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Topic: wig advice

Forum: Chemotherapy - Before, During, and After —

Regimens, side effects, and support from others going through chemo.

Posted on: May 31, 2009 07:56PM

Leah_S wrote:

I am an Orthodox Jew, and so for religious reasons I have been covering my hair (hats/scarves/wigs) since I got married. Since that's almost 33 years, I thought I would post some information/advice about wigs and wig care.

Style - if possible, choose a style and color that is similar/the same as your current hair style. It will be easier to accept the way you look, and might also keep casual acquaintances from asking questions you don't want to answer.

Whether to get a synthetic or human hair wig depends on many thing. A good quality synthetic wig will look and feel good, but won't last as long as a human hair wig. However, since a decent synthetic wig should last for at least a year, there's no reason to spend a lot more on a human hair wig if you find a synthetic that you like. However, a human hair wig is usually lighter and more comfortable.

Care - if you're going to be taking care of it yourself, use very good quality shampoo and conditioner. Synthetic wigs usually keep their set when you wash them, so you just need to put them on a wig stand to air dry. Human hair wigs can be styled with rollers etc the same way your hair is. However, if you use a blowdryer, do so only until the wig is ALMOST all dry and let it air dry for the rest. If you use hot rollers, do so ONLY when the wig is dry. Use a brush with plastic bristles, preferably the type with little balls on the end of the bristles. If the wig is long (over your neck) you'll need to brush the inside where it touches you neck since it tends to get tangled there.Don't be afraid to brush it frequently.I brush most of my wigs every time I wear them. If you want it set by a professional, you're best off finding someone wo does a lot of wigs. I've been told by a number of hairdressers that working with wigs and working with hair are different. Wigs don't need to be shampooed or styled very often.

Keep it on a wig stand when you're not wearing it. To keep it free from dust, cover it with a kerchief (silk or synthetic, it doesn't matter).

Wigs are designed to be worn over hair, which is why so many women who have lost their hair find them itchy. If you can get a wig liner where you get your wig, that will help. If you can't get one, a cotton cap is good (the kind football players sometimes wear under their helmets) or you can cut the foot and lower leg part off of a pair of pantyhose and use that. I've been using the cotton cap since I lost my hair and find it comfortable.

If you get your wig before you lose your hair, make sure the cap is adjustable. It should have two stretchy tabs that attach with either a flat hook or with velcro on the sides of the cap.

If I think of anyting else, I'll post it on this thread.

Now, you would think that since I've been covering my hair for so many years it wouldn't bother me to lose my hair.

You would be wrong.

Leah

.............

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 31, 2009 10:57PM apple wrote:

Leah - i have enjoyed the wry humor in your posts...a little story, then a surprise ending.

Nice post about wigs... very helpful.  I cannot stand to wear them..besides, the discomfort,  i feel like a boy in drag or something.. not myself at all.  I do suppose i'll be needing a wig sometime in my future.  I will be sure to get a liner.

peace and love, apple - ..... Mary Magdalen Dx 4/10/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2+
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Jun 27, 2009 09:49PM Leah_S wrote:

Thought I would add - if you get a wig with bangs (a fringe for our English friends) then the loss of eyebrows is less noticeable since long bangs will cover eyebrows. In general they make a wig look more natural since you don't see the "wig line" (at the brow) that way.

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 27, 2009 09:57PM pinkmama wrote:

Thank you Leah for the information.  Very informative. 

I am being treated at a Jewish Hospital in Canada and I see many Jewish girls wearing scarves that seem to have a bun in the back.  They look so pretty.  Could you explain how that is tied?  I would love to know. 

Dx 3/12/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 6/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Sep 24, 2009 06:30PM Leah_S wrote:

sorry pinkmama for not answering before - I didn't see your post! Anyway, the bun-look under the scarf wouldn't help us much since it's ususally because there is  bun underneath the scarf!

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 3, 2009 02:03PM Leah_S wrote:

bump

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 3, 2009 02:42PM Piffken wrote:

Hi Leah,

As you can see, I found it. Thank you do much, this is great. I have actually copied it into Word and will print it out and take it with me to the store. I have absolutely no idea where to start on this journey, so I really, really appreciate your taking the time to post this. Piffken

Dx 9/4/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/10 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 3, 2009 03:54PM Leah_S wrote:

Piffken, I'm glad it helped. Best of luck!

