Here I am almost two months into full time and I've already burned through three wigs. I'm on my fourth. And not only do I have a new one coming to me off the internet soon, I'm also planning on going wig shopping after work. I'm going out tomorrow and have a dinner party on Saturday and I want to look my best. I really need a new wig because my currently my wig is a rat's nest of frayed tangled terribleness.
I don't why I can't manage to keep a wig looking nice for longer than about two weeks. I switched from curly to straight because straight hair is easier to maintain. I've been religiously following the instructions that came with the wig. I've tried watching YouTube videos, reading tutorials, tips and tricks, internet guides. I've tried at least three different bottled remedies and one homemade one that a YouTuber recommended.
No matter what I try my wigs start out beautiful, they make me look amazing and then slowly they tangle until it looks like I'm wearing a nasty, knotted, frizzy hair helmet. Washing the wigs per the instructions will buy me another week or so, but after that the wig is just gone and I look terrible and horribly unpassable. Yes, I really do think that a good, fresh wig is key to passing.
In my darkest moments, I actually regret starting full time before my hair had grown out sufficiently to avoid wigs. I worry that I jumped the gun and have made things too difficult for myself. Honestly, when it comes to transition, my biggest source of stress (other than dealing with the bureaucracy on my gigantic name change check list) is wigs.
Not only do I feel ugly when my wigs have gotten ratty, my self-esteem spirals down and down and down. I find myself avoiding going out sometimes because I don't want to "waste" a good wig day. I go wigless on weekends, in androgynous-at-best mode, because I don't want to "waste" my wigs on simple errands like the grocery store or something. I have to save them for work. It's tough.
But the craziest thing is that there have literally been days where I went out in a horrible, frizzy, knotted to hell wig and not only got compliments on my hair but also had people ask what type of shampoo and conditioner I used. So I don't know. I really don't. Some might say "oh, you think you look ugly all the time? Welcome to woman-hood." I guess in a sense that's true. But it also really bothers me that there's something so beyond my control. Even if other people don't notice, I do and right now my self-esteem, my mood seems firmly fastened to how passable that is, to how I look. Maybe that's normal for trans women, maybe that's normal for all women.
A part of me has also started to worry that in four months I won't be able to throw away the wigs forever. Either my natural hair still won't have grown out long enough to look decent or worse, it will somehow be insufficient to hide my bad hairline, even with bangs. Then again, I'm a naturally worrisome person. My own head hair can already kind of work, it just needs to be longer.
And in the mean time, yeah, I'm on wigs. Two a month. That's like $120-$150 on average. That's not so far out of range of what some women spend on monthly hair care. And that will only be for the rest of January, then all of February and March and April. Those are the cold, awful months anyway. By the time it's warm in May my hair should be about chin length and I can work with that. I'll happily work with that.
I remember back in the day, talking to a transgender woman who was a friend of mine on Myspace. She told me that unless you're literally suicidal, don't transition. She warned that transition was so expensive and draining and awful that it wasn't worth it unless it was the only way you could stay alive. I don't quite know if I agree with her advice.
Transition has been hard. It really has. You have to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops, updates tons of paperwork, build up the courage to come out to people. It can be draining. It can be stressful. It can make you nervous and frightened and worried. But, in the end, I think. The things that are hard and the things that are worth doing. I honestly look at my transition as a bonafide, legitimate accomplishment. The kind you write about in your college essay. You know, about the time you overcame an obstacle and achieved your goals.
I'm proud of what I've done. Yeah it's been hard. Yeah, it's still gonna be hard. But so is everything in life. It's gonna be frustrating and annoying and tough and soul-breaking but so is life. And this is my life and as frustrating as it is right now, I believe, I honestly believe, that it will only get better.
Wigs and all.
Also, here are some pictures.
