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African Wigs 101: Wig Rules So Your Wigs Can Rule

When you decide to buy and wear wigs, you will come across the standard tips on being  successful. However, there are so many unspoken rules that rarely get mentioned.  There are so many tutorials online and tons of people sharing their own advice, but are these tips the right ones? Whether you’re wearing a wig because of hair loss, thin hair, or to create a sassy new look, this is our best advice. 

First-time African-American wig-wearers will also find insightful information here to help wade through the process of buying and wearing a wig. Wearing a wig should feel comfortable and should be an exciting experience. Let’s dig into some straightforward advice and get you rocking your new look in no time.

black woman wearing black kinky, curly wig

How to wear a wig

Once you decide to purchase a wig, you need to make sure you have the right fit. Beginners and wig experts alike know that a poorly fitting wig is a deal breaker. Get familiar with the measurements around your head. It’s a small detail but it’s one of the most important parts of successful wig wear.  

Before installing, remember to protect your natural hair. Apply a generous amount of moisturizer to your hair, then braid or twist into a neat protective style with the ends tucked away. Don’t forget your wig cap!

Adjusting The Wig

There are 3 types of wig straps that can be adjusted for a comfortable fit for the wearer. You can identify the type of strap you have by looking at the inside of the wig near the tag or label. Note: Many wigs have one or more of these options.

  • Elastic straps are similar to bra straps and are located on either side of the wig near the tag. To adjust this type of strap, you will pull to tighten and release to widen. Experiment with the straps until you feel the wig is secure on your head.
  • Velcro straps are located on each side of the wig. Connect the pieces together and work to move the velcro back and forth to make it tighter, or to loosen it enough for a great fit. If you’re choosing to go without a wig cap, be extra careful so that the velcro doesn’t catch your curls (ouch!)
  • Hooks allow you to adjust your wig by connecting the clips to the slots you will notice along the seam of the wig. The closer you move toward the tag, the tighter the wig gets, and going the opposite direction away from the tag loosens it.

Securing a Wig

Let’s talk about the difference between regular lace front and glueless wigs. Glueless lace wigs need no glue to secure the wig during the wig installation. For most of these wigs, glueless wig combs, and adjustable straps will do the job. 

Regular lace front wigs require the lace frontal closure to be placed close to your scalp with wig glue to secure to the head. Glueless wigs have gained in popularity because of the ease of removing the wigs without damaging the hairline, better known as “edges.”In the spirit of protecting edges, let’s cover glue-free ways to keep human hair wigs or synthetic wigs in place. An important wig-wearing step is securing it correctly. No one wants to deal with wigs falling, sliding, or (eek!) blowing off on a gusty day.

Options for Securing a Wig: 

  • Wig Grip Band: Adjustable and worn underneath the wig to prevent slippage
  • Wig Tape: Works best on bald heads and attaches to the inside of the wig
  • Wig Caps: Provides a protective barrier between your scalp and the wig
  • Wig Clips: The go-to option for those who know how to sew.

Read more to learn more about securing a wig and the options above.

black woman wearing a wig cap

Plucking/Creating Natural Hairlines

You’ve invested time, energy and money into your new lace front wig. Now what? Even an expensive-looking lace wig requires some tweaks to make it look completely natural. Today’s most popular trends for wig styling revolve around plucking the wig’s part and styling the “baby hairs”.

If you look at your natural hairline, you’ll see that the hairs aren’t all the same length. Similarly, the hairline of a freshly unpacked wig shows the hair runs evenly on all sides. To alter this, grab a set of tweezers to pluck the extra hair away from the edges of the face, also known as treating the baby hairs.

Baby hair mimics the appearance of natural hair growth at the hairline. Plucking these hairs creates a real-looking hairline, and lets the wearer sweep hair away from the face without worry.

Another tip is to opt for wigs that have thinner lace closures to avoid having a bulky hairline. A thin closure will create a more natural look and can help eliminate the danger of over plucking.When ready, follow this step-by-step tutorial for help with wig plucking.

plucking baby hairs with lace front wig
Wig Stand on table

Maintenance Tips for Wigs

  • To gently maintain the look and feel of your wigs, always wash your wigs with sulfate-free shampoo and conditioners
  • Don’t over wash your wigs! To extend the life of the wig, a good rule of thumb is to wash once per month or two times maximum if you are a daily wearer.
  • Stay heat-free when styling synthetic wigs. The hair is not human and will melt or burn with heat styling. 
  • Purchase a wig stand or mannequin head to let the wig rest when not in use.

