Finding out you are going to lose your hair from cancer treatment is frightening, heartbreaking and overwhelming. A wig can provide great comfort to women undergoing cancer treatment because cancer is such a private matter. Many women don’t want coworkers or neighbors to be aware of their personal health issues. A wig that looks just like your hair is a great way to keep looking and feeling like “you” during this hard time, which is why we create wigs only for cancer patients.
With spring in the air, here are a few tips and tricks to help wig wearers through the upcoming months:
- Consider using a hair sunscreen. You don’t need to use it every day since the wig is only washed every couple weeks. If you’re a sun goddess, once a week will still suffice. Wigs do not sweat, so it will remain on until you wash it out.
- All of that fresh air and sun can dry out your wig. Since it does not get natural oils from your scalp, you need to add oil to the ends of your natural hair wig. Make sure to use only Argan oil, and only on the ends. Getting oil into the cap is not good for the wig.
- Your head is not used to sun exposure. Always wear sunscreen when you are not wearing a wig. On these occasions, wear a hat or head covering to protect your delicate scalp. Remember, pretty woven hats have tiny holes. Unless you wear a light cap or bandana under these hats, you will get little sunburn marks.
- Do not swim in a pool, lake, or ocean with your wig on. Wading in is fine. Getting splashed a little isn’t going to harm the wig, but bacteria or chlorine found in bodies of water are not good for any kind of wig.
- Many women are using coconut oil on their scalps. I cannot say for sure that it works to promote hair growth. What is certain, however, is that coconut oil does not belong on a wig. It may feel like all of the oil absorbed into your scalp, but it leaves an oily residue behind. This residue will start building up in your wig and could potentially damage the cap or cause the wig to shed hair. For this reason, using heavy oils on your scalp is not recommended.
- To freshen up a sweaty wig in the summer, try dry shampoo. You will still have to wash your wig regularly, but if you are heading straight to the beach from dinner, for example, dry shampoo offers a good way to keep the fun going without stopping to wash “your” hair.
I am always getting asked why I ended up starting Chrysalis Custom Hair. Here’s the story…
“Your hair is so cute,” I said to the woman standing next to me in a crowded bar. It was crazy curly and stacked on top of her head, wrapped in a silk scarf. It reminded me of a tropical plant that had been bound so that it would grow upwards. She asked me if her friends put me up to saying that. “No, I just liked it so I thought I would tell you,” I replied. It turns out that she had lost her trademark long blonde hair to chemotherapy and what I was complimenting was her re-growth. She must have told me 20 times how I made her day- “no, my year,” she said.
I spent a few hours chatting with her and her two friends, all cancer survivors. They kept going on about the organization that brought them all together. The next day I looked up that organization and signed up to be a volunteer. Over the next few years I spent more and more time helping cancer fighters learn about how important it is to get support. My work volunteering in cancer support gave my life meaning. It made me feel like I was doing something to help people who needed help. I always walked away feeling grateful and strong after talking to these amazing fighters.
Strength is exactly what I needed to make it through a tough divorce, so I threw myself into volunteering even more. One day as I was getting my own hair done and whimpering to my stylist about my blank resume from years of being a stay at home mom, he suggested I work for him. He wanted to start working on women’s wigs. Since I did “all of that cancer stuff” he thought maybe I could help him. By working in a salon and talking to cancer patients extensively I realized cancer wigs are different from other kinds of wigs and should be treated accordingly.
Use the tips above to keep your wig and scalp looking and feeling great through the warm months of spring and summer. We at Chrysalis Custom Hair want you to have every day be a “beautiful hair day.”