Wig Vid Pics! Evanna, Sonoma, and Zuma by Rene of Paris

Well, color me embarassed (which I guess means some shade of red) but when I posted my video of Zuma earlier today, several people commented on how disappointed they were to see the vibrant blue of the photos and then see how much more subdued the color is in the actual video. And I kind of can’t believe I never gave this any more thought.

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When I take pics of a new wig, I’m primarily thinking about it from a photography perspective: is the color interesting? Does the wig have nice movement? Can it create interesting shapes when I fling it around? How many different ways can I use it and style it? How easy is it to alter the color so it works with different outfits or concepts?

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And then, when I do take photos of a wig just because I’ve already got my lighting set up and the wig on my head (as I did this last time), I of course want to play around with the results, and test the limits of what I can create visually with each new color and style.

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But of course people who are viewing that blog post to get a look at the video do not care about any of that stuff – they want to see photos of the wig as it is really going to look on a real person who would wear the wig out of the house during the day. It’s actually kind of crazy that I never gave that much thought before.

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I mean, if people want to see what these wigs looks like after they’ve been altered and photoshopped, they can just look at the stock photos! And here I’ve been all this time, wondering why when I post my fancy edited photos in wig groups they don’t get as much attention as the crappy iPhone photos I usually upload real quick right after I get a wig in the mail. That’s because – DUH – they are much more interested in seeing it without editing so they know what it really looks like. How did this take me so long to figure out? LOL. Who knows.

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So, I pulled these pics from each of the video review posts and am putting them all here instead, so they don’t confuse anyone about what the wigs really look like in person. Or, for that matter, what I really look like in person, since my face gets as much editing as the wigs do once I fire up the Photoshop. The real me is in the videos, and that’s the only place you’re gonna see it unless you run into me on the street, so deal with it.

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So, of these wigs only one is in a color I would actually wear out of the house, and unfortunately it’s the one wig with a style I can’t pull of in real life (the short curly Sonoma). That pastel blue is hard as hell to photograph, and it doesn’t look good on me in reality – something about the silvery blues doesn’t work on me at all – but I really want that style in a normal color. Then the longer beachy waved Evanna is a great style, but that brunette-in-the-front, blonde-in-the-back haircolor is bananas.

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Although it does – say it with me – take cool pictures!

So honestly, now I’m just rambling to try and squeeze more words in between the photos, which needs to stop. I’ll just post the rest down below and call it a day.

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And next time I post videos (probably when I get a new Zuma and a new Evanna) no edited photos in those posts, I promise. You’ll only see the real me and the real wig! 😉 Happy weekend, everyone!

Wig Review: Georgia by Noriko in Champagne-R

I’ve had a few Georgias over the years, and all but the first one I bought have disappointed me. That first one had gorgeous layers that fell perfectly, and honestly I was in love with that style. Then I bought a replacement, and the layers were wonky as hell so I gave it away. Awhile later I decided to try again, based mostly on how great the first one looked in the video review – but I ended up with wonky layers again.

I gave up on trying to make Georgia work for me, but then I spied this one around $120 online, and since Georgia is a full monotop wig that was actually a good deal, so I decided to give it one more go. I had a feeling this color would be a fail on me, but what can I say – I just HAD to know if Georgia could ever recapture the glory of that first one I still think of fondly.

Sadly, it did not. Once again I just do not like what the layers do here. It’s very full, so perhaps that’s part of the problem, I don’t know – the hair just flops all over the place and the shape it creates is just not good for my face. The color is pretty, but not good on me either. The monotop is well-done and it’s nice to still be able to get a full one now and again instead of all the mono parts I’m seeing lately, but even after trying out parting Georgia on both sides, it was still a no on me. For whatever reason, the cut here just doesn’t work for me.

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You can see it parted from both sides here – it’s a no for me both ways

Once again I just wasn’t into making a video, but snapping some quick pics was manageable, and I kind of like this idea I landed on to make a photocollage instead of a bunch of photos loaded throughout the post – I think this way you can see how it all works together at once and compare the sides and back to the front, etc. Color gets a bit tricky for me as it’s not consistent from shot to shot, but I’d say the Champagne-R color is best represented in the photos on the left side. All these shots came out with a bit of a green tint to them, which I tried to correct, but color correcting is a bitch in general and I didn’t quite get it right here.

The cap is a standard wefted one with the full monofilament top, and it’s plenty comfy. It also didn’t feel small like some Noriko caps can be. I am sure this would be lovely on the right person, but something about the layers just doesn’t compliment me much. Let me know if you want to take her off my hands. 😉 I’m not keeping this one.

Wig Review: Diane by Jon Renau in Color 6F27

I haven’t much felt like making videos lately, and Diane has been sitting in my cabinet for a few weeks. I had just enough time to snap some quick photos this afternoon, so I went ahead and did that in lieu of a video.

Diane is a hand-tied cap, so it’s very comfy and the hair moves about quite easily. Wigs with a hand-tied cap tend to have less pouf than regular wefted ones, and while you can smooth Diane down quite a bit, it still has some nice lift to it. It has a tendency to lie a little flatter than I have it fluffed up here, but this is how it looks best on me. In playing around with it, it was easy to play around with and muss up. It is a cute style, and a lot of fun to wear. It can look a little news-caster-ish on me, but that is always the case with this style.

The hair fiber is a regular synthetic, and it also has a lace front. The lace front looks fine to me; although it has some sparse spots as Renau’s lace fronts tend to have, the bangs on this wig prevent the hairline from showing much anyway. Overall even when pulling back the hair and looking at it, it didn’t seem too bad to me – but I am a lot less picky about that sort of stuff than I used to be. Probably because I don’t wear my wigs full-time anymore, quite honestly.

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6F27 is one of my favorite colors from Renau, and it seems like almost every wig they makes has it as an option. Some of the new browns from the Chocolate Collection are also pretty, but I can never go wrong with the 6F27 which is why I choose it often. It matches my bio hair very closely, too.

