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How to Style a Wig (Outfit Ideas)

Wigs are not a new idea. Look at movies set in the days of early inventors and classical music and everyone’s got them on. To this day, lawyers in England wear them in court. They can be a shortcut when you don’t want to style your own hair. They can be a way to protect your own hair while you wear an amazing, elaborate style. And they can be a way to provide some much-needed self-esteem and confidence when a person experiences loss of their natural hair, either through age or disease or other factors. When you know how to style a wig, you can do things like cosplay, experiment with wild hairstyles and even transform your look.

History of Wigs

The practice of wearing wigs dates to at least 2,700 B.C.E. Wigs were first worn in ancient Egypt. Wigs of human hair were costly to make and harder to get, while wigs made with palm leaf fibers and wool were easier to obtain. These ancient wigs actually had a practical use: they protected the head from the sun and from various lice and vermin that may try to nest in human hair. 

Long blonde wig

Wigs were seen again in the 1500s, when elaborate hairstyles made it difficult to be trendy without supplementing one’s natural hair with extra tresses. Artificial curls and sometimes entire heads of hair were worn. This trend became popular in France, where the false hair was called a “perruque.” This was also known as the periwyk, periwig and eventually, a wig. 

In the 17th century, wigs were truly the height of fashion for both men and women. Everyone wore them. Wigs and false hairpieces were the fashion of the day in the Victorian and Edwardian eras of the late 1800s and early 1900s. 

Modern Era

The short, bob hairstyles of the 1920s made wigs unpopular again. These hairpieces fell out of fashion for decades, until they rose to popularity in the 1960s. Black fashion icons, including Diana Ross, began wearing wigs to get quick and easy hairstyles that would look great on stage and out and about in public. It was in this decade that synthetic hair wigs were made and became more widely available. Wigs were mass-produced and worn with gusto by both men and women. 

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Wigs are now part of everyday fashion for many people and it is fairly common for people to wear fake hair of all kinds. Hair extensions, hairpieces and full wigs are used by the most beautiful men and women all over the world. Some celebrities, including big names like Wendy Williams and Dolly Parton, talk openly about having a wig collection. Many people also wear cosplay wig styles to attend conventions and fan events, or to dress up in costume for a party or get-together. Wearing wigs has become more common. So shouldn’t you know how to style them so you can wear them, too?

Synthetic vs Human Hair Wigs

What’s the difference between synthetic wigs and wigs made from real human hair? Synthetic wigs are made from a different fiber that is not human hair. It may be animal hair or a fabric fiber, such as wool, that has the look and feel of human hair. 

Synthetic wigs tend to hold their style longer than wigs made from human hair. These wigs have a set style, usually, so all you have to do is maintain it. Styling synthetic hair wigs can be a bit of a challenge. Only some designs are heat-tolerant, so most synthetic wigs must be styled without heat. 

Person with pink wig

Wigs that are made of human hair have to be washed and styled just like human hair that’s still attached to a scalp. With good maintenance, human hair wigs can last for one to three years. 

Four types of hair are typically used to create human hair wigs: Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and European/Caucasian. Chinese hair has a thick texture and is typically very straight. It can be harder to style because of the thickness. Indian hair is less thick but very textured. European hair is the most popular type of hair for wigs because it is very fine. Because of this, it’s the most expensive type of human wig hair.

Human hair wigs are more expensive in general and take more time and attention to care for than synthetic hair wigs. Both types of wigs will shed, another way to say there will be hair loss.

Some wigs are made with a blend of real human and synthetic hair. 

The Four Types of Wigs

Though wigs are available in a huge variety of textures, colors and styles, wigs are all constructed one of four ways in regard to how they fit on your scalp. 

A 360 lace wig has lace all the way around the perimeter of the wig. The lace makes the wig look natural and allows it to blend in with your natural hairline. With the 360-degree design, you have a hairline that looks natural all the way around your head. This allows you to wear your wig in a ponytail, bun or another updo style. Updo styles are not possible with some other types of wigs.

Pink dress and pink wig

Full lace wigs have lace all the way around the wig hairline to blend into your own natural hairline. This is the most natural-looking type of wig and it allows you to wear any type of hairstyle you want with your wig, including updo styles. 

Ready-to-wear wigs have a set style and they’re meant to be worn in that style. These wigs are often styled in such a way that the hairline does not show. You don’t want to lift or re-style these wigs, as they are made to sit the way they’re styled.

Lace front wigs have lace in the front, so you have several styling options available. You can pin the hair back away from the face and experiment with half-updo styles with a lace front wig. 

Synthetic Wig Styles

There’s really no limit to the number of hairstyles that can be created with synthetic wigs. From short to long, curly to straight, literally any hairstyle is possible. 

Hairstyles and wig styles, like all things in fashion, have evolved over time. Cleopatra’s sleek, straight pageboy style is still a hot look that’s worn today. However, Marie Antionette’s over-the-top updos that featured real jewels definitely look dated. Any hairstyle can be created with synthetic wigs but some styles are far easier to find and far more iconic than others. Get a look at the most common and popular styles while you’re considering which wig styles might work best for you. 

Bob

OneDor 10" Short Straight Hair Flapper Cosplay Costume Bob Wig (1B - Off Black)

The classic bob is not a new hairstyle and yet, it somehow always looks modern. This style actually dates to ancient times. Men and women in Egypt are depicted wearing short, bob-like hairstyles. But this style truly had its heyday in the 1920s, when the bob was embraced by women and the “flapper” look was everywhere. Shorter hair showed a bit of rebellion among women, who were enjoying the right to vote and expressing many new freedoms through their dress, makeup and hairstyles. 

The bob is a short hairstyle, falling above the shoulders in a usually uniform length from the scalp to the ends. Some bob hairstyles may have a bit of layering and shaping and some may be curly or straight. The bob can be parted to one side or in the middle. It’s an extremely versatile haircut and easy to maintain and style because of the short length, so that’s why the bob is a classic look that probably won’t ever go completely out of style. 

Find wigs and hairpieces of all types at Amazon, the massive online store known for having absolutely everything for sale. Wigs are no exception. You can get them in a huge variety of colors, styles and textures here, from very realistic wigs to costume wigs that are anything but. 

Long Curls, No Bangs

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Long, curling hairstyles are very popular and they’ve been popular for decades. Flowing, free tresses were a sign of carefree style and freedom in the 1960s and 1970s, representing a sharp break from the short, structured hairstyles that were so popular in the 1950s. 

These hairstyles are cut with long layers to give them a little structure and provide some lift for the curls. This creates a cascading curl effect that is very pretty and stylized. Long, curling styles that have no bangs often have some shorter layers around the face to create a framing effect. These hairstyles can be made with a middle part or side part, though the middle part looks a bit more vintage. This was the look that was popular in the 1960s. Modern styles are typically styled with a part that is at least slightly to one side or the other but the middle part can work well for some face shapes, such as heart-shaped faces.

Long Layers with Bangs

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Long, layered styles are definitely in right now. The layers give the long length a bit of length and swing, while the bangs add some distinction. Wig styles that have bangs have the added bonus of looking more natural. You don’t have to worry so much about how the hairline looks when you’ve got bangs. 

This wig look is popular because there are many ways to style it. The hair can be worn straight, wavy or curly. Having options with wigs is always good because sometimes, you might want to change things up a bit.

LA Wig Company makes it easy to find the exact wig you want. Here, you can search for wigs by hair length, style and hair type. This website makes it very easy for you to narrow down your search so you can start experimenting with looks son. They have an enormous selection of styles, so you can think about having lots of different hair looks. 

Mermaid Waves

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Mermaid waves are definitely a hot look in any season, though this style is definitely a go-to summer favorite. This is a medium-to-long hairstyle with flowing waves throughout that look very effortless and natural. Mermaid waves are often parted in the middle, though you can do a side part and you can have fun playing with pinning or braiding sections of it away from your face. This is typically a bangs-free hairstyle.

Pageboy

Paige Petite Cap Color DARK BLONDE - Envy Wigs 11" Length Classic Bob Pageboy Cut Synthetic Left Monofilament Part Stretch Eaton Bundle MaxWigs Hairloss Booklet

The classic pageboy is a very recognizable style that has bangs and a short to long length. The pageboy hangs straight down in one length and it is usually worn straight, though curls and waves can be added for extra texture. The bangs can be long or short. Usually, the pageboy is parted in the middle but it can also be parted to either side to suit your face. 

You can shop for every style of wig at QTHair. There’s a huge inventory here of hair that you can search by texture, size and specific popular styles. These wigs are extremely fashionable and affordable, so you can play with lots of different looks.

Pixie

RUISENNA Short Hair Wig Synthetic Curly Wig for Black Women Short Black Pixie Cut Wigs Heat Resistant Fiber Hair Wigs

The pixie cut is a fun, cute hairstyle that is easy to wash and style and maintain. With the right pixie cut you can quickly wash, dry and style your hair literally in minutes and look fantastic. This is a short haircut with multiple layers and can range from very short to about cheek-length. 

This hairstyle is easy to maintain and style in wig form as well, which makes it a fun option. Pixie cuts can be casual or glamorous as needed. Add a little hair jewelry, make your style a little sleeker, there are several options you can use that don’t take up much time at all. You can spend very little time styling your wig and more time enjoying the looks you get while you’re wearing it! 

Human Hair Wig Styles

Wigs made from human hair are styled the exact way you would style your own hair. They can be washed, shampooed and heat-styled just like your own hair. They also have the texture of real hair, so all the standard styling techniques and products you’ve used in the past will work for these wigs. Human hair wigs can be cut and shaped into literally any style but there are some looks that you will see more frequently when you’re shopping for your new hair. Will you choose one of these classic cuts? 

Blunt Cut

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The blunt cut is a short, sleek style that is all one length. It falls in a sweep from the scalp to a length somewhere below the chin to shoulder length. This cut may or may not have bangs and can be parted anywhere. This cut is often worn straight but can be styled with waves or curls as desired.

Nadula has a huge wig inventory with many different textures, colors ad lengths available. You can search for very specific lengths here, shop for distinct textures or even look for wigs based on hair density. The many different search options and the huge selection of wigs available here make this a great spot to start shopping for a new wig. 

Lob

12" Medium Straight Bob Wig Middle Part No Bangs Heat Resistant Synthetic Hair Natural 1B Black Lob Full Wig For Women Anime Cosplay Party Costume

The lob is a medium-length cut that has few layers or some long layers. It is an asymmetrical cut that is shorter in the back and a little longer in front. Lob hairstyles have no bangs or long, side-swept bangs. This hairstyle works well with thin and thick hair textures, which makes it very stylish and possible. The lob is often worn straight but may also have some waves or curls to add volume. 

The selection at Wig.com is positively staggering. