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How to Buy a Wig

Buying a wig doesn't have to be overwhelming. If you are losing your hair due to cancer, alopecia, chemotherapy treatments or other medical conditions, or if you simply want a new look, this buying guide will help you to choose the right wig for you. 

Before we dig in, here are some of our pro wig buying tips for first time wig buyers:

  • Plan ahead. Being prepared for hair loss can give you back a feeling of control and makes the process less traumatic. As soon as your doctor tells you that you may experience hair loss with your treatments, you should begin planning.
  • Cut a hair swatch. Once you know that you will loose your hair, cut a hair swatch for safe keeping and color matching. 
  • Benefits. Although many women do not choose to buy wigs by choice, there are unexpected benefits.
    • Your morning routine is simpler.
    • You will save money on hairstyling, cuts and coloring.
    • You will never have a "bad hair day." 
    • Limitless options: Sieze wig buying as an opportunity. Maybe you have always wanted to be a redhead. Or maybe you've always wanted curls. With wigs, you can have any hair you want!

Wig buying isn't something to fear. With a quality wig, no one will be able to tell you are wearing a wig. Typically, the first time you wear your wig, you will start receiving loads of compliments on your terrific new haircut!  If you want to buy a wig online this comprehensive guide will walk you through it in 5 easy steps.


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Step 1: Find Your Head Size

Just like shopping for clothes, you want to start by browsing in the right size or section of the store. If you are 5'10" tall and you are shopping in the petite section, it will inevitably be a frustrating experience. Therefore, the first step in selecting a wig is to determine your head size.

One hint when finding your head size: If you find that most hats are too big or too small when you put them on your head, this is a clue that you may fall outside the average range.

Head size may not correspond to the overall size of a person so it's important to take measurements. For women’s wigs, there are 3 basic sizes: Petite, Average and Large. Because most women wear an average sized cap, there will be more style choices if your head size is average. For those who do not wear an average, the majority will wear a petite cap. A small percentage of women will wear a large cap. To achieve accurate measurements, it is best to have someone else help you. The tape measure should be snug but not tight or pulled when the measurements are taken.



To measure the circumference of your head. you will be tracing around your hairline. To begin, take a flexible cloth or seamstress measuring tape. Starting at your forehead, trace all the way around your hairline, behind the ears, to the nape of your neck and back behind your opposite ear to meet the end of the measuring tape in front.


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The majority of the time, using the circumference of your head will give you an accurate indication of size and you can stop with the first dimension. If your size didn't match your expectations, you may also choose to take a front to back measurement. To do so, run your finger up the center of your forehead until you touch the roots of your hair. This is where you will begin your measurement. Next, starting at your spine, run your finger up your neck until you touch the roots of your hair. This is where you will end your measurement. Run the measuring tape from the starting point to the ending point over the top or crown of the head. Use the following dimensions as a guideline:


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Our wigs come with an adjustable strap that allows you to get a customized fit within the range. If your wig does not feel right when you first put it on, try adjusting the straps.


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Step 2: Select Your Hair Type. 

Human Hair

Many cancer patients come to us wanting a human hair wig. Human hair wigs offer the same styling versatility of real hair. This feature is both the pro and the con of a human hair wig. Because human hair wigs are made of real hair, they require more care, styling and upkeep. Without the natural oils from your scalp to condition the wig, they can get dry and brittle without proper maintenance. Just like your own hair, they will lose their style in the rain or humidity and must be restyled. They are also more expensive than synthetic wigs. For this reason, we don't generally recommend human hair wigs for cancer patients or first time wig wearers. When you are not feeling well, one of the great benefits to a synthetic wig is that your hair always looks good with almost no effort. With so many things to worry about, we recommend simplifying your routine as you go through treatments. This being said, if you want the versatility of a human hair wig, we have many to choose from. Human hair wigs can last a year or more (if worn daily) with proper care.

Synthetic Hair

Many people who have not seen a high quality synthetic wig think that they need a human hair wig to get a natural look. This is simply not the case. High quality synthetic wigs (like the ones we carry) will be virtually indistinguishable in appearance from a human hair wig. The key is to select a high quality product. Synthetic wigs have the benefit of retaining their shape, so they require very little styling. Simply spritz the wig with a spray bottle of water and the hair will return to its original style. The negative to synthetic hair is that it cannot be exposed to heat sources as it will permanently damage the fibers. This means that care must be taken when putting your casserole in the oven or barbecuing. It also means that you cannot use a curling iron, flat iron, hair dryer or other heated styling tools on the wig. Synthetic wigs typically last from 4-6 months (if worn daily) with proper care. Keep in mind that most women do not wear their wig every day.

