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First-time wig wearer? Everything you need to know about real hair wigs

Real hair wigs – what are they all about? Entering the world of wigs can be as exciting as overwhelming. If you’re planning to wear a wig for the first time, whether for fashion, convenience or medical reasons, this comprehensive guide is just for you. Today, we’ll navigate you through the essential steps of choosing, styling, wearing, and taking care of your first wig.

Finding your ideal wig

Wig terminology

In searching for real hair wigs, you will encounter a lot of terminology that may not sound familiar. To make this process and your decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly used terms to define certain parts of human hair wigs:

Wig base

The foundation of a wig, resembling a cap that contours the shape of a head, providing the structure on which the hair is attached.

Wig base

Parting

The area at the top of the wig where the hair is divided to mimic a natural hair parting crucial for the wig’s styling versatility.

Parting

Ear Tabs

These are located on the sides of the wig, aligned with the wearer’s ears. They help to ensure that the wig fits correctly and looks natural around the face.

Ear tabs

Wefts

Strips of hair that are sewn onto the wig cap, typically at the back. They add volume and length and are less visible, making them ideal for areas covered by other hair.

Wefts

Return hair (or Flyaway Hairs) 

Shorter hairs resulting from the knotting process. They are inevitable on lace top wigs and require styling to blend them into the rest of the hair.
Return hair

Lace

A fine mesh fabric used at the front and top of many human hair wigs, where hair is individually tied to the material. The lace is designed to mimic a natural scalp, offering a seamless transition if matched correctly with skin tone.

Lace

Extra elastic band

Additional feature that can be used to secure the wig more comfortably. It helps to keep the lace front flat against the head and is particularly beneficial for individuals with complete hair loss, as it does not require adhesive.

Extra elastic band
Extra elastic band
Extra elastic band

Knots

The method of attaching hair strands to the wig base by tying them. Smaller, less visible knots can make the wig look more natural, whereas larger knots provide stronger hold but are more noticeable.

Knots
Knots

Comb

A gentle attachment option embedded within the wig to secure it to the wearer’s biological hair without causing tension or damage.

Comb

Clips

These provide a firmer hold than combs, ensuring the wig remains securely in place. However, clips can be more damaging to natural hair, so they should be used sparingly.

Clips

Choosing between synthetic and real hair wigs

You’ll likely come across natural and synthetic hair choices when exploring all the wig options available. While each type has its benefits, natural hair wigs are highly recommended for those seeking the most realistic appearance and flexibility in styling. As the name suggests, natural hair wigs are crafted from real human hair, offering an unmatched natural look. For example, our store features two high-quality types of natural hair:

  1. Brazilian Hair: Renowned for its coarse texture, it excels at holding curls and crafting voluminous styles. When scrunched, it naturally forms a wavy pattern, enhancing its versatility.
  2. European Hair: This represents the zenith of wig quality. European double drawn hair, known for its uniform strand lengths, offers a sleek, even appearance from root to the tips. This type of hair is soft, smooth, shiny, and typically sleek and straight, making it perfect for elegant, straight styles.

Additionally, when selecting wigs, you may encounter terms like ‘double drawn’ or ‘single drawn.’ What does that mean? Single drawn wigs feature hair strands of varying lengths, providing a tapered, natural-looking density. In contrast, double drawn wigs consist of strands uniformly cut to the same length, and shorter hair is eliminated twice – by hands and machine, delivering a full, consistent appearance from root to tip.

Double drawn
Double drawn
Single drawn
Single drawn

Wig types

You can categorize wigs based on their construction, particularly focusing on the parting (top) area or the back area. Here’s what you need to know about both types:

1.Category by top

Silk top wigs: Feature a layer of silk at the top of the cap which hides the knots at the base of the hairs, providing an illusion of hair growing from the scalp.

Silk top wigs

Lace top wigs: Feature transparent lace at the parting, allowing for a smooth transition in density from the hairline, leading to a realistic appearance.

