I really wanted to call this blog "Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Sheitels But Were Afraid to Ask," because there's such mystery about the sheitel industry.

So, here, and in my store, Classic Sheitels, I'm going to teach you about sheitels and empower you to spend wisely. My mission is to take the scary out of buying and selling a sheitel.

So read away, and feel free to get in touch. You can reach me by phone at 443-717-1111 or email me at lena@classicsheitels.com.

Or come for a shmooze at Classic Sheitels. We are located in Baltimore, MD, and open for walk-ins every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or call for an appointment.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What to Do When it All Goes Wrong…

This is not what I meant when I said funky bangs!
So even with all of the good advice, careful preparation, and davening (!!!), something goes wrong with your new sheitel purchase. I run a sheitel resale shop, so I hear it all. Here are three of the most common scenarios my customers share with me:

Scenario 1: There's clumping and tangling in your new sheitel that is so bad, you can't brush it out.

What's Going On?
This is usually a defect of the wig. Most likely, the hair has been accidentally sewn in so that the hair's cuticles are not all running in the same direction. As the cuticles are like little hooks, they are catching on each other, creating clumps and tangles.

What Should I do?
Don't keep brushing the hair and trying to untangle it. You'll just pull out hair and damage the wig. Instead, run, don't walk, back to the sheitel macher you bought the sheitel from. Doesn't matter who cut it, the person who sold you the new piece is responsible for dealing with this. It's her job to send the piece back to the company and have it fixed. The company will either recondition the hair or replace it. This should not cost you anything as long as you bring your sheitel back within the time limit of your warrantee.

How to Prevent This:
There's really no preventative measure to be taken here. This can happen with even the best pieces occasionally. Any reputable sheitel manufacturer will take care of this, and IY'H, the sheitel will be fine.

Scenario 2: It's not fitting me!

What's Going On?
Your sheitel is too big or too small and this is a problem because proper fit is key to a sheitel's comfort and appearance. If it's too small, you might have been convinced by someone that a too tight sheitel will "loosen up" over time. The tightness may cause the sheitel to "cone" on top.

A too big sheitel will slide around on your head, the ear tabs may go down too far on your face, and the overall fit will make the sheitel look puffy or bumpy.

What Should I Do?
A sheitel that is a little too large is not usually such a problem to fix. Go back to your sheitel macher, or ask around town to find out who does expert alterations on sheitels. Once you get to this lady, first ask if what you want is doable and what kind of guarantee she provides on her alterations. Ear tabs can be easily moved up, and caps can be taken in.

A sheitel that is too tight is a bit more complicated. Usually, the sheitel macher will add fabric to the cap to make it larger. This may also involve adding more hair, depending on how much you need to add to the cap.

How to Prevent This:
Next time, the most important thing you can do ensure a good fit is insist on being allowed to wear the sheitel for at least an hour on your head before buying.

Don't let anyone convince you that an ill fitting sheitel will get more comfortable over time—lehefech, you'll get more and more upset and uncomfortable the longer you wear it. Don't buy a new sheitel that is huge on your head with the hope that an XL can be altered to fit your size small head. I know it's tempting if you love the hair or the style, but you'll hate it if you can't wear it!

One large sheitel manufacturer told me that a good rule of thumb is that a sheitel can usually be taken up or down one size without damaging the look of the cap. So a sheitel's size can be changed a bit, but NOT a lot.

Scenario 3: The cut is not right!

What Should I do?
Unfortunately, this is the most common, and the most difficult to deal with new sheitel problem. There are myriad reasons that this can happen: you were not clear with the stylist who cut your sheitel about what you wanted or she misunderstood; you had a cut in mind you thought you would like, but now you're not so sure; the stylist wasn't as expert as you'd hoped; you let the stylist choose and were not happy with the results…

This is a tough one. First, try wearing the sheitel for a couple of weeks as it is. See if it's something you really dislike, or if it's just something you have to get used to.

It's happened to me more than I'd like to admit, and to be honest, I don't think it was anyone's fault. Once (before I became a sheitel insider!), I bought a cheap sheitel on sale and took it to a great stylist for a cut. The sheitel cost about $400 and the cut $300!

