If you are undergoing [or expecting to undergo] chemotherapy and preparing to purchase a wig for the first time, don’t feel intimidated by what may seem like a strenuous process. There are indeed many steps – the initial consultation, choosing between colors and styles, being fitted and so on – but your local hair care professionals are there to help you from start to finish. Here are some important things to know in preparation for your first “chemo wig” and each of the steps that follow.
You need not spend a fortune for your wig to look 100% natural. Real hair wigs are more durable than synthetic wigs, and costlier as a result, but this does not mean synthetic wigs can’t look just as realistic. In fact, high-quality synthetic wigs can even fool some professional stylists, barring a close inspection. You will have a wider array of choices for colors, cuts and styles than you can imagine, and your hair care consultants will be just as focused on producing an all-natural look as you. Also, when trying on wigs, you will wear a nylon stocking cap, which only costs about two dollars on average.
If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, your insurance company may cover some or all of your wig’s cost. Also, the American Cancer Society often offers a free wig to cancer patients, which can be hand-picked at an office near you. On the average, synthetic wigs are less expensive than wigs of real hair, but the prices can vary widely, from as low as $50 to $1,000 or more.
When choosing between cancer wigs or chemo wigs, it can be a good idea to bring along a friend or two not just for support, but also to help you decide on the best look. For an initial consultation, however, it’s recommended to keep your number of guests down to one or two, as any more may cause distractions during what is a very important and detail-oriented process.
Your hair care consultants will do everything in their power to make your wig fit perfectly, and most wigs also contain sizing straps for further adjustment. There are also “cut-outs” which are placed above your ears to make the wig easier to put on straight. However, you’ll still have to try on each of your choices to find the best possible fit. If your wig feels itchy or your scalp is particularly sensitive, the nylon stocking cap you used for fitting will certainly help.
If you know you’re going to lose your hair to chemotherapy, it can be beneficial to cut it short before you begin to actually lose it. If you haven’t yet decided between a short or long hairstyle for your wig, cutting your hair will also allow you to test many different lengths and styles in advance.
Finally, it can never hurt to purchase a backup wig, so long as you can afford to do so and the backup wig is just as carefully-chosen and fitted as your first. In this case, it can even be a different style! You can always keep your options open.