Everything You Need to Know About Wigs

How to Buy a Wig

  • Thursday, 27 February 2020
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Wigs are more than just a great addition to your beauty routine: they can boost your sense of self-esteem, help you follow the dictates of your faith, or make you feel more comfortable as you undergo cancer treatments. While the potential uses of wigs are very wide, you will find that there are some common steps you can take to make sure you buy the best wig for your lifestyle and needs.

Part1: Selecting a Wig

Decide if you prefer a synthetic wig or a human hair wig. Most wigs are either made of out synthetic fibers, real human hair, or a combination of the two.[1]
  • Synthetic wigs are especially great for holding volume with short hair styles. They are often referred to as "shake-n-go" wigs because you can simply shake them out as you pick them up and then put them on.
  • If you are experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment, most hair grows back within six months of your last treatment. Many cancer patients prefer a synthetic wig because they are a more affordable and temporary option. They generally cost between $50-$500.
  • Wigs made of human hair tend to be more versatile in that you can style them in multiple ways (in a ponytail, bun, with curls or beachy waves). And while they generally remain in good condition longer than synthetic wigs, they also require more maintenance.
  • Human hair wigs are often more expensive and can range between $600-$4,000 (very long wigs are the priciest).[2]
  • You can also look for a wig with a lace front cap. This will help position the hair around your face in a natural shape (not as a harsh seam of hair on your head).

Consider your lifestyle. What kind of needs do you have for your haircare routine? Will you want a wig that you can put on with minimal styling and care or do you want something that can be elaborately styled?[3]

  • You should also think about if you need a wig that you can wear comfortable when you exercise.

Look for a wig that flatters the shape of your face. Your wig can be most flattering if you pick one that enhances the shape of your face. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Round faces. These generally look best with short, spiky pixie wigs, hair that graces the collarbone, or with longer layers that hit at the jawline (but not above it).[4]
  • Heart-shaped faces. Consider a short pixie cut that can be tousled and has some texture (like Halle Berry), a shoulder length wig with side-swept bangs, or long layers with a fringe of bangs.[5]
  • Oval face shapes. For shorter hair, look for a shaggy bob (or lob -- long bob). For long hair, look for a wig that holds layered curls or waves.[6] Pick a wig that can hold lots of volume as this will make your face appear fuller.[7]
  • Square faces. For square faces, picks wigs that will soften your jawline, such as a longer, angled bob, a shoulder length style with soft layers, or a wig with an off-center part.

Select a wig that compliments your skin tone. 

You should have a general idea of which color you want before you go to buy your wig. You might be tempted to try something very different once you are in the store, but it's best to stick with colors that you know will work for you. Skin tone types generally fall into three categories: warm, cool and neutral.[9]

  • Determine what skin tone you have if you don't know already. Warm skin tones tend to have brown, hazel, or green eyes. If you tan easily, then you most likely have warm skin tones.
  • By contrast, if you burn easily and have a ruddy color to your skin, then you are cool-toned. Neutral skin tones will often not have an obvious undertone to their skin (neither yellow or pink) and will, therefore, be compatible with most hair colors.[10]
  • Warm skin tones can generally wear colors like honey blondes, chestnut browns, ebony brown-black shades or copper colored reds.
  • Cool skin tones can generally wear platinum blondes, ash browns, auburn reds or inky, raven blacks.[11]
  • Talk to your hairstylist before you go to buy your wig about the ideal cut or color you should look for in a wig.

Part 2:Fitting the Wig to Your Head

Go to a wig store. Once you have selected the wig you would like to buy, you can go into your nearest wig store and buy one in person. Look for synthetic wigs or human hair wigs, based on your preference. Wigs can range in cost from $50 to hundreds of dollars. Make sure you find a wig that fits your needs and your budget.