The cut is well-done and looks great in profile and from the back. Overall, it looks very much like the advertising photos make it appear, which is always a good thing. It looks a bit fuller on me, but most wigs do, plus I do have it fluffed up a bit in the photos. My only complaint would be that it has a very set flip around the ends that from the back and front views you can see more clearly than from the sides; I had no luck whatsoever trying to tame the flippy ends, which is why I liked it fluffed up this way – when I tried to smooth it down, the flipped ends made it a little a bit too Carol Brady for my liking.

But overall, this is a fun style to play around with, and it’s very easy and comfy to wear. Even when messing it up and running my fingers through it vigorously it held up well – that sort of thing is easier to do with a hand-tied cap since there are no wefts to work around. I was able to move the part to either side with no real problems, and straight out of the box it looked completely natural. The price point is high on this one due to the cap, but if you wait for a sale you could possibly get a decent deal. Plus, it is short enough that I think you would get a decent amount of wear out of it; the ends might get a little frizzy but it should last longer than your average long synthetic even then.

It’s very nice, but the style isn’t ‘me.’ I pretty much knew that when I bought it, but I was curious and wanted to try her out.

Wig Salon Review: Headcovers Unlimited

My mom has been wanting to wear wigs for several years, and I’ve bought her a few shorties that never quite worked out and she never wore. She also tried to purchase her own online a few times and ended up falling prey to the cheap prices on some overseas sites that use pictures of good wigs like Raquel Welch and then ship the customer a piece of crap that in no way looks like the stock photo. Every time I go visit her, she calls me over to her computer and asks me to point out to her which wigs would look nice on her, which I do repeatedly, but she never pulls the trigger and buys anything.

So when I went out there last week and she started to do the same thing again, I insisted that we find an actual wig salon where she could try some on and make a decision; otherwise, she was going to spend hours clicking on the same pictures of the same wigs over and over at different sites and not buy anything (not that I don’t do the same thing all the time, but still). A quick Google search revealed that an online store I recognized – Headcovers Unlimited – had a physical store about 20 miles from my mother’s house, and, knowing that a lot of brick and mortar stores frown upon drop-ins (as well as knowing that without setting a date my mother probably wouldn’t ever go through with it) I called them up and made an appointment for her this morning at 11:30 AM.

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I was surprised when we got to the store at how big it was – this was the front building, and there was another entire building behind it. It looked brand-new and even appeared to still be under construction, and although when we got inside there were no other customers, I noticed right away that the back parking lot was full (my GPS took us around to the back lot when we should have parked in the front one, otherwise I never would have seen any of this). I even made note of it to my mom, because I’ve never seen so many cars parked in a wig salon parking lot before. Keep this in mind because it’s going to be important later.

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There was a $50 charge that we had to pay upfront before the salesgirl would even work with us; I was not surprised by the sitting fee because I know how a brick and mortar store struggles to stay afloat when people can come in, spend an hour trying on wigs, and then leave without buying anything only to find a cheaper price online and purchase it that way. And Headcovers Unlimited didn’t do anything shady like cut off the tags so we did not  know what it was we were trying on, so okay, we paid the $50 upfront with the understanding that the price would be deducted from whatever we bought (well, the full $50 would be deducted if we bought something they had in stock, but if we had to have it ordered only $25 would be deducted from the price, but fine, whatever). Once we’d paid the fee, the salesgirl took us to a little corner of the foyer where they had a vanity table set up for her to try on the wigs.

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As you can see from the photos, the “store” section of all this space was actually quite limited, and was in fact just a tiny little sliver of the front foyer. The rest of the building, from what I could tell, was office space. NOT that I was allowed to see any of it, and I mean ANY of it – because here was the one real bitch of the whole experience, IMHO: by the time I’d driven the 50 miles it took to get to this place, where, might I remind you, we had made an appointment, the salesgirl WOULD NOT LET ME USE THEIR BATHROOM. And after driving fifty miles to get there, believe me, I  needed to pee! I kind of just stared at her and blinked a lot when she first told me this, but she insisted it could not be done because they didn’t have a bathroom at all in that building, and they couldn’t have me walking around to the other one due to ‘liability issues.’ Um, okay. She then told me there was a McDonald’s up the street that had a bathroom I could use, so I had to leave my mom at the store and drive back up the road, through fairly heavy traffic and one very long stoplight, to run into a nasty McDonald’s and use their toilet.

Needless to say, ya’ll, when I got back about 10-15 minutes later, I was – pardon the pun – PISSED. I’m not  going to lie, I pitched a nice little hissy about it at the time, asking the girl if they would SERIOUSLY make my seventy-year-old mother who could barely walk due to her back and knee problems load up in my car and drive to a fast food restaurant to pee after MAKING AN APPOINTMENT at their shop, and she insisted that because their restroom was in the ‘other building’ and there were ‘liability issues’ that yes, that would in fact be the case. I told her that was basically stupid and needed to be recitifed because it was pretty unacceptable, and she continued to apologize but stuck to her guns about the matter. Whatever.

Every time I’ve attempted to shop for wigs in a brick and mortar store, there’s been some sort of weirdness like this going on. My experience at Cookie’s store was better, but going there without an appointment was my first encounter with being treated like a criminal from the moment I entered because I didn’t have one. And yet, even after learning that lesson, I still got treated like a second-class citizen because, after driving almost an hour to get to the store where I’d been sure to make an appointment, I had the audacity to need to pee. What the hell IS it with these places and their bizarre rules and restrctive behavior?

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Speaking of rigid rules, this little section in the photo above was their entire collection of visible wigs (notice in the other photos it’s all hats on the mannequins), so I think you get the gist of how tiny the actual ‘salon’ area of the place was. And you can’t see it here, because my mom is blocking it in this photo, but at the entrance to this little area was a standing sign instructing customers not to go back there. So later, when my mom wanted to look at some blonde colors (she was mostly trying on grays) the salesgirl asked her to walk over to this little area and indicate a few blondes she wanted to try; my mom mistakenly thought that meant she was allowed to walk back there, and once she stepped past the sign the girl actually made her step back and stay out of there, instructing her to just point to which wigs she wanted to try. Seriously? I mean, I get that wigs are delicate and they don’t want their sample wigs being handled, or that I dunno, people try to steal them or something? But again, for someone who has already paid $50 just to try some stuff on, I mean, you really can’t let them walk back behind the counter and look closely at the wigs? Even with the saleperson standing right there to prevent whatever horrible damage it is they think someone might do if they get back there – set everything on fire with a blowtorch, maybe? Pee on the wigs because they’ve been holding it for an hour and aren’t allowed to use their facilities?

