While wigs are such a fun and easy way to try out a new look, the reality is that finding the perfect one to meet your needs can be somewhat of a difficult process—especially for a beginner. With so many different options available, from lace-fronts and ready-to–wear to synthetic units, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed while wig shopping, particularly while doing so online.
That’s why we tapped licensed hairstylist and senior content manager for Mayvenn, Brittany Johnson to give a full rundown on everything you need to know when shopping for the perfect wig. Her expert tips will help you go from newbie to pro and make the wig buying process an absolute breeze.
Ahead, she shares how to pick a wig for your lifestyle, her maintenance tips, and why it is important to make sure your stylist is a part of your wig shopping journey.
Tip 1: Think About Your Why
When you begin wig shopping, it’s so important to take into consideration the objective for the wig. “One of the best ways to start your journey is to figure out what your main reasons are for getting a new wig. Are you all about protective styling? Excited to try a new cut and color without changing your natural hair? Into wigs for the fashion aspect? Maybe it’s all of the above!” says Johnson. “Whatever the reason, getting real about why you’re into wigs will help you with your next step—choosing your ideal wig type and style.”
Tip 2: Choose a Style for Your Lifestyle
With so many wig options at your fingertips—from synthetic to human hair and blends in between—it can be massively overwhelming deciding on a wig style. However, according to Johnson, you want to make sure that the wig you choose fits in with your lifestyle. “If you’re looking for a wig that will stand the test of time and remain wearable day-to-day, then a synthetic wig probably isn’t your best bet,” she explains. “If you’re grabbing a fun look for a party or cosplay and love to switch it up all the time, then a cost-effective synthetic or human hair blend may be the way to go.”
She adds that, “If you’re someone who likes to be able to get up and go or loves a sweat-heavy workout, then a Lace Frontal wig isn’t going to be your everyday choice.” If this is the case, Johnson recommends trying a Ready to Wear or a Closure wig. “If you’re looking for a unit that allows you to create a variety of looks and hairstyles, then a Frontal or full lace wig would be ideal,” she says. However, she does note that you’ll want to enlist the help of your stylist to truly customize and properly install it.
Tip 3: Grab Your Measurements
When it comes to wigs, it’s important to pay attention to their size. “Most wig caps are measured by the circumference of your head, and have a bit of stretch. Many wig caps also have ways to help the wig feel even more secure, such as a band, clips, or combs,” Johnson says. “Even with those extra materials you’re going to want to make sure the wig you’re purchasing is generally a good fit for your head size.”
With that being said, here are some important measurements that Johnson says you’ll want to take to determine your head size.
Using a measuring tape, determine the distance completely around your head: wrap the tape around to measure from the nape of your neck, to around both ears, and up to your forehead.
Then, measure the distance over the crown of your head from ear to ear—this will come in handy for custom wig creation, or if someone is adjusting your wig cap for you.
Finally, measure the length of your forehead—use the tape to measure the distance from in front of your ear and across your forehead to the other ear.
“Having these measurements on hand will make it easier to determine if a wig will fit your head size, especially when buying online and trying on isn’t an immediate option,” Johnson says.
Tip 4: Enlist Your Stylist
Throughout your wig shopping process, don’t be afraid to lean on a stylist for help. “There are tons of stylists nationwide who are wig experts and often fully customize wigs for their clients,” Johnson says. “From bleaching knots and cutting lace to adjusting haircuts and completing the full install so your wig is seamlessly laid, your stylist is there to help.” She adds that booking an in-salon appointment for customization and installation is also the perfect opportunity to ask questions about future applications at home, tips for maintaining your style, and anything else that may come up.
Tip 5: Maintenance 101
Just as you do your natural strands, you’ll want to make sure to properly care for your wig to extend its life.“A common misconception is that because wigs or extensions are already ‘manufactured,’ they don’t need as much time or attention as our actual hair,” Johnson shares. “In fact, quite the opposite is true—your human hair wigs and extensions will stand the test of time if you continue to cleanse and condition them properly. She advises not overdoing it with the products as product buildup can negatively impact your strands and limit the natural movement and flow of the hair. Johnson adds, “For synthetic wigs, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They often have special cleansers and cannot always be shampooed or treated with traditional hair products.”
For helpful advice about shopping for and caring for wigs, be sure to follow @mayvennhair on Instagram.