Every woman needs to feel confident in her own skin. The wide variety of wigs in the market does not make choosing an easy task. The wig market is flooded- from lace frontal wigs to human hair wigs, synthetic hair wigs and other hair extensions. The cup constructions are also available in a wide range of variations. These days, choosing a wig may require in-depth knowledge, and this is why we are sharing the A-Z of how to go about the buying process.
People have their own reasons for wearing wigs. Some could be trying to enhance their looks, cover up for hair loss, or even religious reasons. Regardless of your reason, you need to choose a wig that best suits your needs without compromising on your look.
Before buying a wig…
What is a wig?
This is a hairpiece used to cover the head and may be made from human or animal hair.
Why should you wear wigs?
- The offer convenience, especially to the black woman.
- Wigs help to conceal hear issues, such as hair loss due to medical reasons.
- They give you the freedom to choose whichever style you fancy, even on a daily basis.
- Wigs offer protection to your natural hair.
- They help you save lots of money in the long run.
- Say goodbye to bad hair days!
- Enhance looks for professional performances.
Questions to consider when shopping for a wig
Q: Is this the best material for you?
A: The material significantly plays a key role in the wig outcome (your looks as well)
- Human hair
- Can be washed, treated, and styled just like you would your natural hair.
- Give a realistic appearance if installed correctly
- Wigs made from human hair can be bleached or dyed to achieve varied looks.
- Remy hair has the hair lying in the same direction natural hair would. This cancels out the possibility of tangling and preserves cuticles.
- If cared for correctly, they can last more than a year.
- Synthetic hair
- Made from nylon and other synthetic materials such as Kanekalon and Toyakalon.
- Are very similar to human hair, with an additional advantage of holding styles longer.
- Exposure to extreme heat leads to melting, hence straightening and curling irons cannot be used.
- Lasts for up to six months if worn on a daily basis.
- Heat friendly
- Even though such materials are synthetic, they can withstand up to 400 degrees of heat.
- Can be styled using a straightening or curling iron, giving you a wider range of styles to try out.
- Natural blend
- Can also be referred to as human hair blends.
- They are a combination of heat friendly and human hair.
- Can only withstand a maximum of 300 degrees.
- They are cheaper than natural hair.
Q: What are difference between synthetic and human hair wigs?
A: Telling the difference between synthetic and natural hair wigs goes a long way in helping you settle on the best wig. Deciding on either of them is an important decision.
Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages.
Human hair wigs
- Have a natural look
- Don’t limit you as you can style them in whichever way you please
- Last longer as compared to synthetic wigs
- Hair cuticles are made to lie in the same direction hence reduced tangling
- They are more expensive as compared to synthetic hair
- Needs lots of care, especially when shampooing, conditioning and drying
- Humid weather makes them freeze
Synthetic hair wigs
- If styled correctly they can look very natural
- Offer convenience as they come pre-styled
- Require very low maintenance
- Cheaper than human hair wigs
- Proper care and servicing can extend their lifetime
- They are very limiting when it comes to style and color variation
- Extremely sensitive to heat, hence cannot be heat styled
- Less durable, can last up to about one year
Q: Which one is better?
A: Both human hair and synthetic wig have their pros and cons. The following questions should guide you when making that purchase decision.
- Consider the following questions:
- Where does your budget lie?
- Are you experiencing any kind of hair loss? Which one is it?
- Which places will you be frequenting?
- Will you be wearing your wig on a regular basis?
- Do you love to frequently switch up your look?
In summary, either of the materials can be a perfect choice depending on your budget and needs. The saturated market does not make it any easier. You, therefore, need to understand the different types of wigs.
Q: Human hair wigs – Types of wig caps
A: Generally, the wig cap is the part onto which the hair extension is attached. The wig market has a number of cap styles and each has advantages and disadvantages. The available wig caps include:
100% hand tied
- Has a very natural look and the hair is allowed to move freely
- Has a wider range of styling options because there is no restriction as to the direction your hair should be combed
- Is the most comfortable cap owing to its softness
- Highly recommended for sensitive scalps
- Has a natural hairline
- Hair can be styled away from the face
- Made of a delicate material (the lace) hence should be handled with caution
- Ready to wear
- Creates an illusion of your scalp as hair looks as though it’s growing from your scalp
- Has a double mono layer material for extra comfort
- Most popular
- A little teasing at the roots to create a natural lift
- Affordable and durable
- Allows for air circulation due to its open wefting construction
- The traditional type (capless)
Q: Why the lace frontal wig is a woman’s favorite!
