I'm Working a Wig

Judy Kirkwood

Almost everyone in entertainment rocks some kind of fake hair, and popular culture follows red-carpet looks. If 2011 was the year when our eyes were opened to long, lush hair extensions on Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, the female "Dancing with the Stars" pros - 2012 may be the year of the wig.

And I'm ready.

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I bought mine last week when my friend was in town. I had no intention of doing so, but I looked so good in different styles compared to my weather-reactive natural hair that is either plastered to my head with sweat under the hot sun of South Florida or frizzed around my face like a halo in high humidity. We had a fun and fantastic afternoon of trying on different styles and colors at several different shops. We settled on a flippy blonde circa-2004 Meg Ryan for Gretchen. I got a modified short flirty brown with gold and copper highlights (think Florence Henderson in "The Brady Bunch") but without the long flip in the back. There were a number of "celebrity" lines to choose from. Mine was a discontinued Gabor. Jessica Simpson, of course, has her own line out, as well as Vivica Fox.

African American women are in the vanguard when it comes to wigs and are huge consumers of wig and hair piece products. How do you think Beyonce goes from straight copper hair one day to big waves the next? Remember Tina Turner's iconic big hair wig?

Women with coarse, hard to manage hair discovered a long time ago that it took way too much time, money, chemical products and damaging heat to make their hair into current styles. Chris Rock's light-hearted documentary, "Good Hair," examined the fake hair industry and its devoted consumers. We learn in the film that many women of color consider hair to be decoration, a changeable accessory, rather than nature's crowning glory.

Wigs simply give a girl options. More women than ever are taking advantage of the chance to either change hair styles and color for different events and moods or to give their natural hair a chance to recover from overprocessing with chemicals and heat. It's also a great way to give a new hairstyle or color a test drive before investing money in upkeep for a long-term look.

Ron King, owner of Ron King Salon and creator of Ron Invisi-Tab Hair Extensions, notes that as celebrities have begun to change their styles from "a bright red bob one day and long blond strands the next day, women feel it is less taboo to wear a wig."

Celebrity hairstylist Angelo David of Angelo David Salon in New Yorkagrees that "the taboo about wigs is now a thing of the past. Women take their hairstyle cues from the red carpet and Hollywood stars. Since more and more celebrities admit to using hair pieces/wigs/ hair extensions to create a look, women are more comfortable exploring those options. Wigs are the fastest way to enhance your hair color, while minimizing damage brought upon by hot styling tools or hair products.

A hair loss specialist based in Atlanta, and author of the book "The World of Wigs, Weaves, and Extensions," Toni Love points out that.

there are a few precautions to take while wearing wigs. "Be sure to keepthe natural hair clean and hydrated while wearing a wig. Protect the hairline, as some material underneath the wigs feels rough andmay rub the hair around the front hairline, resulting in hair loss." Full wigs have a mesh-like piece by the hairline that can be glued down to make sure the hairpiece is secure.

You take your chances when you wear a mesh stocking and use hairpins to keep the wig securely attached (in addition to the elastic band that is adjustable). There's no problem during a day of normal activity, but I'm pretty sure Madonna had her fake hair glued on for the Super Bowl half time showwhen she was bouncing around a lot. The most embarrassing mishap may be if your wig pops off during sex. That's when you wonder if you should have admitted to your date that you are working a wig for fun.

As for me, I got nothing but compliments on my new hairstyle. But I couldn't keep my mouth shut and had to brag that it was a wig. Why? Because I plan to buy more in different styles and colors and it wouldn't take long to figure out that I am not rocking my natural hair.

Judy Kirkwood is getting a silver bob next.

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