Guide - Buying and Working with Wigs

Brands

With the range of cheap wig options on eBay, instead of price, what has become the defining factor is the wig’s type. Although all the sites and eBay sellers I have discussed sell quality wigs, the various brands of wigs have different characteristics, vary in quality, and thus are each suited for different purposes.

It is impossible to define the precise characteristics of each brand of wig, or even precisely identify the brand a seller stocks, but I can generalise.

Besides brands, in general, long wigs are thinner than short wigs, so for styling a high ponytail, a shoulder length wig will provide the most fibre. Wigs with fringes seem to have a tendency to be thinner than those without. Shorter wigs (as in shoulder length and shorter) are overall less hassle as they will tangle less. Therefore quality is less of an issue.

Cosworx stocks several brands of wigs. “New Look” is the brand displayed with images of models wearing them and they are excellent quality. The Sepia brand is more expensive, but well worth the extra cost. The other brand is “Insta-Beau”, which is the wigs displayed on mannequin heads. These are apparently not so good; they’re thinner and a slightly lower quality. They should perhaps be avoided unless you don’t intend to style the wig much (in other words, you plan to wear it mostly as it already is). Additionally, certain styles of wig are Teflon coated (to help prevent tangling) and are therefore not suitable for colouring with Katie Bair’s wig dye. Other colouring methods still work fine.

New Look

(CosWorx, Amphigory, Karen’s wigs)

One of the most versatile brands, suited to styling. The short styles such as the Angela wig are very thick and suitable for forming the base of styles such as ponytails. All the wigs take well to straightening and curling.

Made of kanekalon fibre. The brand is commonly found for sale, so it is easier to find matching extensions for wigs.

Sepia

(CosWorx)

Excellent quality, thick and suitable for styling. Offers an unusual range of colours which cannot be found elsewhere. CosWorx additionally sells several wigs unique to them which are Sepia brand.

Hong Kong/Chinese

(eBay sellers such as fml555, handmadebeauty, professional-only, china wigs)
Silky, quality wigs, which don’t tangle too readily. They look lovely, but are not suitable for styling much. The fibres tend to be resistant to straightening and curling, and the wigs themselves are usually too thin to be put up into ponytails and so on. The silky straight nature of the fibre can sometimes make cutting more challenging – harder to make it look natural. The caps tend to be a smaller fit, so be warned if you have a large head/thick hair. The smaller fit also means they are less suited to styling as fixed styles can reduce the stretch of the wig.

These wigs are lovely, but best suited for being worn as they come. Brands such as New Look are best for bases for ponytails, spiking, other styling and are generally more versatile.

Japanese

Such as http://www.maple-wig.com/

Much of what applies to the Hong Kong type wigs is true here, but the advantage of the Japanese brands is that they’re a bit thicker, and are a beautiful type of fibre. They don’t tangle as much as any other wigs, come in a range of colours which are generally unavailable elsewhere and really are very much worthwhile so long as you don’t intend to style them much.

As gorgeous as these wigs can be, they aren’t necessary. Other wigs are perfectly suitable as well, and are usually easier and cheaper to buy. Japanese wigs are worthwhile should they come in a particular style or colour unavailable elsewhere, or should you want a very long wig (because they don’t tangle so much). Otherwise, the extra cost of ordering through a 3rd party etc. compared to the convenience of ordering the similar wigs on ebay means there’s not much point in buying them as everyday wigs.

As well as the type of Japanese wigs I discussed above, there is also http://www.cyperous.com/

The Modlon/Powerlon fibre wigs sold there are a lot more expensive than other wigs, but it is closer to the characteristics of real hair than other synthetic wigs, and can be styled with high heat levels as with human hair. The wigs are very nice, but again, unnecessary when cheaper types can serve as well. How to order from them: http://haruna.delbiter.com/translations/cyperous/

Human Hair

The advantage of human hair wigs is (obviously) that they can be treated as you would your own hair. Cutting is easier, bleaching and dyeing possible in the normal ways, and the colour and texture of the fibre is as natural as a wig can be. The disadvantage is the price, and when synthetic wigs can be so cheap and look perfectly good, there’s no pressing reason to choose a human hair wig.

Real extension hair can perhaps be useful since buying small quantities isn’t too expensive, and it can be dyed to the colour you need more readily than a synthetic fibre.

Besides quality, when buying a wig you need to consider its style

  • Images of wigs can be misleading, so look at the measurement for the length of the wig, and if in doubt, it’s better to buy too long than too short.
  • A lot of longer wigs have layers of different lengths, which can be problematic depending on how you intend to style the wig. You may want to look for one that’s all one length.
  • It’s extra work to cut a fringe into a wig, especially if you need a thick one. If a wig already has a fringe, there’s not much you can do about it. Think carefully about what you need before you buy – there’s a wide selection of wigs with fringes and without them. Wigs with fringes tend to look more natural because they hide the hairline. Another good option for a natural hairline is to use a ¾ length wig or “fall” which is a kind of extension wig which you blend into your own hair.
  • If you buy from a particular seller or store regularly, investing in their colour sampler is useful to check the exact colours of wigs, and also to perform swatch tests for any colouring you intend to do.

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