Wigs 101

Our Alopecia Ambassador and resident wig expert, Abby Andrew, gives a wig 101 on everything you need to know if you are brand new to wigs. Whether you are dealing with hair loss or want to experiment with fun fashion looks, she will teach you everything you need to know about the basics. She will review the various hair textures, the necessary products for wig upkeep, the various wig cap constructions, and the benefits of different wig lengths, colors, and more.

WIG FIBER

The first question you must answer when looking to purchase a wig, is deciding what kind of wig fiber you want: synthetic, heat-friendly synthetic, or human hair? It is up to your personal preference, but there are pros and cons for each. Synthetic hair wigs tend to be a lower price point and thus, you can purchase a larger selection of fun, colorful options. A majority are not heat-friendly so you cannot use heating tools to style, but they will hold the style they originally came in. High heat wigs such as the Envious wig in Royal Emerald from the Orchid Collection is a synthetic wig, but you can also use heating tools to alter the style look. These types of wigs give you the best of both worlds where you can get a fun colored wig that you can also use heating tools to style. Human hair wigs tend to not come in these vibrant, fun colors so synthetic wigs can be a great option for you if you are looking for an eye-popping style. It’s a common misconception that human hair wigs are automatically better than synthetic wigs, however synthetic wigs have come a long way and Abby herself is a long time synthetic wig wearer. Human hair wigs will have similar upkeep to bio hair so it would be an easier transition navigating hair products. They tend to be a higher price point, but they are extremely realistic looking and are a great quality made to last a long time. 

WIG CAP CONSTRUCTIONS

There’s a wide variety of wig cap constructions and there are pros and cons to all of them. The most common cap is the basic machine-made cap, which are typically the most durable and cost-effective. They often have permatease which allows the wigs to have more volume in their style.

If you’re looking for a really realistic-looking wig cap, Abby suggests monofilament wig caps, as they have a very natural-looking hairline and you can easily change your part placement to fit your style. In general, the Amore Collection is a great option for those dealing with hair loss as they’re the most comfortable for those with a bald head and are very realistic looking. The Tatum wig in Dark Chocolate is one of Abby’s favorite wigs which has the monofilament wig cap so you can change the part in any direction and it will still look like your own scalp. The wig cap is double monafilament, meaning it has another layer on top so it’s extra smooth on a bald head. Most wig caps tend to have open wefting on the side to make it extra breathable, and are adjustable with straps under the cap to fit your head shape properly. 

When looking at wig caps, you’ll encounter lace-front wigs. Lace-front means it has a piece of lace along the hairline that allows for a more realistic hairline. This is ideal if you like to pull your hair back off of your face. Wig caps that do not have lace-fronts can have a more blunt edge, whereas lace-front caps can be cut along the hairline and be customized to your scalp. Our wigs are designed to be pre-cut in the lace, so they are ready to wear right out of the box.

Another example of a lace-front wig with Lennox wig in Pastel Pink from the Rene of Paris Collection, which actually comes with a pre-trimmed lace-front so it looks extremely natural. It has both a lace-front and a lace part so it looks natural in any direction it is parted. Lace parts make the part section look extremely realistic, which is great for those who have a preferred parting side and style.

WIG FREQUENCY: Same Everyday or Mix it up? 

Abby is outspoken of her alopecia and changes up her wigs often currently, but growing up, she kept her alopecia private and would wear the same wig everyday as to fly under the radar that it was not her real hair. If you would like some realistic wig options that are great for daily use, check out the Codi wig in Creamy Blond from the Amore Collection or Tatum wig in Dark Chocolate from the Amore Collection. Abby has found that shorter, straight wig styles are the easiest and most manageable. Both the Codi and Tatum wigs are synthetic with monafilament wig caps and bangs, so the hairline is concealed and a lace-front isn’t necessary for that realistic hairline. In general, the Amore Collection has a realistic line of wigs that are designed for people with hair loss and are extremely comfortable on a bald head. 

Within the Rene of Paris Collection, there are numerous lines with fun, vibrant colors. The Envious wig in Royal Emerald is from the Orchid Collection, which is full of plenty of fantastic colors and high-fashion styles. If you’re looking for a more affordable bright-colored wig option, the Muse Line is full of fun colors and sizes. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated, high-fashion look, check out the Alexander Couture Collection – one of Abby’s favorites from that collection is the Angela wig in Champagne-R.

NECESSARY PRODUCTS FOR WIG UPKEEP 

If you’re buying a wig for the first time, you’ll need an array of products depending on which fiber wig you choose: synthetic or human hair. Synthetic wigs need synthetic products as human hair products can damage the fiber material over time. The Rene of Paris Shampoo, Conditioner, Holding Spray, and Revive Liquid Enhancement are all great products for synthetic wig upkeep, especially the Revive Liquid Enhancement as it’ll revive the shine and make like new, and can help perk up wavy or curly styled wigs. 

A good wig head is great investment for wig care. The wig head shown in the video is on the high end of the spectrum and is better suited for display and styling with the heavier base to keep the wig cap weighed down. A styrofoam wig head is nice,  simple, and effective and there are fantastic travel wig heads like the 2-part, detachable travel wig head as shown in the video, that can lie completely flat when taken apart. 

Last, but not least, invest in a good wig brush and comb as using just a generic comb or brush could potentially damage the fibers in a wig. Rene of Paris has an assortment of wig combs and brushes to choose from. 

Hopefully this was helpful in learning about the basics of wigs! To see Abby explain this and show off her favorite wigs, find the video below.

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