Lace top wigs

2. Category by back:

Lace front wigs: These wigs have lace only at the front where the hairline is visible, offering a natural look. The rest of the lace front wigs include wefts for volume and length.

Lace front wigs

Full lace wigs: entirely handmade of lace, allowing for versatile styling options, including high ponytails and updos. Full lace wigs mimic a natural scalp all around the head.

Full lace wigs

Need help deciding which wig to choose?

Explore HAIRALICIOUS wig collections by taking a quick quiz! Find out which collection aligns perfectly with your preferences and needs.

Selecting the proper cap and size

Choosing the perfect wig always starts with measurements, especially when ordering online. This ensures that your wig fits perfectly and looks natural.

Before measuring, make sure your hair is styled properly, exactly the same as you plan to wear it under the wig. This step will let you account the necessary space needed and therefore avoid choosing a wig that is too small. When measuring, use a cloth measuring tape, hold it flat and snug around your hairline. 

First, measure your circumference, starting at the center of the front hairline, going just above the ear towards the back of the head, keeping the tape at the nape of your neck and go around to the opposite side of your head, just above the opposite ear and returning to the center of the front hairline. 

Circumference

Then, measure your front to nape measurement from your forehead to the nape. Make sure to measure three times for consistency.

Wigs come with various cap types tailored for different needs. The design of some caps can have adhesive application, providing a secure fit, while glueless wigs offer ease of use without needing adhesives. Also, consider lace ear tabs for a more natural hairline; they’re flexible, can be cut to size, and work well under glasses without adding bulk.

Front to nape
Cap type
Cap type

Finding your true color and style

If you’re on a search of a truly perfect wig that looks like it’s made especially for you, it’s beneficial to consider options that complement your unique skin tone and face shape. This approach isn’t mandatory but can be especially helpful for first-time buyers who wish to avoid any missteps. 

At HAIRALICIOUS, you can find a detailed color comparison table of every wig on the store. There, you can find all the details about the color each wig has: general color tone, level of color dimension, darker roots type and root color level. We list all the wigs from the lightest root color level to the darkest. You can find this table under the description of each wig.

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What is more, you can always customize the hairstyle of a wig to complement your face shape. Whether you like wavy hair or sleek straight hair look, or maybe you’d like your wig to have a specific haircut: fringe, bangs, layers, or bob haircut – we can personalize your wig the way you like!

The right color

If you have a warm skin tone, consider shades like honey blonde and chestnut brown, which will beautifully highlight your golden undertones beautifully. For those with cool skin tones, ash blonde and cool brown can neutralize pinkish or blue undertones, creating a flattering look. Wig wearers with neutral skin tones enjoy the freedom to experiment with both warm and cool shades, as nearly all colors will look harmonious against their balanced complexion.

By the way, at HAIRALICIOUS, our colors are inspired by celebrities. You can check the names of the colors in the comparison table. Once you choose a color that you like, you can enter the celebrity’s name in the search field to find all the wigs in that color from all wig collections that we have. 

The cut

The shape of your face plays a crucial role in determining the most flattering wig style. Oval faces are versatile and can carry any style gracefully because of their balanced proportions. Round faces benefit from styles that add height and layers, which help elongate the face and give it more definition. Square faces look great with curls or waves that soften the angular jawline, and lengths that extend beyond the jaw can minimize its sharpness. Heart-shaped faces are best served by styles that broaden the chin, such as chin-length bobs, or by side parts that draw attention away from the forehead.

Oval face
Oval face
Round face
Round face
Round face
Square face
Square face
Square face
Square face
Square face
Heart face
Heart face
Heart face

Once you decide what haircut would suit your face shape the best, simply answer “Yes” to the question “Would you like to customize this style?” and you’ll see all the available haircut options you can choose.

Preparing and styling your new wig

Initial setup

When you first unbox your wig, gently shake it to let it fall into its natural shape. If your wig has excess lace at the hairline, you can either have it pre-cut by us or trim it yourself. To do it at home, lightly brush water over the hair to smooth any flyaways, then carefully cut the lace with sharp scissors along the hairline. If you aren’t planning to use adhesives, ensure the lace is cut straight to help it lay flat. Once trimmed, adjust the wig on your head, aligning the hairline.

