WIGS HAVE undergone a rebirth in popularity in recent years, so much so that they've gone from being a "shh, shh" kind of thing to being considered just another fashion accessory.

But unlike flaunting the latest handbag, wearing one can present women with challenges, particularly during intimate moments with the opposite sex. After all, it's one thing to rock the Beyonce look by day, but what's a gal supposed to do if she's planning a big night of romance? Unless she's wearing a front-lace wig, which are specifically designed for extended wear, is she supposed to just take it off and toss it onto the dresser?

This is the kind of dilemma actress Amy Gibson, who is bald due to alopecia, grappled with for years as a single gal-about-town, so much so that she developed her own sleep-over routine just for those occasions.

"I'd always carry a bigger bag and take another synthetic wig and excuse myself, and I would put my bad wig on," said Gibson, of "General Hospital" fame.

Then, a half hour before he would awaken, she would quietly slip out of bed and change back into her original wig.

"It was such an exhausting ritual," said Gibson, who began losing her hair at age 13.

But what choice did she have? As an actress, so much of what Gibson did every day revolved around her appearance, and she wasn't always as comfortable as she is now about letting the world know of her condition. Well, that was then. These days, she has set herself up as a spokeswoman for women suffering from hair loss, offering counseling and support (www.amyspresence.com).

"I'm a wig wearer. I know what women want," she said.

After years of experimenting with ways of concealing her hair loss, Gibson also has created her own line of wigs, the latest of which is something called the Intimacy Wig. Designed to affix to the scalp like a swim cap, the wigs are designed to stay in place even while the wearer tosses and turns during her sleep. Gibson calls her creations an alternative for women who don't want to wreck their everyday wigs by sleeping in them.

But even though Intimacy Wigs, which are available locally at Styl-Rama, in King of Prussia, are designed to stay put during love-making, they have their limits. "You don't sleep in this every night. This is truly for those intimate moments," Gibson said.

Speaking of hair loss, long-time Philadelphia resident Susan Beausang, who divides her time these days between Chestnut Hill and Sarasota, Fla., opted not to completely rely on wigs after losing her hair to alopecia six years ago. "I find wigs very uncomfortable. My lifestyle just didn't lend itself to wigs. I'm a very active woman," said the 59-year-old former stockbroker.

Not wanting to wear a turban or to have to slap on a baseball cap every time she went out, Beausang designed her own line of fabric head-coverings. Called beaubeau, they look like artfully tied head scarves and come in silk, velvet and other sumptuous fabrics. Ranging in price from $44 to $59, they're available at www.4women.com or at the Solutions Shop at Pennsylvania Hospital. *

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