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 3, 2009 06:51PM Leah_S wrote:

bump

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 21, 2009 02:13PM Rachel_BC wrote:

bump

For Heidi Ho & WendyV ... I am doing all I can to show I appreciate my life, my kid, the whole shebang OncotypeDX 17 No Chemo, Lump & RADs & Tamoxifen & Dark Chocolate... soon Zometa Dx 1/26/2009, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 21, 2009 03:31PM CoolBreeze wrote:

I wonder if this could be cut and pasted into the sticky about where to buy wigs and scarves?  This is good information!

One question I have is where is a good place to get wigs?  I don't want to buy any without trying them on - and there aren't a lot of wig shops in my town.  And, they seem to have more old-fashioned styles.  I'm old but trendy. :)  

The only online wig shop I've seen that allows returns in TLC direct, and there aren't a lot there I like either.  In fact, only one I like.

Ann's cancer blog: www.butdoctorihatepink.com .....multicentric/multifocal IDC/ILC+DCIS/LCIS/ADH Official dx? "Your breast was a mess." ~UniMastectomy/Chemo/Herceptin/Tamoxifen/Recon Almost Done! Oh wait. mets to liver 5/21/11 Now Stage IV Dx 8/17/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Nov 21, 2009 03:48PM hrf wrote:

If there is a Jewish community in Sacramento or close by you might be able to find some nice wig shops there because Orthodox Jewish women always keep their heads covered and many of them use wigs. I went to a place like that and they were very nice - they have lots of women going through chemo who also come in.

BRCA2+ first dx in Oct. 2004 2nd dx Feb. 2009 a new primary
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Nov 21, 2009 04:17PM CoolBreeze wrote:

Thank you!  There is a small Jewish community and I'll find out.   The synagogue is near me, although I believe most of the women here are not conservative - that may just be the ones I know of course.

It's news to me that orthodox women covered their hair with wigs!  My great-grandparents  would be rolling in their graves - I come from a long line of rabbis - back over 100 years.  But, it's on my dad's side, my mom was a Catholic. Dad was a rebel.

Ann's cancer blog: www.butdoctorihatepink.com .....multicentric/multifocal IDC/ILC+DCIS/LCIS/ADH Official dx? "Your breast was a mess." ~UniMastectomy/Chemo/Herceptin/Tamoxifen/Recon Almost Done! Oh wait. mets to liver 5/21/11 Now Stage IV Dx 8/17/2009, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Dec 31, 2009 03:19PM Leah_S wrote:

bump for those wo need it in the New Year.

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 28, 2010 12:36PM Leah_S wrote:

bump for daysixty and her mother

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 28, 2010 04:39PM Luah wrote:

I learned my lesson with wigs.  Purchased a cheap one online and never felt right in it.

Yesterday I called up a local wig shop that is often recommended by doctors and hospitals treating patients with alopecia or chemo hair loss. I made an appointment, went in and sat at the back behind a curtain in a salon chair. The owner put on various options - she was very good at picking styles that suited me, similar to my own hair colour, texture and length.  She was SOOOO nice and helpful.  Once I decided, she modified the cap to fit - it is very comfortable, not scratchy or itchy at all, very light - and styled in some soft bangs.  Granted, this wig is 6 times the cost of the online wig I bought, but even so, I figure it's worth it for my confidence and its quality - I can't believe how natural it looks.  It is a human/synthetic blend which is kind of the best of both worlds - easy to look after, natural looking, doesn't cost a mortgage payment.  

Insurance companies will cover the cost; without insurance, in Canada a wig for medical reasons  qualifies as a deductible medical expense. In Ontario no PST either.        

We've been through some things together/With trunks of memories still to come/Long may you run (Neil Young). Lx, ALND, 4 DD AC &12 weekly Taxol, 31 rads, completed Jul 10 Dx 9/14/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 28, 2010 08:18PM Leah_S wrote:

I've read that for insurance purposes, the wig is called a "cranial prosthesis", so you make the request this way. I think the wig shop is also supposed to put that on the receipt, but I'm not sure. The vocabulary we learn with BC!

