Friday, August 12, 2022

It feels as if the summer just started and it’s so hard to believe the chagim are just around the corner. For those desiring a new fresh look for Yom Tov, now is the time to do so. There are so many questions one has when purchasing a wig, and almost everyone, unfortunately, has either experienced personally or knows of someone who has had a sheitel catastrophe. To avoid more horror stories, keep these tips in mind when purchasing your next sheitel.

1. Judging a sheitel by its price tag: The majority of people believe that the more expensive any product is, the better quality that product has to be. In the sheitel world, this principle does not always apply. Quality hair is not cheap; therefore, one should be leery of the quality of a piece that the price seems too good to be true. Often, higher-priced sheitels are a result of the sheitel leaving the manufacturer and being passed through several different middlemen before it lands in the hands of the sheitel macher. And of course, like all products, one pays a premium for brand names.

2. Asking if it’s European hair: This is the most common question I get, and when I get it I know the consumer has a misunderstanding of the hair they want in the price range they can afford. Virgin Russian/European is actually considered to be the highest-end hair on the market today. Hair pricing for this type of hair dramatically rises each year and is increasingly becoming unaffordable for the masses, particularly if you would like to purchase more than one piece. Currently, medium- to long-hair Russian/European pieces run around $6,000. Because it is so pricey, the vast majority of wigs being sold on the market are being made with “processed hair.” This hair is processed so well and it’s made to mimic the virgin European hair; it is therefore very hard to tell the difference between the two. There are no international regulations on hair trade and the exact true origin of hair is difficult to know or ascertain. The majority of those who claim their hair is European hair is in fact really processed European hair. There are others who use that terminology to refer to the style, in which some customers like the hair to feel silky smooth. This type of hair feels silky and soft to the touch, but most probably doesn’t hold the curl or style for very long.

3. Neglecting to perform the knot test: When buying a new sheitel, whether it is high-end or lower-end hair, it is best to do a preliminary knot test. Brush the entire sheitel through with a vent brush, then shake it gently from side to side. After that, pass your fingers through the piece. If the hair is clumping or you feel resistance in the hair, then there is a good chance this wig will have a knotting problem.

4. Buying from an unreputable source: Every brand, even the highest-end wig companies, are bound to have some lemons in their stock. The reason for this is because every wig is hand made with human hair. With so many variables to consider in the manufacturing process, it is impossible to have 100 percent “manufacturing success.” When dealing with so many different types of human hair and human error, whether the particular hair is bad hair on the wig or the way it was sewn got messed up, it’s virtually impossible to have 100 percent perfection. The key factor to look for is a company with excellent customer service that will stand behind their product while being pleasant to work with.

5. Buying from a seller only: It has become a trend to host pop-up sheitel sales in one’s home, shul or elsewhere. The person or organization hosting the event gets a commission on each sheitel sold. It is tempting to buy at one of these sales since the pricing is so low and alluring. But buyer beware, or you may be paying the price later on. These “sales” do not take into account the expense of the sheitel cut, color and style. Purchasing a sheitel from someone who does not cut and color wigs—and lacking the expertise to advise you as to which sheitel will work for the overall look you want to achieve—will leave you without the total package you want from your the entire experience. The person selling you the wig should be knowledgeable in cutting, coloring and styling so that they sell you the wig with the correct texture, density, layered hair length and color that will ensure you will be happy with the final look and product.

By Sari Friedbauer

Sari Friedbauer is the owner of Sari’s Wigs. She is a licensed cosmetologist and hairdresser and certified wig maker. She is available for consultations and can be reached at 201-694-5319.

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