Religious women have long complained about sheitls — they are itchy and uncomfortable to wear, and cost a fortune to buy.
Now a London-based Israeli hairdresser has come up with what he calls a sheitl revolution.
“My clients were always complaining about their wigs,” said Roi Korach, who has been hairdressing since he was 14.
“It was always hard to maintain — when they washed it, it stayed damp and smelt bad. So they washed it only once every few months. They felt terrible and couldn’t take it anymore.”
So he invented the Fresh Wigs mannequin which features a hollow head with perforated holes and barrel to slot in a hairdryer, a heat resistant plastic base to allow it the wig to air out and a perfume dispenser to sweeten the smell.
“With this the wig dries in minutes, and takes away the sweat and bad odours,” he said.
Orthodox women wear sheitls to comply with the religious requirement to cover their hair when married. They are made from synthetic or human hair mounted on a net costs between £300 and £3,000.
Rifka Meyer, who runs the Rifka Wigs Salon in Golders Green, explained: “The wig is dead hair. You want it to live a full and good life so it has be washed and fed. Most people keep their sheitls for around four years.”
Jocelyn Chabbat, from Edgware, welcomed anything that made keeping her sheitl clean easier. She said she washed her wig once every two months — “it took too long to dry the sheitl so I didn’t bother”.
Chana Ostilly, an accountant also from Edgware, said she had to go to the hairdresser to have her wigs washed and blow dried, which was “so expensive”.
Both women speak glowingly of Mr Korach’s invention. But then, as Mrs Meyer, says: “There is nothing like the feeling of a freshly cleaned wig”.