Maybe it’s the whole not wanting people to get too much of a look at the tags and brand names, but that didn’t seem to be the case here. All the wigs my mom tried on had their internal tags as well as the hanging tags, and the brand names and colors were clearly marked. In fact, we were instructed to look at all the wigs the store had available on their website and send the names of them in ahead of time, so they could pull what they had in advance. So I don’t get how it could be that. I did take those three pictures of the store, though, and I certainly didn’t hide that I was doing so, so maybe they didn’t trust me with my camera? I dunno, by the time they  went over to look at blondes I’d put up my phone and wasn’t using it at all, and if they’d had a problem with me taking pictures I certainly gave them the opportunity to tell me so, because again, I wasn’t hiding the fact I was taking pictures at all. So yeah, I don’t get it.

OK ranting aside, though, the salesperson did pull several short wigs for my mom and was helpful as well as patient (my mom wanted to try them all on over and over and wanted to try lots of different colors, and overall the appointment lasted an hour). And the wig my mom bought, which was the Winner by Raquel Welch, ended up only costing her about $120 which was a surprise to me. I expected a much bigger markup than this store was adding, and there was also no pressure to purchase anything at all. The girl didn’t try to talk my mom into buying a more expensive wig, or to buy more than one, and in fact, while she was as helpful as she needed to be and always pleasant and patient (even when I was chewing her out over the bathroom situation) she really wasn’t trying to sell to us much at all. She was definitely knowledgeable enough about the wigs she was showing, she just didn’t seem too concerned about whether or not we ordered anything.

Her laid-back attitude, the size of the salon space – especially as opposed to how big the entire two buildings were – and the weirdness about the bathroom all lead me to believe that a negligible amount of the store’s profit comes from in-store sales. In fact, if I had to guess (which I do) I’d surmise they make all their real money from their online store, and the whole operation is a warehouse and ordering center servicing their website, with a few square feet of space thrown in to offer the occasional customer a place to try some on. So, we were basically visiting their warehouse, which is why they didn’t have a bathroom for customers and wouldn’t allow me to go into the ‘other’ building to pee (this would also explain why there were SO many cars in the parking lot when there was no one but us in the store/foyer). Okay. Not exactly sure it’s legal to call yourself an open-to-the-public retail store and not have a bathroom on the premises, and even if it is, it really isn’t wise; but in the end, my mom was happy with the wig she ordered and the service she received, and she really had fun trying on different wigs and getting that personal attention.

So just like the strange experience I had the last time I shopped in a physical store, I will once again chalk this up to a place that can be useful to someone who really  needs a wig (my mom’s hair has thinned considerably over the years) and wants to be sure they get to try some on first before they  buy. But to get that priviledge you’re going to have to follow some really weird rules that may make you feel like you’re doing something sketchy, or secretive, or just plain icky. It seems to me that when dealing with people who have hair loss this would be the last way you want your clients to feel, but my guess is those personal interactions and appointments are so few and far between it’s not worth it to accommodate them any more than they already are. In fact, if you look at their website, it doesn’t advertise the aspect of a physical store anywhere; the only reason I thought to call and make an appointment at all is because the store has been in operation for a LONG time, and I used to work in the area, and back in the 90’s they did have a big physical store with tons of wigs to try on, so I was still remembering that when I Google-searched for my mom and was reminded of the location (they were in another space back then, BTW). 

It’s a shame, though; I get that online ordering has made having an online component a necessity, but it shouldn’t mean that good service goes out the window because of that; if a store really no longer has time to work with people in person because it isn’t worth their time financially, then they should just close up that part of the store and commit fully to their online model.

But hey, that’s just my opinion.

Wig Shopping Online: Sites I Use

Disclaimer: Although I have had good luck with the sites listed below, inclusion here is no guarantee that someone else won’t have a problem. Be sure to read the policies on each site before buying from them and call if you want clarification. In particular read their returns and exchanges policies carefully as each site has their own requirements, and they are generally strict guidelines.

Wigs.com: Great videos and categorized information about choosing wigs. Also has a TruColor system on certain wigs that provides very accurate photos of cut and color, and a loan program for color rings that can be very helpful. Prices are not the best, but they do have occasional 25%-30% off sales. Free shipping with a minimum order and coupon code, so you can’t get it when a separate code is required for a storewide sale. Their sites is very photo- and video-intensive, so pages take a longer time to load than normal.

Vogue Wigs: Not the best prices on the internet, but does have frequent storewide sales. Site has a lot of user reviews with photos which is very helpful. Unfortunately, they recently changed their members rewards program, so it’s no longer worth much to sign up. Rewards for reviewing wigs on the site have also been reduced, so it’s likely not as many people will review wigs there in the future. They have also added a shipping fee unless you place a minimum order and use a code, so, like Wigs.com, you cannot get free shipping during a sale that also requires a code. I don’t use them much at all since they’ve so drastically reduced the benefits of the rewards program; that really was such a good deal that it was main draw for me to the site. You can like them on Facebook for access to special contests and announcements.

Name Brand Wigs: Since this store is smaller but still has a nice selection, you can get more personalized service and assistance here via email or phone. Plus they have some of the best prices for the entire Rene of Paris line anywhere. No special sales here – things are listed at the price they stay. No free shipping either, but these things are to be expected with a mom and pop type site. If you need more personalized service or really good deals on Rene of Paris wigs, this is a good place to go. You have to call to get extra discounts on other brands, but if you do so you can get discounts on a lot of lines – Renau, Estetica, Raquel Welch, etc.

Gallery of Wigs: Definitely some of the best prices on the Internet on a regular basis. Another small store with an online component that provides more personalized service if that’s what is needed. A nice bonus here is the styling and customization the store will do for a slight fee – if your wig is too full or the cap is too big, they can trim it or tuck it for a small charge (as long as you bought it from their site). To get an extra 30% off any Renau wig, use code Renau30 at checkout. Many other brands will show the discount as soon as you add them to the cart. Very good customer service via phone or email if you have questions or concerns. No free shipping or big storewide sales; just good prices and service every day.

Wow Wigs: The bonus here is an actual clearance section with the occasional really good deal, plus fairly frequent 30% off sales that include the clearance wigs in the discount. No free shipping without a coupon code, and they tend to ship with a sign upon delivery requirement that makes me crazy, but I put up with it for the occasional $35 Rene of Paris I’ve snagged at their site. Be sure to sign up for their emails or like them on Facebook to get the sale codes.

Best Wig Outlet: Unexciting prices, but a big selection and a clearance section where you can occasionally find wigs that are discontinued and in short supply. Sign up for emails to get notification of occasional 30% off sales. Generally does not provide tracking information on shipping.

Wigsalon: An archaic-looking, hard-to-navigate site, but a big sale section and some nice prices. Also fairly fast shipping, free shipping over $75, and nice people who run the store. I give the sale section a review once a week and occasionally pick up some good deals. Sign up to be a VIP so you can see the special pricing when you put your item in the cart. Another mom and pop store selling good quality wigs at reasonable prices that can use our support.

e-wigs.com: A nice clearance section that updates several times a week. I’ve also ordered full-priced wigs from them on occasion and their service is good, and the shipping is usually quick unless they have to order the wig from a manufacturer first before shipping it to you. If you buy a clearance wig it usually ships same or next day. Sometimes offers extra discounts on brands via coupon code.

Samsbeauty: Huge selection of AA wigs. Has 3-day sales every weekend and I’ve snagged some fun stuff for as little as $5 plus shipping (like this wig). Usually fast shipping and decent customer service; a few times I’ve placed orders that sat in the store for a week or more without ever shipping out and I had to remind them to do so; twice I canceled orders with them, though, and they gave me a refund without any runaround. I think this is a really big store that handles high traffic, so sometimes your order might get lost! But overall, I really like their sales and prices. I use their wigs all the time in my photography.

wig.com: Not to be confused with Wigs.com; the site is run by Paula Young and carries the entire PY line as well as some other lesser-known lines you can’t find many places, such as Jacklyn Smith or Joan Collins. They also carry popular lines like Renau and Noriko, but their prices on those aren’t the best. PY does have a good return policy, and they have a clearance section where you can snag a great deal if you’re willing to search around for it. Worth a scan every once in awhile, but I don’t purchase from them much. Paula Young wigs are reasonably priced, bit hit-or-miss as far as style and quality. But honestly, what manufacturer isn’t hit or miss? There is also a Paula Young website (carries the same stuff) and Especially Yours (geared towards the AA community) which are both run by PY.

Triple Star: Triple Star sells wigs on Amazon, so the prices are higher, but the service is great. If you are interested in a specific color in a certain wig, be sure to click that color choice exactly and look at the price before you put it in  your cart; for some reason different colors of the same wig will be priced differently. For example, I bought my Miranda here, and in Toasted Brown she was $50 cheaper than the Ginger-H I really wanted. That was a huge difference, so I bought the TB instead. I’ve had reason to email the owner on occasion and he has always been incredibly helpful.

Gothic Lolita Wigs: I love their wigs for costuming and photography. Not recommended for daily wear though; the caps are basic and not all that great. But the styles are fun and I use them often for photoshoots. They also last a good while and can take some pretty exhaustive beatings and hold their own – I know because I’ve really abused the heck out of them in my shoots – throwing them around, blowing tons of wind at them, excessive brushing and de-tangling. Pricey for costume wigs, in my opinion, but they are higher-quality version of the cosplay-type wigs you see in abundance on eBay. They are also a Houston-based company so I like to support them when I can. A nice collection of false lashes, too.

Wig-Shopping: Finding Your Color

Choosing a wig color may be one of the most difficult parts of the online ordering process. First of all, you cannot rely on a computer to give you an accurate representation of the color of a wig, as the appearance of colors on computer screens varies from user to user. Secondly, there is a dizzying array of rooting, tipping, highlighting, etc. that manufacturers use to create color effects for their wigs; to make this process more confusing, each manufacturer will devise a different labeling system for these same processes (what one manufacturer calls a “gradient” color is called a “shaded” one in a different brand, for example). Some manufacturers describe their colors (dark brown base with golden blonde highlights), while others simply label them according to color number and process letter (6/27H), and still others may use a descriptive title in an attempt to describe the color in an appealing way (Caramel Cream).  For added fun, a simple medium brown in one brand (a color 6) may be as dark as the darkest brown of another manufacturer (a color 2). So how do customers sort through all of this to get the best color for themselves?

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Top Notch by Jon Renau in Color 6

Start by knowing the basics of a color description. Colors are represented by numbers, starting with the darkest color at 1 (black) up to pure white at 60 (true platinum blonde, by the way, is 613). However, each manufacturer will vary in their numbering system as well as what they consider to truly be a 1 or a 613. Still, knowing when looking at a color description that numbers are colors is helpful.

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Jon Renau Nina in Shaded Fortune

Processes are generally stated as letters – such as H for highlighting, for example (one of the most basic and commonly used examples). Again, each manufacturer may come up with their own system of naming a process, though, so it’s sometimes very difficult to determine just what process a letter is indicating. Raquel Welch wigs, for example, label the fairly recent and very popular shading process of giving the hair a darker root to mimic the appearance of regrowth  as “SS” (Shadow Shading) whereas Noriko would label the same process with a G (for Gradient – very dark root color) or R (Hybrant shades with a more blended, less prominent root).

