Wigs Part 1: Introduction and Basics.

What sissy doesn't want beautiful hair? As with everything else about becoming a girl, there is a ton of information available. As usual, a lot of it is wrong. Wigs are complicated, but it's not necessary to know every single thing about them in order to buy one and look amazing in them. In this part, I'll talk about wig types and construction, keeping it simple.

Types of Wigs

There are so many types of wigs that it is easy to become bewildered. Let's keep it simple. If you are a first-time wig buyer, then there are really only a couple of big decisions you need to make:
  1. Synthetic hair vs. human hair wigs.
  2. Hard front vs. lace front wigs.

Synthetic hair vs. human hair

Human hair wigs are traditionally considered the best you can get. In the early days of synthetic wigs, there really was no competition. Synthetic wigs looked awful and were less flexible than human hair wigs. Today, with the advances in the synthetics used in wigs, the decision is not as clear-cut. People who have seen my wigs up close and on cam think they are made from human hair, even though they are all synthetics. Good quality synthetic wigs can be styled using curlers, steam, hot rollers or curling irons to any style you wish. Synthetic wigs can also be colored, although human hair still retains an advantage here. Ignore anyone who tells you that you can't do any of this with synthetic wigs. For most people, and for all first time wig purchasers, I recommend a good quality synthetic wig. They are cheaper and I feel they are also easier to care for than human hair wigs.

Hard Front vs. Lace Front Wigs

There is an endless and growing list of wig classifications. None of them are official and every wig maker and wig aficionado has their own categories. Let's keep it simple: The wig world, like Gaul, is divided into two parts: lace front wigs and everything else. The everything else we will call hard front wigs. Lace front wigs have the potential for the most realistic hairlines. Depending on their construction, they might also allow you more flexibility in styling, such as parting the hair anywhere you wish. They also tend to be a bit more expensive. Hard front wigs are generally a bit cheaper and because of the difficulty of creating a realistic hairline with this type of wig, they usually come with bangs.

Hard Front Wigs

One of my favorite wigs, which I still love to wear and which Dom de Luxury also loves, is a hard front. It is the long blond wig with the front bangs which you can see in many of the pictures in my gallery. I mention this to show you that there is no reason to feel you are getting a second-rate look with a hard front wig. Good hard front wigs can look amazing. If you choose your hard front wig properly, you will be getting a good, solid wig that you will love to wear. Because hard front wigs are less delicate, you will also have an easier time learning how to care for them.

You can customize hard front wigs to a certain extent. For the long blond wig in my collection, I trimmed the bangs and have also sewn in a lot more hair to make it fuller and to give it some strands of color.

The basic construction of a hard front wig is some kind of cap, with a wefted construction:

In this photo, you see the wig 'inside out' on an artificial head. A is the cap, B is the ear tabs, D is the back of the wig with the adjustable sizing tabs, and C are the wefts. The wefts are the horizontal 'lines' which are attached to the ribbons. The ribbons are the thicker, vertical strips, These are elastics which also allow the wigs to conform to different sizes of heads.

The cap construction allows the hair to be sewn in various patterns that mimic the natural growth of hair. With cap designs such as this, you are stuck with what the wig designer did. As long as you like it, this isn't the worst thing in the world.

Most of the variations in hard front wigs involve changes to the cap area. Some wigs have a fully wefted construction, with no cap. The wefts just continue to the top of the wig. This is rare. Some wigs have what they call "skin caps", which are circular areas of cloth or rubber/plastic which are sewn into the surrounding cloth. In the case of the rubber caps, the hair is "punched" through the rubber, and this does allow you to do things like part the hair and change the styling more flexibly. It has the disadvantage of being hotter and less breathable.

Wig makers are very creative, so the list of variations really is endless and growing. But once you understand the role the various types of construction play, you should be able to understand any wig you run across, once you see it.

One important feature of wigs is the adjustable straps. In my case, my head is so large that I have never owned a wig where I needed to use them. But even if you don't need them, the wrong ones can still cause you trouble. The best type is hooks, which slide along a 'channel' in the edge of the wig and fasten to cloth fasteners. You can see these fasteners near letter D in the photo if you look carefully. These are the best type and everything else they use is worse. Some wigs have Velcro tabs. These are awful. Velcro and hair are natural enemies, and hair will attach with a vengeance to any Velcro in the vicinity. Almost worst than this are thin elastic 'strings'. These strings are worse than useless. They will stretch in response to humidity, so will change during the period you wear your hair. They will eventually lose their elastic quality and become completely useless. All things being equal, avoid these types of wig adjusters.

Lace Front Wigs

Lace front wigs also have varying constructions. A typical one is shown in the photo below:

As you can see, this wig also has a mixed construction, with wefts in the back, a cloth cap and then a lace front (A). The advantages of a lace front are that the hair is sewn through the fine holes in the lace, and it really looks like it is growing out of your scalp when you put the wig on. This makes beautiful hairlines easily achievable, and if the lace is carried far enough back, a lot of flexibility for parting the hair and styling. Not all lace front wigs use enough lace to allow you to do this, so if this is important to you, check before purchasing.

There are some cheaper lace front wigs available with what is called "hard lace". This lace is made from plastic, not cloth. I have one of these and while it is not my favorite wig, it is quite beautiful and convincing looking. This is the dark brown wig in the photos in the gallery.

Everything about lace front wigs, from wearing them to caring for them, is a lot more complicated than for hard fronts. This is why I don't recommend them for first time wig wearers. But if you are experienced, you can get truly gorgeous looks with them. Most lace fronts ship with extra lace so you can customize the hairline if you wish. Once customized (or left as is), you need to trim the lace back. You should never wear a lace front with the extended lace on it. Be aware also that since the lace is delicate you must protect it when you comb or style it. There is a video in my video's section that shows how to do this with a lace front wig. But as your standards grow higher and you become more comfortable with wigs, many of you will decide to venture into the world of lace fronts. And they are truly great and fun wigs to wear.

Lace fronts vary in construction, just as hard fronts do. There are full lace cap wigs, where the entire cap is made of lace. These are usually quite expensive and extremely delicate. Then there are the various combinations of lace and cap. These affect the styling and wearability of the wig, so it's important to know the wigs advantages and limitations before you buy. You will not usually be getting infinite flexibility.

Thanks for reading and if you have something nice to say or a good idea or suggestion, feel free to