Aaaah wigs! God’s gift to mankind.
And that is not even a hyperbole. They allow your favourite actors to make the craziest transformations with relative ease and they give womxn endless possibilities as to what they can look like without wasting too much time or causing too much damage to their natural hair.
For years, they had been viewed as something womxn turn to when they get older (as they were a favourite amongst grannies in EVERY family) or something for female impersonators to wear (you know, because they changed their looks so often. But, as lace front technology improved and allowed for more natural-looking hairlines so did attitudes towards wigs.
So the business boomed and we all bought some, myself included, but learning how to be a wig-wearer on the job is not the greatest way to find some things out. Here are a list of things I wish I knew before I bought my first wig.
1. It. Will. Move
Imagine my surprise when, during a makeout session, I found out that wigs shift significantly? The stress of trying to subtly readjust it and keep it on without interrupting the kiss was stressful.
I quickly learned the right way to pin it to my cornrows to prevent that from ever happening again.
The same thing can be said for when you get hugged so check out this guide on how to pin your wigs.
2. How to wash it
NEVER throw in water and just let it chill there all willy nilly. Also, never swoosh it around in soapy water. Rather pull it through soapy water ensuring all the strands travel in the same direction, rinse it under running water and lather it in conditioner and lay it flat in an airy space so that it dries. Watch:
3. How to maintain it
Whether you were born with it or you bought it, hair absorbs smells and needs to be washed regularly (but not as regularly as real hair). It also needs to be moisturized as it does not get the same natural oils natural hair would from the scalp.
No matter the quality of the hair, it tangles, so it should be brushed, slowly and patiently. First at the tips to remove any tangles or knots and then all the way through with either a paddle brush or a soft brush.
4. How to determine the quality
Now this a tricky one.
There is actually nothing wrong with buying a cheaper, synthetic wig, provided that you put in the work necessary to maintain it.
If you want a wig made of human hair however, it is up to you to learn the different types that are available, as well as how to tell them apart, both from each other and from their synthetic imitations.
This is also an important factor if you want to be using heat on the hair (which is also a great way to revive the look and feel of the hair after you have worn it a few times).
The most popular and widely available types of virgin hair used for weave and wigs are Brazilian, Peruvian, Indian, Malaysian. They are distinguished by their respective textures and come in multiple wave patterns such as straight, wavy, deep wave or tight curly.
- Brazilian hair: luxurious, very soft, thick and durable. It also has a lot of body and natural shine and it hold curls very well. Choose this if you want to create a full look with less bundles.
- Peruvian hair: versatile, extremely thick but light, soft and luxurious. It blends well with most natural hair and like Brazilian hair, provides a full body look with less hair piece.
- Malaysian hair: heavier and thicker than Indian hair but it is also softer and silkier. It is also characterized by a great natural shine. This hair type blends well with African hair. It also holds curls better and longer than the other types with little to no product
Indian hair: one of the most common and widely available hair types on the market. The best choice for long-lasting natural looking hair extensions. This type is also versatile, naturally silky and lustrous. It can be worn straight, curly, in a loose wave, in a natural wave, in a body wave and in a deep wave texture. It also doesn't need to undergo any chemical treatments to attain a particular style. Its texture and color are also easily matched to hair types from various ethnicities.
5. How to style it
Some wigs are more versatile than others, allowing you to rick a multitude of looks from just one wig. Just ask wig connoisseurs, Khanya Mkangisa, Bonang Matheba, Khanyi Mbau and Minnie Dlamini.
For this however, we suggest two things;
Finding a hairstylist who understands you and who you can afford
Following Instagram and YouTube accounts that provide hair styling tutorials so you can learn how to do it yourself every now and again. Check out some of our favourite accounts below:
Main image credit: instagram.com/linda_mtoba