Chemo / Cancer Wigs
Do I have to have/wear a synthetic wig while under going chemotherapy?
The short answer is NO.
I had someone reach out to me through a direct message after I made an online post in a hair community page. She was adamant that cancer patients should only have synthetic wigs. She went on to say that the cancer society does not endorse human hair wigs nor does the Look Good Feel Better foundation.
I disagree with her.
Cancer treatments can be aggressive and very taxing on the body physically and emotionally. Losing your hair can be one of the hardest parts of treatment.
Ethically, I like to educate guests on the pros and cons of each style so they can make their own informed decision.
Human hair behaves like human hair. Which can be good and bad. 90% of all hair used to make wigs and hairpieces is either Indian or Chinese. Indian hair has more wave/curl whereas Chinese is silky straight. Living in a wet climate like Vancouver we are exposed to a lot of RAIN. Which means that Indian hair wigs will tend to get frizzy and Chinese hair wigs will lose curl very quickly. Also they have to be restyled after every wash. This is time consuming but, most wigs don't need to be washed often. Once a month on average with a cleansing refresh on the inside of the cap after each wear. So, if you think of it that way... once a month it needs a wash and restyle which could be done through an experienced stylist or wig shop.
Synthetic hair has come a long way in quality and realism! Reputable companies like Jon Renau make gorgeous synthetic wigs in very trendy color styles - rooted, ombre, highlights, lowlights. Keep in mind that you cannot alter the color of synthetic hair. Synthetic hair will maintain the style even after getting wet making it much easier to take care of. You can give it a quick wash, put it on your wig block and it will be EXACTLY the same. Great for ladies that want the same style. Less great for ladies that like to switch it up. You can use a low heat to restyle "heat defiant" synthetic wigs. It can be a bit challenging if you have never done it before. The one downside is synthetic has extra shine. Depending on the color sometimes the shine catches your eye and makes it more obvious that it is a wig. It can be muted with a dry shampoo spray.
The price points of synthetic vs human can be the biggest determining factor. Human hair wigs on average start around $2500 (keep in mind I'm writing this from Canada) and go up from there depending on length. Really good synthetics are around $500. What I hear most form clients is that cancer related hair loss is temporary so they may not see the value in human hair. They are totally right, it is temporary. It all comes down to how you want to walk through the world. What option makes you feel the best. Some ladies are proud and wear nothing at all. Some find a beautiful synthetic fits their needs. And others want something that feels as close to their bio hair as possible. All are perfect choices.
Check out the pics below. Two great examples of Jon Renau human vs synthetic. Both are beautiful wigs. You can see my wig cap peaking through the mono.