Wigs – the Pros and the Cons

row of wigs

A wig is a head of hair normally made from either human hair or synthetic materials. The word wig is short for Periwig and first appeared in the English language around 1675. Historically wigs were classed as a status symbol hence the term “big wig”.

Wigs can be used for many purposes: as a cosmetic accessory for a fun change of style,  sometimes in the context of religious practice of cutting or shaving one’s natural hair. Actors of course often wear costume wigs in order to portray characters in film or theatre, but most commonly people use wigs to disguise hair thinning or hair loss. In recent years the demand for Human or Real hair wigs has surpassed the demand for synthetic wigs but it comes down to personal choice and there are pros and cons for both.

manequin with synthetic wigSynthetic Wigs

Synthetic wigs are made of artificial fibres. They can be handmade or machine made and are normally created on a base of lace. The key points about synthetic wigs are:

The Good

  • They are relatively inexpensive (prices range from approx £70)
  • They hold their style very well so this eliminates the need for daily styling
  • Synthetic Fibres hold their colour permanently, no dying required!
  • If you are open about wearing a wig then you can experiment with fun colours
  • Synthetic Wigs are normally what is supplied by the NHS for clients having chemotherapy or for clients with hair loss problems.

The Bad

  • They need to be washed carefully (not whilst on the head), it is important to follow the after-care guidelines of the supplier or manufacturer. You cannot treat synthetic hair like your own natural hair.
  • Synthetic hair has a shine to it which can look unnatural (like a dolls hair)
  • The strands can burn easily so you need to be careful with heat from a hair dryer and you cannot use straightening irons or curling tongs
  • These wigs are often ill fitting unless you pay for one to be made to measure
  • They can have too much volume, making them appear unrealistic

Human Hair Wigs

close-up of human hair wigs
Indian or Chinese hair are commonly used to make real hair wigs but European hair and Virgin Russian hair can also be used. It’s all about what suits your budget but Russian Virgin hair is apparently the best hair that money can buy. Here are some points to consider when thinking about getting a real hair wig.

The Pros

  • They are made with real hair so can be very natural looking
  • They can be treated like your own hair in terms of styling products, styling tools and hair dye
  • As well as looking natural, the hair is real so it feels real to the touch
  • You can wash it and brush it just like your own natural hair

The Cons

  • They can be expensive; especially if you are buying a bespoke one
  • They don’t tend to hold colour well and the quality can be affected if repeatedly dyed
  • Human hair wigs will need to be styled almost daily or at least every time you wash your hair
  • They have a limited life span

The Problems with both Human Hair Wigs and Synthetic Wigs

wig problems

While there may be arguments for and against for both, the common negatives for both synthetic wigs and human hair wigs are:

  1. They have to be removed at night, you cannot sleep in them
  2. They could come off at any time as they’re not secured to the scalp
  3. You cannot swim in them and many activities would be impossible whilst wearing a wig

Choosing a More Permanent Option – The Intralace System

afer the Intralace

Those three factors are the main reasons why many women choose to use something more permanent like the Intralace System.

If you’re suffering from partial hair thinning or hair loss then the bespoke Intralace System will give you more freedom than a wig and it also looks incredibly natural. It is integrated with your own hair so you can wash it, brush it, sleep in it and swim in it. You wear it 24 hours a day. You can use it while you are waiting for your own natural hair to regrow or if you are managing a permanent type of hair loss or thinning then you may choose to use it as a hair management option for life.

If you have total hair loss then you may choose to use the Intralace Freewear as this can be worn for longer periods of time than a wig or hairpiece. It is secured to the scalp using a combination of skin-friendly tape and liquid adhesive. You can sleep with the system still in place. The most scrutinized part of our hair is our hair line and the hair line created by the Intralace Freewear option is convincingly natural looking.

Wigs May Still be a Good Choice for Some

Wigs can be a good choice for many women while they are managing their hair loss. Perhaps they are more appropriate for temporary types of hair loss as it seems inevitable that you would get tired of the restrictions associated with wearing a wig. Much depends on your budget and your life style. Thankfully the appearance of wigs has improved dramatically over the last few years so take your time when choosing the right style and the right colour. An initial consultation with your chosen provider is the best way forward.

