To purchase a wig or not? This is just one of the grappling questions that many female (and some male) cancer patients face during the course of their treatment. Granted it’s not the most crucial decision you may be dealing with right now and not of the highest priority, but the cost can be considerable and worth some scrutiny. Basically, there are three options: purchase online, buy at a local wig shop or visit the American Cancer Society’s Wig Bank.

Buying Online
Consumer Affairs has compiled a comprehensive guide, Wig Buyers Guide, which answers all the questions you may have about wigs, whether you purchase online or not. What type of wig or hair piece do I need? Which material is best for me? What hair style should I choose? How do I put on the wig and what are best practices for shampooing and storage? These are just a few of the topics that are covered in the guide.

There is also a list of the top ten online wig manufacturers with many customer reviews. I highly recommend that you take a look at these comments. I spent several minutes reading these reviews and was dismayed to learn that the overwhelming majority are not positive at all, which leads me to two conclusions. One, you will need to be VERY careful when ordering online from a company that was not recommended to you by someone who has purchased online before. And two, wigs may just be one of those things that should still be purchased in person from local vendors.

Shopping the Old Fashion Way
Anita Roark a former area Health Programs Manager for the American Cancer Society (ACS) and currently affiliated with CancerPartners, agrees that “it is far safer to make a wig purchase in person at a local shop where you get good instruction and can try on wigs to get the feel of them and see how they look.” She also points out that “the fit is different when you still have hair and when it is gone.”

The ACS Wig Bank
Yet another option is to visit the ACS Wig Bank, where it’s possible to receive a wig free of charge. Usually these are gently used and properly conditioned, but some of them are brand new, donated by wig manufacturers. Here in the Coachella Valley, there is a Wig Bank at Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center. Our CancerPartner volunteer, Jeanne Ruud, who is also an ACS volunteer, runs it. For more information about this option call ACS at 1-800-227-2356.

At any rate, the Consumer Affairs Wig Buyers Guide is a must read before purchasing a wig of any type from any source.

We invite our readers to share their wig buying experiences and advice with our CancerPartners community.


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