Hi Faith, just wondering about what kind of wig you are buying that only lasts a few weeks. I only buy quality human hair wigs (Jacquelyn, Freeda, etc) and they last years of moderate use. My wig stylist says a good quality wig will last 6-9 months of continuous use. They are also a lot more comfortble. You also need to be careful about what shampoo and condition you use on them. There are several very good wig salons in NY that cater to orthodox Jewish women but will do business with anyone. The wigs are not cheap but last (and look good) for a long time. For what you spend per month on cheap wigs that get tangled and only last a few weeks, you could get really nice human hair wig that looks (and feels) beautiful.ReplyDelete
I really enjoy your blog and wish you all the best.
Hi Robin, most of the wigs I get are synthetic or synthetic human blend and I think I usually spend $75 on average. When it comes to Orthodox wigs, I'd rather not - they're super expensive and aren't designed to look natural. For now, I'm thinking of just continuing my two-a-month strategy until such time as I can discard wigs for good.Delete
I tend to buy good wigs, and rotate use between a couple in the same style. As each wig gets worn out (read: frizzy at the ends), I trim the ends to look good, and assign it a place in rotation. The most trimmed wig is worn for about a week or two (with washing every 7 wearings), followed by a slightly longer version of the same wig, then with the newest wig. This way, it almost appears that I have growing hair that I like to keep in the same style.
I am forced into my routine, as I have to wear large cap wigs. If you can go with a medium cap, then spend more money on a good human hair wig or two, treat them very well (don't use short cuts in maintenance), and they can last you for years.
"Beginner wigs" (as I call them) can be bought for about $60 and look "OK" - but they don't look that great. Go up a notch to the $300 range (shop around, and look at what's available on elegantwigs.com, formerly e-wigs.com, then wait for their 20% discount on the selected brand), and you will be happier with the quality of the wig. If you can go up one more notch in quality, then what you spend more in initial purchase price will be repaid many times over in how good you look in the wig.
To be safe, use the services of a brick and mortar store to size you for a wig, and buy one from them (as I did). After that, go there for supplies, but buy wigs elsewhere if the prices are more than 10% different than you can get online.
Hi Maria - what's the difference between wig cap sizes? Also, thanks for the website recommendations. For the money, I'd rather save it up for adventures since I'm hoping going to be able to ditch wigs at some point soon.Delete
Oh dear, hair issues! Much as I love longgggg hair, have you tried a shorter wig style? Perhaps the wash & wear and wear & tear will be a little less pronounced.ReplyDelete
The shorter styles may allow a quality upgrade at the same budget level. To my experience, shorter wigs wash easier, dry faster and do not present a big tangly issue. And, yes they manage wind much better.
And given that you will sometime soonish being showing your own beautiful natural locks, maybe now is a good time to start to prepare your social circle for multiple different looks. If you are the girl that changes it up all the time, the changes are always interesting, and less jarring too.
This is one of the privileges I love. Changing things up on mad whims. You can do it! Go shopping for some new looks!
Best wishes - Petra
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Hi Petra - I've tried some shorter wigs but worried that I didn't pass as well in them. Also, some shorter ones I thought made my head look giant. Well, I am of course willing to change things up style-wise, but not quite sure I can pull off the pixie cut right now.Delete
HI Faith...not much comfort, maybe, but it seems to be the curse of we women, whether cis or Trans, to be hypercritical of ourselves. Ugh...you are a beautiful girl, never doubt that! I don't know you, of course, but it seems to me that the inside is as beautiful as the outside...ReplyDelete
Emma here (the one that put me in touch with Caleb). ;) I just wanted to let you know, I also started with a completely shaved head and am still growing mine out to where I like it. So, wigs it has been but I don't hate them actually. I can't wait NOT to need them though. I am using Jon Renau wigs and they last 3 months usually. The site I get them from offers deals so often that I have never paid full price. So mine is usually about $100 with discounts. Personally, I use Kristen (I find the fact that wigs have names funny). Here is a link to Cysterwigs' site for the Jon Renau wigs: https://cysterwigs.com/collections/jon-renau-wigs
Talk to ya later!
Ugh I hate wigs too, fingers crossed for your hair growth progress as spring/summer approaches! You look amazing in all these pictures also!