How to style a wig? All about styling tools and styling products

Real hair wigs offer the same styling flexibility as biological hair, allowing you to use both heatless methods and heated tools with ease. Wondering how to style a wig without heat? Options like scrunching wet hair, braids or even a robe tie are excellent for creating natural waves as the hair dries. On the other hand, you can also use heated tools, such as flat irons or curling wands to achieve more defined curls. When choosing heated tools to style your wig, make sure to use heat protectant and set to a moderate temperature in order to avoid any damage to the hair.

Incorporating styling products like mousse or light hairspray can enhance the appearance and durability of your wig’s style. However, you should use these products sparingly to maintain a natural look and avoid product buildup. Generally, treating your real hair wigs as you would your own hair is essential for ensuring their longevity.

Scrunched
Braided waves
Heat curls loose wave
Heat curls messy waves
Straight

Are hair updos possible with glueless wigs made from human hair?

Yes! Creating updos with glueless human hair wigs is possible and relatively easy. When considering how to style a wig into an updo, choose a wig style that leverages the natural weight and distribution of the hair, such as a twisted updo, low bun, or a braided crown. This kind of wig style will help maintain the wig’s security without needing adhesives or additional securing mechanisms. For more intricate styles, such as high ponytails or sophisticated top knots, ensure the base of the wig is snug and properly adjusted to withstand the extra pull from these styles. Exploring these wig style ideas enables you to enjoy the best wigs for every occasion, adding elegance and diversity to your hairstyle choices without compromising the wig’s stability or comfort.

High ponytail
High ponytail
Low ponytail
Low ponytail

Haircuts and coloring options

One of the unique advantages of real hair wigs is the opportunity to customize it through cutting and coloring, much like your own natural hair. You can easily adjust features such as the parting side daily or opt for professional styling to meet your specific needs. However, when deciding to dye your wig, it’s essential to consider the following tips for optimal results:

  • Bleaching can reduce the longevity of your wig. It is advisable to bleach only if the wig hasn’t been dyed before or was previously treated with professional-quality dyes. Always conduct a strand test to anticipate the final result before applying bleach to the entire wig.
  • When darkening your wig, make sure to apply the dye cautiously to avoid staining the lace and knots. Stains on these areas can be difficult to remove and can detract from the wig’s natural appearance.

Interested in getting your wig professionally customized?

We’ve compiled a list of skilled hairstylists who specialize in working with alternative hair!

Is it difficult to apply
a wig?

Once your wig is styled and ready to wear, you’ll find that applying it is not as difficult as it may seem. Begin by making your biological hair as flat as possible, using a low ponytail, twist, or loose braid, and set it with a bit of hairspray to keep flyaways at bay. Position the wig just under your natural hairline, then bring the back of the wig down to the nape of your neck and secure the elastic band if your wig has one. If any biological hair peeks out, use your fingers or a comb to tuck it neatly underneath the wig. With these steps, the wig should fit securely and look natural.

Wig care

Step-by-step instructions for washing

Properly washing your wig helps maintain its quality and longevity. Start by gently brushing it from the tips to the roots to prevent tangling. Hold the wig by the cap and soak it thoroughly with lukewarm water. Apply a sulfate-free shampoo with your fingers, and if there’s an odor, soak it in a shampoo solution for five minutes. Rinse with cold water.

After shampooing, apply conditioner from mid-lengths to the tips and leave it for up to 20 minutes if the ends are dry. Rinse thoroughly, especially important for silk top wigs to remove all residues between the layers of a silk fabric. Gently squeeze out excess water, and wrap the wig in a towel briefly.

Apply leave-in conditioner and a light hair oil while damp, avoiding the wig base. Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle from the bottom up. Finally, style the parting as desired and let the wig dry naturally. 

