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Many men and women find that wearing a wig helps to ease the stress of hair loss.Getting a good wig can boost your self-confidence. It needs to look good in order for you to feel good wearing it.You may be wearing it for up to a year. 

Today's wigs come in all styles and assortments and can be next to impossible to detect.

if you are thinking about wearing a wig, consider making the purchase before your hair falls out. That way you can match the color and texture - and, if you so desire, your hair style.

On the other hand, if you want to try a new style or color, an easy way to test what you would look like is to use one of the websites that allow you to upload a photo of yourself and try different hairstyles. For instance, see:

  • offsite link - free - for women only - 7 minutes to upload and align photo
  • offsite link free including men - 10 minutes to upload and align photo (click on "Makeover")
  • offsite link $14.95 for 3 months - includes men -apparently the most realistic -- 10 minutes "to shoot upoad and align phot"

Before purchasing a wig, it is advisable to learn:

Your hairdresser or barber can style your wig, and cut it for your face. It is likely your wig will need thinning to make it look more natural. Many wigs have between 10 and 30 percent too much hair.

Health insurance frequently pays for wigs

  • Prior to purchasing your wig call your insurance company to see if it will be covered under your health insurance, and if so, under what circumstances. Many insurance companies consider a wig to be a prosthetic for hair loss, not unlike the loss of a limb that requires a prosthesis.
  • If your insurance will cover the cost of your wig, ask your doctor to write a prescription for a "cranial prosthesis." Your receipt for the wig should also specify that it is a "cranial prosthesis."

Costs which are not covered by insurance may be tax deductible as medical expenses, especially if your doctor writes a prescription for it which describes the wig as a "prosthesis" or "a hair prosthesis required because of hair loss caused by cancer treatment." (For your income taxes, save a copy of your prescription and your receipt.

Free wigs are available throughout the country. For information, see: How To Get A Free Wig

NOTE: Consider having fun with a wig. For example:

  • Shop with your buddies.
  • Consider buying at least one cheap, fun, wig.
  • Consider buying a wig for every day of the week and every mood.

To Learn More

How To Choose A Wig

How to get a match to your existing hair and cut: To get the best match to your hair color and texture, there are two alternatives to consider::

  • Cut or save locks of hair from different areas of your head. Take photographs from several angles.
  • Buy the wig before your first chemotherapy or radiation treatment. If you also use your wig before treatment, it will also give you the opportunity to "ease" into wearing the wig before it is actually needed. The downside to this idea is that your wig may fit differently after hair loss.

What type of wig to consider:

  • Wig experts often recommend a combination of natural and synthetic hair. The synthetic portion of the wig is easier to style and the natural hair gives the wig a more authentic look. All natural-hair wigs are more difficult to maintain. Humid days have the same affect on hair whether it's in a wig or naturally on your head. You may in fact decide that a 100 percent synthetic wig suits your purpose. Wigs of synthetic hair do not need to be set and are not affected by humidity. Synthetic wigs are far less costly than all natural hair wigs.
  • Wigs that have loose mesh caps are cooler and more comfortable to wear.
  • In general, avoid wigs that need to be glued or taped down, or require tight elastic bands that place pressure on the scalp. These wigs can be irritating to the scalp. Too much pressure may even affect re-growth of hair. Instead, consider a wig with tape-tab materials known as "stickies". Stickies let you use double-sided tape to hold your wig in place. Preferably use hypo-allergenic double-sided tape.

Why a wig with a different color or style:

  • You may wish to choose a wig with a different color or style from your own to divert attention away from other physical changes that can occur. 
  • Think about playing with your wig and having fun with it. Diane E. bought a second wig "just to have fun with. It is red and short and spiky, very different from my own hair. Sometimes when I am feeling down I will put it on and it just makes me feel better. It allows me to express my sense of humor, which I think is very important when you are going through a very rough time."

Where To Purchase A Wig

You can purchase a wig in person, online, through a catalogue (such as TLC from the American Cancer Society offsite link), or by telephone.

In person provides the opportunity to try different styles and possibly receive a customized trim. If you want to purchase a wig in person,look for:

  • Specialty shops.
    • Some people have found it helpful to go to shops that specialize in wigs for orthodox Jewish women.
    • If you want an inexpensive fun wig or two, look for Halloween shops.
  • Department stores.
  • A sales person who will come to your residence.

To locate one of these stores in your area, ask your local cancer organization, ask a cancer buddy or search in your favorite search engine for words such as "wigs to purchase" and the name of your local city/town.

Before purchasing a wig that you don't first try on, confirm the company's return policy in advance of your purchase. Most companies will allow you to return a wig within a specified time period, providing that the tags are still attached.

How To Fit A Wig

  • The front of your wig should rest at your natural hairline. Pull the nape of the neck all the way down. If there is a cap, it should be worn behind the ears and all excess hair should be tucked behind the ears. 
  • Comb the front of your hairline down towards your face and trim your bangs if necessary. 
  • Test a wig's fit by shaking your head several times and leaning over. 
  • Consider wearing a wig for at least a half hour to make sure it is comfortable.

How To Care For A Wig

A new wig should come with instructions for care. Following are some general Do's and Do Not's to also consider:


Clean your wig.

  • Experts advise that a wig worn every day will need to be cleaned approximately every 10 to 14 days depending upon your lifestyle, environment and amount of perspiration.
  • Wigs should only be cleaned with hair care products specifically intended for wigs.
  • Before washing your wig, carefully pick, brush, or comb the wig thoroughly to avoid tangling and to remove any foreign particles.
  • Add the specified amount of wig shampoo (never use regular shampoo) to a sink filled with water.
  • Submerse the wig and gently "swish" for one or two minutes as you would with delicate clothing such as lingerie.Do not rub your wig.
  • Rinse the wig well in cold water, making sure to clean all products out of the base.
  • Add the recommended amount of wig conditioner. Adding wig conditioner at every cleaning will maintain the shine and manageability.

Dry your wig.

  • Gently blot your wig dry with a towel, removing all excess moisture.
  • Never squeeze or wring the water from your wig.
  • Dry your wig by placing it on a wire head form or a slender object such as a shampoo bottle and allow it to air-dry overnight.
  • Avoid storing your wig on a Styrofoam head.Styrofoam heads tend to stretch a wig.
  • Do not allow your wig to dry in direct sunlight.

After your wig has completely dried, fluff and comb out with light strokes.


  • Use a hear dryer, curling iron or electric rollers on a synthetic wig. They will damage the fibers.
  • Don't use rollers with heat. Rollers may only be used if no heat is applied.
  • Comb your wig when it is wet.
  • Although it may sound obvious, do not wear your wig when opening the oven door, standing near a barbecue grill, or any other source of intense heat.Temperatures of 160 degrees or higher will cause the fibers to frizz or melt.

Miscellaneous Tips For Wearing A Wig

When getting out of the back seat of a car or taxi: hold onto the wig so it doesn't catch on the clothing hook.

When cooking: When putting items into or taking them out of the oven, watch your wig. The heat could melt your hair.

Dressing: Avoid layers of clothes that go over your head when dressing.

Summer:: According to Cancer Today Magazine: In summer, wigs can be hot, You can have a cooler experience if you keep baby wipes in the freezer and use a cold one between your head and the wig. (NOTE: do not dispose of baby wipes by throwing them in the toilet.)