  • You can also buy wigs online at online wig boutiques. However, when buying a wig online, you should have a good sense of the cut, color, and style of wig you are looking for to ensure it fits your needs. You can also use your measurements to buy a wig that will fit your head properly.
  • If you are a cancer patient who is buying a wig as part of the chemotherapy process, your insurance company may cover part or all of the cost of the wig. There are also certain organizations, like the Breast Cancer Society, who give wigs out for free. Talk to your doctor about your insurance options and reach out to cancer support programs in your area to see if you qualify for a free wig or a discount on a wig.[12]

Measure the circumference of your head. Whether you buy your wig in person or online, you will need to know the size of your head.
  • Take a cloth measuring tape and wrap it around your head. It should start in the middle of your forehead, go down to the base of the skull where the wig will end, and then wrap back up to meet the start of the tape on the forehead.[13]
  • Make sure as you wrap the tape around your head, that you keep the tape above your ears.
  • The average size of a head's circumference is 22 inches.[14]


Try the wig on to ensure it is comfortable. Testing the fit of the wig is the most important element of the buying process. You want to make sure the cap of the wig fits snugly on your head without irritating your scalp.[15]
  • Many caps in wigs come with tabs that can be adjusted to fit the size of your scalp. But you should aim to find a wig that is the closest fit to the circumference measurement of your head.
  • Some wigs also contain double-sided tape used to secure the wig in place.[16]
  • If you are bald, you may want to wear a skull cap pieces inside the cap to prevent the wig from irritating your skin.[17]
  • If you are wearing a wig over your natural hair, some wigs can be securely attached to hairpins or comb pieces.
  • Make sure your wig comes with a good return policy. If your wig irritates the skin on your scalp, then make sure you will be able to return it or exchange it for a more comfortable wig.
  • If you buy your wig online, it should also have an excellent return policy.

Use the adjustable band so the wig stays in place. You may be worried about keeping your wig in place when you wear it, but may wigs come with an adjustable band that you can fit to your head so the wig stays secure.[18]

  • You can also buy a cushion band, which is a gel filled headband that you put on under the wig. The cushion band will make the wig more comfortable to wear and relieve any pressure points caused by wearing the wig.
  • You can also use a wig gripper, which is an adjustable headband made of fabric that creates friction around your hairline. This friction will help the wig stay in place.
  • Some people also use toupee clips, which clip into your own hair and into the wig to keep the wig in place.

part 3 Caring for the Wig

Protect the wig from heat. Most wigs can become damaged by heat if you open an oven door or cook over a stove stop. If you want to wear your wig while cooking or baking, then wear a turban or tuck it under a hat to protect it.[19]

  • You should never use a hair dryer, a curling iron or other drying aids on the wig, as this can damage the wig fibers.[20]

Wash a human hair wig with mild shampoo and conditioner. Synthetic and human hair wigs should be washed every six to eight wears, especially if you keep the wig on for a prolonged period of time every time you wear it. You should always brush the wig gently with a wig brush before you wash it to remove any tangles, regardless of if you have a synthetic hair wig or a human hair wig. If the wig is curly, run your fingers lightly through the wig to remove any tangles before washing.[21]
  • To wash a synthetic hair wig, turn the wig inside out and immerse it in a bowl of cold water and a small amount of mild shampoo. Swirl the wig gently in the water and let it soak for about five minutes.
  • Rinse the wig one to two times until all the shampoo is removed. Then, apply conditioner to the wig and let it sit for two minutes so it penetrates the hair. Use cold water to rinse the wig until all the conditioner comes off the wig.
  • Once the conditioner is removed, wrap the wig in a dry towel and pat the wig gently. You can spray a very light coat of conditioning spray, 10-12 inches away from the wig, as an optional final step. Let the wig dry on a wig stand and then brush or comb it with a wig brush. Avoid placing the wig in direct sunlight and do not try to brush the wig while it is still wet.


Use synthetic wig shampoo and wig conditioner to wash a synthetic wig. Do this every six to eight wears and always brush the wig with a wig brush before washing. You can find synthetic wig shampoo and wig conditioner at your local hair supply store.[22]
  • Pour two capfuls of synthetic wig shampoo into a sink or basin of cold water. Then, turn the wig inside out and immerse it in the water. Swirl the wig gently in the water and soak it for about five minutes. Use cold water to rinse the wig until all the shampoo is gone.
  • Pour one to two capfuls of wig conditioner on the wig. Let the fibers absorb the conditioner, sitting for about two minutes. Use cold water to gently remove all the conditioner from the wig.
  • Take a dry towel and wrap the wig with it, patting out any excess water. Never rub the wig when it is wet.
  • Spray a revitalizing conditioner over the wig to condition the wig fibers. Let the wig dry completely on a wig stand. Only brush the wig when it is dry.

Brush the wig out before you put it on. Only brush the wig when it is dry and use a wig brush, as this will ensure the wig fibers are not pulled or damaged. A regular hairbrush or comb can stretch and stress the fibers.[23]

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