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Stylista by Gabor in GL29-31

Some companies will just use a combination of color number and process letter to describe a wig color (SS8/29) while others will get more detailed with special processes they name themselves (GL4-8+). What these numbers and letters mean vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so finding a color chart on the website from which you are thinking of ordering will be essential so you can read descriptions of what those letters mean (if the color chart provides a description).

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Reese by Noriko in Chocolate Swirl (one of my favorite colors)

Color rings are one option you can utilize to determine the best color. These are literally rings of color swatches similar to what you find in a paint store or see on a chart in a hair salon where customers decide what color to dye their hair. Wigs.com has an excellent service which offers them for rental, while other stores have them for sale, but they can be pricey – between $35 and $50 per color ring and manufacturer.Knowing what manufacturer(s) from which you want to buy can determine which rings you get, if you choose to do so, but keep in mind it’s not unusual for these rings to leave out some rare, discontinued, or brand new colors that you might still see as options when ordering.

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Ivy by Noriko in Almond Rocka-R (another favorite)

Depending on where you’re ordering from, calling the store may also be an option. Larger online stores might not be as useful, but the smaller mom-and-pop stores can be very helpful in determining what color to choose. Some will offer other services as well, such as sending them pictures of the haircolor you desire, or even snipping some of your own hair and sending it in for color matching by the salespeople. As with everything else, be sure to discuss what your return or exchange options will be if the color you get is not satisfactory.

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Avery by TressAllure in Honey Bean

I’ll tell you what I do, but follow my example at your own risk: I search Google images when looking for a certain color in a wig, using the manufacturer name and the name of the color. This gives me an idea of the color, but I know computer monitors as well as ads are deceiving, so I also search YouTube for the manufacturer and color. There’s an online store called Best Wig Outlet that does quick, 10- or 15-second, 360-degree views of most of their wigs (and they have a ton) and they will list the manufacturer and color in their titles. This gives me decent idea of what the color is going to look like if they have a wig I can view. I do have a Rene of Paris color ring since they are my favorite manufacturer, but for me the little hairy strip isn’t enough to visualize what it will look like on a wig. Throw into the equation the fact that different wigs will have different ratios of highlighting to base color and the same color can look radically different on a different wig anyway. But the color ring does help me to know what tones are in a color and if I think it will work for my skin tone. Quite honestly, I rather like to try every color at least once, anyway. 😉

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Freestyle by Raquel Welch in SS8/29

Wig Wearing: To Tell or Not To Tell

Whether or not you ever tell anyone you wear wigs – for whatever reason you wear them – is your decision, and there’s not a right or wrong choice. In my experience, the issue basically boils down to what you will do in two distinct situations: 1) when strangers compliment or ask you about your hair, and 2) when wearing wigs around people to whom you are already acquainted or close (family, friends, romantic partners). These two scenarios are quite different, and you may choose to do different things for each.

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Yep, it’s all natural

As far as strangers goes, I leave it up to my mood at the time. If I feel like it, I tell someone I’m wearing a wig when they compliment me or ask where I get my hair done. However, I’ve come to learn that revealing to strangers I’m wearing a wig is generally going to lead to at least a small amount of conversation, as people are naturally going to be surprised and ask questions – no! Is it really? Are you serious? Where did you get it? Why do you wear it – are you sick? Are you bald? It may surprise you that people would ask such questions, but being open about wearing a wig makes others feel open to asking you questions; it’s a natural assumption for others to make. So, if you’re not in the mood to respond to questions about your hair loss (or lack of hair loss) or where you bought your hair, you may choose to do as I do when I’m in a hurry or feeling unsociable, and just say ‘thank you’ when someone compliments you or make up a name (oh, my cousin Amanda cuts it but she lives in Chicago) when someone asks you where you get it done. It does save time, and you don’t owe strangers the truth about it; especially when they just wanted to compliment you on your hair and weren’t expecting a long explanation anyway.

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Are they staring at my hair?

I do tell people to whom I am close about my wigs, but again, this is a personal choice that every individual must make for themselves. As far as telling friends and family, the reactions are generally the same: while some people honestly won’t give a damn, in most cases you can expect to have not just one lengthy conversation about your wigs, but several. If you tell your co-workers or social acquaintances, not only will they be likely to have questions at the moment of the reveal, they may also have questions for days, even weeks, after. They may want to talk about your wigs a lot. And be warned: They will also feel free to tell other people unless you ask them not to, so be careful. Again, it’s a natural assumption for people to make when you exude a level of comfort and confidence about wearing your wigs; if they think it doesn’t bother you that they know, they’re going to assume it won’t bother you if everyone knows, so be sure to make it clear to the people you tell how open you do or do not want them to be with others.

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It’s a hair-raising conversation, for sure

Had I known this early on, I would have been more clear with the friends I told; they’ve outed me quite exuberantly in front of strangers on occasion. One time I met a friend where she was sitting at the bar waiting for our name to be called, and she exclaimed “Oh that’s the best wig you’ve bought yet!” in front of the entire restaurant. Not exactly what I had in mind when I told her I was ‘unashamed’ of wearing wigs. When I showed up for my first day of internship this semester, the woman who helped me land my position at the school where she works was sitting in the employee lounge surrounded by all my future co-workers, showing them my Flickr photos and describing my wig-wearing in great detail. A few of them looked at me like I was a complete nutter when I walked in the door and she exclaimed, before I even had a chance to put down my laptop case, “So, tell them how many wigs you own!”

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No one will ever know…

It’s the downside of being open and exuding confidence in my decision to wear alternative hair, and it’s also the byproduct of being confident enough to wear radically different styles of hair on any given day. Why would someone think I want to keep my wig-wearing secret when I’m constantly changing lengths and colors? Why wouldn’t they say, “Hey, nice wig!” as I walk into the post office when I tell them about my newest hair purchase every time I pick up a shipment? Perhaps some of them are doing it to be mean or catty, but I honestly don’t get that impression (I have heard of individuals who ask numerous questions about a woman’s hair with the intent to ‘out’ or shame the wig-wearer, but I haven’t yet felt that to be the case in relation to me). I think they know I’m enthusiastic about my wigs, and they want to be enthusiastic about them too; I think they see it as an interesting aspect of my personality which they like to acknowledge.

