Hair loss can be a difficult experience. Whether it’s temporary hair loss due to chemotherapy, or a longer-term condition like alopecia areata, it’s normal to feel upset, anxious, or even embarrassed by your hair loss. One study found that 74% of those with alopecia areata also have mental health issues like anxiety and depression .
When you feel low due to hair loss, it’s important to find ways that make you feel a little more like your old self. That’s where human hair wigs come in.
Wigs have been shown to have a positive psychological impact on those with hair loss . Wearing a human hair wig can help you start to accept your hair loss, while reducing some of the negativity associated with losing your hair. But if you haven’t worn a wig before, it can be tricky to know where to start.
In this ultimate guide to human hair wigs, you’ll learn:
It’s normal to feel conflicted about getting a wig. It may feel like you’re giving up on your hair loss improving, or make you feel self-conscious in case people notice.
But for many people, wearing a wig is a significant step in accepting their hair loss and feeling more confident in their day-to-day lives. Human hair wigs in particular can look very natural, so most people won’t realise you’re wearing one.
“Looking in the mirror for the first time wearing a wig, I felt glamorous, confident and my self-esteem soared through the roof. Without it, I don’t know where else I would have got the strength from .”
Wigs can also give you a chance to experiment with different hairstyles that might not have been possible with your natural hair. But there are other hair loss treatment options that may be preferable, depending on the cause of your hair loss.
The only way to tell if now is the right time for you to get a wig is to do some research, try wearing a wig for a while, and see how you feel. Here, find out how to get the right wig to make you feel your best.
Before you start your research, set a goal: how do you want your wig to make you feel?
Many people seek a wig that makes them feel more confident and boosts their self-esteem. But setting your own specific goal will help you find the right wig from the off.
If you’re getting a wig on the NHS, or using insurance to pay for your wig, see if there are any stipulations or limitations to the type of wig you can get. Then you can start exploring the huge variety of wigs out there.
Here’s what you need to consider when looking for a wig:
Let’s take a step-by-step look at each of these factors to find your ideal wig.
Human hair wigs are made from — you guessed it — real human hair. Hair donation charities collect hair from volunteers, who can donate hair that’s at least seven inches in length.
Synthetic hair wigs, meanwhile, are made from fibres designed to look like human hair. These are usually made from acrylic, nylon, or another type of plastic. Because of this, they tend to feel less natural and move differently to human hair wigs.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of human hair and synthetic wigs :
Synthetic hair wigs
In general, human hair wigs are more sought after than synthetic wigs, as they feel and look more like natural hair. But this also makes them more expensive.
Let’s weigh up the pros and cons of human hair wigs:
Quality synthetic wigs can look like the real thing. But in general, you’re more likely to get natural-looking results with a human hair wig than with a synthetic wig.
Human hair wigs are often more expensive, but if you’re worried about your hair looking natural, it can be a worthwhile investment in your self-confidence.
Now you know whether a human hair or synthetic wig is right for you, let’s move on to cap construction.
Beneath the hair, each wig is fitted with a cap. The cap is designed to fit securely over your head, keeping the wig in place. It’s made up of several panels:
When thinking about cap material, the front, top, and back are the most important sections. Each panel can be made from a different material to accommodate different needs.
Find out more about the different types of cap panel construction below.
Hand-tied lace front skin top wig caps will give you the most natural-looking wig. But these are often more expensive, so it’s important to weigh up the type of wig you actually need.
Here are five factors to consider when choosing your wig cap:
If you’ve never worn a wig before, it’s a good idea to go to a reputable wig retailer for a fitting. This will ensure you get a secure, comfortable wig you love.
If you can’t get to a store for a fitting, watch this video to find out how to measure your head for a wig:
Now on to the fun bit. Choosing your preferred wig style determines how your hair will actually look, whether you want to stick to your pre-hair loss style or experiment with a new look.
Wigs are available in lots of shades and styles. Here’s what to consider when selecting your wig style.
If you’re looking for a style you haven’t tried before, you might want to choose a wig that complements the shape of your face.
