Blow-drys, back-combing and up-dos: the party season can leave hair frazzled within an inch of its life.
Add in the problem of thinning locks, which affect almost half of women over 50, and by New Year your crowning glory can look seriously limp and lacklustre.
My hair is a case in point — the ends are straggly and it feels brittle and dry.
Perhaps that’s why wigs are becoming increasingly popular with older women: sales have risen by 20 per cent in a year.
There used to be a time when no one would admit to wearing a wig but now celebrities such as Joan Collins and Raquel Welch have brought out lines.
Meanwhile, singer Adele and Strictly winner Abbey Clancy have gushed about them.
Real human hair or high-tech synthetic material has replaced shiny plastic strands, while helmet-shapes have been ditched in favour of glossy layers and realistic volume.
However, they do come at a cost: while a synthetic wig costs from £80 to £200, a human-hair wig costs between £250 and £1,000.
So is a wig the secret to effortless style and can they really look as natural as your own hair?
SHORT – BUT SO SWEET
Bravo, £562.50, hothair.co.uk
An expensive wig, but again it’s made of top-quality human hair.
I can’t help but feel this is a bit of a dated style (though you can take it to your hairdresser for a trim and colour to make it look better) but I was pleasantly surprised by how the colour flattered my skin rather than washing me out.
The highlights had plenty of depth with warm caramel tones similar to my own.
I wore this to the supermarket to stock up on canapes for a party I was throwing.
Despite a gale-force wind, my wig felt secure and I arrived intact.
I ran into a couple of people I know who all noticed the new style, but no one guessed it wasn’t my own hair.
In fact, one of my neighbours admired my highlights and asked where I’d had them done. Result!
It also felt soft and healthy with no frizz in sight — exactly what I was aiming for. If I’d had time for my hairdresser to customise the cut and make it a little more modern, it could have worked even better.
It also went down a storm at the party and I forgot I was wearing a wig because it was so comfortable.
MUTTON DRESSED LIKE BARBIE
When I first saw this curled style, I thought it would look very Old Hollywood when on. Sadly, I looked more like Barbie.
At 54, I’m simply too old for a style like this — and from behind I resembled a mannequin thanks to the slightly-too-shiny synthetic material.
Worse, the huge fringe had a life of its own forcing me to grab the scissors and tone it down a bit before heading out to dinner with girlfriends — who roared with laughter when they saw me.
It also felt very tight and heavy, and after an hour of gossip and a glass of wine, I was hot and flushed — the last thing a menopausal woman needs.
The colour looked very flat and unnatural, too, and I was glad to take it off.
I definitely couldn’t get away with this because it looks mildly realistic only from certain angles.
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