Whether you are a first time wig wearer or a veteran, we can all use tips to improve the look of it and enhance its faux naturelle aspect whilst in use. There’s never any reason to be nervous about wearing a wig. Many people wear them as fashion accessories, and they are basically identical in function to hair extensions. We have a number of ways to improve upon the wig even further after you purchase it and bring it home from the store. Without further ado, here are the eight best tips to keep your wig looking super luxurious and natural.
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1. Get the Right Wig for You
A wig is a considerably intimate physical accessory. You should never have to wear one that you feel mismatches your personal style or the shape of your head and/or body. If you feel comfortable with the style you will be much more likely to keep wearing it in the long run, and you’ll also be more apt to implement some of the finishing touches that can really bring home the natural look of your hairpiece. There is absolutely no reason to put in the time and money investment to have a wig which you feel would clash with your personality.
For instance, if you want a blonde wig in a long hairstyle, but the store you are shopping only carries a bob hairstyle for wigs, then don’t feel obligated to purchase the thing even if it’s on sale. In the end it’s not worth the hassle and disappointment, so buy it only if you’re already in love with how it looks and feels on your head. There are so many brick and mortar beauty boutiques as well as online stores to shop through. It can sometimes be a beginner’s error to only go with what we have physically encountered while shopping for other clothing and accessories during our normal routine, but don’t forget you can always search online for a wig which perfectly matches your stylistic preferences.
2. Sizing Considerations
Beauty columnist Jessica Ford at Essence rightly points out that one of the main elements of a realistic wig is that is has been measured and fit for the person who plans to wear it. It is possible to wear an adjustable wig, and some even make it work quite well. However, it’s almost always worth it to buy a custom fit.
Sizing services abound on the web, and if you ask a search engine you can find a company which has the exact wig you want to wear and then have it made to fit your head perfectly snug. Having it custom fit will not only enhance the appearance but also ensure that it will be much less likely to fall off or be blown off the head during inclement and windy weather conditions. Essentially the wig should feel not only like a replacement to your natural hair but also a sort of prosthetic enhancement, an addition to your head which feels as familiar to you as any other body part. Companies can even further enhance your custom fit with nonslip material which will add an extra layer of confidence to you that the wig will be completely immovable and sutured in place.
3. Color Complexities
The editors of Wigs.com have dubbed themselves “The Wig Experts,” and their top recommendation for a wig of natural appearance is to choose one with rooted colors. What does this mean exactly? A wig with rooted colors mimics the appearance of hair regrowth from the scalp, following a trip to the hair salon. Rather than a wig with a single color across the entire piece, a rooted color wig will appear as though your hair is regrowing after being dyed. It produces an uncannily realistic appearance, and as an added benefit you will permanently look like you recently went to a high end salon!
It’s possible to produce a similar look by purchasing a wig with highlighted strands—the main idea is to avoid wigs which have only a single color throughout the piece. It’s much easier to pick out a monochromatic wig as artificial than it is to do so with wig with rooted color or highlights. If you think about it, it’s a highly intuitive approach. Who do you know, even among those who don’t dye their hair, who have natural hair of a single color throughout their entire head of hair? It’s practically unheard of. Possibly Pierce Brosnan was the only person in history to have a perfectly monochromatic head of hair. Now instead of playing James Bond on the silver screen, he has silver hairs on his head intermingling with the jet black.
4. Break Out the Tweezers
It may seem counterintuitive to alter the original appearance of the product after you have purchased it, but occasionally it does make sense. Perhaps you are nervous of ruining the product after you have just purchased it, but rest assured many employ this technique with great success. You will need a pair of tweezers and a hand mirror (preferably two or three mirrors in one room in order to have a multiangle perspective of the wig as you wear it).
Here’s the general idea: some wigs have unrealistic volume or hairlines which you can always change manually using a simple set of tweezers. By plucking away the hairs, you should be able to shed the extraneous and chip away until you have cut perfect realistic statue from stone, so to speak. Obviously, one should take care not to overpluck and be left with a barren hairpiece, but only the flip side of the coin, you also don’t want a wig which just has too much going on. The balance is key. The editors at Refinery29 advise us to always have a mirror handy when plucking a wig. This allows the wig wearer to take a periodic break in order to try it on again and reevaluate.
5. A Hair Product Based Solution
Take a dry shampoo and apply it to the wig—the effect will be to make synthetic hairs less glossy and more realistic. As the synthetic hairs are made from plastic polymers, they do sometimes have a shiny look to them, but a dry shampoo offers a quick fix to this particular issue. Just take care not to overbrush the wig during the day and consequently remove the shampoo, or you will have uncoated the synthetic hair and will have to redo the process. Depending on how savvy you are with hair products you may even be able to come up with a better product to use for this purpose, but dry shampoo works does do the trick quite well.
