Wigs have undoubtedly become one of the most popular women’s hair accessories in recent years. Celebrities who experiment with their looks through wigs, and their strong exposure to social media, have contributed to the rising popularity of wearing wigs at different occasions and events. Wigs have been used and considered fashionable even as early as the era when Egyptians were establishing their power. However, for the last five decades, donning a wig has been a necessity for women who suffer from hair loss caused by alopecia areata.
I once had a colleague from work who tried to conceal the bald patches on her head due to alopecia with hairpins and wide headbands. However, at our overnight seminar workshops or teambuilding activities, Jean was always reluctant to participate. The reason? She felt uncomfortable sleeping at night and waking up the next day with her bald patches exposed to her roommates. Many others like Jean feel anxious during sleepovers with their partners/boyfriends or friends for the same reason. One remedy suggested to alleviate their anxiety is to wear a wig when sleeping. This article hopes to address some concerns about this so here are the top 5 FAQs about sleeping in wigs and other helpful information
1. What should I consider before sleeping in my wig?
First off, you should consider your level of comfort, because wearing a wig during sleep may affect your quality of sleep. If the wig feels like a second skin to you, then go for it. However, if it annoyingly prevents you from reaching dreamland, then find an alternative instead, such as wrapping your head with a scarf or turban. Then ask yourself, “What kind of a sleeper am I?” If you sleep like a mummy, meaning you don’t move a lot, you may wear a mid-length or long wig. But if you keep tossing and turning in bed, a wig with a shorter cut is more preferable. Such a style of wig is not prone to tangle, matting and stretching, thus the style can last longer.
2. What type of sleeping wig is better: a synthetic wig or a human hair wig?
Both types of wigs can be worn while sleeping, but each has its own qualities. Synthetic hairpieces are made of simulated hair-like fibers which are attached to a base of lace either by machine or human hand. They are less expensive and have a permanent style but they don’t look very natural (like human hair) and can be not resistant to heat. On the other hand, human hair wigs are obviously made of real human hair. They are natural-looking, feel really smooth and soft to the touch, but they are costly and require more effort to maintain. Regardless of what type of wig you wear while sleeping, it is important to choose one which has a lace front cap construction.
3. Why are lace front cap constructed wigs more suitable for sleeping?
This type of wig is manufactured with a very fine lace panel situated on the front of the wig’s hairline. Each strand of hair is then manually stitched into the lace. They are durable because sturdier materials are used to make the wig, so it can sustain your movements while sleeping. Another advantage of a lace front wig is that it is stretchable, so you are assured that your whole scalp area is covered, making your hairline look very natural. Plus its thin and light materials allow you to move with ease in your sleep. Using this as your sleep wig will make your partner, friends or housemates believe that your crowning glory is au naturel.
4. How do I maintain my sleeping wig in good condition for a longer time?
You have to always remember that wigs are not natural healthy hair so with regular use, styling and exposure to environmental factors such as sunlight, wind and cold weather, their lifespan may stretch from 4 to 6 months to a year. But if you take good care of your substitute hair, you can benefit from using it for up to two years. Here are some helpful tips on how you can ensure the longevity of your wigs, especially when you sleep in them most nights of the week:
A: If you are using wigs during the day and during sleeping time, it is advisable to use a separate wig for each time. This will prevent both wigs from getting overused and abused, which will cause them to get thinned and worn out fast. So find a wig that you can slip on when you go to work or school, and another one which you may fondly call “my precious sleeping wig”.
B: A basic yet very important way of taking care of your sleeping wig is to brush all the tangles from the hair before using it at night and upon waking up the following morning. Doing this will get rid of the tangles and frizz that can damage the wig. Otherwise, the hair will become brittle and difficult to untangle if you miss brushing it regularly. Make it a habit to brush your sleeping wig and it will reward you with extended use for more restful sleep at night.
C: Wig experts highly recommend that your sleeping wig should be washed and conditioned weekly using the appropriate hair products for synthetic wigs or human hair wigs, depending on whichever type you prefer. Brush the hair prior to washing it so that loose hairs are taken out. Remember to handle your wig gently while washing and conditioning it to make sure you don’t accidentally rip or tear the wig’s thread construction. Afterward, wash the inside of the wig’s cap meticulously to remove excess hair products used in washing and conditioning. Your scalp may suffer from itching if there is a residue of chemicals from the shampoo and conditioner. Finally, let the hair dry by putting it on a wig stand. Human hair wigs can be blow-dried, but synthetic wigs are better dried by natural air.
D: Our scalp produces natural oils, so to protect your sleeping wig’s cap from absorbing the oil, place a fine and clean liner made of cotton under the wig. Aside from adding comfort to your sleep, its main function is to lessen the accumulation of oil inside the wig’s cap. Remember that if there’s a build-up of oil in the cap, the hair knots could snag which may result in loosening some strands of hair. With the use of a cotton liner to prevent the wig’s cap absorbing the natural oil from your scalp, the oil is retained in your scalp, which can promote hair growth. Talk of hitting two birds with one stone!
E: Cotton pillowcases are good, but those made of satin or silk are much better to use if you sleep in your wig. The reason is that satin or silk fabric enables your hair wig to “glide” smoothly and easily from side to side (especially if you often move when you sleep). Silk or satin pillowcases have soft and light fibers that are not harsh on your wig’s hair strands. They allow frictionless contact with your hair, whereas cotton pillowcases have heavier fibers that can tangle your hair strands. So the verdict of wig experts? Silk or satin pillowcases are indeed “wig friendly”.
F: If your sleeping wig style is medium to long, then one way to protect it from damage is to wear it in a low side ponytail with a soft band, or you can style it in a loose side braid. Styling your sleeping wig in this manner will keep the hair together safely on one side. This can prevent tangling and matting of the hair as it isn’t all over your pillow. Just always remember to brush the hair thoroughly but gently the moment you wake up in the morning.
5. How often should I sleep in my wig?
Just like any human being, wigs also need some rest. Decide on the circumstances in which you really need to sleep in your wig and take all necessary care. But if you are in a situation that doesn’t require you to hide your bald spots or severely thinning hair from anyone outside of your family, then give yourself the freedom to savor a good night’s sleep as your natural self – bald patches and all. Your sleeping wig will thank you for giving it a much deserved vacation, too.
For people with alopecia, sleeping wigs have become a saving grace from worries and anxieties about their appearance. It’s like an instant, albeit temporary, solution to being less awkward about exposing their imperfect hair and scalp condition to people who are unaware of their situation. With the comfort and security of these sleeping wigs provide to those who need them, they can treat their wigs with love and care like it’s their own natural crowning glory.