Illustration of someone wearing colored wigs
Wigs can give you the freedom to do anything with your hair. (Illustration by Sarah Yu, Duke University)
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Illustration of someone wearing colored wigs

Tired of your hair? Looking to switch up your look? Want to avoid making a huge mess? There might just be a solution that is quick, easy and clean.

When I was a kid, everyone I knew wanted to dye their hair. They had ideas of having bright red hair or just wanted to dye their tips a dark purple color to help express themselves. Sometimes, I envied them because my mom would never allow me to, much less do it on my own at home.

But, as I’ve grown up, I’m glad I never did. I went the alternate route and bought wigs.

Wigs, in past years, were associated with cancer patients or those with thinning hair. They restored dignity to the wearer as well as helped them assimilate into society. I always thought it was noticeable when it wasn’t their real hair, but I never said it out loud.

Currently, wigs are becoming a popular trend. Celebrities like Lady Gaga or Kiera Knightly walk red carpets, switching up their wigs to match their outfits. Beauty gurus like Jeffree Star have a collection of wigs to choose from. There are plenty of YouTubers that upload wig reviews or instructionals for making them look more natural.

I find it odd to see the constant change in trends. It leaves me questioning things, like why do some people prefer wigs over hair dye? What’s difficult about having colored hair?

Hair Dye Is Messy

One big criticism with hair dye is the mess that it leaves behind, whether it be all over the bathroom sink or on the back of the neck. It stains a little too well and makes it difficult to clean up fully.

If you think about it, the mess it creates demonstrates that the product is doing its job. Hair dye is used to temporarily stain one’s hair into a different color. However, the difficulty of removing the color from any surface is excessive. I remember seeing kids with hair dye on their hands for over a week because they didn’t wear gloves to apply it.

Wigs, on the other hand, avoid all the mess that comes from dying hair. The only mess involving wigs would be from the wig glue or any styling gel used. But that wouldn’t create stains that are difficult to remove.

Harmful Bleaching

One of the first steps to dying hair is bleaching — stripping it of its natural color. By doing this, the pigment of the hair dye becomes more vivid and prominent. It does, however, do more harm than good.

Bleaching hair also removes its natural moisture, making it very dry. The dryness then makes the hair more brittle and prone to damage; split ends happen frequently. The chemical reaction from the bleach also hurts the scalp. It can give off a tingling sensation through contact or even leave a chemical burn. At that point, a person shouldn’t apply hair dye and should immediately rinse the hair of bleach to avoid further damage.

High Maintenance

Maintaining bleached or colored hair is more strenuous to deal with. Since bleached hair is damaged easier, one must routinely apply protective products and not be too rough with it.

Colored hair, after dying, cannot be washed for 72 hours to avoid washing out any of the dye. To avoid washing out the color, it’s recommended to use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. It also adds moisture to the hair to create a protective layer. However, it cannot be washed often because there is the risk of removing the color. Instead, try dry shampoo. And avoid chlorine because it will cause colored hair to become discolored.

Overall, bleached or colored hair restricts the activities one can do. There is a protocol that needs to be followed to maintain its condition and keep it from being damaged any further.

In comparison, wigs require less maintenance and never restrict the wearer from certain activities. If someone wants to swim in a pool, they can just remove the wig. Washing wigs require certain shampoos, specialized for taking care of wigs. However, baby shampoo is another alternative that is easy to find and cheap to buy at any store. And it can be washed at any time.

Dying Hair Takes Time

It sounds fun to have your friend come over to dye your hair an electric blue in the bathroom. Everybody loves to change their appearance every so often. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just putting in the dye.

There’s the process of bleaching the hair before coloring. It takes time to wait as the natural color is stripped, about 15 to 30 minutes usually. But it also depends on the darkness of the hair as well as the desired bleached color, which can make the process even longer.

Our fast-paced society lacks any patience because anything can come at the drop of a hat — there’s no need for waiting. We are forced to believe that anything can be done online and arrive within two days. Waiting for hair to fully bleach can feel strenuous, especially when it’s tingling the scalp.

Wigs are easy to put on and take off. If someone wants to switch up their look, they can just put on a different wig; there is no waiting that needs to be done.

Wigs Over Hair Dye

Traditional hair dye, although fun, causes more side effects and restrictions. Bleaching damages hair, removes natural moisture, takes a lot of time and requires high maintenance. Colored hair needs to be washed every so often with sulfate-free shampoo to avoid losing any of its color. It’s recommended to stay away from chlorine to avoid discoloration.

Wearing wigs avoids all the troubles that come with hair dye. No mess, no restrictions and no painful chemical reactions. It’s easy to put on and it doesn’t take up a lot of time. And switching up hairstyles and colors is effortless; the look can be changed up whenever you want.

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