You would think that choosing a wig would be fairly straightforward process. You go into a wig salon, check out the selection, and point at the wig that looks closest to the look you are trying to create (or recreate). Pay and then be on your way.

Actually, with the right knowledge and the guidance of a salon pro it can be that easy. Well almost that easy… Here is a basic breakdown on the most important things you need to know about shopping for a wig.

Why do you need a wig?

Change Your Look – With a wig you don’t have to commit to cutting or changing your hair color. Wigs are a fun way to instantly create a new look in a matter of minutes. You can have the color, cut and style you want right now!

Save Time – Don’t spend an hour styling your hair. You can just slip on a wig and go.

Cover Up – If your hair is thinning, damaged, breaking, or falling out a wig is the ultimate “cover up” for those bad hair days.

Choose a Wig Fiber

There are three basic wig fibers: Synthetic, Heat Resistant Synthetic, or Human Hair. Think about how long you plan to use it and the experience you want to have. Your needs, lifestyle, and desired look will determine the kind of wig fiber you will need.

Many people think that human hair is the “best” choice. It definitely has it’s advantages. As a general rule, human hair lasts the longest, styles just like your own hair (because it is!) however, costs more and requires more time to style. Synthetic wigs have come a long way. They look and feel very close to human hair. There is even a heat resistant synthetic fiber that can be styled with hot tools!

Synthetic – This is an excellent choice if your time or ability to care and style for your wig is limited or your need for a wig is temporary. Synthetic wigs have a “memory” fiber that allows it to hold its style all the time.

Technology has greatly improved how synthetic hair looks and feels over the years. A good synthetic can look very close to human, however, synthetic hair is a little stiffer than human hair which makes it move and feel a little different than what your own natural hair. Sometimes, synthetic wigs can be a little itchy and of course you can’t use hot tools or color the hair.

Heat Resistant – This is a heat friendly version of the synthetic fiber mentioned above. The main difference is that you can use a hairdryer, curling iron and even flat irons on it. Be careful – turn your hot tools down to the lowest setting. As the name implies – the fiber is only heat resistant and can melt if the hot tool is too hot. This type of wig is safe when cooking or if you are around an open flame (campfire) – other synthetic fibers can melt in these type of situations.

Human – It’s just like your hair! It can be cut, colored, curled, and straightened. This means you will also have to treat it like human hair – which means regular shampoo’s and style out sessions. Human hair wigs are indeed more expensive, however, last a lot longer than synthetic wigs.

How to Choose a Wig: The 5 C’s – Cost, Cap, Color, Customize, Cut

Cost – What is your budget? Knowing how much you can spend wil help you make the right decision. A good synthetic wig starts about $400. Human hair can be as little as $1000.

Cap – The cap is what actually goes on your head. There are a variety of wig caps made for different needs. Trying on several ones will help you find a wig that is comfortable to wear and fits your lifestyle.

Color – Wigs come in a lot of different colors. You can recreate the hair you have (or had) or you can be a whole new you. Human hair wigs can even be colored by a hairdresser to your specifications.

Customize –  A good wig salon will help measure your head and to make sure that the wig will fit your head properly. In addition, you can also order a custom wig made just for you.

Cut – Wigs should be cut to fit you, your face, and even your lifestyle. This requires a hairdresser trained in wigs. Cutting a wig is not like cutting your own natural hair. The idea is to create a look that is so amazing it doesn’t look like a wig.

Do Your Research and Buy Locally

Buying a wig is a lot like buying a pair of jeans. There are lots of colors, styles, brands, and sizes. You can order online in a snap! The major drawback is that you have no idea what you are getting, how it will fit, and (most importantly) how it will look.

A wig is a very personal item. You will wear this on your head for hours and hours. It will be one of the first things people see when they come in contact with you. You need, no,  have the right to feel beautiful and secure when you are wearing a wig. 

You absolutely, positively need to try a wig on before commit to buying it. You need to feel it on your head, look in a mirror – run your hands through it. You need a hairdresser to cut it to fit your face. No matter how great the deal is – this experience cannot be replaced by buying a wig online (like, ever).

Chances are there is a salon that sells wigs in your town. Look them up – check out their reviews. If they aren’t up to par, don’t be afraid to travel a little bit. Trust me, this is the one thing that is worth the effort of a small road trip.

Bottom line:

  • Educate yourself – the more you know the better choices you can make.
  • Seek out a professional in your area so you can see a wig first hand.