Here are some helpful contacts:

Trendco (large selection of both Human hair and synthetic wigs) head office 0207 221 2646, www.trendco.co.uk .

Mandeville Wigs (High end Human hair wigs) 020 8741 5959, www.mandeville-wigs.co.uk

and of course ourselves
Lucinda Ellery Consultancy (Intralace System and more permanent hair loss solutions) head office 0208 741 8224, www.lucindaellery-hairloss.co.uk

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The Day You Get Your New Hair

What to expect on the day of your new Intralace System

So you’ve had your consultation and you’ve booked your new Intralace appointment. Of course you will wonder how it all works and probably be a little nervous. The first appointment is a long day and although we just need you to sit in the chair while we do all the work, you will be tired, exhausted almost, and we understand that comes from the anxiety often associated with the first appointment and the expectation of having beautiful hair again.

Be assured you are in safe hands! You are our guest for the day and we will guide you every step of the way. This is an outline of what to expect and what you need to know.

Arrival and Guests

London front door

Front door of our London studio

We need you to arrive bright and early at 9.30am. That allows the procedure to be relaxed and everything to run smoothly.

Can I bring a friend for support?

By all means bring a friend but they are only allowed in the waiting rooms. Our main Studio areas are for staff and clients only; guests are not permitted in the studios as we have to respect the privacy of our other clients. The exception to this would be where the client is under the age of 16 – they are welcome to have an adult sit with them in the main studio. Our studios are open plan but you can request screens if you would like more privacy.

Space in the waiting rooms is rather restricted at some of our premises, so you may want to mention to your guests that you will be with us for most of the day (usually around 8 hours!) so it’s often a good idea for them to go shopping, visit museums, etc. and return at intervals.

Who’ll be looking after you?

A team of two technicians will be looking after you for the day. At the beginning of your appointment a Studio Manager will come and see you and also a colour technician and stylist will consult with you. Some clients are clear about their colour choices for their new hair but others need some guidance so we can help you with that. If you want your own hair coloured then please contact us prior to your new Intralace appointments so that we can explain what needs to be done (there is a skin test which is compulsory).

Likewise, a stylist is on hand to help with what would suit you if you don’t have something specifically in mind (some people bring photos of styles that they like). There are numerous hair style magazines scattered throughout the studios so you may find inspiration from them, but if not don’t worry, we have experts on hand to help you decide!

Refreshments

We serve a selection of Teas, Coffee’s, Smoothies and soft drinks throughout the day, we also serve Red or White Wine (not available at all Studios) and these refreshments are all complimentary. We also have to hand a selection of menus from local restaurants so when it comes to lunch time you can let us know what you would like and we can organise that for you. The choices include luxury sandwiches, baked potatoes, pasta and salads. Your team will need to have their lunch so this is also the perfect time for you to eat.

Passing the time during your appointment

The daily papers, numerous magazines and a choice of DVD’s are available to you throughout the day but of course you may choose to bring a good book with you to help pass the time. Laptops are also available (not at all Studios) so just ask your team if you would like to check your email or access the internet etc.

What happens during your appointment?

Manchester studio

Manchester studio area

The initial application of the Intralace System takes many hours in order to achieve the best possible results. You’ll probably be very interested in it to begin with but as time passes you’ll probably find that the detail becomes less fascinating.

We start by shaping the mesh over the areas of concern. Your own hair is then gently retrieved through the material mesh. Once the mesh is in place we can then start to add the new hair to the mesh, building it up to achieve the intended effect.

Styling

The hair that we use is quite long (approx 16 inches unless you have requested Virgin Russian hair or specially ordered longer hair) so you may wonder about there seeming to be lots of it. However this is to allow plenty of scope for styling – it then needs to be cut and styled to suit you.

Your stylist will guide you on what is most suited to you. It can sometimes be difficult to envisage the possibilities if you’ve got used to having thin hair, but if you are still undecided about your finished style then remember we can tweak it when you return for your first wash and aftercare (normally 1 to 5 days later).

