Guide - Buying and Working with Wigs

Pigtails

As with ponytails, low pigtails aren’t too much of an issue with careful zigzagging to hide the parting. However, high pigtails require a lot of extra work.

pig tails 2

[A parting without any alterations]

There are wigs which have a built-in parting at the back, such as the "Innocent" style from Amphigory:

pig tails 3

[The back of the "Innocent" wig]

The ebay seller "seconds-please" also stocks this wig.

This has ringlet pigtails, but these can be straightened, or cut off and replaced with extensions via stubbing (as discussed under "buns"). Additionally, it's not too difficult to take out the pigtails and tie them back in higher up the wig if you prefer. So it's fairly versatile, and definitely a worthwhile choice compared to the other option for pigtails.

For all other wigs, you will have to add extensions to make a neat part.

How to add extensions: http://www.katiebair.com/wigtutorial_parting.html

It's basically threading a needle through the wig from the outside, and sealing the ends of the extensions so they stay in place. There are variations on that technique. Most people want to avoid having to buy a heat sealer, so here are some alternatives:

It is possible to melt synthetic fibre using lighters, matches etc. but the fibre tends to just burn (and smell horrible) rather than melt. It will seal the ends, but it’s messy. Attempt this outside and very carefully if you must.

Irons, straighteners and curling irons work nicely, and have the same effect as a heat sealer although they’re less practical. Similarly, a soldering iron works wonderfully. It heats up more and allows a very concentrated point of heat. If you’re using an iron, protect the surface the extensions are on. If any melted plastic gets on the iron/straighteners/whatever, it’s easy to remove once it’s cooled.

Hot glue works by slightly melting the extensions, and gluing them together at the same time. Hot wax has the same effect. This isn’t ideal for wigs since it’s bulky and could be uncomfortable. Same goes for any glues – they’ll work for sticking extensions together (like Katie Bair’s no-sew wefts) but because of how the extensions are in the back-part, it probably isn’t a great idea. Hot glue’s probably best because of the heat effect and how quickly it dries. Try pressing the extensions together with pliers to spare your fingers.

pig tails 4

[Parting with extensions added]

Some alternatives which don’t involve heat-sealing:

Sort-of sewing the extensions in.

Rather than poking a needle through the wig once and sealing the ends so the extensions stay in place, you're threading the needle through twice (in once, then out again) which will allow the extensions to mostly hold themselves in. Thread up a needle with extensions, and bring it in from the outside of the wig. Just above that point, put it through the wig again, creating a small, vertical stitch in underside of the wig. Firmly holding the loose end of the extensions take one side of the loop that the needle's on and pull that half of the extensions through, and balance both sides of the stitch so that it's centered on the length of the extension. Essentially you end up with the extension sewn in through the wig.

This technique is also suitable for adding extensions to the edge of a wig (useful when dealing with high ponytails or pigtails). The difference is to make the stitch on the right side of the hairline, and bring the hair around from the underside, concealing the edge of the wig.

However, a heat sealer really is the best and most practical way to melt and compress the fibre, and is the most secure way to keep the extensions in. Since most of the techniques I’ve suggested aren’t so secure, be careful when combing out the extensions. The methods also won’t compress the fibres together (except for using an iron and similar), so using pliers to press the melted fibres together will help keep the extensions in better (and won’t burn your fingers).

An alternative to extensions is to buy a second wig. Having two identical wigs also means the colours are guaranteed to match. Place one wig underneath the other, pull through hair to create the part, and sew the two wigs together.

Carefully zigzagging and arranging the part can get round the whole problem of adding extra hair, but this depends on the thickness of the wig and the height of the pigtails, so may not always work. With a thick wig and low ponytails, it's usually ok. Otherwise, it's unlikely to work well. Adding extra fibre one way or another is by far the neatest method.

pig tails 1

[Easy option, low ponytails done with zig-zagged parting]

This guide illustrates Katie Bair's method in slightly more detail, so may be helpful: http://hemuloki-sama.livejournal.com/48514.html

Some cheat alternatives:

Buy a short wig, leave it loose and simply add on ponytails without worrying about a parting. The same would apply where you only need one ponytail as well.

For a high ponytail, pulling a long wig into a low ponytail at the nape of the neck, and then pinning it higher up creates a decent effect. The ponytail hanging down should hide the structure which secures it up high.


Next Page: Extensions

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