One of the key lessons I learned from the first “feminine image consultant” I went to, a wonderful woman named Wilhemina Beins, was that the most important item in a TG woman’s wardrobe is her wig. This is simply because the wig is likely to be worn with every outfit and is thus a big part of your personal “style”. In many ways your wig defines you. The best wigs are human hair wigs or at least blends of human and synthetic hair. I took her advice and we went shopping at a local wig salon where I spent over $400 on my first human hair blend wig. I wore it almost every day for years until I accidently damaged it with a too hot hair dryer while trying to dry it in a hurry (it was crispy!). Fortunately by that time eBay had come into being with lots of wig merchants. I was able to upgrade to a full human hair wig (for less than $400) which I colored myself to make it more interesting and then had styled at a local hair stylist (which is another story). Like my first one, it is sort of medium length with a mixed light/medium brown color. Human hair wigs are beautiful and natural looking but take LOTS of care. I learned how to wash it, apply conditioner, and then comb it out. I spent lots of time with curlers and/or curling irons, trying to give it shape and body. My attention to my wig is really the exception to my “get dressed fast” rule. As Wilhemina said, the wig is the most important part of your image and as such, I pay attention to it. Still its a lot of work.
At Denae’s suggestion, I decided to experiment a new wig from The Breastform Store. I wanted to both try out a different style as well as to revisit synthetic wigs. It has probably been more than 10 years since I even owned a synthetic hair wig, much less actually wore one. I have also pretty much had the same style for the same period. It was time to try something different.
The BFS carries lots of wigs, including human hair ones, but I picked one of their inexpensive synthetic hair wigs made by Estetica Designs in their “Risque” product line. While they use synthetic hair, they appeared to look natural and so I gave it a try. I figured it would save me some time as well as letting me try a different style than I had worn for years. I worked with a real person, Eden, in their customer service department who helped me pick a color and style. Having someone to talk to is a lot nicer than ordering in the “blind” from an ebay seller. She asked about eye color and skin tone and desired styles and then recommended a couple of options. Together we picked a style called “Reaction” which is shoulder length and with big curls. It cost a little more than $50, less than a ticket to the Symphony. Here is what it looks like:
As soon as I received it in the mail, I tried it on. It immediately passed the “fit test” as it fit comfortably on my head (which is rather large). If it fits my head, it will probably fit any head. The curls brushed out without only a small amount of work and with minimal hair loss. It took me some effort to get used to the curls as my regular wigs are shorter and mostly stay off my face. After awhile, though, it was sort of fun to have the curls bounce around. It helped soften my face and was unmistakenly feminine. It was clearly a fun, “kicky” look but probably years too young for me. Despite all the curls, there was only limited tangling as I wore it and moved around during the day. Those that did appear could be removed with just my hand.
I really liked the multiple colors in the wig. There were highlights throughout that kept it interesting and natural looking. It was not some boring monochrome wig. It was also not too “shiny”, a curse of many synthetic wigs.
One of the advantages of synthetics is that they are easy to wash and quick to dry. After wearing it for several hours, I washed and dried it. I followed the suggestion as to how to do it and the whole process was done in far less time time than with my human hair wig. Again, I was able to brush the tangles out with minimal effort and hair loss. Unlike many synthetic wigs, this one allows use of a curling iron to style it. While this particular wig did not need any more curls, I did try a curling iron on it with no ill effects. I was able to add some additional curls as well as straightening some of the original curls. This particular option would be more useful on styles that had much less curl.
So am I ready to switch to synthetic wigs to replace my human hair ones? Probably not, despite the ease of use and low cost. In the end, no synthetic wig will ever match the natural look and feel of a good human hair wig. The difference can be instantly felt just by running your hand through the hair. If you want to spend lots of time out in public and not have people detect the wig, going human hair is really the way to go. They may still figure out its a wig, but it is harder. For me, this wig would be fun to wear for a change to TG functions where one worries less about passing, but not for extended public outings.
For those TG girls who dress at home or spend limited time in public, it would work fine. It is fun to wear, easy to maintain, durable, and reasonably inexpensive. For not a lot of money, one could buy several and use them to develop your own personal style before buying a human hair wig. For the cost of one visit to a stylist (not to mention the cost of a human hair wig), one can get a whole new hair style! Most genetic women go through many hair styles before deciding on one they like (unlike us, they can grow out their mistakes). TG women can experience the same sense of fun and self discovery using wigs such as these.