Fake hair, don’t care. How to wear a wig with confidence

Wigs are back in a big way, and they’re a great accessory to switch up your hairstyle with a fun new look. Here is what you need to know.

Wigs have cemented their status as a stylish, pop culture accessory.

Many red carpet celebrities, including the Kardashians, Lady Gaga, Zendaya and Rihanna, are choosing wigs to transform their style.

Even the recent Barbie movie saw Margot Robbie wear a number of extravagant wigs and hair pieces to match the outfits inspired by the iconic doll.

The trickle-down effect was confirmed in a recent market report indicating that worldwide wig sales are forecast to grow 8 per cent within the next decade.

So why are we suddenly wild for wigs?

US wig expert Zelda Volkov says it’s a combination of celebrity hair trends and social media.

“The glam life (with all its secrets!) has become accessible on social media as beauty accounts educate and promote beauty hacks, like wearing wigs,” the New York-based founder of Zelda Hair says.


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A post shared by Margot Robbie (@margotrobbieofficial)

Why people wear wigs

Wigs have always offered the potential to change up your look on a whim but, traditionally, the reason for wearing wigs has been either cultural or medical.

“Women across many cultures cover their hair in observance of their faith; in Orthodox Jewish communities like mine, we’re able to cover our hair with headscarves, hats or a wig,” Zelda says.

The Australian Wig Company spokesperson Lisa Liesmann adds wigs are commonly worn among African American communities to “change hairstyles without having to apply potentially damaging heat or chemical treatments on naturally textured hair”.

Cancer treatments, along with certain medical conditions such as lupus and alopecia, hormonal imbalance, stress and ageing, can also result in hair loss, which often leads patients to experiment with wigs.

“A wig can have a huge influence on wellbeing for someone suffering from medical-related hair loss,” Lisa says.

“It can encourage positivity throughout treatment or help regain self-esteem.”

How to choose the right wig

“The rule of thumb is to invest in a good wig that feels comfortable, provides the style you want and actually fits properly,” Lisa advises.

“It should be comprised of good quality human hair, look natural and have a durable construction,” Zelda adds.

As a starting point, the wig experts suggest measuring your head to work out your “cap size”.

Next, Zelda says you need to consider “hair origin, length, texture and colour, as well as cap construction design”.

According to Zelda, “Remy hair” is the gold standard – human hair with the cuticles intact and in one direction.

As for synthetic wigs, both experts advise against choosing this option as a long-term solution.

“They simply won’t last as long or look as good,” Lisa says.
Price-wise, Zelda says “you get what you pay for,” with human hair wigs ranging from $2000 to $10000, depending on the quality.

“My advice to anyone navigating buying a wig for the first time is to find a reputable wig store and stylist who can take you through the process,” Zelda says.

How to wear your wig

Putting on your wig

There’s a formula to putting on a wig, Lisa says.

“To begin, turn the wig half inside out; then, hold the wig along the part line and pull the wig over your head,” she says.

“Lower it at the front so it’s close to the eyebrows and then gently pull the back of the wig to move it up – this will ensure any lace sits flat.”

To finish, Lisa recommends using the ear tabs to perfect positioning, being mindful of the forehead not appearing “too big or small”.

Styling your wig

When it comes to styling, Lisa says human hair wigs can be curled, straightened or tonged as you would with normal hair.

“The easiest way to do it is on a mannequin head before putting it on,” Lisa says.

However, be mindful that a lot of synthetic wigs can’t be heat-styled – while some may be heat-tolerant, Lisa suggests always doing a strand test first.

How to care for your wig

Both experts agree that a quality wig that’s well cared for should last at least two years.

To make your wig last longer, Lisa says it needs to be regularly washed, brushed and stored overnight on a mannequin head.

“Use the provided products to wash your wig – don’t be tempted to use regular shampoo or conditioners,” Lisa says.

“Once you wash it, allow the wig to air-dry.”

Other care measures Lisa suggests are not swimming with a wig and not resting your sunglasses on your head as this can “can cause hair fibres to be pulled out”.

“Also, avoid sleeping in your wig as it’s likely to get tangled,” she says.

More on hair loss and how to style your locks:

Written by Sharon Hunt.