Wigs 101 for Transgender Women

Wigs 101 for Transgender Women

Wigs 101 for Transgender Women

Let's face it – hair plays a huge role in self expression. This goes for anyone, but (call me biased), I'd say it applies even more so to trans women. During our male to female transformations, our hair can be a very real source of embarrassment and discomfort. But trust me, once you find your look, it can be one of the strongest ways of affirming your gender identity.

But between feelings of self consciousness, not knowing where to begin, and issues like hair loss, what's a girl to do? ::Wigs have entered the chat::

Wigs are a fantastic option for so many reasons. They’re extremely versatile and embraced by people from all walks of life, from the average Jane to the likes of hair icons like Dolly Parton. While there’s a ton of info out there and they have a bit of a learning curve, there's no need to go too deep down the rabbit hole!


Why Trans Women Often Wear Wigs When Starting To Transition

As we set out on our journeys of self-discovery and transition, we embrace a multitude of changes to reflect our true selves. One of these transformations often involves our hair - an incredible medium to express our femininity. But let's be real, growing out our natural hair takes time (on average a woman can expect about 6 inches of hair growth a year), and not everyone has immediate access to options like hair transplants or hormonal therapies. Not to mention, challenges like pattern baldness or thinning, which are more common for those of us assigned male at birth, can make crafting that perfect feminine hairstyle a bit more difficult.

This is where wigs step in as our allies during the initial stages of transition. No matter the quality or length of your natural hair, wigs open the door to a wide range of styles, lengths, and colors, allowing us the freedom to experiment and align our external appearance with our true gender identity right away. They can give us that essential boost of confidence and serve as powerful tools for self-expression during this transformative phase of our lives.



Committing to a new hairstyle can be scary. What if it doesn't look good? What if you regret it afterwards and now you're stuck with this? Wigs pretty much remove that whole concern. They're the perfect thing for experimenting and trying out new looks without worry.

Basically, anything you can do with your natural hair you can do with a wig, plus a lot more: trying out different lengths, colors, textures, and styles that may not even be possible with your own hair. And by experimenting on the wig, you can spare your own hair a lot of chemical damage and alterations.

Also let's not forget about the fun factor - Like the iconic Moira Rose from Schitt's Creek, you may end up discovering that wearing wigs is an exciting way to explore different aspects of your personality and express yourself in new ways. Whether you're looking for a natural-looking wig for everyday wear or a dramatic one for special occasions, there's a wig out there for you.


The main pro of human hair wigs is they offer a lot more possibilities for styling, since they behave just like the hair on your head. They can be cut, dyed, and shaped, and move and flow in a more natural way. Because of these qualities, they’re more often than not the preferred choice.

However, there are some cons. The biggest one: they’re more expensive upfront; ranging anywhere from $400 to $3000 for decent to top quality. Upkeep can also be a hassle. You’ll need to regularly wash and condition them in order to keep them fresh and healthy looking. The hair is delicate, so styling (especially with heat) can damage them just like it would your own hair.

Weather sensitivity (becoming frizzy from humidity, dried out in the winter, etc.) is also an issue, and direct sunlight can dull the hair’s luster and even fade the color. BUT, if you’re willing to put in the effort and have the budget, these wigs have the potential to look more natural and last longer too (for at least a year of regular use).

Don’t write off synthetic just yet though. It has plenty to offer. Budget-wise, you’re saving hundreds to thousands of dollars right off the bat. On the lower-quality end, you can find them for around $100-200. On the higher-end, they can usually be found for around $500. So for sure, a significantly cheaper upfront cost!

More pros: Synthetic wigs require a lot less upkeep. They’re much more resistant to conditions outside of your control such as weather, and won’t frizz up or curl or whatever on an overcast day. When washed, they‘ll usually bounce back to their former style, as the style is more or less set-in during manufacturing.

Synthetic wigs usually come pre-styled (and in a larger variety of colors), which saves you time, effort and money at the salon if you like what you see. But should you want to change it up, the higher quality ones can actually be styled and cut, so long as you avoid using heat (it can melt the fibers). Although there are even some heat-resistant options that are more durable (and more expensive) than the standard option. For the best of both worlds, there are even human/synthetic blends available.


The general consensus is that it’s worth springing for a lace wig if you have room in your budget. This applies to both human and synthetic hair. Traditional wigs are the cheapest option but also look the cheapest; typically, they’re machine-made and difficult to style.

With lace manufacturing, each hair is individually tied to a lace foundation. This gives much more freedom for styling and appears more lifelike. There’s better ventilation as well due to the manufacturing process, so they feel lighter and extra comfortable on the wearer.

Lace front wigs can come with an added advantage - bleached knots. Knot bleaching is a process where the knots where the hairs are tied onto the lace are lightened to make them less visible. This creates the illusion of hair growing directly from your scalp and makes the wig look more natural, a detail that goes a long way in perfecting your desired look.

With the lace-front wigs, as the name suggests, the lace is only in the front. This allows for a natural looking hairline, which is critical for maintaining a natural look.

Full-lace is the next tier up, and allows for full styling throughout. The drawbacks though are budget and upkeep. For an inexperienced wearer, the maintenance required for full lace could be a problem. The lace-front offers a happy medium, and still gives wonderful results.

As you can see, while there are some technical things to consider, it's really nothing you can't handle. Wigs are well worth the effort: they can help us be who we want to be, and that's something to celebrate.

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