For example, those with round or square faces may want a long wig that creates length. If your face is oval or rectangular, consider a fringe or a chin-skimming bob to create the illusion of width.
Unlike most synthetic wigs, human hair wigs can be cut, coloured, and customised to suit your styling preferences. So you always have the option of altering your wig to suit your face shape.
Wig lengths vary depending on the texture of the hair. Curly, wavy, and straight hair that are the same length in inches will appear to be different lengths, due to hair coiling:
Here’s an approximate guide to wig lengths:
Human hair wigs can be styled according to your preference. You can cut, colour, straighten, and curl your wig, giving you a new look every day.
That said, you can also buy human hair wigs in a variety of pre-cut styles and colours. If you want to experiment, it’s a good idea to visit a wig shop where you can try on different styles.
Men can also get wigs. Semi-permanent wigs are known as hair systems for men, and they’re an increasingly popular way to deal with male pattern baldness.
Human hair wigs are mostly available in natural hair colours, which will give you the most realistic looking hair. Colour can be difficult to determine online, so looking at wigs in-store is a good way to get the closest match to the colour you want.
For bold or bright hues, you may need to dye your human hair wig, or consider a synthetic hair wig.
It depends on the type of wig you choose. If you select a quality human hair wig in a natural colour, it’s unlikely most people will be able to tell you’re wearing a wig.
If anyone does notice your wig, it’s likely to be because:
Some wig companies have a better reputation than others. And because wigs are used for a variety of purposes, there are lots of different price points and wig qualities out there. So it’s important to find a trustworthy wig brand that offers the quality you deserve.
Here are some of the best wig retailers in the UK:
Trustpilot score: 4.9* (129 reviews)Physical or online store: BothWig types: Human and synthetic hairPrice for human hair wigs: £800-£1,500Website: https://www.wigsboutique.co.uk/ Wig examples:
Trustpilot score: 4.4* (59 reviews)Physical or online store: BothWig types: Human and synthetic hairPrice for human hair wigs: £250-£1,000Website: https://eternalwigs.com/ Wig examples:
Trustpilot score: 4.4* (54 reviews)Physical or online store: OnlineWig types: Human and synthetic hairPrice for human hair wigs: £600-£4,000Website: https://www.valentinewigs.co.uk/ Wig examples:
If this is your first time buying a wig, it’s usually best to try some wigs in-store before you buy. This will help you find the best fit and style for you. You can also benefit from tailored consultant advice and a professional wig fitting service.
However, you may get a better price online. So if cost is a factor, consider shopping around for your wig.
Human hair wigs are more expensive than synthetic wigs. Many human hair wigs cost £1,000 to £4,000, depending on the amount of hair used, the hair origin, and the techniques used to create the wig. High-quality and longer wigs tend to cost more than lower-quality or pixie-cut wigs.
The NHS offers financial support to buy a wig if you meet certain criteria. As of October 2023, NHS wig support costs are set at:
You may be eligible for support to cover your wig costs if you’re under 16, under 19, and in full-time education, or receiving income support. Speak to your doctor about whether you’re eligible, and which wigs are available to you.
If you can’t get a wig on the NHS, private health insurance may help you pay for it.
At the Wimpole Clinic, we help thousands of patients deal with hair loss every year. So here are our top tips for finding a wig that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
Wearing a wig is a great short-term solution for hiding hair thinning and alopecia. However, some people prefer to opt for a more permanent fix, especially if your hair loss is irreversible.
Female pattern hair loss and frontal fibrosing alopecia can both cause permanent hair loss in women. So you may prefer to seek a hair loss solution that treats rather than hides your condition. Here are some of the most popular alternative hair loss treatments for women:
Before deciding whether a wig or another treatment is best for you, it’s essential to get a hair loss diagnosis. Women’s hair loss can have complex underlying causes, so hair loss blood tests and other assessments are often needed to diagnose your condition.
At the Wimpole Clinic, we work with women of all ages to diagnose and treat their hair loss. Whether you want advice on hiding your hair loss or treating your symptoms, our patient advisors can help. Book your consultation with our friendly, non-judgmental team to get started.
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