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Everyday Support

Dear Iris: Wigging Out

Dear Iris,

Shopping from a wall of wigs is weird; how do people do it? How do you know which wig is right for you? I just stood there, staring at the wall, wondering: should I try red hair? I’ve always thought it was a beautiful color and look. Or should I just stick with my “natural” color to make it look less obvious that I’m wearing a wig? Or should I wear a scarf? Any recommendations?


Dear M,

Navigating the world of wigs can be quite a puzzle, and many people face similar dilemmas when approaching temporary hair loss, which can often feel uncomfortable and awkward. Keep in mind that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to approach this. Remember, your body is personal and unique, and navigating hair loss can bring up intense feelings of loss, fear, and grief.

Knowing that this can be emotional, it can be helpful to give yourself some time and space to think about what feels comfortable to you–whether it’s wearing a wig, a scarf, or going “natural.” Also, it is helpful to keep in mind that while many aspects of your life may feel out of control from cancer, what you choose to do with your body around hair loss is one area where you maintain control – an empowering realization.

As you navigate this process, it may be helpful to rally support from those you feel like you can be open and vulnerable with. For example, you can ask a friend or a loved one to join you and offer support as you try on wigs and scarves. Or you can play around with a few different options and see what feels right to you now – knowing these feelings and your styling preferences may change in the future. Perhaps you start off with a wig and a scarf – and wear each – to see what you think.

In fact, as you try on various head coverings, it may spark a sense of curiosity or playfulness – you mentioned you’ve always wondered what it would be like to have different colored hair – wearing a wig or colorful scarf could be an opportunity for a new experience in your life.

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Alexandra Gubin, LCSW

Senior Oncology Social Worker

Iris Oncology

Alexandra Gubin is a Mental Health Therapist with Iris. She has a medical social work background and extensive experience supporting people with cancer – especially young adults, teens, and children coping with cancer and their families. Alexandra also facilitates various support groups for the Cancer Support Community of Los Angeles, CA.

This article meets Iris standards for medical accuracy. It has been fact-checked by the Iris Clinical Editorial Board, our team of oncology experts who ensure that the content is evidence based and up to date. The Iris Clinical Editorial Board includes board-certified oncologists and pharmacists, psychologists, advanced practice providers, licensed clinical social workers, oncology-certified nurses, and dietitians.