Check out this article from The Sunday Times in the U.K. These girls across the pond are on to something!
The Sunday Times
December 14, 2008
Fancy a tress change without going for the chop? It’s time for a wig
“Nobody even notices when I’m wearing one,” confides Faye-Marie Britten (pictured above), the dancer and former squeeze of Agent Provocateur’s Joe Corré. The secret beauty arsenal Britten is referring to is not a 24-hour girdle or bazooka chest-booster — it’s a wig. She is properly obsessed with them and admits to owning “about 20. My friends borrow them all the time”.
Britten and her friends are not alone — indeed, there is a revival in wig-wearing. Once the preserve of old ladies and chemotherapy patients, an increasing number of cool kids are now claiming the insta-fix hair solution as their own. Pixie Geldof is a fully paid-up fan: “I love wigs. They’re fun — you can be whoever you want for the night and wake up again as yourself. My fave one is my Britney meltdown pink bob.”
Britten first discovered wig power through work. “I was organising a troupe of girls for a party thrown by Fran Cutler, and had them all in pink bobs,” she says. The effect was so successful that she adopted wigs as part of her own regular look and happily admits to “having a lot more fun and feeling more confident” when she wears a wig.
The EastEnders actress Kara Tointon is another fan. When she was recently spotted out on the town sporting a glossy black bob, she admitted that it was, in fact, a wig. “I’ve got seven at home,” she says. “I really hate my own hair, so this is great for a change.”
The truth is that, far from being outré, wigs are, in fact, everywhere nowadays. It’s just that they’re so good, you’d never know it. It’s a secret that celebs decades younger than Joan Collins have been in on for a long time. After all, the concept is only a hop, skip and a teased tress away from the ubiquitous hair extension. Last year, even the American fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily predicted that “wigs are poised to take over the hair- extension craze”.
It makes sense. Catwalks and international fashion ad campaigns show hair that is as much a part of a brand’s seasonal look as trouser shape — where would YSL have been without those sharp black bobs this season? Just a little closer to Normalville, that’s where. So why shouldn’t we feel the need for some hair speed, too? Why not change our locks as we do our daily look, and treat our hair like an adaptable accessory, like handbags and shoes? The thing is, with a wig, we can.
For the hairstylist Wendy Iles, who has worked with everybody from Chanel and Tatler to Beyoncé and Penelope Cruz, wigs have become part and parcel of her work over the past five years. She thinks women are now more open to the idea of wigs because “we’re used to seeing celebrities change their hair constantly, and people are beginning to realise that they can use fake hair to do it”. She also thinks that for “real” girls, “there’s something rather great about wearing a wig. With your identity tucked securely away underneath, you can play with different sides of your personality”.
Still, it comes with a stigma attached. The wig faces a huge image problem — one that Vicki Ullah, proprietor of the Wig Boudoir at Urban Retreat in Harrods and who used to work for Trendco, the UK’s biggest supplier of wigs, is on a mission to overcome. “Everybody knows how bad extensions are for your hair. With a wig, you can get the same effect instantly without the damage,” she says.
So consider these facts. A decent wig costs the same as a good cut and colour — and could mean an end to bad hair days for ever; wigs and hairpieces are used in the majority of fashion shoots to create supernaturally thick, glossy, healthy-looking hair; most A-listers keep wigs as a regular part of their red-carpet kit; years of tonging have left many women with fragile, broken hair, which a wig can conceal in an instant; it’s a great way to experiment with new styles and colours, without the commitment — or cost — of visiting your hairdresser every eight weeks.
To prove her point, Ullah whips out a few examples for me to try. Eyeing my meagre blonde ponytail (more rat’s tail, to be honest), she declares me “an ideal candidate for wigs”, particularly as I’m at a crossroads between growing out and going short, and have also been toying with the idea of going back to my natural colour. The next 30 minutes pass in a whirlwind of magic dust and microfibre (tougher than real hair and surprisingly lifelike), as I go from Wag (waist-length blonde flicks), to a pre-Brad Jennifer Aniston, and end up breakfasting at Tiffany’s in a gamine brunette crop. “Wigs can be addictive,” warns Ullah, as I ask to try another.
But can’t everybody tell? Well, thanks to Scarlett Johansson rocking her candyfloss bob in Lost in Translation and last year’s fancy-dress obsession with Amy’s beehive, it has become acceptable to wear an obvious wig on occasion. But if you’re looking to fake it realistically, then that’s also surprisingly easy to do. Most people, says Britten, “just think I’ve got great hair. You just have to make sure it’s on securely. You don’t want all to be revealed when the wind blows”.
As for me, I leave Ullah’s Boudoir sporting a chestnut “pob” (or Posh bob) to trial the real-life wig experience. It’s drizzling outside, but, she advises, “if it gets wet, the wig will spring back into its original shape”. Joy!
Reactions vary from total shock to mild amusement and envious approval. I learn that most people prefer me blonde, but men fancy me more as a brunette (at least, I hope that’s why I’m getting all the looks). And, if all else fails, at least these things make very effective ear muffs.