Christal Schanes began crafting custom wigs and hair products for the entertainment industry in 1998. She soon added medical wigs to her repertoire, but she never felt right charging for them. A custom wig is a large undertaking; each one includes 100,000 hand-tied hairs, takes 75-125 hours to make, and can cost around $5000. For women who are already facing the physical, emotional, and financial burden of a challenging medical condition, Christal dreamed of being able to provide medical wigs at no cost.
In 2016, Christal began teaching a wigmaking class at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She teamed up with Novant Health to build free custom wigs for patients suffering medically related hair loss. In each class, 12 students learn the art of custom wig building firsthand while serving women experiencing medically related hair loss. The class led to the creation of what was originally called MEDwig (now WIGwell).
WIGwell custom wigs are built on sculpted blocks shaped with precision to the exact measurements and curvature of clients' heads to ensure unsurpassed fit, grip, and comfort. Christal's proprietary technique and quality materials contribute to the breathability and comfort of each medical wig. This is especially important for women undergoing medical treatments that can increase skin and nerve sensitivity.
The WIGwell program is funded in part through sales of CHRISTALine Hair Goods and FEATHERlight Wigs & Services. But the cost of time and materials is high, and the need is great. You can help! Make a tax-deductible donation or donate hair to be used in medical wigs that are provided at no cost to patients facing challenging circumstances.
This organization is truly amazing! Everyone involved was so caring and respected my feelings."
We accept hair and wig donations! We supply temporary wigs to WIGwell initiative clients while their custom wigs are being built. These could be made from human hair or synthetic fibers. We accept healthy hair donations of any texture (including permed), color (including color-treated), or length. Even short hair can sometimes be used for baby hairs around the hairline and for short wigs. When in doubt, donate it! Our promise to you is that we will never use any donated hair for a wig built for profit.
In order for your hair to be usable in a wig, it must be cut and preserved in a very particular manner. We have created printable instructions for you and/or your hair stylist to follow to ensure your donated hair can be used by WIGwell. Thanks for giving of yourself!
CHRISTALine Studios is a social enterprise. That means we don’t exist to serve the bottom line. Each product and service we offer helps support our WIGwell initiative’s mission: to provide high-quality, hand-tied custom wigs to women experiencing medically related hair loss—at no cost to them.
The complete WIGwell experience (consultations, temporary wig and alterations, and free custom wig) costs around $5000. With so many women out there facing the fight of their lives, we need your help to serve them! Please donate to WIGwell, and help women hold their heads high.
Make a tax-deductible donation online to the WIGwell Fund, which is administered by The Winston-Salem Foundation, or send a check payable to “The Winston-Salem Foundation” with “WIGwell Fund” in the memo line and mail to the Foundation at: 751 West Fourth Street, Suite 200, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.
Apply for a wig
If you or someone you love is experiencing or anticipating (as a side-effect of chemotherapy or other medical treatment) medically related hair loss, you may be eligible for a no-cost wig through the WIGwell initiative. Wigs are crafted in Winston-Salem, NC and require at least two visits by the patient for proper fitting. Transportation and lodging are not part of the program. For more details about the WIGwell process, please see our FAQ page.