From a customer e-mail:
Just some questions – what is the hair thickness on toppers and wigs? My own hair is quite thin, so I wouldn't want the topper to be too bulky or thick as opposed to my bio hair. Also, is it better to start out with synthetic hair? I have not worn hair before. How do I choose the color? Do you have a return policy in case it doesn’t match?
Does this sound like you? If so, then you should give brick-and-mortar salons some genuine consideration prior to purchasing ANYTHING online.
Purchasing wigs online can seem VERY seductive to wig newbies, because:
- The wig names and prices are usually clearly displayed (usually not the case in B&M wig salons)
- The prices are generally lower (but that lower price comes at a cost – see below!)
- The selection is greater (though this can be overwhelming at first)
- You can price-shop very easily (consumers are always looking for the lowest price)
- You can search for product reviews in real-time (though you should always pay attention to the source before taking reviews too seriously)
- No scary-looking wig salons to go to, and no risk of anyone spotting you walking in or out of it
- It feels much safer and less stigmatizing because you can do it from the comfort of your own home
The problem with shopping online – and this is a BIGGIE – is:
(as in, the risk that it won’t work for you)
When you purchase online, you are ALWAYS absorbing some of this risk, even if you buy from a reputable, awesome store like this one. ;)
Here’s what no one else in the wig biz will tell you, but is totally a fact:
You’re paying way less money to buy a wig or hairpiece online because of convenience and because the risk of whether or not the item works for you is largely your responsibility. Most stores – including this one – have very strict return policies to minimize return fraud and to cut down on hygiene abuses, which are a very real concern. (Because no one wants head lice, let’s be real.)
Brick and mortar boutiques can charge more money because they are absorbing this risk on your behalf. They are the first to order and receive the item, vet each item, display them in a showroom, and can often customize them after-market to fit you better than if you bought the raw product on its own. They generally only stock wigs they can vouch for and stand behind. (This is generally not the case with most online wig stores, though in this store we ONLY offer styles vetted personally by Heather.)
Customizations are best done when the stylist meets you in person and sees your head and how the wig fits on you before they cut anything – so obviously, this is NOT the domain of online boutiques, because we never meet you in person!
So let’s go back to our customer’s questions from that earlier e-mail example:
What is the hair thickness on toppers and wigs?
That depends completely on the specific topper or wig. You’d have to see it to know. This is a great example of the kind of thing that would potentially be very expensive to experiment with using an online wig shop that would be EASY to determine in a brick-and-mortar salon!
My own hair is quite thin, so I wouldn’t want the topper to be too bulky or thick as opposed to my bio hair.
I definitely think this person should avoid buying online until they become more familiar with the products. This is such a personally-defined and subjective kind of thing that there is literally no way that I (or our customer service team) could determine exactly what she's looking for. We could only just guess . . . and no other store on the web could do any better. If they say they can, they’re either outright fibbing or grossly overestimating their abilities!
Also, is it better to start out with synthetic hair?
Probably, since it is substantially less expensive. However, this is something that you will need to determine for yourself – and once again, this is easiest to do once you get a chance to see the products in person at a B&M wig salon!
Synthetic hair toppers generally only work best for folks with healthy, shiny, poker-straight hair, since this is the texture of most of those toppers. If your biohair is curly, you will most likely have to straighten it prior to each application of your top piece, or the biohair will not match your topper.
I have not worn hair before.
Again, I STRONGLY urge against buying online in instances like this. Buy your first wig or two from a B&M, if you can. Get to know what you like. THEN move online, so the risk is minimized by your own experiences! This early in the game, you have no idea what you're looking for . . . and shopping online can be overwhelming, frustrating, and expensive if you are just guessing all the time!
How do I choose the color?
A color ring is a great place to start. However, if you see the wigs in person, the need for the color rings is obviously reduced a lot. :)
Do you have a return policy in case it doesn't match?
Some people are better suited for purchasing their hair online . . .
- People who aren’t risk-averse
- People with a sense of adventure who want to try a lot of new things
- People who know exactly what they want and are just looking for the lowest possible price
- People who have some experience with wigs, and can make reliable, educated guesses about what they might like
. . . while other people should stick to buying from a B&M store:
- People with radically irregular cap sizes or with a lot of fitting issues; if you need a lot of customizations, a B&M wig salon is really the only way to go
- People who are very risk-averse; if even the thought that your selection might not work sends you into a panic, then the online marketplace isn’t really a good place for you (unless, of course, you can shake that fear)
- People who have no idea what they want, what looks good on them, what will work, or what best suits their needs; these are all things that can take a long time – and a lot of money – to discover online, but can be addressed in a single visit to a B&M wig store.
- People with very strict fixed budgets. That’s right – if you have a very strict budget, you are WAY more likely to find an inexpensive wig (such as a fashion wig) from a B&M that will suit your needs. Walk into the store, try on the hair, pay your $34, and walk right back out with your inexpensive but perfectly wearable new ’do!
As a courtesy, we humbly request that you please buy something if you use the services of a B&M boutique! We need them to stay in business because they provide a lot of services – especially for newbies and folks with irregular sizes – that CANNOT be done by online wig retailers! Please don’t go to a B&M wig boutique, jot down the name of the wig, and then buy it online without buying anything from the store that helped you! Most of these are very small, family-owned businesses, and they are going extinct because of this EXACT behavior. Medical wigs from these stores may look more expensive on the surface, but you are getting a lot for that money most of the time in terms of SERVICE. That should definitely be taken into consideration before you write them off entirely simply due to the price. <3