During my last article, I teased that I’d go into more detail on wigs for cosplay. Well, today is that day.
I often get asked about the wigs I wear with my costumes. (I currently have about a dozen in my collection and they seem to multiply like tribbles when I’m not looking.) There are two top priorities in selecting a wig: one is accuracy to the character, two is realism. Even if the character you’re portraying has the zaniest looking hair around, you still want to have a wig that fits correctly and has the appearance of being, for lack of a better word, natural.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, wigs can be very expensive. A lot depends on the cut, the length, what type of cap it has, what material it’s made with, and more. Something decent will probably cost you a minimum of $40. (The one in the picture on the left cost me around the $60 mark.) Here are some tips that I recommend when wig shopping and wearing.
- First and foremost, get yourself a good wig cap. These are relatively cheap and will help keep your natural hair in check.
- Pay close attention to the details in a wig listing (in person and online). These can include:
- The color they are listed as. Every monitor displays colors differently and photos can often distort coloration.
- What type of cap they are. In the picture above, I am wearing a skin cap wig. That means that the center of the part looks like natural skin, and therefore seems more realistic. Some wigs have a side part, but no faux skin material. There are also wigs where all of the hair originates from the center top and has no part line. In addition, there are lace front wigs (certainly the most expensive) which require that the front be adhered to your head and looks like real roots growing out. Lace front is the type of wig most used in films.
- Check to see if they are made from a material that can be styled with heat tools such as curling irons and hot rollers. Not every wig can be styled in this manner.
- Remember that wigs can be washed and that you can use styling product on them just as you would your natural hair.
- Some wigs have extra long bangs on them. This means they can be easily swept aside or trimmed to a desired length.
- All wigs can be cut and styled if needed. You can either find a local wig shop to do this, or even reach out to a hairstylist to see if they’d be willing to work on it.
- While most wigs can be adjusted slightly to the size of your head, a couple of anchor bobby pins (one on each side of your head near your temples) can help keep it in place.
- When shopping in person, take a good look at how much hair is on the wig. If you brush it to the side, can you see the cap knitted cap underneath? This will help determine how much styling you can do with it.
- Avoid cheap wigs from Halloween super stores. These wigs may be good for a quick Halloween costume, but they tend to be uncomfortable, warped from their packaging, and very shabby looking for a cosplay. They also tend to run into the issue with my last point, which is that they use as little hair as possible on the cap.
Of course, nothing says you can’t use your natural hair for a costume. It all depends on what look you are trying to achieve. I find wigs are convenient not only because they are already styled for your costume, but because they won’t go flat or lose curl throughout a long day on the convention floor. They’re also great if you’ll be wearing multiple costumes over the course of a few days.
As to where to purchase wigs, check to see if you have any local shops. Buying in person is great when feasible since you’ll get a chance to try the the wigs on and there’s no guessing as to color. I’ve also had great success purchasing wigs off of sites like eBay and CosWorx. (Make sure to check return policies as many times a wig cannot be returned due to sanitation reasons.)
As always, tune in next time and leave any questions and comments you have below!
(Photo courtesy of LJinto.)