The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that as many as thirty million women in the United States are dealing with some kind of hair loss*. Hormone problems, thyroid disorders, anemia, alopecia areata, chemotherapy, and prolonged illnesses are common causes - and sometimes there’s no clear explanation. But whether hair loss is temporary or permanent, partial or total, it can be devastating to any woman.
Wigs are a popular choice to hide baldness of any kind, because good ones can be hard to distinguish from hair growing out of the head. But quality wigs are expensive, and some women find them uncomfortable, especially against a bare scalp. This is where comfort and fashion combine to provide a variety of soft, stylish, and secure coverings to suit every woman’s taste and needs.
When considering how to cover or disguise hair loss, women can ask themselves a few questions:
- Do I need something to protect my entire head, or just to compensate for thinning hair?
- Will I need coverings that are appropriate for work or more formal situations, or can I stick with casual options?
- Do I need something special to wear at night?
- What kinds of materials will be most comfortable in my situation? What materials and styles will stay in place without pins or clips?
The following list discusses the main options, giving you a full range of ideas for covering in any situation.
• Wide Headbands and Tie Backs – these are excellent choices for women who have a problem with thinning or patchy hair, rather than total baldness. They provide a lot of coverage over the crown and sides of the head, but let the length of hair show. These are also useful for those who prefer wigs, because they can hide the artificial hairline, making the “wig-ness” of the piece less obvious.
• Tichels – headscarves are popular because they are versatile and fashionable; there are so many patterns and materials, and so many ways to tie them. Someone who loves to accessorize and to coordinate her hair covering with her outfit can have a lot of fun with tichels. To keep them from slipping back, wear a flat but textured stretchy headband underneath. A cotton bandana, a fitted wig cap, or even a nylon stocking can also help keep your tichel in place. Tichels are a Great Covering for total baldnes
• Snoods and Pre-tied bandanas – when you’re in a rush and don’t want the bother of tying a tichel, snoods and pre-tieds are your best friends. They stay in place, they’re loose enough to allow air flow around your head, and they are the most likely styles to be comfortable even after hours of wear. Pre-Tied Bandanas are a Great Covering for total baldness.
• Turbans – on the other hand, some women prefer a style that stays close, that feels protective. Soft, stretchy, easy to wear turbans will never let you down. Turbans are a Great Covering for total baldness.
• Hats and berets – there are days when a hat or beret will be the most suitable hair covering. They have the most potential to look polished and professional or dressy. A hat with a wide brim provides sun protection, which is important for women with sensitive skin. And you have the choice of lightweight cottons and straw for warm weather, and warmer wools and knits for when it is cold. Depending on the season, wearing a hat won’t make you stand out of crowd at all.
• Sleeping caps – you’ve probably heard that you lose heat through your head faster than anywhere else on the body. Well, scientists are no longer sure that’s true, but without hair or some kind of covering, you can get pretty chilly up top. Sleeping caps are a cozy way to deal with that, whether you wear one that is purpose-made or you simply adapt one of your other coverings.
For a child dealing with medical hair loss, finding the right covering can make the difference between being able to face peers and wanting to hide at home. Let your little girls have as much as fun possible picking out colors and styles that they like, and try to find out which ones are popular or trendy. A cute baseball cap, a colorful bandana, or a soft knit chaponne are all possibilities that may appeal to kids.
A word about materials:
comfort is the name of the game. If you’re in a store, you can feel the fabric (especially the lining) and the seams to determine whether or not a particular item will feel good on your head. If you’re ordering online, you have to look for other pieces of information to make the best guess. Cotton, lycra, and microfiber are some of the softest, smoothest materials you’re likely to find. If you’re not sure about the lining of an item, don’t be afraid to contact the company and ask if a certain piece has one and what it is made of, in case you can’t find that information on the website. Knits are more likely to feel soft than woven fabrics – but think about layering with a headband or wig cap if you spot a gorgeous wool or acrylic hat that feels a just little too scratchy.
If you find a style or an item that works especially well for you, consider writing a review for the website where you bought it. Other women with similar situations will benefit from your experience, and sellers will appreciate the feedback – they’ll know what is popular, and when asked about covering for hair loss, they’ll be able to make the right suggestions.
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*Colette Bouchez, “Women and Hair Loss: The Causes,” 2003, WebMD, 15 Jul 2010