I'm glad your experience at the wig shop was good. Luah. I hope you get a lot of good use out of your wig!.

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 30, 2010 01:30PM Leah_S wrote:

bump for maggie14

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 7, 2010 08:46PM Leah_S wrote:

bump for elliemae

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 13, 2010 08:10PM Leah_S wrote:

bump again

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 15, 2010 06:51PM krcll wrote:

Bumping for our new sisters that are just starting out. Here is also a copy of what I wrote back in August when I was trying to figure out how to tie scarves. Maybe it would help someone.

Hi-

I'm sure you've figured it all out, but for others out there that are wondering, I have found some suggestions:

http://www.kangausa.com/tie,traditionalheadwrap.htm

 http://www.kangausa.com/tie,backtwistturban.htm

 http://images.google.no/imgres?imgurl=http://www.africaimports.com/images/step1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.africaimports.com/puttingonaheadwrap.htm&usg=__IB7YHUqZIpTfMuz_DkyNv9FWNOk=&h=432&w=576&sz=37&hl=en&start=11&um=1&tbnid=UCe25qPx9kqyeM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=134&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dheadwraps%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DX%26um%3D1

 http://images.google.no/imgres?imgurl=http://www.therainbowshop.com.au/html/images/products/xtras/headwrap_earth_03.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.therainbowshop.com.au/html/products.php%3Fp%3D2&usg=__XCKxg456RFZRqufnbgpiD1MHi-Y=&h=600&w=400&sz=28&hl=en&start=49&um=1&tbnid=JIFiLYZfzSkM2M:&tbnh=135&tbnw=90&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dheadwraps%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26start%3D36%26um%3D1

 http://www.4women.com/fabrics/silk/

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfDuz8-mKvw

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVA865WgjQs&feature=related

I'm starting chemo in a month and was horrified how the wigs that I've tried looked and felt on me! Then I tried some "chemo scarfs" (pre-tied) and they made me feel really "old lady-ish" and they were expensive. I'm only 48 and still try to be a little hip (O.K., I'm sure I don't manage it, but at least  I'm trying!)  so  I was really upset about having to look dumpy for 7 months. I feel dumpy enough as it is having to be a patient and having one breast lopped off! I mean, after 40, my best body parts have been my breasts and hair! Anyway, after seeing some of these web sites and YouTube tutorials I am now excited about trying out all the styles. Since most of the styles are african, some of them might look a little too ethnic on american-norwegian me, but they are really easy to do and certainly don't look too "fiddler on the roof"! Anyway, I just wanted to share my research!


FEC100/Taxol/rads/Tykerb/Herceptin (ALTTO trial) and Femara Dx 7/29/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 9/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 26, 2010 01:26PM Leah_S wrote:

bump for KelliGA

Does anyone know how to pin this thread?

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 8, 2010 07:34PM Leah_S wrote:

bump for ivorymom

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 13, 2010 01:05PM mslrg wrote:

Coolbreeze--just saw your post. I live in the Sacramento area too, and got two wigs from Wigs R U on Auburn Blvd. One was free, donated by the AMerican Cancer Socoiety. I'm sure by now you have your wig purchased. The store is a little old fashioned, but they have a lot of styles to choose from. I prefer to try on before buying because seeing a picture of a wig on a model online or in a catalog doesn't really let me know how it will look on me. The ladies at WIgs R U also shaved my head for me when I got to looking like the crypt keeper and just needed it all gone--that is a free service. They also have private rooms for those of us who are self-conscious about being seen bald.
Ms. LRG Dx 9/11/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 27, 2010 01:46PM ghostie wrote:

Thank you Leah! I have a question for you. Since you had worn wigs for many years over your natural hair...

Does it inhibit the growth of your hair or disturb it in some way, by keeping it covered under a wig most of the time? My own hair is just beginning to grow back, and I want to encourage it if possible. But because of my work, I wear a wig nearly all day. I've wondered if the wig may be squeezing my head or preventing it from fresh air, or other things that will make my hair grow back more slowly. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated!