We use real hair for the Intralace system which means you can treat it like your own hair. We will talk you through how to care for your new hair and also demonstrate this in detail at your first wash appointment.

We understand this is a big day for you and some people may find it takes them a few days to adjust but be prepared to get lots of compliments on your new look!   You will be leaving the Studio with a fabulous new head of hair and remember we are here to advise and support you as much as possible.

Departure

Please allow lots of time to get to the train Station or airport as having to rush for a train or plane will really add pressure to your appointment. We recommend that you call us prior to arranging your travel so that we can give you a realistic finish time.

A final word before your first appointment

We really want you to enjoy your new hair and your overall experience with us. Please do not hesitate to contact us via phone or email if there is ever anything you need. We look forward to taking care of you and returning your hair to its full glory.

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Modelling for Lucinda Ellery

Increasing media interest in our work

Now magazine article

One of our clients
featured in Now magazine

In recent years there has been more and more interest from the Media about the work done by Lucinda Ellery. We’ve had numerous articles written about us in newspapers and magazines from The Times to Woman’s Own, Now and New!, and some of our clients have also been featured on some very popular TV shows including 10 Years Younger, This Morning, Daybreak and Radio 4’s Woman hour.

(You can see and watch many of these on our Press Articles pages  and our Videos pages )

Press Features

We have a PR Company (Instinct PR) and they are always actively looking for new recruits for our model register.  They look for clients of all ages with different types of hair thinning or hair loss.  When we do get enquiries from the Press they tend to be very specific about what they want, so for example they will specify an age range and a specific hair loss type.  We then look at our Model Register and approach the client that best fits the brief.

Andrea Maylor is a senior account executive at Instinct PR and regularly coordinates with journalists and Lucinda Ellery clients to help make these great articles happen.  Andrea says:

‘Once you become a client of Lucinda Ellery – you never want to leave! She is the ultimate fairy godmother and through all her hard work she has helped thousands of women who suffer with all forms of hair loss. By signing up to the model registry, you can help us to raise awareness of the work Lucinda and her team does. Lucinda adores helping and supporting all her clients but there are so many women who suffer with hair loss across the world that she can also help who have no idea the studios even exist! Not only do you help us to spread the word, you’ll also get to attend a glamorous photoshoot and have a make-over and some pampering!’

What we need you to do

a-before-after

before and after photos

We always need “before” and “after” images so this would naturally mean using images of you before you had your hair done with us and then after you’ve had your hair done.   As you know we take photos of you at some of your appointments so these photos can be used for your “before” photos.

Our PR Company would initially contact you and ask you a series of questions which allows them to build a profile on you.  If you were selected to be part of a press feature then a journalist would contact you to interview you.    Some publications will arrange a professional photo shoot.  We recently did an article with the Daily Express and they provided a make up artist, clothes and even shoes!!  Needless to say our client really enjoyed the experience. Other publications are happy to use the “after” pictures we have on file or where appropriate we may organise a professional photographer to come to the studio to take photos of you.

If you are selected to be part of a TV show then a member of the Lucinda Ellery team or a member of our PR team would accompany you and fully brief you on what to expect during the interview.

What you get in return

One client even made the front cover of Essentials

One client even
made the front cover
of Essentials

If your story is published then we will add a credit to your Lucinda Ellery Account.  This amount can then be used towards your future appointments with us.  The credit amount varies depending on the publication and the size of the article but the amount is always agreed with you before any interview takes place.  Likewise with a television piece, we would agree everything before it goes ahead.

If the publication decide to organise a photo shoot then this would be a great experience – you would be the centre of attention!!

In-house marketing

Client R appears in our galleries

Client R appears
in our galleries

We sometimes have opportunities for our own in-house modelling. We like to keep our websites updated so we are always looking for new images to add to our galleries.  Last year we added some client testimonial videos to our websites and these have proved to be extremely helpful for clients that are enquiring about our services. We hope to organise additional videos this year so do let us know if you would be interested in taking part. You can email us on press@lucindaellery.com.

You can see examples of before and after images on our Intralace System gallery.  We’re also looking for models for our Medi connections, Intralace Minima and Intralace Freewear.

