A specialization of the cosmetology field, wig design and maintenance can become a way of caring for cancer patients without having to deal with actual medical procedures. A good wig can make all the difference for cancer patients experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Instead of feeling embarrassed or self-conscious, cancer patients who have a skilled wig maker working with them can go out in public without worrying about stares or questions.

How Wig Designers Work with Cancer Patients

Wig designers first measure a client’s head before drawing a design and cutting a pattern. The wig designer will then choose materials, lay them out, and attach strands of hair to a base. High-quality, realistic wigs for cancer patients are usually made from human hair and a breathable base made from lace.

As a wig designer, you can work with any number of charitable organizations that offer discounted or free wigs and styling, or you open your own boutique that caters to the special needs of cancer patients.

A cancer patient is not like a regular wig customer and will most likely value a wig designer and stylist with sensitivity. Boutiques that cater to cancer patients should have private areas for consultations and fittings and strive to make the client as comfortable as possible. This particular kind of wig designer must also be able to work with human hair to create believable, natural-looking pieces that get mistaken for “real” hair. A cancer patient may even bring in pictures or come in while they still have hair so that the wig maker can recreate the patient’s old hair as closely as possible.

There are, of course, a variety of other medical conditions that can cause hair loss. They include alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder, and telogen effluvium, which is caused by major trauma and results in the hair follicles shutting down. If you aspire to help cancer patients as a wig designer, chances are some of these folks will also come to you for realistic hairpieces.

Other Careers for Wig Designers

Other careers for wig designers, wig makers and wig stylists include making wigs for the elderly, creating hair extensions and wigs for African American women, or making costume wigs for theater or movies. Some wig designers focus exclusively on hairpieces and toupees for men.

A Wig Designer’s Salary

A wig designer’s salary can vary a great deal depending on location and clientele. To give you an idea of the range, the average annual salary for a wig maker is $29,214 in Atlanta and $46,210 in Indianapolis (according to SalaryExpert.com).

How to Become a Wig Designer

To become a wig designer, a cosmetology program at a career college will first teach you how to style hair. While studying for your cosmetology diploma or associate degree, you can take classes to specialize in wig making and repair. Courses in theater make-up may also deal with theatrical wig making. Often, you may begin you career by working as a wig repairer or wig stylist before becoming a wig designer.

There are many schools that offer cosmetology courses. To see these and others, visit the Cosmetology Schools directory today.