Dx 8/27/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 6, 2010 12:01PM undecided8 wrote:

I have a question about wig caps. I've worn wigs twice now but just recently started wearing the wig caps underneath the wig. Are they supposed to be so dang tight??? Mine is SO tight around the edges that it almost gives me a headache. Is this normal or do I just have a big head??? lol  I really like the idea of wearing a cap underneath to preserve my wigs and maybe be able to wash them a little less though.

Suzanne

Original Dx.2/08 Recur 2/10 in bones, 2 distant lymph nodes. ER/PR- Her2+ 9/10 bones & lymph nodes clear, met in lung. Dx 2/4/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 7/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 14, 2010 10:54AM ghostie wrote:

bump

Hoping that Leah takes a look at this sometime soon. And for Suzanne, you are not alone. I think that all the wig caps seem too tight also. But when I measured my head and compared it to the charts supplied by wig manufacturers, it says my head is a little on the small side. Maybe we're supposed to want the stuff tight, but it hurts!

Dx 8/27/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 20, 2010 12:27PM - edited Jun 20, 2010 12:34PM by CEBsMom

Bless You, Leah!  I start my chemo tomorrow and am still agonizing over the wig.  Never really considered myself vain but now I'm beginning to wonder...   I appreciate all your advice!

CEBs Mom

CEBs Mom Dx 5/5/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/16 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 11, 2010 01:11PM MBJ wrote:

Hello Ladies!  I am finally moving out of the wig phase and wore my real hair out for the first time (although it's only 1 inch long Frown) but I wanted to share my own experience with wigs and what I found out and what I purchased.  Monofilament wigs are the most comfortable, although more expensive.  I purchased a real hair wig before losing my hair.  I took my hair stylist with me to find something that she knew would work.  I paid her $30 for her time even though she didn't want to charge me.  It took under an hour to find something close to my own color (dark brown) and length (just above the shoulders).  I then made an appointment with her to cut and weave in some lowlights to look just like my own hair which she did while I was wearing it.  Most people didn't know it was a wig and I received so many complements on it.  I purchase this wig for around $250 but have since found this type for around $100 at a less expensive store in the mall.  Last month I got really bored with my great wig and went shopping for a new style.  I ended up picking out a blonde bob that I had trimmed for free in the shop to get the bangs and the length just right.  This time I chose a fake hair wig because I didn't think I would wear it as often but it was also monofilament which is worth it for the comfort.  I never wore anything underneath the wig.  It's hot and uncomfortable enough without adding the cap!  The first time I wore it out everyone knew it was a wig and I felt uncomfortable.  Then I washed it and after air drying it looked more natural.  I then added a bit of hair wax to give it some texture and then I put a few braids in it and a couple barrettes.  After I did this, it looked more natural.  I was so inspired that I bleached my hair and now I really am a blonde!  Good luck with your chemo and in finding good wigs.  If you don't have anything nearby, there is a site that has cute, hip wigs that I was going to buy but I live in Los Angeles where I didn't need to do this:  www.headcovers.com/wigs/womens...
MBJ-Unilateral MX-METS ENTIRE LIVER, BONES Dx 2/3/2012, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 15, 2010 08:53PM lisa34lisa wrote:

I have never had chemo.  But, I'm certain that one day I will.  This thread is WONDERFUL!  Thanks for taking the time to post it. 

:)

"You don't get to decide how you die. You do, however, get to decide how you live"! Dx 3/5/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Aug 16, 2010 12:52PM poodleluvbug wrote:

I have just lost my waist length blond hair. It fell out 19 days from the first chemo treatment. I feel bad that I am so vain but I feel just terrible and depressed about losing my hair. I have a ring of hair for under any hat that I got from fashion with compassion...i just googled hats with hair and found it. It is very nice and not shiny or thin...very thick and real looking. I can wear any hat with it and I can put it in a pony tail or pin some pieces back. I bought baseball caps in all colors to match my outfits and no one even looks twice at me when I am out in public. I was never a hat person but I guess I have to be one now.

Dx 5/18/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+

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