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If it really bothered me, I could tell those people at any time that I’d rather they not share my alternative hair secrets with the world, but honestly, with my videos, my blog, and all my pictures, ultimately I’m way too out in the open for me keep it secret from anyone beyond total strangers for any length of time anyway. The way I see it is, I don’t get to have it both ways. If I want to reduce the stigma and negativity of wig-wearing so it’s easier for other men and women to do, and if I want to others to get over the negative associations of wearing wigs that are entrenched in their minds and be positive about what I do, then I don’t get to be selective about when they choose to be positive and how they choose to do so. For the average individual who doesn’t make wigs so much a part of his or her identity, the options may be more varied. Just know that any amount of openness you choose to embrace needs to be done with awareness of the unintended consequences, and be sure to address your comfort level with those to whom you are open regarding the sharing of your personal hair information. In other words, if you want your wig-wearing to be a private thing shared only with a select few, then be sure to tell those few individuals clearly and directly.

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Sprocket knows something’s up

However if, like me, you generally enjoy talking about your wigs and sharing your love of them with others, and are willing to brave being innocently ‘outed’ on occasion – then I say let your wig-flag fly!

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Wig City Blues – Customizing Your Fake Hair

This is a re-post of an old article I’d shared on a previous blog. Some of the wigs I mention here aren’t even available anymore, like Rianna by ROP, but I’m pretty sure the wig salon is still in operation. I’m not mentioning the store by name, but if you really want to know I’ll tell you. 🙂 

I’ve always had a hard time finding a stylist who was willing to cut my wigs. I’ve said this before, but most stylists in my area act as if asking them to trim a wig is akin to asking them to groom a poodle – they’re either completely baffled by the request (What is this ‘wig’ of which you speak?) or disdainful of the fact you might need some bangs cut into an alternative hairpiece (You want me to cut your whaaat?). And yet, getting a wig trimmed and shaped to suit the wearer’s face can make a huge difference in how realistic and attractive it appears – so come on, stylists. We know you’ve all heard of wigs, and we know you can comprehend the possibility that on occasion, such a product might need customization. We even know you’re trained to cut hair by practicing on wigheads, so what’s with the clueless act?

A friend pointed out to me that perhaps stylists react this way because they’re afraid to cut on anything they know won’t grow back. While that’s understandable, especially if someone’s just spent a small fortune on a fully customized human hair wig, it’s not like hairdressers aren’t constantly at risk of screwing up and making someone unhappy. It goes with the territory. And she made another salient point – a lot of women would be more ticked off to have their real hair ruined than a supplemental piece. Now, that’s definitely not the case if you have no real hair, but still – the wrath of a woman whose wig has been ruined could be nothing compared to the woman whose bio hair has just been butchered. It’s all relative, is what I’m saying, and not cutting on wigs is no guarantee a hairstylist won’t get his or her lunch eaten by a customer on any given day of the week.

So, I decided to take two of my recent purchases to a wig salon in Houston to see if I could finally find a stylist who wouldn’t be a snob about trimming them, since I am useless at doing such things myself. Plus, I wanted to check the place out as it’s one of the oldest “real” wig salons in the city. I called ahead of time to make an appointment, and Cookie, the daughter of the original owner, was very friendly, and told me to come on in.

I made the trek into the city with two wigs – a short one by Rene of Paris called Rianna, and a very long double mono-top called Amanda by Jon Renau. Cookie sat me down in a chair in the back of the store, took both my wigs out of the box and plopped them on my head, and proceeded to tell me what could be done with them both. It was clear to me that Cookie was in charge, and that what Cookie said should be how it goes. I listened to her detailed suggestions about styling options, and nodded my head in obedience like I always do when confronted by a stylist using words beyond my comprehension like layers or razored. Color me surprised when Cookie walked away and sent my stylist into the room, who proceeded to ask me what she was supposed to do to my hair.

“Um, what she just said,” I stammered, pointing to the doorway through which Cookie had disappeared seconds earlier. The stylist looked confused and concerned.

“Well…but I wasn’t in here…I didn’t hear what she said,” she offered.

Now, Cookie was so matter-of-fact about what could be done to my hair I’d sort of assumed it was standard wig procedure that anyone knowledgeable at all about wigs would know, but my stylist (who I shall refrain from naming because she was a very nice lady) didn’t appear to have a clue. I tried my best to repeat what Cookie had said about wispy bangs on the short one, and length and layering on the long one, and we slowly got to work.

I say slowly because the wig stylist was very timid, a little bit scatterbrained, and perpetually confused. At one point she ran the thinning razor down the length of my long wig when she mistook it for her comb. “Oops, look at that!” she laughed, as long strands of fairly expensive wig hair fiber fluttered around me to the floor.

As I hinted previously, I go completely stupid when in a stylist’s chair, be it to cut the hair on a wig or hair of my own. I don’t know why this is – I guess since I am so useless with styling I feel as helpless in the stylist’s chair as I am at the doctor’s office once I put on a backless gown and sit on the examination table. I tend to just nod stupidly at anything they say or do, pay my money, then go home, look at myself in a mirror later, and, usually, get mad. But in the stylist’s chair – nothing. No thoughts of any kind.

That was pretty much the case here, and it was clear the stylist was having a similar experience. She did not appear skilled at cutting wigs, or any sort of hair for that matter. The big clue should have been when I asked her where she’d worked before coming to work at the wig shop and she told me JC Penney. Now, I have nothing against the JCP. I’ve bought many an awesome turtleneck there, as well as some killer pajamas. But they don’t pop into my head when I think of cutting-edge hair fashion.

Truth be told, there was a JC Penney vibe to the entire salon. It had clearly not been redecorated since 1985 (which is the last time I can personally remember JC Penney being fashionable, sorryboutit), and there was actual Muzak being pumped through the store via one of those TV music stations that have a perpetually blue screen with song titles and other details in the bottom corner. It was all wood paneled walls and linoleum and air-conditioning window units, and wigs on mannequins sort of scattered on shelves everywhere, and cheap rhinestone jewelry in sets for half off by the archaic, completely non-computerized cash register. In short, it was exactly what one might picture when hearing the phrase “wig salon.”