Your Choice

We understand that not all clients are comfortable having their photos or stories published, so there’s absolutely no pressure to take part, but many clients are happy to do this so if you would like join our model register then simply email your name and contact number to press@lucindaellery.com. Some clients have described the experience as liberating!  Most opportunities are suitable for existing Lucinda Ellery clients but sometimes there is an opportunity to involve a new client so please do get in touch to register your interest.

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Trichotillomania – recognizing and managing it

Some Basic Facts

Trichotillomania is a condition where someone has the irresistible urge to pull their own hair out.  It affects up to 2% of the population and is more common in females.   It is also known as TTM, Trich or Tricho.

What are the signs?

One of our clients with TTM

One of our clients with TTM

Hair pulling commonly starts at the ages of 12 or 13 and can coincide with puberty.  There are varying degrees of severity.  The most common areas to pull from are behind the ears and the crown or top of the scalp.  Some people will continuously pull from the same areas and others will move around the scalp.

Visible hair loss is inevitable from repeated pulling but people with Trich tend to become masters at disguising it by having their hair in a certain style or by using make up to cover the patches. However it’s very hard to manage the pulling without proper support, so in many cases the area of pulling can increase dramatically over a period of time.

Varying degrees of severity of TTM

Everyone is different – some pull regularly every day while others may have longer spells between pulling. Some pull from specific areas and if done frequently this can lead to a completely bare patch in one place while the rest of the head is unaffected. Some start in one place and gradually work outwards so that a larger and larger area becomes sparse, or in extreme cases, bare. The more intense the pulling the more likely that permanent damage can be done. While the scalp is the most common place, there are some who pull from their eyebrows and eyelashes – either instead of or as well as the scalp.

Awareness – public and professional

For a long time, little was known about TTM and finding out about it was difficult. Most people hadn’t heard of it, even doctors, and many sufferers thought themselves unique. Thankfully in recent years there has been much more information available and more and more people are aware of it.

It is often grouped with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, though experts still argue about that. The medical profession in general seem to have a better awareness and understanding. There are now forums on the internet offering information and advice, and many sufferers are posting videos on sites like Youtube where they describe their condition and the ups and down of fighting it.  It has been written about in various magazines and newspapers and has been featured on TV shows like This Morning and Embarrassing Illness.

However despite this increased awareness,such is the isolating effect of it that most people with Trich are really shocked to discover that they are not the only one suffering from this condition, and are often very surprised to find out that it actually has a name.

There is unfortunately a degree of secrecy with trichotillomania – people are too embarrassed to mention it to anyone else and their friends or family may just assume that they have alopecia.  It’s rare for someone to openly discuss their hair pulling. We’re frequently told by new clients that we are the first people they’ve ever talked to about it, and that step alone is often a source of relief to them.

Article in New magazine about two of our clients

Article in New magazine about two of our clients

When, Where and Why?

It is usually more likely that the hair pulling happens in private -  so either in the privacy of the bedroom when no one else is there or in the bathroom where the door can be locked.  People with trich will often say that they find themselves in a trance-like state where they have spent possibly a number of hours pulling their hair out without even realising. Sometimes this happens when they’ve been reading or studying, and they only become aware of it when they see a clump of hair next to them.

They may say that it is comforting – there is a release of stress when the hair is pulled.  Though it doesn’t necessarily happen only when you are stressed or unhappy – it can also happen when you are feeling quite relaxed – but the feelings post-pulling are always very negative.  You don’t want to do it but you just can’t stop.

In some cases there is an underlying problem that triggers the first pulling event – emotional problems with family such as a death or a divorce, or problems at school or work are often mentioned – but in others there is no obvious cause. But once started the urge to pull again becomes irresistible.

Having a ongoing bad hair day

Having trich tends to really rule your day.  You’ll have to spend a considerable amount of time arranging your hair to cover the hair loss, so often clients will mention that they have to get up much earlier than normal so that they have time to do the tedious task of disguising the bare patches.  You will avoid many social situations – sleepovers are difficult and the prospect of that special someone touching your hair can fill you with dread.  Any activity which means getting your hair wet is a big no no.  A simple thing like the subject of hair in conversation can be really difficult.  Some people will even adapt their sense of fashion to accommodate wearing a hat – they don’t really want to wear a baseball cap but they need it to cover the hair loss.