I wanted the cheapy to look like a high-end sheitel once it was cut—sleek, flat on top, not too much body. I didn't say that to her, I just assumed she would make it look great. But lo and behold, it was a good cut, but just way too much body for me. And there wasn't so much to be done—cheaper hair is generally heavier and fuller, and there is only so much texturizing and thinning that can be done to a sheitel.

Eventually I had her cut it down to a chic bob so that the heaviness at the top wasn't so obvious. I came to love that sheitel, but I learned my lesson. You have to make sure that what you want is even achievable with the piece you have.

So anyway, you may just need the cut to be redone a bit like I did. This should be no problem. Almost all sheitel machers allow you to come back and recut the sheitel for free, either a specific number of times or within a time frame.

If you think that the cut was botched, this is a much thornier issue. I had one client who felt that the cut she got was not what she asked for and it was mostly due to the stylist's inattention (she was texting, watching TV, and taking calls while cutting the sheitel). My client asked for and received her money back on the cut, but was still left with the sheitel (which she had bought elsewhere). This is part of the danger of buying one place and having the sheitel cut by someone else.

Truth be told, most women who end up with a cut that can't be fixed don't have the easiest time. They can try to get the sheitel macher to refund the sheitel or get them a new one, but this can really be an uphill battle because whether a cut is good or not is so subjective.

The sheitel macher may feel that she did the job she was asked to do, while you may feel the opposite. Very rarely is it a clear case of wrong and right because what looks good is a matter of opinion.

Your friends may love the cut on you, and you may hate it. The sheitel macher can insist that this is what you asked for and that it looks great, and you may disagree.

At some point, you just have to stop putting time and money (and worry) into the sheitel and accept that it's time to move on. When it can't be fixed to look the way you want, sell it here at Classic Sheitel Consignments so that you can put the profit toward a new piece. I've sold over 150 sheitels gorgeous sheitels that just weren't right for their original owners. I assure you that someone will love the piece that you feel you can't wear.

How to Prevent This:
The consultation you have before the cut is the key to things turning out well. You need to be crystal clear about what you want. Unless you are so naturally gorgeous, easygoing, and flexible that any old style will suit you, DO NOT arrive and tell the sheitel macher that she should just give you the cut she thinks will look best. Bring a picture, or bring your old sheitel, if you want the new one to look similar. The more you show, rather than just tell her what it should look like, the less of a chance there is for miscommunication.

The bangs and front of the sheitel are really the most important part of the cut. Ask her to cut them in stages if you are not sure what length/style you want. You can always go shorter, but remember there's no growing back.

If you feel that a cutting error has occurred, ask her to stop. If indeed a mistake has been made, it may be possible for her to remedy it somehow. But don't wait till the end, when there will be less to be done.

If the sheitel macher seems distracted, ask politely if you might reschedule. It's totally understandable for her to take one phone call or answer a customer, but things will not generally turn out well if she is constantly being interrupted. Sheitel cuts cost a lot of money—you deserve her undivided time and attention.

Some Closing Thoughts
When something goes wrong with a sheitel, many women have a hard time communicating their unhappiness. Remember, this is a service industry, ladies! Good customer service is part of what you are paying for. I know it may feel uncomfortable, but it's important to give the sheitel macher or the sheitel company the chance to make things right.

Forging a bond with a reliable, honest, and easy-to-work with sheitel macher is also very important. Things happen, and you need to feel comfortable going to your sheitel macher for help. She should be your advocate to the sheitel manufacturer. If you are made to feel that you are being unreasonable and too demanding, this is not the place for you.

The same goes for any sheitel manufacturer that doesn't truly stand behind its (very expensive) product. Part of the high cost of a new sheitel is the manufacturer's guarantee. If you don't receive satisfying service from the company that should be backing up the sheitel, vote with your pocketbook and never buy there again. Write them a letter saying this.

Ultimately, like everything else in this life, getting a good sheitel with the right cut is really a matter of mazel. That said, when you do your hishtadlus by educating yourself about the sheitel buying and cutting process (by reading my blog!), you stand a better chance of ending up happy.

Good luck! 

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