But. While I was there a woman came in without an appointment, one who was experiencing hair loss. Cookie took charge immediately, commandeering her into a chair in the same little room where my stylist was meticulously blunt-cutting my long wig into a totally straight line across the bottom, apparently to chop any sense of shape or style right out of it. The woman explained what it was she was wanting, and Cookie set to work, scuttling about the salon and bringing her several options to try (two hairpieces and a full wig). Cookie put each of them on her quickly and efficiently, explaining the benefits and drawbacks of each. At some point during their work together I heard the woman say that she was given far better treatment here than at “the other salon” she’d tried, and that “over there” she was not given the sort of information and options with which Cookie provided her.

And in short, that’s what this place is about. Sure, in theory, anyone can drop in there and try on wigs to buy; but it was clear, after my wigs had been “trimmed” (i.e., jacked up) and I began wandering around the store looking at various wigs, that Cookie was not comfortable with this method of customer shopping. I was touching things. I was picking them up and deciding on my own what to try. And I don’t think that’s what the saleswomen there are trained to deal with. They know how to sit people down, hear them out, and then go get them what they want. They are excellent at helping the customer who needs help, but dealing with people who want to browse and try on wigs to wear for fun over their perfectly normal bio hair, they’re not so sure about. In fact, I got the distinct feeling that I made them nervous.

Which is ultimately fine by me. I’ve heard so many horror stories about people with hair loss being treated insensitively in wig stores that if there’s one in town that caters to them at the expense of catering to me, then so be it. The woman who needed help covering up her hair loss was relieved and happy, and I got out of their way soon enough so they could get on with what they were there to do. And yes, I’ve heard all about how annoying it is to own a wig store and have people come in, try on loads of wigs, and buy nothing,  but I in fact bought three. Well, I bought two and got the third one free, which is their standing deal. I fully intended to buy something when I started trying things on, because they are one of the few places in town providing a highly needed service for people, and I wanted to support them. Why they can’t hire a wig stylist who knows what they’re doing and get rid of the Muzak I don’t have a clue, but honestly, if you’re having a hair emergency, do you care about wood paneling and bad music? Probably not. Although they probably do care about who trims their wigs, but there was another chair in the store that appeared to house a second stylist, and I have a suspicion I’d been assigned to the ‘new lady’ so she could use me as wig practice.

In the end, one wig (the short one) was ruined, and the long one is on its way to a different stylist to (hopefully) be fixed. The salespeople’s lack of comfort with my approach to shopping in their store, plus the really high prices (Felicity by Rene of Paris, for example, was $225 there, when I can find it online for $87 EASY) pretty much guarantee I won’t go back. But overall, if you’re having a hair emergency and need someone to calm you down and help you out, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the place. Just don’t touch anything while you’re there unless Cookie touches it first, and consider getting the wig trimmed somewhere else if that’s needed. Oh, and as expected of a brick and mortar store, be prepared to pay more for your hair.

By the way – I was able to salvage the long Amanda wig by sending it off for customization; I’ll share the final results in an upcoming post, along with a quick video of how she looks now (yes, Amanda is actually one of the only wigs I bought back in the day that I still own. We went through way too much together for me to abandon her).

Don’t Be A Wig-tim

There is a statement I hear over and over again when contacted by women who, for whatever reason, want or need to wear wigs and are just getting started. And that statement is some variation of this: “Everyone else looks great in their wigs, but they all look bad on me.” Perhaps they use different adjectives, but the sentiment is the same, and the sentiment is a destructive one.

Any time you find yourself thinking, about wigs or anything else that’s going on in your life, “Everyone else can do ___________, but I can’t,” then, I hate to say it this bluntly, but you are giving in to a victim mentality. And a victim mentality is a sure-fire way to stay stuck in whatever mess you’re currently in.

You may get pissed at me for saying this, because it sounds like a variation of the “get over it” message you’ve probably been subjected to enough already throughout your ordeal. And it is true that you actually have been a victim of hair loss, and it has quite possibly depressed you, tormented you, done a serious number on your self-esteem, and a dozen other things. That’s the reality of your situation. But being a victim of unfortunate circumstances and understanding what those circumstances are is not the same thing as adopting a victim mentality, wherein you allow self-talk to drag you even further down into the dumps than your very real circumstances already have.

I know it sounds like B.S., but self-talk matters. And telling yourself that everyone else in the world gets to look good in a wig but you is succumbing to victimhood (embedded within that victimhood is a huge helping of self-hatred too, by the way). The problem becomes, not your hair loss, but you. You are the thing that is flawed, not your stupid hair which has decided to quit doing the one damn job hair has to do in this world, which is sit on top of your head and cover your scalp and not vacate the premises.

So let’s get one thing straight: YOU are not the problem. Your hair loss is. And you are not the reason you’re having a hard time finding a wig you like – it’s the hair loss again. You are used to your real hair, of course, because who isn’t? And you are having a hard time accepting the look of a wig on your head. That’s understandable. But you must STOP telling yourself that everyone in the world can wear wigs but you – unless your head is shaped like a triangle or your eyes are on the top of your head and when you put on a wig they disappear and you can’t see, then of course you can wear a wig and look OK. Everyone else who needs to do so, as well as many who don’t, can pull it off, and so can you.

Now. Having said all that, it is quite possible that you have not found a wig you LIKE on your own head yet. Fine. That does take time. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again: if you buy one of the “bestseller” wigs from any website that has such a list, you can absolutely put it on and leave the house in it – even if you don’t like the way it looks. A wig doesn’t become a bestseller without getting purchased and re-purchased by tons of women who wear wigs, so chances are any of them is perfectly acceptable and fairly undetectable – why else would so many people buy it repeatedly? Remember that you have two goals: get something to put on your head so you can get out of the house and get on with your life, and find a wig you really love. The former is an immediate, short-term goal, and the latter is long-term and will take time to accomplish. If you make yourself sit at home and hide out while you search for your own personal One True Wig you are going to miss out on a lot of life, so get that short-term goal met and find something to stick on your head while you continue searching.