As long as we are on the topic of shampoo, we can also bring a conditioning approach into the mix. Try applying fabric softener alongside water to condition the wig. If you use a half and half mixture it will provide the positive conditioning effect of the fabric softener without having an overly pungent scent. You can use a spray bottle in order to evenly distribute the conditioning formula, and then allow the wig to dry. It’s usually best to air dry the hairpiece or pad it with a towel rather than using a hair drier which can cause undesired effects to the synthetic fibers. You wouldn’t want to unintentionally warp the shape or alter the color of the wig due to the intense heat that a hairdryer produces.
6. Abide by the Law of Replacement
No matter how much care you take to keep your wig well maintained and beautiful, it will eventually need to be replaced. It’s just a byproduct of having the thing on top of your head through all hours of the day, every day. It will inevitably accumulate oils, dust, and other micro debris from the environment. It’s always a shame when you have to part ways with a wig which served you well for a long time or one which you especially love in terms of its appearance, but it is always, always worth it to periodically replace your wig. Generally speaking, six months is the proper lifespan for a single wig. It is slightly subjective, so if you feel as though the wig is clean and has a lot of use left in it, you can keep it longer, maybe even up to a year. If it starts to have a noticeable scent that is a surefire sign that it’s time to purchase a new one—out with the old and in with the new. Just take heart that even though the one which fit you perfectly is no longer serviceable, you can always shop around at the same company, and they may have even acquired some better options since your last purchase.
7. Trim the Lace to Align with Your Natural Hairline
Wigs are designed with lace under the hair fibers, and they have a slight flap of excess lace which, if left uncut, will slightly cover the top of one’s forehead. One trick that you can implement to enhance the realism of your wig is to trim the lace, so it aligns with your natural hair, dividing the scalp and your forehead. With a precise enough job of trimming the lace you can virtually disguise the fact that there is anything unusual happening along the hairline.
You can begin by using a hairclip to pull back and secure any extraneous fibers from the wig, giving you a clean view of the forehead lace.
Next make a vertical cut in the symmetrical center of the lace, cutting upward toward the top of your forehead—stop this cut at the precise point of your natural hairline.
As you then cut horizontally along the top of your forehead in either direction, take care not to cut with a “boxy” look, i.e., with straight lines. Rather you should aim to mimic the gentle curve of your natural hairline.
Some wigs also have “ear tabs” which are the slight flaps of lace, but which border the ears. After you are satisfied with the trim job you’ve done along your forehead, you can clip away the ear tabs as well.
8. Cosmetics are Always an Option
One way you can enhance the look of a wig is to break into your makeup cabinet and repurpose your cosmetic supplies. This is literally a technique which has been in use for centuries, as many of us are familiar with the image of an 18th century gentleman or lady “powdering their wig.” You can start with a mineral or finishing powder – just as a face powder can be bought in myriad different shades in order to match one’s skin tone, you can also custom match a powder with your natural (or desired) hair color and thereby alter the color of your wig to your precise color preference. From Maybelline to Clinique, you can search the span of companies, and the options are truly endless. In most cases you’ll want to avoid powdering your wig throughout the entire product as was done in the 18th century. However, it’s really not a bad option if you are looking for ways to effortlessly blend the lace with your forehead’s skin color along the hairline. It’s not always a necessary step, but if you are having trouble with the lace being slightly visible even after trimming it, you can always use finishing powder or concealer to make that lace disappear.
Now let’s wrap it up with a concise overview of our tips, and you’ll be on your way to glamorville:
- Choose a wig appropriate to your fashion and head shape.
- Have it custom measured to fit your exact measurements.
- Choose a wig with multiple colors arranged in a rooted style or with highlights and contours.
- Pluck your wig to achieve the desired hair volume.
- Coat the fibers with hair products to alter the texture.
- Replace your wig regularly.
- Trim the premanufactured lace to match your hairline.
- If necessary, apply cosmetics to blend the lace with the top of your forehead.
If you implement all of the above (or however many are needed), you should be able to move ahead now confidence and grace. We wish you all the best on your cosmetic adventures!
About the Author
Dustin Flick is a professional coach and blogs about his personal life including his hair loss struggle, the various products he’s used to counteract his male pattern baldness, and even the natural treatments he’s implemented to offset the Finasteride side effects he encountered along the way.