Synthetic Wigs

Synthetic wigs are a great way to express your style and inexpensive enough for wig wearers to have a few to choose from. Follow these golden tips for extending the life of your beautiful wig.

  • After washing – allow the wig to completely dry before you start the style process.
  • If no wig stand or mannequin head is around, try a chin strap to hold your wig in place for styling.
  • Brush synthetic hair from the bottom to the top using a stainless steel brush.
  • Synthetic hair fibers require specially designed wig style products. Never use products made for natural hair on synthetic.

Human Hair Wigs

Human hair wigs are made from processed human hair, meaning they hold the same weight, look and feel as your own hair. This means the styling process can be just as intense as natural hair, so the tips below are must-dos.

  • When using curling irons or flat irons, low heat is your best option to prevent heat damage to the unit. 
  • As with your own natural hair, try to avoid using heat tools over and over or you’ll risk dryness and a short life for your favorite wig. 
  • Never use natural hair products like cremes and gels on your wig. An oily wig is a no-no. 
  • For curly wigs, DO lightly spritz your hair with water for a quick refresh.

Our blog has more great info on styling with tips for using heat to curl and straighten human hair wigs.

Wankaya Hinkson wearing Ashro Wig
Wankaya Hinkson wearing an Ashro Wig

How to style a wig

Wigs can add flavor to your personal style, but styling a wig can be a struggle. To help, here’s the inside scoop on a range of techniques for everything from heat styling to safely dyeing wigs. In no time at all, you’ll be successfully styling gorgeous synthetic or human hair wigs at home.

Adding a Touch of Color to Your Wigs

When you want a touch of versatility, adding color to your wigs can be a temporary fix with flair. Depending on what type of wig is being colored, here is some advice for creating hues you can love.

Synthetic Hair Wigs

A typical synthetic wig will last between 4-6 months with good care. Dyeing a synthetic wig can shorten that time frame, but the upside is variety and flair with new styles.

If the wig is losing luster with visible wear and tear, adding color is a great way to update the look without much sacrifice. Check online for more tips for getting the best color effects for your synthetic wigs. Have fun and get ready to rock it!

An African-American woman wearing a short black and red ombre bob-style wig with a side part.

Human Hair Wigs

Dyeing human hair wigs can be a delicate and costly process. Depending on the color you want, an additional wig purchase may be in order. For instance, if you wanted to add bright color to a wig, it’s far easier to brighten a blonde wig. 

If you’re working with a brown or black color, the risk of damaging your unit beyond repair is high. It’s best to to plan ahead with your wig and extension purchases, and always look for quality products when ready to dye a human hair wig. 

On the plus side, experimenting with color on a wig is far better than taking risks with coloring your own natural hair. For the best outcome, seek out a professional colorist who can lift your wigs to new heights.

a bunch of wig clips
Hair Color Supplies including wig stand, dye, gloves, and comb.

Making a Wig Look Natural

When you opt for new wig, whether it’s human hair or synthetic, how it looks on you is of the utmost importance. Take time to find something that makes you most comfortable. No one wants to wear a wig they feel looks poorly placed, or heaven forbid, looks fake. Luckily, we’re here to reveal some amazing (and some unbelievable) ways to make your wig look more real.

Black woman wearing a wig

Tips For Making Your Wig Look Real

Whether you’re a long-time wig wearer or a beginner starting the journey, wearing a natural-looking wig is the ultimate goal. However, one should never feel pressured to spend a fortune to rock a beautiful look. Try these tips for getting the most out of your wig.

  • New wearers – try out wig colors that closely match your own hair
  • Head to a salon pro to blend color and highlights for your wig
  • Eliminate shine from synthetic wigs with dry shampoo sprays
  • Always wear a wig cap to prevent the wig from slipping
  • U-part style wigs are great for blending with natural hair for a polished look 
  • Steam is a great tool to loosen and relax a straight wig
  • Curly hair wigs can be set in twists or foam rollers before steam for a great result

You’re now armed with wig rules to help YOU rule when wearing your first wig – or your fifteenth! You’re all set to start your wig-loving journey. Be sure to check out our blog for more tips on getting the most out of any wig. Go forth and feel fabulous, queen!

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Published on Jun 30 2021

Last Updated on Sep 08 2021

Categorized under
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