Not liking the many, many wigs you try out while you both get used to seeing yourself in them and decide what style and type of wig you like is the reality of needing to wear wigs. The victim mentality approach is telling yourself, every time you try on a wig you don’t like, that everyone else could wear that wig and look fine except for YOU. Stop blaming yourself for the difficulty you’re having dealing with the realities of hair loss. It’s a pain in the butt and it sucks, but it is not your fault, and you are not the problem. Biology is.  Stop being mean to yourself.

You’re probably thinking this is all pretty easy for me to say, with my nice full head of healthy hair underneath my wigs. And you’re right. It is easy for me to say – THAT’S WHY I AM THE ONE SAYING IT. Who else is going to do so? Someone who’s beating herself up as much as you are? In fact, if you went to that person with your troubles, you’d probably end up fighting over who is more cursed – so allow me to step in and attempt to put an end to all that. If I could, I’d stick a Noriko Sky on both of you and ship you off to the mall so you can buy some nice shoes or nail polish instead of yet another wig that you’re going to use to beat yourself up with when you look at yourself in the mirror (there’s probably some sort of hair shirt analogy I could make here, but I’m running out steam, and you get the idea anyway). The bottom line is: You are not the problem, and you can do, and wear, anything you want and/or need to so you can take care of all your other life-business. Now go out and do it!

Wig Review: The Seville Wig by Noriko in Ginger Brown

FYI: I no longer wear wigs except for photoshoots, so I have no information about newer styles than the ones reviewed here. Also, I bought this wig with my own money and no one has paid or requested me to do this review. 

I’ve been curious about this style since it came out in November and finally decided to take the plunge. Since I no longer wear wigs full-time, I try to keep the wigs that I do buy at a reasonable amount; this means I usually have to forgo the monofilament top to keep the cost down. Fortunately a mono top was never a mandatory feature for me, and I can be comfortable in wigs that don’t have one.

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That said, Seville has a lot of permatease even for a non-mono wig (my other recent purchase, Kristen by Jon Renau, doesn’t have a monofilament top or part but it has way less PT than this one – perhaps the lacefront has something to do with that?) so if permatease  isn’t your thing, then Seville probably isn’t your thing either. That said. a lot of people like the shape and lift permatease provides, and this wig has plenty of both. A friend of mine said it reminded them of an updated Laine from the Rene of Paris line, and I can see that. Seville has more of a long bang than Laine had, and not as much PT, but it’s similar in shape and lift to that wig (which I always liked and have owned several of).

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The permatease isn’t quite this bad; I’m using a flash here which accentuates it

If you’re interested in this one, I’d recommend going with a rooted color to hide some of that PT in the parting area. Personally I don’t mind permatease and I love Ginger Brown, so I went with the non-rooted shade  – rooted dark brown wigs never appear to have darker roots than I can see anyway.

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Seville in Ginger Brown, taken with flash again so it’s more shiny here than in reality

The bangs are a bit of an issue on this one; I’ve found this to be an annoyance on a lot of Rene of Paris’s wigs. I suspect it’s due to the thickness of them because even the monofilament tops often have lots of stray wonky hairs hanging down into my face. On a non-mono wig with bangs, it can often be difficult initially to get them to lay in any one direction, and the fiber goes all over the place. But in time I can get them to bend to my will (or with the use of a blowdryer on a low heat setting).  With some playing around I was able to get a nice part into the long bangs, but throughout wearing it stray hairs kept falling into my face. I usually just plucked them out, and with time I think this will settle down.

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As you can see, the cut is pretty and simple, the color is nice, and the hair fiber is true to my past experience with Noriko in that it is exceptionally soft and silky (well, you can’t see that last part, but trust me, it is nice). I like the length, and although the amount of lift in the crown always throws me a little when I put the wig on (my own hair has ZERO lift, so it takes some getting used to) the overall effect is very pretty.

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The cap is very comfortable although Norikos run a touch small – as my bio hair has grown I’ve noticed I need slightly bigger caps now than I used to require, but a Noriko cap still fits my petite/average head nicely. This is a lot of hair, so I wouldn’t call it a good summer wig, but it works just great for January, and when I wore it out I got compliments on  it – mostly the color, which always happens when I wear Ginger Brown. Even while wearing it out running errands the tangling kept to a minimum and it was an easy wig to wear. The only issue is the little stray hairs hanging down into my face, but like I said, I think that will calm down with time.

To get a better idea of what Seville looks like in natural light without that bright flash hitting it, here are a few more shots taken outdoors and without a flash on my camera:

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Overall, I think Seville is a simple and classy style that’s a nice addition to the Noriko line; but that permatease is going to knock it down a notch in my book, because I know a lot of women aren’t going to be able to deal with it. And I sort of feel paying $120 for this wig (which is what I paid at Name Brand Wigs) is a little much for what it is, especially once someone pointed out to me how similar it is to some of the other ROP Hi-Fashion long wigs you can get for around $80. I’m not sure it’s worth $40 more when you could score a Laine or a Misha and give it a trim to perhaps get the same effect. I think the hair fiber is nicer on Norikos than ROPs, but not by much, so perhaps this one is a bit overpriced. For someone who’s lazy like me, though, and would never take in a wig to get it trimmed even if I had the best of intentions to do so, and who likes to try out a new wig here and there when they come in, this one’s a keeper. I’m certainly not disappointed with it at all. So there you go.

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And by the way – when is the entire Rene of Paris company going to get with the program regarding lace fronts and hand-tied caps? Every other major manufacturer has incorporated lots of both options into their lines, but ROP still isn’t offering these options with any regularity. It’s really starting to make the company look stodgy and behind the times, in my opinion. Then again, they were wise enough to steer clear of the whole heat-stylable-synthetic-fiber fiasco so maybe there’s something to be said for resisting trends. But lacefronts and hand-tied caps are safely beyond the trend stage now, so they really could stand to get on that train with the rest of us.