Heat Resistant Synthetic Hair

Synthetic wigs that can be styled with heated styling tools (maximum temperature of 350 degrees) are known as "Heat Resistant Wigs". They allow you to change the look from curly to straight. For women who find it important to have this versatility but do not want a human hair wig, a heat friendly synthetic wig may be a good option. One negative to heat friendly synthetic wigs is that the hair can be a little more difficult to style than human hair.  If (when wearing the wig) the hair is pressed against the back of a chair or pillow for a period of time, it can become matted around the nape area. Using your flat iron or curling iron on a very low setting can restore the shape if this happens. Average life span is 3 months if worn daily. If you only wear your wig occasionally this will of course extend the life span. 


We typically encourage our cancer patients to select a synthetic wig for their first purchase. They are easier to care for, they maintain their shape and require minimal skill to maintain. They are also more budget friendly. For more information on selecting your hair type, see our guide on Human Hair Wigs vs. Synthetic Wigs.



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Classic Wigs

These are machine made wigs with wefted rows of hair that are sewn together. Most of our classic wigs are "capless," allowing your head to breathe. They will have teased fibers at the hair roots to conceal the cap underneath. Due to the construction, the part is stationary and therefore classic wigs will offer less styling versatility. Classic wigs provide a very natural and affordable look that has stood the test of time.

Monofilament Wigs

More expensive than classic wigs, monofilament wigs go the extra step to make your hair look completely real. Each hair is individually placed on a transparent mesh cap (instead of in rows), making it look like your real hair is growing from your scalp. Monofilament wigs are ideal for cancer patients or women with full hair loss due to alopecia or other conditions. They are truly convincing replications of your natural hair growth. The part can be moved, allowing greater styling versatility. Monofilament wigs will have varying amounts of monofilament construction. Most feature this construction on the top of the cap only.

Hand Tied Caps

Another step up, each individual hair is  sewn onto a very soft mesh or lace fabric. Unlike regular monofilament wigs, the entire cap features hand tied construction, providing the most comfortable and natural look possible.

Lace Front Wigs

Lace fronts can be on classic caps, monofilament caps or hand tied caps. Lace front wigs feature individually tied hairs on very fine lace around the hairline. This allows you to pull your hair back from your face for a natural look.


Step 3: Select Your Cap Type. It's important to educate yourself on the different types of wig caps in order to make an informed buying decision. There are four basic types of wig caps.


For more information on Cap Types, please see our guide on The Different Types of Wigs.



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Step 4: Select Your Style.

Once you have decided on your size, hair type and cap type, now you can have fun. Browse through our short, chin length, medium length and long hairstyles to find your favorite online wigs. For women who have very long hairstyles before their hair loss, it is often best to go a bit shorter. A shorter wig will be easier to manage, and less of a transition once your hair begins to grow back.


It is important to choose a style before you choose a color because each wig will only come in a selection of colors from the full color range. Many women worry that if they don't start with color, they won't find the right color. Do not worry. Each wig comes in a large selection of colors and there will most likely be a suitable color in any style you choose.


When buying a wig for the first time, we recommend starting with a hairstyle that is close to your current hair style and color. Most of our clients find that this is the most comfortable way to transition into the new world of wearing wigs. Once you have grown in your confidence, experiment with different styles, colors and textures. Have fun with it.


If you would like to match your style to your existing hair, detailed length measurements are included with our wigs. Measuring your own hair lengths before you lose your hair can provide helpful information as you make your selections. Hair length measurements (provided in the product descriptions) will give you a good idea of where the strands will fall on your particular frame.


For helpful information on choosing a wig style that is flattering for you, visit our Wig Style Guide.



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Step 5: Select Your Color. Each wig comes in a selection of approximately 30 colors of the 1000+ unique wig colors we offer. For this reason, it is impossible to choose your wig color until you have selected your style. Most individuals find that it is best to match their natural hair color. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is very helpful to cut a locke of hair for color matching to your wig. See our Color Guide for instructions. We always recommend that our customers take advantage of our free expert consultations. We have been assisting cancer patients online for over 25 years and we have many tricks up our sleeve to determine the best color. Many of our customers choose to send us hair swatches, allowing our experts to help them select an ideal color match. 



Our online hair swatches are small samplings of the full wig color. Like all swatches, they only give you a small representation of what the color will look like. To fully understand how a color will look, it is better to see it on a full wig. One strategy we suggest is to browse through our website looking only at the colors the wigs are pictured in. (At this point, you are ignoring the styles and looking only for colors you like). Jot down several colors and styles. During your complimentary color consultation, we will compare the online photos to our in store hair swatches that are available in your online wig style. 


