human hair wigs that cost less than my mistake did. How is that possible? Well I’ll tell you how - because I have seen these wigs with my own eyes and had the unpleasant experience of touching them to try and work out how they can sell human hair wigs for less than a couple of hundred dollars when mine start at $1800.

I have had several clients bring in wigs they purchased online before coming to me. They thought they were human hair until they styled them using a blow dryer or hair straightener, which of course is possible with a true human hair wig. The fibre, which is actually synthetic with a little human hair thrown in for credibility, instantly becomes a tangled mess to the point it is impossible to comb.

This kind of deceptive conduct is not just wasteful, it is demoralising for the purchaser who is often emotionally vulnerable and experiencing significant low self-esteem.

The same deception occurs in the advertisements for synthetic wigs - $28.70? really? If you are needing it for a dress up party maybe, but definitely not if you are experiencing hair loss and want realistic hair replacements.

Also regrettably, I have had many clients who have been sold human hair wigs specifically made for Jewish women who cover their natural hair with wigs, requiring them to have a large comb inserted into the cap of the wig for it to remain in place on top of the natural hair. These wigs are not appropriate for people without hair as there is virtually no elasticity in the cap to have it fit securely and the comb literally digs into the scalp. Several clients have come to me after spending many thousands of dollars on a wig that is impossible to be worn by people without hair – go figure!

So, my number one recommendation is to never, ever buy a wig online!! How would you know if it really does look as attractive as it is portrayed? The comfort factor and the security of the wig is another important consideration which you can only ensure by trying them on. What about the type of cap? For me, having no hair I prefer a full cap rather than an open one making sure that when my hair moves, it doesn’t reveal gaping holes – which has happened before!

Overall the best advice I can give you is make sure you do your research! Knowledge of wigs is something most people don’t have until they need to buy one. You need to buy from a reputable business with specialists who spend the time you need to thoroughly understand your new hair and to make sure that the wig you choose complements you and makes you feel great again – do not buy from a salesperson who is pushing you to buy – I can assure you, that wig will never be the right one for you.

Wishing you all the best

Tammy x

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