Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Millions of women wear wigs or hair pieces, either because they’re dealing with hair loss as a result of illness or chemotherapy, or just experimenting with personal style. However, it can be an uncomfortable topic for people.
Jeanna Doyle, who has worked in both medical and advertising settings as a licensed cosmetologist and a medical aesthetic provider, is bringing this conversation to the forefront with her book, Wig ED: What to Look for When Looking for a Wig, which she wrote with the 30 million women in the United States with hereditary hair loss, 6.7 million women with cancer, and 6.5 million people with alopecia in mind.
Should you be one of the many women who wants to know if you can still wear it while working out, the answer is: Absolutely.
Exercising In A Wig
“Women can do pretty much anything in a wig, including working out and even swimming,” Doyle reassures. “There are also wig alternatives or hybrids like a hat with a halo (a partial wig at the base of a ball cap).”
When choosing a wig that you will wear when working out, first you need to consider the nature of your workout. For example, Doyle shares that there are wigs with lining designed for water activities, perfect for swimmers. You can also have a synthetic hair wig that you can use specifically for swimming to prolong the life of the human hair wig—which is more expensive—that you wear daily.
“If your sport requires a helmet or a hat, consider a wig that is well vented to save you from the uncomfortable side effects of overheating,” adds Doyle. “Also, wig tape works great for security, however I do not recommend any adhesives for persons receiving chemotherapy as the skin is sensitive at this time. Instead, use a wig grip headband worn underneath for added security.”
Care And Cleaning
Of course, more sweat from physical activity comes with more frequent cleaning. Doyle shares that the cleaning schedule is a personal preference that will vary according to how vigorous of a workout is performed and the amount of sweat experienced while wearing the wig.
“The lining will absorb perspiration,” explains Doyle. “If you sweat a lot while working out. it may require more frequent washing. To extend the time between washing, you can use a skin toner to freshen up any unwanted odors for the lining or a spray on dry shampoo.”
Building Up Confidence
If you are new to wearing wigs, Doyle recommends a ‘dry run’ that can increase your confidence.
“If you do a sport that requires you to get wet, take a dip in your bath tub to work out any unknowns,” she shares. “Wearing a helmet? Take a brief ride with the helmet to acclimate to wearing it and removing it. You may opt to step into the ladies room to remove your helmet, but knowing these things in advance can give you information which will give you confidence.”
Wearing a wig or hair piece is nothing to be anxious about, and Doyle shares that you can have that second synthetic wig to buy you time between washes and seamlessly move between a workout and brunch, for example. She recommends this bag for those exact occasions. Also, she adds that in addition to her book, CreatedHair.com