PSA: These Tips Will Keep Your Wig From Looking Fake AF

Ama Kwarteng
·8 mins read
Photo credit: @theestallion - Instagram
Photo credit: @theestallion - Instagram

From Cosmopolitan

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You know all those celebrity hairstyles you're obsessed with? Yeah, they're probably definitely wigs. And, honestly, it makes sense—how else would celebs be able to change their looks for red carpets and photoshoots without stressing out their natural hair? Some good news for you: You can join in on the fun too. Whether you're looking for a new protective style or you just want to rock a bold look, you have the option to try out so many different looks with wigs.

But before you can start taking selfies in your new wig, you have to, you know, learn to put it on. And sadly it's not as easy as taking the wig out of the box and throwing it on your head. There's a few (fine, a liittle more than a few) steps you need to take to make sure your wig doesn't look faker than Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes' relationship. So to help y'all out, I reached out to Brittany Johnson, a Mayvenn Hair-certified stylist, to walk you through exactly how to put on a wig.

Step 1: Choose your wig type

Okay, according to Johnson, you first have to figure out what your hair goals are. Do you want a protective style that's easy to maintain and requires basically zero effort? Would you rather have a wig that's a bit more high-maintenance when it comes to care, but allows you to switch up your parts and wear your hair in a high pony? Or do you just want something that'll make your hair look long AF? Whatever your reason, it'll determine which wig option best fits your vibe.

There are four different types of wigs you can pick from:

1. Ready-to-wear wigs

This option is perfect for beginners, or anyone who is wayyyy lazy when it comes to any sort of hair maintenance. They come pre-cut, pre-colored, and pre-styled, says Johnson. They're not as customizable as other wig options, but they are budget friendly. According to Johnson, they'll set you back $50 to $200, depending on where you buy the wig from, the type of hair, and the length.

2. Lace-front wigs

With a 4x4 inch lace closure in the front of the piece, these wigs give you more options when it comes to your part, says Johnson. Because of the lace closure, this option blends seamlessly with your hairline, making the wig look more realistic. This is a perfect starter wig for beginners, but they're a bit pricier than ready-to-wear wigs, depending on where you buy yours from. Typically, though, the price of lace-front wigs range from $150 on the lower end to over $400 on the higher.

3. 360 lace wigs

These babies have lace around the entire perimeter of the wig, with the wig cap placed in the center, says Johnson. The lace blends in with your scalp, so you're able to switch up your style and easily throw your hair into a ponytail or a bun. Price wise, Johnson says they typically go from $150 to over $400.

4. Full lace wigs

These are lowkey the Rolls Royce of wigs (aka what Kylie Jenner puts on her head before she snaps a thirst trap for IG). The entire base of the wig is made up of lace, says Johnson. The lace is supposed to mimic the look of your scalp—and because you don't have to worry about any tracks showing, you can wear the wig any way you want (Johnson says you can even braid them into cornrows).

Full lace wigs are perfect for the person who can barely decide which movie to watch on Netflix, let alone whahairstyle they should commit to. Warning: According to Johnson, this style requires more expertise when it comes to maintenance, so if this is your first wig rodeo, it might not be the best pick for you. Oh, and FYI: They can get expensive, costing anywhere from $200 to well over $600.

After you choose what type of wig you want, you need to decide if you're going to opt for synthetic hair or human hair. Human hair wigs are more expensive, says Johnson, but they look (and feel) more realistic, you can use heat to style them, and if you take care of them right, they'll last you at least a year. Synthetic wigs look less natural and you can't heat style them, but they're way more wallet-friendly and need less upkeep than human hair wigs, says Johnson.

Step 2: Buy the right size

I know—this sounds like a no-brainer, but it's definitely something you have to keep in mind! Most wigs have adjustable straps attached, but some wig options come in different sizes, so it's good to have your measurements on hand to get a nice fit, says Johnson. Throw your natural hair in a ponytail and use a cloth measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head. This number will determine your cap size.

Step 3: Bleach the knots

This step is only for wigs with lace, and you don't have to do it, but it will make your wig look like it's growing out of your head. The bleach process lightens the color of the black dots on the lace closure, says Johnson, giving it a more natural-looking hue. BTW: YouTuber Tabitha Sparks has a detailed and beginner-friendly tutorial if you're down to try this out.

If you're not down to experiment with bleach, you can also use your fingers to blend powder foundation into the lace, says Johnson. This will help match the color of your lace to your skin tone.

Step 4: Cut the lace

Lace wigs come with a ton of excess lace, so you'll have to cut and shape it to fit your head. Johnson recommends placing the wig on your head and outlining your desired hairline with white eyeliner, since it's easy to see and you can remove it effortlessly. Then, use sharp and small scissors to cut the lace.

If you're still having trouble imaging what this process would look like, YouTuber Simone Sharice has got you covered in the video above. (P.S. This step doesn't apply to ready-to-wear wigs, since most of them don't come with any lace at all.)

Step 5: Pluck the wig

Next up on the agenda is plucking your wig—aka getting rid of the excess hair around your hairline. According to Johnson, when you first get your wig, the hairline is going to look really dense. Plucking your wig with a tweezer will make it less bulky, so it looks more like your natural hairline. You're going to want to place the wig on your head, or a mannequin head, and begin tweezing your hairline, plucking the hair away from your face, says Johnson.

Proceed with caution, though. Going overboard can lead to uneven bald spots (not cute). Need a visual aid? Peep YouTuber Zel Lewis's video above.

Step 6: Braid down your natural hair

Okay, now you've got to prep your natural hair before you plop on the wig. You can wear your hair in a low ponytail or slip on a wig cap, but Johnson recommends braiding your hair into cornrows to create a smooth foundation for your wig. Make sure that your hair is braided flat enough—you don't want to end up with lumps and bumps under your wig.

Step 7: Place and secure the wig

Finally, you can throw on your wig. Slip it onto your head and secure it with bobby pins and clips or work a wig gel or glue around the hairline to be extra sure that your hairpiece stays put.

Step 8: Hit your wig with dry shampoo

If you chose to go with synthetic hair for your wig instead of human, chances are it looks really shiny. Not hair commercial shiny—I'm talking about the shine that comes with, like, Halloween wigs. Don't worry, it's fixable. Johnson recommends working dry shampoo through your wig to dull down the faux-looking luster.

The final word

And there you go! All the tips and tricks you need to slay your wig. Heads up that you don't need to go through all of these steps every time you put on a wig—just when you buy a brand new one. After that, you can put it on, secure it, and live your life. And, P.S. if all of this looks overwhelming and way out of your skill set, you can take your wig to a stylist and have them customize it for you, or you can have it sewn down onto your head.

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