We choose to wear wigs for various reasons. From simply having the option to change our style or because our scalp or medical condition may have resulted in thinning hair or hair loss. Wearing a natural hair wig gives us versatility in styling, length and color options. Whatever your decision for exploring with natural hair wigs choosing the right one can become frustrating especially for those who are new to wearing wigs.
Many naturals are choosing to wear wigs because of the influx in natural and kinky afro textured wigs inspired by hair types 3C, 4A, 4B, and 4C which closely resemble our natural hair and curl patterns. Wearing wigs is often the first choice as a protective styling option as it allows your hair a break from daily styling and manipulation. Wigs allow quick versatility and they are great options for quickly switching up your look.
Synthetic vs. Human Natural Hair Wigs
Synthetic wigs are usually made of plastic or acrylic fibers that mimic hair. The fibers are heated to a certain temperature and then strung into hairs that resemble human hair fibers. The hair strands are then woven into wefts, extensions and hair pieces. The grade of these fibers may vary based on the manufacturer and will determine how realistic the wig looks on your head.
When choosing a synthetic wig that resembles natural hair, the best option is to inspect the hair against a human hair wig or your own natural hair. Many synthetic textures that are curly can easily become tangled, matted, and unwearable after several weeks. When it comes to synthetic textures remember that the curlier the hair, the shorter the lifespan of the wig.
Admittingly, synthetic wigs have come a long way. Thanks to advancements in technological manufacturing processes, synthetic wigs are becoming more popular due to their improved construction and design, as well as affordability.
On the other hand, human hair wigs are made from real human hair that is mostly donated from China and India. In many cases, religious customs in these countries require both men and women to shave their heads during spiritual rituals. The hair then goes through a process of cleansing, sanitation, and inspection before being designed into a beautiful natural hair wig.
Human hair wigs have a longer lifespan and can be cut to style, colored, bleached, and heat styled as desired. These wigs feature a more natural lay and flow than synthetic wigs. With the proper care, they can last for several months. There are many natural and kinky afro hair wigs available in human hair or a human hair blend on the market today.
Understanding Your Wig Construction and Cap
The construction of the hair itself and of the wig cap help determine how realistic your wig will appear on your head. Hand-stitched wigs are the most natural looking wigs on the market. They closely resemble the way natural hair grows from your scalp and the density of hair is similar to the way human hair falls. Hand-stitched wigs are handmade and require hours of labor.
Machine-weft wigs are the least natural looking and can appear bulky and unrealistic when worn. They are mass-produced and can sometimes become flawed or damaged during the manufacturing process. Here are the various types of wig caps and construction.
Full Cap Wigs
Full cap construction wigs are designed to cover your entire head with no area for creating a parting space or leaving your own hair out. Full cap wigs are easy to put on and often just a “grab and go” approach. They are usually constructed with a comb at the nape of the neck, two standard combs at the front near the temple area, and adjustable straps for extra security.
Some wigs allow you leave a small portion of your natural hair out for a better blend with the wig hair. U-part (or L-part) wigs are a modified version of a half wig. Instead of having a straight hairline a U-part wig has a “U” shape cut out at the top of the wig or an area where you can cut it yourself. This allows the wearer to leave some of their natural hair out to blend with the wig at the top of the head for a more natural wear.
Lace wigs are the most popular wigs on the market today. They consist of a somewhat transparent lace base and can be styled and parted in many different ways. Lace wigs are available in full lace units and lace front units. A full lace wig has a base that is completely made of lace and can be manipulated into various styles without looking unrealistic. You could easily wear a full lace wig in a pin-up, high bun, a puff, and other styles with confidence. Many lace wigs also come with pre-designed “baby hairs” to give the hairline a natural look.
Lace Front Wigs
Lace front units only allow versatility in choosing the parting area of the front of the wig and give the illusion of a more natural hairline. Only the front section would be constructed of lace and the remainder of the wig would be constructed of a different material such as nylon. Lace wigs are usually attached with special glue or tape specifically designed for securing the wig to the hairline. Many naturals choose not to use the glue or tape and will cut the lace front from the wig and align it naturally with the hairline to give it a more realistic appearance.
Half wigs are wigs that sit further back on your hairline and leaving some of your own hair exposed. These wigs are easier to style and look more natural because they blend directly with your own natural hair texture. The texture should be very close to your own in order to give it a realistic appearance.
What to Do Before You Wear Your Wig
It is best that you never wear a wig directly from the package. You should first inspect the hair for any particles or foreign objects especially if you are purchasing a wig with a tightly coiled or curly hair texture. You can shampoo and condition human hair wigs just as you would with your own natural hair. Some synthetic wigs can withstand shampoo but it is best not to use it to avoid damaging the texture of the wig. Dry shampoo is best for synthetic wigs because it will refresh the wig and eliminate the abnormal shine.
How to Care for Your Natural Hair While Wearing Your Wig
You should always care for and maintain your natural hair while wearing natural wigs and continue to follow a healthy hair care regimen in order to avoid dandruff, dry and flaky scalp, and breakage from a lack of moisture. Be sure to shampoo and condition your hair regularly and follow-up with a deep conditioner.
Always wear a wig cap to prevent breakage from friction or irritation from the wig cap. Moisturize your scalp often and give your scalp time to breathe in between wearing your natural hair wigs. Wearing wigs can be protective but they can also cause damage to your hair if not worn correctly or if your natural hair is abandoned.
How to Care Your Natural Hair Wig
The lifespan of your new natural hair wig will be determined by how well you are able to maintain it. Human hair wigs are easier to care for and can be washed and conditioned to maintain its appearance. Synthetic units have a shorter life span but with the proper care such as brushing them regularly and proper storage will extend their lifespan over several weeks.
Choosing a natural hair wig depends on which type of wig will suit your needs, the texture and length you desire, and overall wearability of the wig. The process of choosing a wig can be easy when you know what options are available and how they range in the cut, color, density, length and style. Hopefully, this brief guide gives you a great start.