How to Pick a Wig: Tips for Cancer Patients

American Cancer Society, Volunteer
Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 12:30pm

Hair loss is a common side effect of cancer treatment, and for many women, wigs are the answer. But choosing the right wig can be a difficult decision. To eliminate some of the stress, I’ve compiled a list of tips and a demonstration video to help guide you through the process. 

Wig Preparation

Start your wig search before treatment begins. That way, you can match your current hair style, cut and color or experiment with different looks. For help with selecting the proper fit, schedule a wig consultation with the experts at the Resource Center for Patients and Families or attend a Look Good Feel Better program at Roswell Park. 

Wig Caps

Wig caps protect sensitive heads and provide additional comfort. They also help keep your wig in place so it won’t slip or fall off. They come in a variety of fabric options depending on your preference.

Wig Types

Wigs are made out of either a synthetic fiber, human hair, or a combination of both. Synthetic fiber wigs are the most popular because they are lightweight, easy to adjust for fit, moderately priced, and comfortable.

Wig Care

A wig should be washed after 7-10 days. Brush it to remove all teasing, tangles, or hair products and wash it in cool water with a mild shampoo. Blot the wig with a towel and hang it to dry overnight. Your wig might need to be cut and styled to fit your specific face shape. When you receive your wig from Roswell Park, you will also receive a gift certificate for a complimentary cut and style at 21st Century Concept Salon & Day Spa or the Salon in the Tower. Additionally, a hair stylist is at Roswell Park twice a month for wig cuts. 

Wig Care Don'ts

  • Do not brush your wig while it is wet.
  • Do not use heat to style — no curling irons or hairdryers.
  • Do not wear your wig while cooking or near an open oven or gas stove, as the fabric could frizz or melt. You might consider wearing a turban while cooking to avoid singeing your wig.

Wig Cost

Roswell Park patients and members of the community undergoing cancer treatment receive one complimentary wig per year through the Roswell Park Resource Center. For more information call 716-845-8695.