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Aug 22

Wigs 101 – Choosing a Good Wig

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If you know me (or if you’ve seen any photos of me over the years), you’ll know that I’m very fickle when it comes to hair color. It’s one of my favorite features because you can do so much with it. By changing color or cut, you can look/feel like a completely different person… however doing too much of this can make your hair weak and overly damaged. So! One of the ways I remedy this is I invest in a lot of wigs. Why? Well, then I can change my hair daily without actually doing any damage! It’s fantastic, really. Oh, and there’s the whole, “now I have this wig as part of my costume collection” perk.
So today, I wanna talk about wigs. Specifically, how to find a good one.
We’ve all seen THAT cosplayer—we may have unknowingly BEEN that cosplayer. You know the one I mean. The one with the wig that’s half falling off, or is parted in the back and you can see the cap beneath or the base of the wefts—or really just look horrible because the wig was made so cheaply.

Things to Consider When Buying a Wig

1. Color
This is something that people weirdly don’t consider thoroughly. Blonde characters in anime, for instance are often depicted with bright yellow hair. I’ve seen multiple cosplayers then buy bright yellow wigs to emulate that and it usually looks silly. First of all, very few people look decent in bright yellow. Secondly, it’s so obvious that it isn’t the hair on your head, it’s distracting.

Explore different shades of that color–find what works best with your skin tone. Even if you’re cosplaying, it’s better to go with what looks good on YOU than what’s considered “strictly accurate”.

2. Cut
Just as you’d consider how a haircut is going to look on your head, you should look at a wig the same way. If you haven’t done any research on face shape? Do it.

Some helpful links:
How to determine your face shape
Haircuts for your face-shape

3. Bangs? No Bangs?
Why are bangs awesome on wigs? It’s easier to hide that you’re wearing a wig. A lot of wigs with no bangs are harder to secure to your head in a manner that it doesn’t look like a wig. Bangs hide the hair-line. Remember: One of the goals of wearing a wig is to look like you’re not wearing a wig. So if you pick a wig without bangs, make sure it can sit properly on your head–if you can find/afford it get a ‘lace front wig’. I’ll talk more about those in the next section.

4. Lace Front?
Lace front wigs are best for creating a fake hairline. The idea is having a thin layer of lace at the front of the wig where hair is attached to give the illusion of a natural hairline.
These wigs tend to be a bit pricier and you’d be hard pressed to find one that’s an unnatural color–which means you’d have to dye it yourself if needed.

5. Skin Top
A skin top is a layer of scalp-colored latex that the wig fibers are pulled through to give the illusion of a natural part. If you don’t plan on styling the wig, it’s always best to try to get one of these. When purchasing a wig online, it should either be pictured or listed in the description. Don’t assume a wig has a skin-cap if it isn’t pointedly advertised to have one.

6. Length
Long hair takes getting used to. Most good wigs you find are made out of a synthetic fiber called kanekalon and while it feels silky–it doesn’t work like most hair. It’s very fine. It can get tangled easily. So if you’re not used to having fantastically long locks, you could end up with a rat’s nest down your back without really noticing it. You may need to carry around a brush with you until you’re used to it, just so you can make sure it stays relatively tamed.

7. Style Intent
If you’re buying an ‘unstyled wig’ with the intent to style it, make sure you have a decent tutorial for what you’re looking for, or know what you’re doing. For instance, you can’t take a normal wig and put it into pigtails. Why? Well you leave this huge gap in the back where we can see your wig cap, the hair wefts and even the lace the wefts are sewn to. Tutorials are pretty easy to find. There’s a lot of cosplayers out there who have figured out the best methods by trial and error and are gracious enough to pass that knowledge down to you.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a few links of some pretty good online wig retailers:
Amphigory
Cosplay Wig Store
Fashion 1658
Mild Green Tea
FM Anime

2 comments

  1. kriscrat

    Random thought: If you end up with a wig you no longer want, consider donating it to Locks of Love or a similar organization.

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