My child has it – What do I do?

If you suspect your child is pulling their hair out then a telling off is not appropriate. They may already want to stop but simply can’t. They need your support and help, both personally and in order to find professional advice.

Try to be aware of how long they are spending alone in their bedroom, perhaps suggest they study or watch TV in the kitchen or sitting room. You may notice that their hands are constantly in their hair so use a distraction to get their hands away from their hair.

If your child is very young and you suspect they are pulling their hair then put some Vaseline in your hands and rub it through their hair.  This makes the hair slippy and very hard to grip on to.

Bear in mind that someone will trich will have mastered how to pull their hair with their nails being a certain length so for example if someone has always had short nails and they are suddenly longer they will find it very difficult to pull the hair. So if appropriate you may want to change their nails.

What can be done to help?

The first thing to realise is that while it can seem impossible to begin with it’s entirely possible for the pulling to be effectively managed and stopped with the right help.

A visit to your GP would be the first step.  Hopefully your GP will be aware of the condition but if not they may take the opportunity to do some research on the subject. If they aren’t aware then ask to be referred to a specialist. Thankfully it’s very rare for a GP not to be sympathetic but if you find it’s dismissed as not being important then don’t be afraid to see another doctor.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is commonly reported to greatly help control urges and help with managing TTM. Your GP may refer you to one or you can find one yourself. (You may find www.babcp.com useful for this.)

You should first check that the Therapist sees clients with Trich (some do and some don’t).  A number of sessions with the Therapists would normally be recommended.  The success of any type of treatment will of course be governed to a degree by the attitude of the person with the problem.  If they are willing to be helped then the chances are it will work but if they are not willing then it is unlikely to be successful.

Our own approach

Sufferers who come to us are given a number of techniques including relaxation and distraction, and are offered the chance to take part in a “buddy” system and social support meetings. We’ve also found that our Intralace System can be a valuable tool.

The Intralace has two ways of working for clients with TTM:

  • It will disguise any areas of hair loss – helping the client to look and feel good about themselves
  • It helps as a physical barrier to the pulling site – preventing the hands from reaching the hair roots and gradually breaking the habit of doing so

It is not a cure but it makes access to the areas of pulling very difficult as the scalp is covered with a mesh which in turn is covered with hair. This gives the scalp a chance to recover and for regrowth to occur if there is no permanent damage.

There is a tremendous sense of normality associated with using the system – you have a full head of hair again so it certainly reinstates some of that much-needed self esteem. And that sense of normality coupled with the physical prevention from pulling can give you the space you need to help break the cycle.

Charlotte before having an Intralace fitted

Charlotte before having an Intralace fitted

Charlotte after having an Intralace fitted

Charlotte after having an Intralace fitted

 

Many people with Trichotillomania will say that trying to manage their hair pulling without any support is extremely difficult, but the facts are that many do become “pull free” and move on with their lives – because they found the right help.

It’s best to take control of Trich rather than it controlling you – and asking for help is the first step.

Further information

Our main UK website has further information and videos about Trichotillomania including the Channel 4 documentary, Girls on the Pull.

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Hair Extensions – are they safe?

Hair extensions are more popular than ever thanks to celebrity users including Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole and Britney Spears. We would all love the naturally luscious locks of Kate Middleton but more and more of us are now using hair extensions to transform the way our hair looks.  As the name implies, you can use them to extend the length of your hair but, of more relevance to anyone suffering from thinning hair, you can also use them to add volume.

However there are plenty of stories in the press about damage caused by extensions, often with dramatic pictures of celebrities showing bald patches. And particularly anyone who is already suffering from hair loss may be worried by these stories. So what’s the truth of the situation? Lets take it from the beginning.

What are hair extensions? How are they applied?