A: Even though the market has a wide range of wigs to choose from, the ace frontal wig will always be a favorite. I actually won’t be surprised if it joins your list of favorites once you start wearing wigs as well. Here’s why:
They give a natural and appealing hairline
- If you don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry to know that you are in a wig, then a lace frontal will guard your secret.
- The invisible sheer perfectly blends with your skin’s complexion, creating an illusion of hair growing naturally from your scalp.
- Many high-quality wigs are availed in the lace frontal design. They are cheaply available, offering an affordable solution to the black woman.
They are affordable
- Previously, lace frontal wigs, especially those with bangs were reserved for celebrities, media personalities and professionals.
- Advancements in technology have shifted the paradigm, significantly reducing the production cost. Lace wigs are now quite affordable, and can even be worn by ladies with middle-class incomes.
- Wig manufacturers are now capitalizing on sorting the African American woman. Their lace frontals are now in favor of the black woman, and you can bet on the growth of product to choose from in future.
Full lace vs Lace frontal wigs
A lace frontal wig has a lace panel attached on the front section of the wig, along the hairline. The hair strands are fixed into the holes by hand.
A full lace wig, on the other hand, has the lace covering the whole head, and the hair strands are sewn onto a lace cap by hand. Usually, Remy lace wigs have a strip of lace (stretchy) running over the top to allow hair growth and variation of the head size.
Q: Which one is better? Full lace wig vs lace front wig
- Full lace wigs are expensive when compared to frontal lace wigs. This is because they consume more time in the crocheting phase (3-5 days). However, it offers a wide range of style variations.
- Your choice should be based on your needs, patience, budget and if you are able to take good care of it. Some prefer lace frontals because they are cheaper than full lace wigs.
For me, I would go for the full lace wig. Other than it’s high cost, one can part and style them in whichever way they desire, a feature that lace front wig owners do not get to enjoy.
Besides, full lace wigs can be worn in a high ponytail, making it look even more natural.
Other detailed features to consider before buying a wig
The following factors should also be considered when you are a fast time wig wearer:
How do you determine your wig cap size?
Purchasing the right wig starts with knowing your correct cap size. The following measurements need to be taken:
This is the distance around your head. The tape measure should be made to run along the hairline, crossing the nape of your head.
- Front to nape
This is measured front the center of your forehead to the center of your nape in a straight line, over the crown of your head.
- Ear to ear (across the forehead)
Place the beginning of your tape measure at the base of your sideburn, and measure along the forehead across your hairline to the base or your sideburn on the other ear.
- Ear to ear (over the top)
This is measured directly above the ear, from the hairline across to the other ear.
- Temple to temple
This measurement is taken around the back of your head, temple to temple.
- Nape of neck
This is the width of your hairline across our nape.
Determining the appropriate wig color
Being a beginner, you may not know what color to go for. To get an idea of the colors available in the market, make use of this sample wig chart.
Choosing your hair texture
Once you have settled on your cap size, type and color, the fun now begins! If you have had a very long hairstyle before hair loss, you are safer with a shorter one this time round. Not only will a shorter wig be easy to manage, it will also be some sort of hair transition.
Choose a style you prefer before choosing the color. To hack the hair extension game, you need to match the wig texture to your natural hair texture.
To perfectly match to your natural style, you will need to understand all the aspects of your natural hair. This include density, texture, elasticity, porosity and curl pattern.
The most common air types used for wigs and weaves are Peruvian, Brazilian, Malaysian and Indian. The main difference between all of them is their texture, and they come in the straight, deep wave, wavy and tight curly patterns.
Very soft, luxurious and durable. It is naturally thick and shiny. Ideal for those that desire a full look using fewer bundles.
Very light and soft. It is extremely thick and offers versatility. Blends really well with many women’s natural hair.
When compared against Indian hair, Malaysian hair is thicker, softer, shinier and silkier. Has a natural shine and effortlessly blends with African hair. It also has a better curling capability as compared to the other hair pieces.
It is the most widely available in the market. It lasts longer, is naturally silky and versatile. It can be worn in all the wave patterns mentioned before.
Tips for maintaining your wigs
- Use sulfate free shampoos and conditioners to wash them.
- Do not wash your wigs too much.
- When not worn, wigs should be hung on a mannequin head so that their shape is not distorted.
- Avoid heat styling your synthetic wigs.
- Avoid over application of hair products on your wigs.
Starting a wig journey shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you are experiencing hair loss due to alopecia, cancer, chemotherapy, or any medical condition, or just want to switch your look, wigs are your go-to solution!