Washing illustration

It is recommended to wash your real hair wigs every 6-8 wears, or more frequently if it accumulates product build-up. How often should you wash your wig depends on many factors, such as whether you sleep or exercise while wearing it, how often you wear it, your skin’s tendency to sweat, the climate you live in (whether it’s humid or hot), whether you live in a smoke-free environment, and whether you alternate between wigs or wear the same one daily. Just like our own bio hair – we wash it when dirt, smell and sweat accumulates. This wig care routine will keep your wig looking fresh, smelling good, and feeling soft.

Using wig care products

Using appropriate wig care products is essential for maintaining the health and appearance of your real hair wig. Start by selecting a gentle, SLS/SLES-free shampoo. Avoid any harsh deep-cleansing formulas or those designed for synthetic wigs, as they can cause permanent damage. When applying conditioners, masks, or oil-based products, ensure they are used only from the mid-lengths to the ends. Applying these near the wig’s base can make the knots slippery, leading to excessive shedding.

Storing your wig when
not in use

Proper storage is crucial to preserving your wig’s shape and quality. Always place your wig on a mannequin head or a wig stand to maintain its form. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or damp areas, as this can cause damage to the hair fibers and fade the color. Covering the wig with a light cloth will protect it from dust and other elements, ensuring it stays clean and ready for its next use.

Storing on mannequin

Wig care tips: maximizing the longevity of real hair wigs

Key factors that affect durability

Several factors can affect the durability of natural hair wigs, such as improper brushing, inadequate moisturization, alcohol-based styling products, and neglecting proper care routines. To ensure your wig remains in excellent condition and lasts as long as possible, consider these essential wig care tips:

  • When detangling your wig, gently brush from the bottom and work upwards. This technique helps prevent breakage.
  • Since wigs do not receive natural oils from the scalp, keeping the hair moisturized is essential. Apply leave-in conditioner regularly, but do so carefully to avoid the wig base.
  • Excessive heat can damage the hair fibers of your wig just as it would your natural hair. Use a heat-protectant when styling with heated tools.
  • If you wear your wig while sleeping, protect it by braiding it or using a silk cap to reduce friction.
  • Always wash and rinse with cold water to maintain the wig’s color. Use shampoos designed for colored hair and avoid harsh, deep-cleansing shampoos that can cause color to fade quickly.

Seasonal adjustments: should you adapt your wig care according to the season?

If you aim to maintain your wig’s quality and longevity, adjusting your wig care habits according to the season might be a recommendation. How to do it?

Increase deep conditioning treatments in winter to counteract the drying effects of cold weather and indoor heating. During the summer, protect your wig from the harsh sun with UV protection sprays to prevent color fading and damage. Additionally, consider using lighter products in the summer to avoid weighing down the wig in humid conditions.

How to extend your wig’s lifespan?

A well-maintained wig can serve longer than you might think. If you notice your wig is starting to show signs of wear, you can refresh it’s look. If with time you notice dry or split ends, a simple trim will do the trick. Trimming hair ends regularly will give you some extra months of wear. When you notice fraying lace, you can trim it from time to time. You don’t need to cut much, trimming just one millimeter or just a few frayed spots are plenty to make it look like new again. Another thing you can notice with time is color fading. It is especially common for hand-dyed wigs. In case this happens, you can tone your wig to bring back its original color tone. By addressing these issues as they arise, you can extend your wig’s lifespan significantly, ensuring you get the most out of your investment. 

Want to make the most out of your wig experience?

More than 10 years ago I started my first journey with alternative hair. Back then, finding a quality realistic wig from a trustworthy source was quite a challenge, to say the least. Not to mention – I didn’t understand half of what I was reading about wigs when doing my research.

Now, more than a decade after, I’m eager to share what I’ve learned over the years, and hopefully help to make the hair loss experience and journey to wigs less distressing.

Me and my team have created Wig Academy Program, where you’ll find everything there is to know about wigs: from wig 101 to professional secrets and tricks accommodating your specific needs. You can start your journey with free STARTER course here:

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