Here, experts answer seven essential questions about wigs.
Q: What Are They Actually Made Out of?
There are two kinds of wigs: Human hair and synthetic hair. The natural hair is mainly sourced from India or Asia and costs significantly more than the faux version. But if you're looking for something more affordable, opt for a synthetic wig that's heat resistant, says Andrew DiSimone, wig expert and salon owner at HairPlace NYC. That’s because if you're cooking or open the oven door, the gust of heat could damage synthetic hair that’s not heat-resistant, he cautions.
Synthetic hair is also best for cuts that fall above your shoulders, like a bob, since the lengthier options can start to wear and fray if the man-made fibers rub against your shoulders.
Q: What Types of Wigs Are Available?
The updated forms come in all lengths, styles, and colors and even in individual pieces. "I always tell every woman to have a winglet or a pony tail in her purse," says Tricomi. "You can use it to make a more full chignon, add volume, or give the appearance of longer hair."
Q: Who Can Benefit from Wearing a Wig?
Anyone, but for those experiencing medical hair loss, these hairpieces can be a saving grace. DiSimone, who has clients with alopecia and genetic hair loss or who are going through chemotherapy, explains that his salon sells wigs so real you can put them in pigtails and still have the part look natural.
DJ Quintero, a celebrity stylist who styled Katie Holmes' wig for the Met Gala, also points out that wigs can be used to simply try a new look. "I think wearing a wig is a fun way to completely change your appearance without actually changing your appearance," he says, adding that it's a safe way to be daring.
Q: What Should You Know Before Buying a Wig?
Do your homework. Would you try a new restaurant before checking Yelp? Probably
not—and the same goes for scanning reviews as you search for reputable wig retailers
in your area. Also, ask about the return policy, says DiSimone. People don't always
know what the options are when they're looking a wig, he says.
Q: How Much Do They Cost?
Before you commit to a hair accessory, consider the expense. While synthetic wigs can set you back anywhere from $5 to a couple hundred bucks, a natural wig can cost anywhere from $100 to $3,000.
Q: How Do You Take Care of a Wig?
To help faux fringe maintain its shape at night, experts recommend placing the hair on a wig form (much like a dress on a mannequin). Or if you're traveling, take the wig, and turn it inside-out, says DiSimone. Then, grab the hair in a ponytail and flip it back inside the center of the wig and store it in a box. This trick ensures that the hair is protected from rubbing the inside of the box.
Maintaining a wig's look and feel also requires a select stash of beauty tools. Since synthetic hair is a fiber, reach for Woolite shampoo in a pinch and Downy fabric softener as conditioner, says DiSimone. Keep a spray conditioner and a shine spray handy to restore the wig’s luster, which can fade or look dull easily. With human hair, moisturizing shampoos (like those with argan oil) and a silk protein conditioner will keep the natural hair soft and hydrated.