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Summer Wigs
Article below is the courtesy of

When the heat's on, should you wear a wig made of:

  1. Synthetic hair,
  2. Natural human hair,
  3. A combination of both synthetic and natural hair, or
  4. None of the above?

The answer depends on your personal preference.

Youval Balistra, a hair stylist at Ralph Manne Salon in Wynnewood, PA, presents both synthetic and human hair wig options to women undergoing chemotherapy. He tries to meet each client before treatment, to evaluate her natural hairstyle, color, and texture. The wig is then ready when she needs it.

"The most important thing in the appearance of a wig is the styling and shaping of the haircut," Balistra says. He shapes both synthetic and human hair wigs to help them look more like real hair.

At a Glance

Synthetic Wigs
Synthetic wigs are an affordable choice, starting at about $30 in stores or online. Buy two: one to wash and one to wear. You might even want to change color and hairstyles to have fun and totally confuse your friends and family... as well as the postal carrier!

Natural Wigs
Although more expensive than synthetics ($100 and up), human hair wigs accept style and color changes well. Balistra says he often adds color highlights to create more natural-looking variations in shade.

Synthetic wigs

Synthetic wigs have a lot to recommend them. They hold their style, even if they get a bit wet in the pool or ocean. The fibers don't fade in the sun or turn colors. (But they can melt if you lean over an oven.)

While all wigs tend to be somewhat hot and itchy in the summer, lightweight synthetics are available. Their open-cap construction allows the head to breathe and heat to escape, so they're cooler to wear. Standard synthetics may be worn with a mesh wig liner that's like a fishnet stocking. This type of liner also helps keep your head cool.

Natural wigs

Some women prefer the look and feel of wigs made from human hair. The hair in natural wigs may be soft and silky, or more coarse. It is heavier than standard synthetics and often sewn on full lace caps, which can become hot.

The fibers are just like the hair that grows on your head—so in summer humidity, they may get flat or frizzy.

Over time, natural hair wigs can lose their luster and become a little dull looking. This happens because they lack the natural oils that usually sustain human hair when it's growing on your head.

Most wigs of both types have Velcro adjustments in the back to hold them on your head securely, even when you're strolling in an ocean breeze. No matter which type you wear, you'll probably sweat under it. For comfort, try a little cornstarch-based baby powder or a cotton liner.

Wig experts say to wash the wig (there are special shampoos) as often as you'd wash your own hair. You can do this at home. At the Manne Salon, wigs are shampooed and styled in a private room, usually once a week, and then fitted to the client and blow-dried.

On very hot days, you might decide to go without a wig and opt for turbans or hats. These, too, can cause your head to sweat. Choose cotton scarves and turbans to absorb the sweat and keep you cool.

At home, you may be most comfortable with nothing on top. Just remember, your scalp isn't used to sunlight and can burn easily. If you go outdoors in the daytime with no head covering, be sure to put plenty of sunblock (SPF 45, zinc-based) on your head, ears and face.

Ready to say "goodbye" to your wig?

You may have been wearing a wig for the past six months, during and after chemotherapy, and you're just not sure if your new hair is long enough to wear on its own.

You'd be surprised how fresh, sexy, and pretty very short hair can be. Try not to stay stuck on your pre-treatment look. Be open to a whole new approach to hair, until you have more hair and more options. Stylish earrings and nice lipstick or lip-gloss can make the new look even better.

The little hair you might have can go a long way. It can appear much shorter than it really is because a wig can flatten it. Try shampooing your hair and toweling it dry. Use a little gel or mousse for fullness. If you want to color your new hair, be gentle. Try a temporary dye that washes out after multiple shampoos.

If your wig was long and wearing the wig has been your secret, you might be concerned about shocking people when you stop wearing the wig. Consider having the wig cut shorter to ease the shock, or make the transition when you return from a vacation.

Many women come out of the breast cancer experience with new courage, boldness, and a "don't sweat the small stuff" approach. This new attitude can lead to a whole new personal look and style. Enjoy it if you can.