Are wigs, hairpieces, and hair extensions part of your femme wardrobe? If not, they should be!
Even if you’ve grown out your own hair, a wig or hairpiece is a great way to transform your look and add some instant glam.
As a belly dancer, I’ve been wearing wigs in my performances for years. I LOVE my wigs and could talk about this topic for days!
To start, I created this tutorial to give you an overview of your wig, hairpiece, and hair extensions options.
Human Hair vs. Synthetic Hair vs. Blended Hair
Whether you go for a wig, hairpiece, or hair extensions, the first thing you need to do is choose between human hair, synthetic hair, or blended hair.
Human hair is the best option if you can afford it. It looks ultra natural and can be cut, styled, permed, or colored just like your own hair.
The downside is that human hair wigs cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. (Beyonce’s wig reportedly cost $6,000!) Another drawback is that human hair tends to be heavier than synthetic hair and requires more styling.
Here’s how to decipher some of the buzzwords you’ll run across when shopping for human hair wigs, hairpieces, or hair extensions:
- Remy Hair – Remy hair means that the hair cuticle has been kept intact as opposed to being stripped in acid. Remy hair is softer and less likely to tangle than non-Remy hair.
- Virgin Hair – Virgin hair refers to hair that has never been permed, dyed, or chemically processed in any way.
- Asian vs. Indian vs. European Hair – These are the most common hair types for making wigs, hairpieces, and hair extensions. European hair is considered the highest quality and is the most expensive.
Synthetic hair is cheaper than human hair, so it’s a great option if you want to build a big wardrobe of girly wigs and hairpieces. High quality synthetic hair is virtually undetectable from human hair.
Other advantages of synthetic wigs are that they come pre-styled and are lighter than human hair wigs.
The disadvantage is that you can’t heat-style most synthetic hair. (Though you can now find heat-resistant synthetic wigs and hairpieces on the market.) Synthetic hair also has a limited lifespan of 3-6 months of daily wear.
Blended hair consists of a blend of human hair and synthetic hair and offers the best of both worlds: It’s less expensive than human hair and looks more natural than synthetic hair. It can also be heat-styled.
When it comes to wigs, the big differentiator (aside from hair fiber, style, and color) is the cap construction. (Check out my article on The Top 6 Hairstyles for Crossdressers and Transgender Women to learn more about selecting the right wig style.)
Here are your wig cap options:
|Standard cap wig||Capless wig||Monofilament wig|
Standard Cap Wig
A standard cap wig has a closed lace crown with the hair machine-sewn to the cap. This is the most common and affordable wig cap style.
A capless wig is similar to the standard cap, except that the hair is attached to vertical lace strips instead of closed lace. The open design makes the wig lighter and cooler than a standard cap.
Monofilament wigs are made with thin nylon or polyester mesh material at the crown to create the illusion of a scalp. This looks more natural since the hair can be parted or styled in any direction.
Lace wigs are super popular since they are the most natural-looking wig option. Lace wigs are made with a fine lace mesh that is custom fitted, trimmed, and glued (or taped) to the skin around the hairline. This creates a lifelike hairline, even with the hair pulled back.
Full lace wigs have a cap that is entirely made from lace mesh, while lace front wigs have lace mesh at the front and another material at the back and sides.
|Lace front wig||Untrimmed lace mesh||Beyonce’s lace front wig|
Hairpieces are a great way to transform your look without the hassle of wearing a full wig.
Since hairpieces blend into your own hair, you should test them in person to make sure you’ve got a good color match. Another option is to custom dye human hair hairpieces.
Here are the most common hairpieces:
|Half wig||Wiglet||Ponytail hairpiece|
A Half wig (also known as a fall or 3/4 hairpiece) is worn away from the hairline and covers the crown, sides, and back of the head. The half wig is either attached to the head with clips or worn with the hair pre-attached to a headband.
Half wigs are my dance wig of choice since they let me add length while revealing my own natural hairline. Brilliant!
Wiglets are a great option for girls with thinning hair or receding hairlines. Wiglets have a small base that is attached to the front or top of the head, adding volume where you need it. The advantage is that they disguise hair loss, but are lighter than a full wig.
Looking for an easy updo? Try a ponytail hairpiece. Ponytail hairpieces are attached via a jaw clip, interlocking combs, or an elastic string. (Note: To wear a ponytail hairpiece, your hair has to be long enough to pull back.)
Clip-on bangs are a fast way to add some sass to your style. Just clip them on to the front your hair and voila! Instant bangs.
Now let’s talk hair extensions. Hair extensions are a huge craze right now and it seems like every Hollywood starlet has them.
Hair extensions add length and fullness to your hair – but keep in mind that your hair has to be thick enough to hide the base of the hair extensions. Hair extensions don’t work well with thinning hair or a receding hairline. (You’re better off with a full wig or a wiglet.)
Here are the most common types of hair extensions:
Clip-in Hair Extensions
Clip-in hair extensions are fast, fun, and easy. The extensions are attached with clips and can be worn all day and all night. Lots of girls rave about Euronext human hair clip-in hair extensions from Sally Beauty. They cost $130-$150 and come in 15 different colors.
Bonded Hair Extensions
If you are looking for more permanent extensions, bonded hair extensions are the most popular option. Bonded hair extensions are attached with a special type of glue and last 3-6 weeks before needing to be reattached.
In theory, bonded hair extensions are not supposed to damage your hair. However, I’ve spoken with lots of women who claim that bonded extensions DID damage their hair.
Bonded hair extensions are also expensive, typically ranging from $500-$2000.
Sewn-In Hair Extensions
With sewn-in extensions, your hair is first braided in tracks around your head and then the extensions are sewn to the braided tracks.
Sewn-in extensions also range from around $500-$2,000, but they are most cost effective since they last longer. The disadvantage is that they can feel very tight and painful when first applied and can also damage the hair.
So what do you think? This is juicy topic and I’m looking forward to the discussion!
First, take my poll below and then tell me about your experience with wigs, hairpieces, and/or hair extensions! What worked for you and what didn’t? I’d also love to hear any extra tips you have – as well as specific product recommendations.