August 30, 2012 3:57 am at 3:57 am #604727
Hello ladies of the Coffee Room,
Soon I will be accompanying my 60-year-old mother, whom I care for as she undergoes chemotherapy, when she searches for a wig to wear.
I am single and just beginning my entry into the Orthodox community, and my mother is not Orthodox — all of which is to say, neither of us have any experience with sheitels or wigs.
A neighbor advised my mother today that my mother should opt for a synthetic wig because it will not need to be styled nearly as much.
My mother and I will probably take a trip by car to some outlying Philadelphia suburbs, where we have heard that there are at least two stores that sell wigs (in Media and West Chester, PA, for those familiar with the area).
My mother has poker-straight, chin-length, dark blonde hair with some grey coming in, and she is seeking a wig that maintains this look as much as possible.
Based upon your experience, do you have any suggestions about what to look for in a wig to maintain that hair type as closely as possible, maintaining a “real hair” look without too much maintenance (since she is not up to much activity during chemotherapy)? Would you agree with our neighbor who recommends synthetic?
Any recommendations at all about the search process or wig qualities are so greatly appreciated by both my mother and me, and thank you!August 30, 2012 4:21 am at 4:21 am #894260
Aurora77 i have no wig experience either but i wish your mother a full and speedy refuah shleimah (complete healing).August 30, 2012 4:26 am at 4:26 am #894261
First of all, aurora, I hope your mom gets well soon.
I’ve never worn synthetic, but based on what I’ve been told about them by someone who does (who likes them) I do not recommend it for your mother.
Chemotherapy and the resulting hair loss is very traumatic and trying. I think it’s best to try to reduce any changes in not only appearance, but the feel of the hair, as much as possible.
Synthetics, I’ve been told, cannot be washed well. The look is less authentic than a human hair wig.
Many makers of human hair wigs are also very experienced working with people who have or will be experiencing hair loss due to medical conditions such as alopecia or chemotherapy.
They measure the size of a persons head, trace on paper the hairline edge, so that the cap of the wig fits well (not too tight or loose) and it will mimic a person’s own natural hair line.
They can also blend colors naturally (blonde and gray) whereas it might be more difficult to achieve an identical look to her own with a synthetic (meaning machine/ready made) wig. They can use hair that also has a similar texture to her own (straight).
Your mother would not need to sit for it to be washed and styled regularly. Once the wig salon knows how she likes it, she can have someone drop it off for her to be styled and picked up later that day.
Human hair wigs cost more, but there are different price ranges depending on who she goes to to have it made.
My sister wore a wig prior to marriage when she underwent chemo as well. It actually normalized how she felt when everything else was so upside down.August 30, 2012 4:47 am at 4:47 am #894262
Arggg! The former English major in me cringes…”neither of us has any experience,” not “have”! Sorry 🙁August 30, 2012 4:54 am at 4:54 am #894263
Sorry to hear about ur mom may she have a speedy recovery
I would not recommend a synthedic it is not neccesarily cheaper and it depenitly gives a un hair look
Go for a semi costum (costum out of box) in bklyn u can get them from 275 and up it gets washed and cut to ur liking and doesn’t have a high mantance to it and it will look real and make ur mom feel good not like she’s wearing a mom on her head. Good luckAugust 30, 2012 4:57 am at 4:57 am #894264
Two really beautiful posts already, almost bring me to tears! Thank you The Goq and mommamia22 for your kind wishes regarding my mother’s recovery…I hope and pray it will be so!
Mommamia22, you are a thoughtful, giving person to take the time you did to detail so clearly what goes into the wig-making process. Now I have a much clearer idea of what we will be doing, and your recommendations make a great deal of sense. I hope that your own sister recovered well and continues to be in good health.
What lovely people I have been blessed to come across in the CR!!! 🙂August 30, 2012 5:14 am at 5:14 am #894265
Thank you very much golden mom for your healing wishes and recommendations! I love the way you put it — “unhair look” — that is exactly what my mother wishes to avoid. It is good to begin to get a sense of price range, too.August 30, 2012 7:15 am at 7:15 am #894266
I have alopecia (for 16 years already). Had a wig for a short while. It was total horror, I hated it and got rid of it very fast.
To this day, that is why I don’t want my wife to go through that horror.August 30, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am #894267
Firstly, I’m sorry to hear that your mom needs to go through this now.
I know of a few people who wear synthetics. They do have easy maintenance. However, they are the ones that look most like wigs. I have never yet seen a natural looking synthetic wig.
If you want a really natural look, what they can often do to a wig is sew the hair in the front in backwards (from the inside of the net in the front as opposed to just from the outer side). What this accomplishes, is that the hair now seems to be coming directly from the scalp, instead of from the net. Ask whoever you go to about this option,as it can create the most natural appearance possible.
May she have a speedy recovery!August 30, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm #894268
As someone who has had chemotherapy I would recommend a hair shietel as it is lighter. I do wear a shietel but found it quite difficult during those months when I had absolutely no hair. I found wering a silicone band (Like a thin hair band) amazing because then the wig doid not rest completely on my head. Wishing you a refuoh shlaimo and loads of Patience. It is a difficult time but try and keep positive.August 30, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm #894269
Hello TCG, real Israeli, and Be Happy,
Thank you for the very helpful practical advice! And even more, thank you for the well wishes with regards to my mother’s recovery. It sounds as if there is a growing consensus for real hair wigs, if one is to be worn.
Be Happy, I hope that you have had a full recovery after your chemotherapy. TCG, I am sorry to hear about your condition, which I know is very trying — my father volunteers for and donates to a children’s alopecia non-profit for a family friend’s child who is going through this.
Your various insider tips on how to achieve the most natural look are priceless.August 31, 2012 1:06 pm at 1:06 pm #894270
I am B”H doing well. If you want to “talk” to someone who has been through the Parsha and may be able to offer some support and advice I will be happy for the mods to give you my email address. Wishing you and your mother all the best brochos in the world. THINK GOOD AND IT WILL BE GOOD!August 31, 2012 2:26 pm at 2:26 pm #894271
Thank you so much Be Happy, that is so generous and thoughtful of you! I am very glad to hear that you are doing well after treatment. That is very inspiring 🙂August 31, 2012 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #894272
My Mom liked her synthetic wig since the care was so easy. It is dark brown with some light grey streaks. She needed a stocking cap to wear underneath since when all the hair falls out sheitels can be very uncomfortable against the skin. Some will depend on her budget and what kind of care she is interested in putting into her sheitel. Synthetic sheitels, very nice, run about $350 max. Real hair sheitels can be much more and have to be washed more often to maintain style. Synthetic wigs can be washed at home and air dried with no professional styling.Refuah Shleimah! My Mom is in remission from stage 3B breast cancer for over 3 years now. She did use a lot of herbs to help her along with the chemo and radiation.August 31, 2012 3:45 pm at 3:45 pm #894273
I am very happy to hear that your mother is in recovery, and I pray that it continues! Thank you for your healing wishes for my mother, and also for the information on the positive aspects of synthetics.August 31, 2012 4:46 pm at 4:46 pm #894274
Aurora, if you can take your mom to a place where religious Jewish women buy wigs, it may be comforting to her to be among women for whom wearing wigs is a completely normal part of life. May your mom have a refuah shleimah!!August 31, 2012 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #894275
That is a great idea wanderingchana! You’re right I think — it could help her feel less stigmatized. Thank you for the wonderful suggestion and your well wishes for my mother.
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