Keeping Cool in Your Wig

Pick Your Wig Wisely to Beat the Heat

My favorite wig was named Samantha and she was beautiful. Samantha was always ready to go and always looked good. She never blew away in a breeze, and she didn't shift around or sit askew on my head. Samantha got more compliments and admiring looks than my pre-chemo natural blonde hair, which was three feet long. But Samantha, a mono-top, had one major problem in the summer—she was hot! Here are some things to consider, when you're in chemo for breast cancer and need a wig during the summer heat.

Mannequins and wigs in a store window
Chris Clor / Getty Images

Choose a Cool Wig Base

Wearing a wig in hot weather can be uncomfortable, but with the right wig base, or wig cap, you can look great and feel comfortable. Nobody will see your wig base—but it affects your wig's appearance and comfort. Wig bases come in a variety of materials and styles, and most can be adjusted to fit your head snugly. A mono-top or monofilament wig base creates a very natural appearance but can be very warm on your scalp because it is not ventilated. Try a capless or lace front wig base for a cooler wig. If you're concerned about scalp irritation from a lace or open network wig base, try a comfort cap wig that is lightweight.

Types of Wig Hair

Wigs are available in synthetic and human hair types. Both types come in many colors and can be cut and styled to suit you. Synthetic hair always holds its style, even if you get sweaty or someone splashes water on you. It won't fade, but it may melt if you're near a stove or oven. A lightweight synthetic wig with a capless base can stay relatively cool on your scalp because of its open construction. Human hair wigs can be styled and must be restyled after each shampoo. These are often heavy and hot in warm weather but will look and drape just like your natural hair.

Keeping Cool in Your Wig

If you are not going to flaunt your buzz cut, bare scalp, or early crop of chemo curls, you may be looking for ways to keep cool while wearing your wig. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Gel band: this is a head-hugging headband that lifts your wig slightly off your scalp, allowing sweat to evaporate, and air to cool your skin. A big plus of the gel band is that its stretchy cotton skullcap can help absorb sweat and prevent skin irritation.
  • Wig liner cap: a stretchy cotton skullcap can help absorb sweat and prevent skin irritation. Cotton skullcaps are easy to hand wash and will dry overnight.
  • Wig liner fishnet cap: the fishnet cap is naturally ventilated and lifts your wig base away from your head. These caps stretch to fit any head and will help keep your wig in place.
  • Cornstarch-based baby powder: use a sprinkle of baby powder on your scalp before you put your wig on for the day. The cornstarch will soak up perspiration and keep you feeling fresh, but won't irritate you nor cause dry skin.

Skip Your Wig

If the weather is so hot that a wig just doesn't make sense, skip it! Wear a straw hat with a cotton liner, to which you can add bangs, a ponytail, or a halo wig. Choose a natural fabric scarf or turban. A knitted cotton cap or a sleep cap might feel good on a hot day. Or boldly go without any headcovering, but don't get sunburned!

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Cancer Society. Choosing and wearing a wig.

  2. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Wigs and hair prostheses for cancer patients.

By Pam Stephan
Pam Stephan is a breast cancer survivor.