You can’t really put a price on dignity, but when faced with imminent chemo-induced hair loss, I knew I needed to go to the best in the business: Gary Price is Wig Director at Daniel Galvin. Bringing an impressive 30 years of experience, he’s able to offer the highest quality wig and hairpiece solutions to clients suffering hair loss, whether that’s through male-pattern baldness, alopecia, or as in my case, a gruelling schedule of chemotherapy treatments. Based at Selfridges, Gary is reliably accessible, which is exactly what you need when juggling hospital appointments whilst navigating all the weird and wonderful side-effects of said treatments. I’m also beyond relieved to learn that I’ll be seen in a private room away from the buzz of the busy salon.
Having looked at a couple of photos I’d sent over of my hair in healthier days, Gary gets to work ahead of my appointment, sourcing the best wigs on offer, and picking out the closest match in terms of texture and colour. I’m sceptical that he’ll be able to find an exact colour match: practically white at the front with a mix of salt and pepper towards the nape, but my style is simple enough to mimic, a sharp, jaw-length bob with a soft fringe.
Gary puts me instantly at ease with his calm and gentle demeanour when we meet at the third-floor salon. He may have been doing this for 30 years, but for me, the world of wigs is entirely new and somewhat daunting. The first thing I learn, once sat in front of the mirror, is to forget everything I know about cheaper fashion wigs. Here, we’re talking about a whole different level of make, craftsmanship, and quality of materials. I’d heard about real human hair pieces but, as Gary points out, these are not typically recommended for chemo patients due to the many months they take to craft, and of course the temporary need to use one.
We try on a few wigs, including, just for fun, a honey blonde number, and I’m immediately impressed with both the look and feel. Crafted from fine lace, the cap is practically invisible as I examine my hairline from different angles. The texture is fine and natural to the touch, not too “wiggy” as Gary puts it. The wigs are also pleasingly lightweight and breathable. He explains how best to put the hairpiece on and after demonstrating himself, ensures I’m able to do it on my own with ease. While I still have most of my own barnet, he shows me how to pull down a few strands between cheekbone and ear to blend with the synthetic hair for an even more natural look. The wig is secured with adjustable and discreet internal clips, ensuring a perfect fit whether you have a full head of (albeit thinning) hair, clumps and patches, or, indeed, none at all. Really impressive, though, are Gary’s colour matching skills. The wig boasts all the natural variations in tone – including those salt and pepper sections – of my real hair. The attention to detail is something else.
Once we’ve decided on the closest match I’m told how to style the wig: no heat, just a quick spritz of water, hold for a few seconds and the hair will cleverly stay in shape. I’m also given instructions for gently washing the wig, with advice that it should be left to dry naturally – a delicate approach all round. I’ve got my sharp bob back, but it’s lacking the fringe. As soon as Gary cuts that in, miraculously, I look like myself again. And I’m ready to step out onto the bustling (slightly windy!) Oxford Street, dignity intact, and with my new – whisper it – wig securely staying put. RLW
400 Oxford Street, W1A (020 7318 3663; danielgalvin.com)