At The Unexpected Gift we carry a number of wigs. Mainly we concentrate on synthetic wigs. When I bought my own wig 4 years ago, I went for something that I would never naturally have. I decided on a reddish coloured bob, straight hair. I had curly hair, but when I tried wigs on – I thought why not be different for a while. The wig worked and I was pleased with it. However, knowing what I know now about purchasing a wig for hair-loss due to chemotherapy, I had no idea what I was buying back then.

There is a science to wigs, how they fit, how they are made and how they are priced. Much of the science is based on the cap design. You may ask why The Unexpected Gift focuses on synthetic wigs for hair-loss, I find the ease of caring for synthetic a huge selling point. Personally, when I was in the midst of cancer treatment, I was exhausted. The thought of styling a real-hair wig was unappealing to me. I do understand that some women desire the normalcy of a real hair wigs, and the routine of styling one’s hair is important. It is simply a personal choice. Real hair wigs are simple to order in and can be in stock in less than a week.

When a person loses their hair due to chemotherapy, purchasing a wig can be overwhelming. When do I buy one? Should I wait until I have lost all of my hair? How do I try one on with hair? These questions are important. When I purchased my synthetic wig, I decided to buy it in advance of losing my hair. I wanted to be prepared for the hair-loss and I wasn’t sure how chemotherapy was going to affect me. I still had all of my hair and it was fine trying wigs on.

For hygiene reasons and to take down the hair, a nylon is used by the wig fitter. This allows people to try on wigs and not worry about others who have previously tried the wig on and it also compresses the bulk of your existing hair. The questions may be overwhelming, but at The Unexpected Gift we try to make purchasing a wig a simple and and easy process.

How do I chose? What is the difference between wig cap designs? Well, there are quite a few options. Here are some of the basics when deciding on a synthetic or real-hair wig.

Cap designs:
Lace front with monofilament wigs – some of these can be machine tied or hand tied, hand -tied wigs being more costly. A lace-front wig provides a natural hairline. The monofilament area allows the part to change, meaning that it can be parted which ever way you are used to wearing your hair. It also really looks like your scalp under the hair, if the wind is blowing, the hair moves naturally and no netting (or wefting) is seen.

If it is hand tied, that means each strand is individually tied therefore, making them more pricey.

Most wigs have ear tabs. These are important for not only putting the wig on, but also for ensuring it is on straight and you are not walking around like a fraggle rock character…I just aged myself!!

As well, most wigs have adjustable tags at the back that either work with velcro or small hooks. These allow you to adjust the size of the wig. Most wigs come in average, but some brands offer petite and large.

Lace front with a mono part wigs – very similar to the previous wig, but rather than a full front of cap monotop, only the part has the mono type cap. This cap design also allows for parting the synthetic wig hair the way that you wear it. It is simply a smaller area and therefore the price is a bit less.

Lace front cap wigs – again the lace front offers the look of a natural hairline and are often hand-tied. The main difference with this style of wig is it has machine wefting throughout the cap. The wefting allows for ventilation. In synthetic wigs of this nature, because the hair is sown directly into the wefting, there is less movement and usually, the part is sewn in and cannot be moved from side to side. This wig is quite economical and works very well depending on the style that you are looking for.

There are a number of combinations of the wigs described above, but mainly these wig caps are the most common.

Another consideration when purchasing a synthetic hair wig, is of course the shape of your head. Depending on the wig construction, some wigs look better on certain people. I always suggest that a person tries on a number of wigs that they like to find one that best suits them. There are times when a person tries on a wig they would have never chosen and it is the one. That is because it has been constructed for a certain shaped head – round, oval, heart-shaped, square.

There are other options for people who have hair-loss due to cancer treatments. There are hair-toppers that are affixed with an elastic headband. These are not full wigs. These are designed to be worn with a hat or scarf to cover the head, but then there is the look of hair or bangs depending on the style you purchase. Items like this for hair-loss are much less expensive and provide more comfort than a wig.

Yes, I said it, wigs are not comfortable! On top of the hot flashes from chemotherapy, wigs are hot and a itchy. It’s the truth – remember Samantha in that Sex in the City episode wear she is at the podium under the lights and she is dripping sweat from her head and she whips off her wig. It’s a bit exaggerated, but not false.

Wigs can be ordered in many hair colours, so if I do not have the colour you want in stock, it can be ordered. If I do not carry a certain style and you see it in a catalog, it can be ordered. When it comes to purchasing a wig because you are losing your hair due to chemotherapy, or really any other reason like alopecia, I try to make your experience as easy as possible.

The individual must really love their wig, so they feel confident and comfortable wearing it. If it does not look good, or I can see you are unsure – I won’t sell it.

I get where you are coming from and I simply don’t want you to be uncertain in any way. I look forward to helping you in any way that I can while you are going through cancer and cancer treatment. If you are looking for a real-hair or synthetic wig come see me and we can chat, it’s my unexpected gift to you!!