A guide to understanding different wig types
Should you want to purchase a wig for hair loss or thinning
hair, you’ll find there are many options and choices
to make such as: Human or synthetic hair? Hand-made or machine–made?
Ready-made or custom? HairLossLibrary.com presents the advantages,
disadvantages and special considerations for all these possibilities.
Synthetic or Human Hair Wigs?
Synthetic wigs may be the best choice if you have a short
hairstyle. The drawbacks would be that they tend to be stiffer
than those made of human hair and their fiber may frizz
because of heat or rubbing on the collar of a blouse. Also,
the base may cause some irritation to sensitive skin in
The major benefits for synthetic hair wigs include:
- Synthetic wigs don’t require special care
- Affordable prices between $40 and $800
- Can be purchased immediately or delivered very quickly
- Permanent color
Human hair wigs are generally more expensive,
but look and feel the most natural.
Other advantages of human hair wigs include:
- They are the best choice for longer hairstyles.
- They flow just like grown hair, are soft to the touch
and definitely last longer than synthetic ones.
Prepare, though, to take care of human hair wigs as you
would your own hair.
Blends of human hair and synthetic fiber
may also be available, but while these wigs may provide
some of the advantages of both types (natural feel of the
human hair and style keeping of the synthetics), they can
be more difficult to maintain or repair.
Processed or Unprocessed human hair?
When it comes to human hair wigs, the buyer has two important
choices to make regarding the type of human hair used.
The term “processed” refers to human hair that
undergoes one or more chemical processes in order to change
its appearance. Indian, Indonesian or Chinese hair is most
commonly used, due to its availability and low cost. This
type of hair - black, coarse and straight, must be bleached,
dyed and permed, then decuticalized.
Unprocessed human hair is the finest quality hair, since
it doesn’t require any chemical processing. Naturally,
it is the most expensive, too. It is usually of European
origin and its life expectancy is much longer.
Ready-made or Custom?
Whether you have decided on a synthetic or human hair wig,
women have 3 other choices to make before finding the wig
that is just perfect for them.
Ready-made wig types come in a variety
of sizes and styles with prices ranging between $40 and
$300 if they are machine-produced and between $400 and $800
if they are hand-made. They are advantageous because they
can be delivered fast if in stock and because they allow
individualized styling. Synthetic or processed human hair
Semi-custom wig versions vary not only
by the size of the cap, but also by the shape, so as to
fit the client’s head more securely. The hair is usually
hand-tied, for a more natural look. Their cost is somewhere
between $1200 and $1800.
Custom-made wigs are generally used in
cases of permanent and total loss of hair in which case
the wearer will need it for life. They are based on a plaster
mold of the client’s head, which allows a perfect
fit, and thus, these wigs can be worn without adhesive and
are the most secure and natural-looking. Their price ranges
from $2000 to $4000 and they require 4-6 months to make.
Machine-made or Handmade wigs?
Machine made wigs are less expensive,
as the fibers are machine-sewn onto a “weft”
and the wefts are then assembled on an open net base. They
are meant to be worn when you have hair, as you can see
through the wefts when the wind blows.
Hand made wigs are hand-knotted on net
bases or hand inserted on custom molded bases. Hand construction
provides a more natural appearance, but the process takes
much longer and involves tedious and intensive work. Obviously,
they are more expensive than the machine-made ones.
Standard or Monofilament cap base?
Standard caps are the simplest cap type
produced and therefore, the least expensive. Hair is stitched
into a string mesh and many of the standard-cap wigs have
a lace layer at the crown.
Monofilament wig bases make the wig look
as if it were growing from your own head. The individual
grafts of hair are hand-placed onto the thin material at
the crown and the special construction on their top and
front makes the scalp look as if it were natural. The hair
can be parted and brushed in any direction. The top portion
of the cap is also designed to allow excellent ventilation.
Thus, they are the most comfortable and natural-looking
Apart from these two, there’s another type of wig
base, particularly manufactured for women who have experienced
total hair loss – the vacuum type wigs.
They have a non-irritating silicone base that is very comfortable
and they are made by a plaster mold of the head, so as to
fit perfectly - a vacuum fit, without the aid of tape or
glue. Hair is implanted into the silicone base one hair
at a time.
To conclude, a few words about how to care for
your wigs. Synthetic wigs require simple washing
in cool water every 7-10 days and can be left to dry on
a towel overnight. Hot water, hair dryers or curling irons
should never be used, as they can permanently damage the
wig. Human hair wigs need shampooing and conditioning every
7-10 days and can be dried overnight or with the help of
a dryer, set on low-heat. Always follow the recommended
care instructions that come with it.
Repairs should be done periodically, but only by a trained
stylist, who should also be in charge of restyling the wig.
You shouldn’t attempt restyling at home. A good idea
would be to have a back-up wig , since some repairs take
a week to be completed, and others up to ten weeks.