As I am a member of facebook groups for selling cosplay stuff and asking cosplay advices, I come across a lot of questions regarding buying wigs and caring for them.
I decided to devote one article to how I buy and care for my wigs and I hope it will help someon in future.
I have to admit I’m no wig expert or hair expert, just a cosplayer and the things I write originate from my experience and my budget options.
If you’re a normal poor 😀 cosplayer like me and you don’t have a budget to buy a wig for more than 20-30 Euro, I’m here for you with my advices, how to choose a cheap wig on e-bay, that looks good and will suit your needs. If you don’t follow my advices, you could buy a wig, that could have following flaws:
– the wig is too thin,
– the wig cape could be seen on some places through the hair,
– the hair will look unnatural and too shiny,
– the hair is not heat-resistant,
– the wig is shorter than on the picture,
– the wig is cut differently than on the picture,
– the wig has a different color than on the picture.
And I want to say, there is never 100% chance you’ll buy a bad wig when not following the things I write below, but your chance to buy something bad is getting higher. And this applies vice-versa as well.
1) Original picture
Don’t buy a wig with a picture used by 150 other sellers on e-bay. I can assure you the wig you’ll receive won’t look like the wig on the picture in most cases. Keep in mind, that the more original pictures the product has, the better chance you’ll receive the wig, that is on the actual picture.
If you want to avoid these fails, buy only wigs, that have actual original picture, that couldn’t be seen by any other seller.
I wanted to buy short wine red wig reaching to a shoulder, but totally shorter red wig in red (not wine red) color came. I bought it from a seller, that had same photos like hundreds other sellers on e-bay. It was a mistake. But even the final wig wasn’t too bad, it was too short for me and my cosplay.
The displayed wigs are on a mannequine head, which is in most cases much smaller than human head. That means the wig appears longer in the picture than it is on human head. It is also cheaper to make a shorter wig than a longer one, that means a seller would display the wig in a way, that the wig looks longer than it really is. In my case tho, you can see it was clearly a very different length and cut than in the picture. So if you want to have a certain length, it is easier to buy a wig, that looks longer or much longer than the length you need – in worst case you will cut it a little shorter by yourself!
2) Human hair picture
Don’t buy a wig with a picture of actual human hair – it will never look like actual human hair and surely not like the hair of the actual woman on the picture!
3) Missleading picture
Don’t buy a wig with different-looking wig on each included picture. This means, that the seller didn’t took even 1 of the presented pictures and your wig won’t look like on the pictures. Even one of them.
4) Bad resolution picture
If you’re taking your own pictures of the wig as a seller, it is only logical you will have a good resolution of your own photos. So if a wig has a bad resolution photo included, the picture was most likely stolen from somebody else and it is surely not an actual picture of a wig you’ll receive.
2) Other advices
– Keep in mind, that the polystyrene and manequin heads are smaller than human head, so the wigs appear longer than they actually are. So buy always a longer wig and style and cut it rather than risking buying a shorter wig.
– Choose a seller, that has good feedback score, read his feedback before buying anything,
– If a wig looks shiny and unnatural on the picture, it will definitelly look awful in real life too,
– If a wig is crepped with hair crepper, it is done to achieve a better volume of the wig. This is done most likely because the wig is too thin in real life/is thinner than it appears.
– Most wigs are heat-resistant – so even you need a curly wig, you can buy a straight wig and curl it with curling iron – count then, that the wig will be shorter after curling. Also, when buying a really cheap wig, check if it is heat resistant in the description of the product.
– If you’re a character in an open helmet and you’ll know you’ll never take your helmet off, but you need to have wig, you can sew or glue the wig into your helmet for easier use. See my article about my cosplay of Headhunter Caitlyn for more!
– A wig with bangs is always better for you, because it covers your natural hairline – it’s hard to cover your natural hairlina without bangs – then you often need an expensive lace-front wig.
I wanted to buy a long grey beard for Odin cosplay and I have to admit, even on e-bay are these wizard beards and wizard wigs prices pretty damn high! 😀 So I’ve done something, that was against all my rules and advices I’ve written about and I bought this wizard wig and beard. You can see the picture is photoshopped and if you look closely, the wig is crepped to add volume to it. So I’ve risked a lot. A shiny beard and badly fitting wig came, the overall volume of the beard was bad. So I’ve decided to cut the wig in pieces and use it for adding volume to the beard. And here’s the result – thick beard, that I could braid in three thick braids and I’m really satisfied with it. It’s still shiny, but I like it – Odin is a God, so it kinda fits. But if you want to get rid of shine from your wig, you can try to bath it in fabric softener mixed with water (1:2) (and talc powder) for a few days.
3) Good examples
Buy wigs, that look real wigs, are photographed on a polystyren or manequine head from different angles (so there are more photos) in good resolution, are well described and the seller has good feedback (98% and higher).
4) Special kinds of wigs
If you’re looking for a special kind of wig like a combed-back wig or ponytail wig or braided wig, dreaded wig or very large wig (Tangled fairy-tale, Merida wig, Jinx wig), some advices, I’ve written, can be applied even on these wigs, but in most cases, you have to either invest in a high quality expensive wig from good seller or take your risk.
Front-lace wigs are wigs, that have a very natural hairline if you comb them back because of the lace in front. The lace you’ll then cut to fit your forehead. These wigs are needed for characters with hair combed back like Geralt fromo Witcher or Elsa from Frozen.
High quality wig from respective seller. The best cosplay wigs can you buy on Arda wigs, that is on of the best wig manufacturers for cosplay. They offer front-lace wigs for about 70 dollars.
Buy a front lace wig from aliexpress or ebay sellers with good feedback score, check the pictures carefully or see the feedback. I can recommend 2 companies I buy wigs from, but usually I will go even for unknown sellers if they have the wig I want. The prices start cca at 35 dollars.
Anogol wigs – very good wigs that fit even on my bigger head
Imstyle wigs – very good wigs, usually more suitable for regular and smaller heads tho
Buing a combed-back wig from e-bay without a front lace. The hairline doesn’t look natural, but it does it’s job sometimes, especially if you are styling the wig’s hairline with glue like inthis video.
Example of LOW and HIGH quality wigs:
I found 4 pictures of Geralt cosplay from Witcher. On the first picture, you can see a wig, that is too short, too shiny, too silver, has an unnatural hairline and is styled wrong. It doesn’t look like his hair (source: pinterest). On the second picture, there is a cosplayer Kuromaru with natural white, good styled wig, that looks like front lace and totally look like Geralts natural hair (photo: Skiu). On the third picture there is an unknown cosplayer, that used gluing technique for doing a natural hairline. but it went kinda wrong with a lot of teeth and a lot of glue to be seen. But in comparison with the first wig, there is a styling included and it has better color (source: pinterest). On the fourth picture, there is Maul cosplay with his front-lace wig, good styled, very natural hairline (source: FB-Maul cosplay).
So on these examples, there could be seen, that the lace-front wig could be really important, if you want to look natural and stay true to the character. Sometimes it pays-off to pay more and buy front-lace.
BRAIDED WIG and DREADED WIG
In the next article, I’ll talk about all my cosplay wigs I have – where I bought them and how I styled them. There will be 3 types of braided or dreaded wigs, so keep tuned for my next article about wigs, HERE.
Ponytail wigs are really hard to pull off, but there are plenty of tutorials you can follow.
The most important thing to know is, that you’s probably really need a front lace wig or glued hairline to look good and since most of the wigs are sewn to lay down in horizontal lines, you ‚d have to cut and resew/reglue the wig in a circular shapes of the wefts, that would go into the pontail.
Option 1 – buy a finished ponytail wig, that will probably have the main part of the wig to still lay down (simply a short wig) with a ponytail clip like this one.
Option 2 – style your frontlace into ponytail (risk of peeking of individual wefts through the hair) like this one.
Option 2 – cut and restyle your wig into ponytail – you can resew the wefts for aneater outcome, or you can glue it like this one.
Option 3 – making a huge ponytail requiring a solid base like this one or this one.
VERY LARGE WIG
There are characters, that need a very huge wig like Princess from Tangled or princess Merida or Jinx from League of Legends. You can spare yourself a lot of problems, if you search fro these characters directly on e-bay, because some sellers make wigs fitting for a lot of famous characters including these three.
If you buy them cheap (but they are not as cheap as some shorter wigs), you have to count with them not being so bushy and volumous as you would need. So the best solution for that is to sew more wigs together (I’ll speak about styling and caring for wigs in my next article).
But if you need it only for cheering up the kids or some random screwing around, then these cheap wigs are just for you (be careful, these wigs don’t fit into my advices about buying wigs):
I hope my guide helps you by buying the right wig for your cosplay 🙂 Next time I’ll show you what wigs I own, how I styled them and where I bought them 😉
Please follow me on my facebook page for more!
Published: 20.05.16 8:45, Pacific Standard Time