We’re in the midst of a wig renaissance. These days, you don’t have to hit the bleach for a neon pink look, eschew haircuts for years to get butt-length locks, or resort to straighteners or perms to relax or create curls. Modern technology and impressive artistry have joined forces to create wigs that are so realistic, you can get adventurous with your color and style without a huge commitment (or insane expense) regardless of your hair type or texture. As a celebrity hairstylist and owner of Hair Addict Salon & Extension Bar, wigs are a huge part of my daily routine, so here’s my beginner’s guide for the wig-curious.
Start With Your Budget
Wig quality is wide-ranging. Cheap, shiny synthetic hair sewn into a thick cap (think Halloween costume) costs about $30, while a wig made with 100 percent human hair sewn into a lace front meshing designed to look like a natural hairline can cost $1,000 to $2,000. In the sweet spot in between are $100 to $300 realistic-looking wigs made from a synthetic blend of “hair” that looks, moves, and reacts like human hair. These are called “Heat Resistant Wigs” ’cause you can use flat irons and curling wands without melting the hair.
Where to Buy
You can easily buy a wig online by searching the type of wig you want. Most of the bigger hair extension companies sell wigs in all ranges (thehairshop.com has lots of great choices) as well as accessories like wig caps for concealing your natural hair, flexible-bristle brushes for safe brushing, and hair detanglers and hydrating oils to help keep the hair from drying out.
How to Wear
1. You bought a wig. Now what? First, pull your own hair back and secure it with bobby pins or elastics to ensure it doesn’t show around your hairline. If your hair is long and thick, first create two braids, then crisscross them up and pin them flat against your head.
2. You don’t have to wear a cotton or nylon wig cap under your wig; it’s a personal preference, but it can help tame your natural hair and keep the wig in place.
3. Next, locate any clips or adjustable straps (like bra straps, but for your head) on the inside of the wig, and do a test application to see where they’re most comfortable and how tight you want to make them.
4. When you’re ready, apply the wig, being sure to lay the front of it on your head exactly where you want it—moving it will disrupt your own hair underneath.
5. Finally, if you’re not wearing a wig cap, secure the wig’s small, comb-like clips (typically on the sides and back) into your natural hair.
6. Make any necessary adjustments to the part, bangs, or hair around your face, then brush your wig out and style your look. It takes a bit of practice, but now you can rewrite your own hairstory again and again!
By Michelle Cleveland
Photographed by Jessica Bloom
Hair: Michelle Cleveland; makeup: Jessika Bekteshi; model: Liushan @ Q Models
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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