Hair extensions are lengths of real or synthetic hair that are attached to a person’s own hair to add volume or both volume and length.  The new hair is attached to your own natural strands quite close to the scalp.  There are a number of different systems for attaching them, with varying claims made for each, but the most popular tends to be bonded extensions and that is our preference too – though we use an  adhesive which is softer than most.

Roxanne Pallatt before her extensions

Roxanne Pallatt before her extensions

Roxanne Pallatt after getting extensions

Roxanne Pallatt after getting extensions

 

Will my own hair be safe?

Due largely to the occasional negative press articles, some of which are doubtless caused by journalists trying to drum up celebrity drama stories, some people are cynical how about safe extensions are. There’s no doubt that if they are not applied by a professional who is experienced in using them, and if they are not looked after properly by the wearer, then they can look terrible and sometimes cause damage. But with expertise and if reasonable care is taken then they should be both safe and attractive.

Careful application and maintenance

If you have naturally fine hair then it’s important that your extensions are a suitable weight so that your own hair can support them and so that everything looks natural. A good hair studio should also give you after-care advice on how to look after your new extensions and ensure your own hair stays in good condition. Any hair that is not growing from the root needs some extra tender loving care, so extensions need to be looked after too – using the right shampoo and the right conditioner.

When extensions are applied properly there is virtually no reason why they would damage your hair – many women use extensions to achieve a desired length with no adverse effects whatsoever. Ladies with fine or thinning hair often choose to use extensions to add volume to their hair and this is a useful part of our range of techniques for helping them look their best.

Removal is as important as application

It is just as important that the removal of your extensions is carried out by a professional so that they are carefully and painlessly removed without causing any damage to your own hair. Don’t be afraid to ask about the procedures used for the particular attachment system being recommended.

Where is the best place to go for hair extensions?

It is important to visit a reputable salon and you should be offered a consultation as the vital first step.

In recent years the demand has been mostly for real or human hair as opposed to synthetic. There are different types of real hair that can be offered so it is important to have the opportunity to both see the hair and also to ask questions about the source of it. You will also need to know about costs and the colour options available to you.

Ensure that both you and the salon are aware of the main purpose of the extensions – volume or volume and length – the consultation should confirm how many extensions you would need to add volume to your existing hair style, or how many to add both volume and length.

Enquire about having some “test extensions” applied. The market leaders in hair extensions will normally do this as part of the initial consultation – it is where some (2 or 3) extensions are added to assess if your hair is suitable. This will also allow you to experience how the attachment method feels to you. Do they feel as if they would be comfortable to sleep in? If not then that method may not be suitable for you and you should find an alternative salon.

Be Realistic

There’s no doubt that well-applied and styled extensions can transform your looks, but particularly when using them for the first time it’s advisable to be realistic, or you may be tempted to use too much weight or find that they require too much care. Once you’re comfortable with them and sure of the expertise of the salon applying them then you can start to experiment with more ambitious changes of style.

Perhaps some of the Disney Princesses gave us unrealistic expectations about our hair but having professionally applied extensions does give us more options for looking good!

 

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Recent mentions and worthwhile reads

We often get mentions in the press and sometimes in other blogs and many of them are worth reading for the stories of the women being described – these are a few of the recent ones.

Sophie Feels Better

Sophie gives us a little mention in her latest post but that’s not why it’s worth reading. Her blog tells of Sophie’s battle with and recovery from breast cancer. Since she’s Beauty Director at ELLE UK, she’s well qualified to describe the problems of maintaining your appearance during chemotherapy and her posts are both informative and inspiring for anyone going through a similar experience.

The Telegraph

They recently had an article called Why do some women go bald? which mentioned a number of different types of hair loss and featured three women sufferers, including one of our clients, Helen Lewis. Well worth a read to see that you’re not alone and that there are ways of overcoming the problem.

London Beauty Queen

A blog by the lovely Hayley which is mostly to do with the glamour side of hair, though she has interviewed Lucinda about Trichotillomania in the past. Her latest post is a full description of having extensions put in, which may well be interesting for anyone who may be thinking of having it done, whether for hair thinning or just to improve their appearance.

The Metro

Finally Lucinda herself was one of three women featured in a Mother’s Day article about three mums who made a success out of difficult circumstances.

 

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