Beginner’s Guide – Principles on Wigs and Why to Use Them
An important lesson for any cosplayer to learn is that wigs are so much more than plastic hair bought at a party store. There are many details that can be the difference between looking sharp and looking corny. Beginners who overlook this will find their wig wearing experience to be miserable and the overall worse look on their whole cosplay. If you want to boost your cosplay with wigs then you will need to put in more effort into learning about them, and that’s what this guide is going to do. We are going to go over the basics of why to use wigs, what are the different types of wigs, and what accessories you should have when wearing a wig.
Why Use Wigs?
You should use a wig because it is the most efficient way to match your character’s hairstyle, allowing you to cosplay beyond your normal scope with very little effort. With wigs, you will be able to take on crazy styles or colors that otherwise would be impossible without drastically dying or cutting. For instance, it is much easier and cheaper to put on a wig than to alter your long dark brown hair to a short pastel teal (or wait for your short blonde hair to become long enough to dye dark).
Many characters, in fact, already have wigs that can portray them with very little modification. Using the internet, it is easy to find something in the right and shape and color that matches your needs.
Another advantage is that you will look more polished if you wear a quality wig. Good wigs are constructed to be thicker than real hair, which helps when your character is designed with an unrealistic hairstyle. They would also save you the trouble of having “bad hair days” as wigs do not oil up or frizz. The shiny fresh look will stay consistent throughout the day.
Wigs, if kept correctly, will also save you time because they only need to be styled once. Cosplayers often will change cosplay throughout the day at events. Using a wig will allow you to skip the time-consuming task of re-styling and switch in an instant.
A party store wig is going to be look cheap, be uncomfortable to wear, and fall apart more easily. You must put in more effort when choosing a wig and consider beyond just shape and color. While some factors will depend on your situation and character, all good wigs should have the following:
Heat Resistant: Most wigs are made using synthetic fibers, which risk melting when exposed to heat. This means some wigs are unable to be styled with techniques that involve curlers and dryers if they are not “heat resistant”. Pay attention to this feature when shopping for synthetic wigs! If the manufacturer does not explicitly say “heat resistant” assume that it is not.
Thick Volume: You also want to make sure that wigs are properly thick enough to not show the net cap. Thicker wigs are also less prone to tangling and look more realistic.
Multiple Sizes: It is recommended to buy one size bigger than your head shape and slightly longer than desired length. This gives you a bit of margin of error to adjust in case of error.
Situational factors include material choice. Most wigs are synthetic, made up of fibers such as acrylic and nylon. They are cheaper and come in way more shapes and colors, but can melt if they aren’t heat resistant and some will look fake. More expensive wigs will use real human hair. They will strain a budget but there is no beating a human hair wigs for realistic looks.
Skin tops are another situational factor. A skin top wig has a “scalp” section that allows for the parting of hair without revealing that it’s a wig, which are integral in some character’s design.
Lastly, you want to consider whether you need a lace front wig. Lace front wigs are popular because their unique design (having a sheer lace in the front of the wig) allows for the appearance of a natural hairline on the forehead. For characters with swept back hair this is a key feature to have to maintain authenticity.
Accessories exist to help facilitate wig usage, creating for you a more comfortable wig wearing experience. We recommended to keep the following on hand:
Wig Cap: This a cap that you wear to keep your real hair organized and hidden away. In addition, it also serves as a barrier to keep the wig from being an itchy nuisance on your scalp. Be sure to get a cap color that blends with your wig and doesn’t contrast too much!
Wig Clips: These are small comb like clips that attach a wig to your hair to keep it from falling off. Wig clips are essential for keeping long heavy wigs from falling off the back. A few clips in the front will counter the extra weight and keep balance.
Wig Head: Wig heads are mannequin heads used for storing a wig so it retains shape or styling wigs solo.
These basic tips on wigs are essential for making sure your cosplay don’t look fake. The next time you add a wig to your cosplay, take the time to search for a quality wig. Your cosplay will be noticeably better as a result.