How To Rock A Wig

“Oh my gosh, will you please write an article on how to wear a wig! I’ve tried cheap ones on at novelty shops before, but they just look like a Halloween costume on me. But your looks just wonderful, like I actually thought you dyed your hair for a minute. It doesn’t have to look completely natural, but I would love to know how you pulled that off without making it look like it was just a silly costume. Also, what did you do with your hair underneath it?”

Dear Anonymous (psshhh! I’m going to call you Greta),

The most important thing when it comes to wigs is that you spend as much money as you can. I know it probably seems like I say this a lot, but really, it’s true. You get what you pay for. Cheap wigs are obvious & it doesn’t matter what you do to it, it’s always going to look wrong somehow. While a more expensive wig is not necessarily superior, they tend to be better as a general rule. My black wig wasn’t very expensive, I paid $65 Australian for it (about $53 American), but it was bought wholesale so I got a good deal on it. It’s not amazing quality but it’s okay, & since I don’t intend on wearing it a whole lot, it will serve its purpose very well. If you’re planning on wearing your wig regularly (like more than once a week), you should spend more.

Definitely take your time when buying any kind of hairpiece. It really needs to suit you, & if you’re not sure, go away & think about it. There’s nothing worse than something expensive that doesn’t get any wear! You should feel comfortable in your wig — it’s like any other item of clothing, if you don’t feel good in it, it will be obvious & it won’t look right. If you’re not sure what kind of hairstyles suit you, I wrote an article on how to choose a flattering haircut which will help!

Having said that, buying a wig doesn’t need to be boring or predictable. Your hair doesn’t have to look “real”, per-say, just good! You have the ability to wear anything you want, so if you’d like to rock a purple bob or long white ringlets, you can! Have fun with your appearance; surprise yourself!

Make sure you take care of your wig! They’re usually sold in plastic bags, but a polystyrene head or something else which is round is optimal for the wig to sit it on. Brush the wig (with a steel comb) before you put it on & then brush it again once it’s on your head.

When I bought my wig, I knew the fringe (bangs) were too long, so when I got home I had my friend trim them. If you’re going to do wig surgery — which is almost always necessary, in my experience — go slowly! If you hack a big chunk out of it, it’s not going to grow back, so be careful! When we started trimming my bangs, we trimmed about half a centimetre at first, then looked at it & talked about it some more before doing anything else. After a bit of adjusting & fiddling, we decided the bangs would look best if they were sitting just above my eyebrow, so we trimmed it back to there. The good thing about this is that if I want my bangs a bit shorter or longer, I can change them by sliding the wig back & forth. If you’re nervous about screwing this up, take your wig to a salon & have a professional attend to it.

I wear a stocking over my hair when I put a wig on, as well as clipping the hair under it. It just keeps all your natural hair in place. Also, sometimes the rubbing of a wig will give you a bald patch, so a stocking is a good way to prevent this. Put the wig on (put your thumbs in the front of it & hook it over your head), shake it out a bit, give it a comb & once it’s in place, grab some bobby pins & pin it to your natural hair. Otherwise it will slide around & it’ll sit too far back on your head, which looks pretty ridiculous. When you’re putting it on, make sure it is pulled down all the way in the back. If the wig feels loose, take it off & adjust the band.

Try wearing a scarf or a hat over your wig.

If the wig still looks a bit fake, or you’re not entirely comfortable with it, put a hair or a scarf over the top. Since this covers a large portion of the wig, it’ll seem more realistic, & for some reason when you do this, no one will ever suspect you’re wearing a wig. I went out last night wearing a scarf over my wig & I felt fantastic & confident — kind of like a spy! My new hair gave me the confidence to be a different person, with more wiggle in my walk & coy little smiles.

I know a lot of women with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy are terrified of having to wear a wig, but I have read a lot of accounts of women who find that it actually gives them a lot of freedom & a wonderful opportunity to expand the horizons of their appearance. In season six of Sex & The City, Samantha develops cancer & finds herself in a wig shop, trying to make herself look like “her” again. She’s very distraught because she’s going to a movie premiere & she can’t find anything which resembles how her hair used to be. However, later in the show, you see her at the premiere wearing a bright pink wig, & it looks magnificent. Keep that in mind when you’re wig shopping!

If your wig looks really shiny & unrealistic, a light coating of baby powder will help dull the sheen. Apply it with a powder brush, then shake off the excess. You can also buy special wig styling spray to keep a handle on flyaway hair & weird kinks etc. that your wig might have. Both of these things can help to make your wig look better on.

Above all, have fun with it! I now own two wigs — the black bob & a big pink afro, & I want more! I’d like a white bob & a beehive too…

Extra For Experts:
How to care for all different types of wigs — very useful information.
How to put long hair under a stocking cap — because if you just pull your hair into a bun, it’ll look like you have a tumour under your wig!