Wigs: Everything you need to know about buying the perfect one

From lace wigs to synthetic wigs, we chat to the experts to find out what's best

wigs normal.jpg
wigs normal.jpg
(Image credit: Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock)

From lace wigs to synthetic wigs, we chat to the experts to find out what's best

There's no denying that wigs have come a long way from the unrealistic pieces we once knew, but with a lot of choice, comes a lot of confusion. So, we sat down with wig expert and owner of Annabelles Wigs, Claire Pateman to find out everything you need to know about wigs.

What types of wigs are there and how do they differ from each other?

There are 3 main types of wigs. There are lace front wigs, which are mainly the type that Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and the Kardashians wear, and they’re made with a thin lace strip at the front of the wig, which can easily be disguised using make-up to look like your natural hairline. Then there are monofilament based wigs, which are the most breathable, natural looking wigs. The partings are hand tied so they look just like a natural hair parting. Finally, there are machine made wigs, which are the most popular wigs and the least expensive because they’re made by machine but can still look very natural.

What are wigs made from?

Wigs can either be made from human hair or synthetic hair. As you can imagine, human hair wigs are very expensive, however, nowadays the fibre that is used for synthetic wigs, which is called Kanakalon, looks and feels just like human hair and is a fraction of the cost. The only downside of synthetic hair wigs is that it can’t be dyed like human hair.

What’s the best way to apply a wig?

Ideally, you would section your hair and put these sections into pin curls. However, if this is too complicated or you don't have the time, you can wrap your hair around your head to flatten it and simply pin it in place.

Once you’ve done that, locate the back of the wig, where the tag is. Hold the wig with both hands, one on each side of the tag and place the front of the wig at your eyebrows. Pull the wig all the way over your head and then

slide the front of the wig back until you reach your hairline. It’s important to take it all the way to the hairline; otherwise it looks like you don't have a forehead.

Run your fingers along the sides of the wigs and find the two hard ear tabs (they’re generally near your temples). Make sure that these ear tabs are even - this is how you know that your wig is on straight.

Once the wig is at your hair line, tabs are even and the wig is pulled down in the back, you're done.

What should we look for when buying a wig? 

I think its great to try and experiment with new styles and colours when buying a wig. If you are wanting to wear them on a daily basis go for a more natural style and always look at customer reviews if you’re purchasing from online. They can tell you more about the wig than just pictures alone.

Do certain types of wigs work better for particular hairstyles?

For example, if we wanted to braid a wig, is there a specific type of wig that is better to use?

If you are looking for a wig without a fringe then you would need to go for a Lace Front wig, if you wanted to braid a wig it wouldn't matter what kind of style the wig cap was just that the wig itself was thick so you would not see any of your own hair underneath.

How can you make wigs look like natural hair?

Good wigs should look like natural hair and nobody should ever be able to tell that you are wearing a wig - unless you’ve gone for a green wig with sparkles in it!

Any tips or tricks you have regarding wigs?

Dry shampoo is brilliant for taking any shine off synthetic hair. Using a conditioning spray on the ends of hair prolongs the life of the wig, and using a clothes fabric softener instead of a conditioner is a great way of bringing an old wig back to life.

Lastly, customising your wig is the perfect way to make it look natural. Add hair clips, plait it, braid it, back comb it - they’re all great ways to make your wig your own.

Natalie Lukaitis