There are a number of other useful tools we utilize in assisting our customers. For example, instead of hair swatches, customers will frequently send us photographs. If you would like to try and to select your wig color on your own, we recommend looking at other wigs in the brand you have selected to see which styles are pictured in colors you are considering. This will give you a better visual of the overall color. 


If you are torn between two color options, we recommend choosing the lighter hair color. Chemotherapy treatments can wash out your skin tone. Your skin tone can develop a greyish, greenish or yellowish tone. A darker shade will provide more contrast, accentuating a paler complexion; a lighter color will soften the effect for a more flattering look.


For more helpful information on selecting your wig color, please see our complete Wig Color Guide.

Should I Buy More than One Wig?

It's important to have one wig on hand before hair loss begins; being prepared will help alleviate your fears and give you back some degree of your control. If your budget allows, it is definitely a good idea to keep more than one wig on hand. Here's why:

  • Two wigs allow you to have "one to wash and one to wear."
  • Your wig will last longer if alternated and not worn daily.
  • A second wig can also help simplify your routine. If you have a heat resistant synthetic or human hair wig, keeping one curled and one styled straight can help reduce time and stress during your morning routine.
  • Having two wigs allows you to change up your look without going through too much work, which is especially helpful when fatigue from chemo sets in.
  • Women who become accustomed to the ease of wearing a wig will often embrace the versatility that wigs allow, enjoying multiple style and color selections. Having fun with hair styles can be a bright spot in a sad situation when faced with hair loss. 

Despite the benefits of buying a second wig, we do recommend waiting to purchase your second wig until you are certain that your first one is a "keeper". Some customers decide to abandon wig wearing and choose to exclusively wear our hats and scarves instead. For this reason, it's a good idea to give yourself a short period of time to determine what works actually works best for you before you purchase your back-up.  

Pro Tip: If you purchase more than one wig, buy them in the same style and have a stylist trim each wig to a slightly different length. This gives the illusion of hair growth and hair cuts when you switch the wigs out. (Be sure to go to a stylist who is experienced in cutting wigs).


Will Insurance Pay For My Wig?

When buying a wig, one of the first questions you might have is, "Will insurance pay for my wig?" Here a pointers and steps:


Use Correct Terminology

Many insurance companies will cover all or a portion of the cost for a "cranial prosthesis," which in layman's terms is a fancy word for a "wig." We recommend contacting your insurance provider to determine your level of coverage for a "cranial prosthesis." It's important to use this particular term as many will say "no" when they hear the word "wig," but will give an affirmative answer when you use the correct term.


Get a Prescription

For best results, we recommend that you obtain a prescription from your doctor for a "cranial prosthesis" or "medical hair prosthesis" to include with your claim. Ask your doctor to include your ICD-9 code (which is your diagnosis code) on the prescription.


Buy Your Wig

Although we do not accept payments directly from insurance companies when you buy your wig (nor do we know of any wig providers who do), we can provide you with the special receipt for a "cranial prosthesis" which is what your insurance company will need in order to process your claim. First, buy your wig and then submit your claim to your insurance company. Often, your insurance provider will follow up with us for additional information, which we are always happy to provide.


Get Reimbursed

We have successfully worked with all of the major insurance providers and our customers who have cranial prosthesis coverage have been successful in getting reimbursed after they buy their wig, up to their individual coverage amounts.


Where to Buy a Wig Online

We started selling wigs online back in 1996. Back then, we had just one competitor. Today, there are wig sites at every corner. You can't be too careful. There are many things to consider when buying a wig online:


  • Established Retailer: Buy your wig from a retailer who has years of hands-on experience to guide you in your buying decisions. Some online stores are drop shipping wigs out of their home and may not have seen the wig you are purchasing. We have been handling wigs since 1995 and have the expertise to assist you.
  • Expert Assistance: Do you need help? At Headcovers Unlimited, our licensed cosmetologists are here to offer complimentary color and style consulations, working one on one with you until you are happy. 
  • Authenticity: Many of our customers have reported receiving inferior product substitutions or counterfeit merchandise when ordering from other companies,. Some have received returned or second hand wigs. Others have received wigs from China with no way to return them.
  • Authorized Retailers: Buy only from authorized retailers. These can generally be found on the wig manufacturer's website.
  • Prices: Our prices are set at the lowest price authorized by our wig designers. This is typically about 50% less than you will pay in your local wig shop. To maintain our status as an authorized retailer, we cannot price our wigs below the minimum prices they require. If you see the same wig at a lower price elsewhere, you should really do your homework. We don't sell wigs that are used, seconds, damaged, knock offs or returned. 
  • Contact Information: Make sure that the company is accessible by phone and displays a physical address. If you call us at 1-800-264-4287, you will reach real, live human beings in Texas who will help you. 
  • Privacy and Security: Check the company's privacy policy to be sure that your information isn't being sold to other companies or entities. We never give out your personal information to any outside party for any reason. Our website is secured with the most secure SSL Certification which is tested daily for your security.
  • Shipping Times: Delivery times at many wig retailers can be lengthy. We offer fast, free shipping on wigs over $75. Overnight and 2 day service are also available at an additional charge.
  • Product Range: Does the store carry everything you hope to see or will you have to shop elsewhere for your other needs?  Because we specialize in hair loss, we can walk you through the process and supply everything you need to get you through your hair loss in one easy stop.
  • Product Quality: There is a minimum quality standard required for a wig to look natural. While we could sell $35 wigs, it's not something we would feel comfortable wearing ourselves. With wigs, the old saying is true: "You get what you pay for." With a budget product, the feel of the wig, the construction, the longevity and the comfort will all be compromised. To put things into perspective, imagine a clown wig that you can find in any discount store around Halloween. Now imagine that you could purchase a wig of this quality but in your everyday hairstyle and hair color. Would you want anything of this caliber for anything besides Halloween? This is why we don't offer lower budget products. To achieve a quality that we would consider wearing, you can expect to pay a minimum of $80 for a short wig.

© 2014-2023, Headcovers Unlimited, Inc. All Rights Reserved. We encourage and welcome direct links to this page, but please do not redistribute, copy, alter or create derivative works from our content without express written permission.

Comments, Questions & Ratings

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Great read! Review by How to Buy a Wig
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I almost never comment on anything, but was so compelled to after reading because this article is so, absolutely incredible. You know when you ask everyone who will listen, for advice on something, and despite appreciating and learning lots, you almost always end up going with your initial instinct, your gut, which told you to begin with? You know YOU better than anyone, so trust that part, but, there are some must-knows you’ll want before making such an investment. Finding a wig you’ll love, is kinda like that. You know YOU better than anyone, so trust that part, but, there are some must-knows you’ll want before making such an investment. Purchasing a wig seems daunting, because it is, especially and understandably, people that know and expect a quality product. For me, a wig feels personal, unlike a t-shirt or pair of pants, hence the daunting task of finding “the one.” During the purchasing process, instead of physically viewing ,or simply having the ability to feel something, you’ll have to rely heavily on the knowledge you’ve gained during your research, and you’re gut instinct. It really can feel especially wrong and burdensome, because there are so many untruthful and untrustworthy claims, that fraudulent companies are making online. So, keep this articles information top of mind during your search. This article, (and wig company!) provides key, and necessary information, so that you have somewhere to begin, while also hopefully, making the “hunt”, a not so totally overwhelming experience. If you keep these genius tips with you as you search , you can hopefully avoid, some of the doubt, confusion and disappointment, (did I mention waisted money?!) too many feel when making a wig purchase. You are beautiful, dear! (Posted on 07/20/2023) Review by How to Buy a Wig
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I would like to talk to a consultant about purchasing a wig. (Posted on 02/28/2022)


We will have our team contact you and thank you for your interest. You can always reach out to us anytime at1-800-264=4287. (03/23/2022) Review by How to Buy a Wig
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I am about to go through chemo therapy , the wigs are amazing. (Posted on 12/29/2021) Review by How to Buy a Wig
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I need help trying to purchase a wig. I have one in the cart but I am not sure how o go about it to make sure I get the right color. It looks like a petite front to back and a Petite/Average would fit. I would like to send a picture and a sample of my hair for color. Not sure about wig caps? Also are these returnable? (Posted on 05/25/2021) Review by How to Buy a Wig
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Love the eyebrow transfers! Review by How to Buy a Wig
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I had tried transfers from an other source, and was disappointed when they rubbed off while sleeping. I gave it another try with eyebrow transfers from hardcovers. I put them on , and today is day three! Still looking good ! I will be reordering! (Posted on 02/21/2021)

Dave Review by How to Buy a Wig
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These are some great tips and stuff, but what men. I'm one of the men that started to loose my hair and I hate the idea of being bald. What about a man. Do you have help for men? I will check back for a reply in a few days. (Posted on 11/16/2020)

Good Review by How to Buy a Wig
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Good (Posted on 10/07/2020)

How to Buy a Wig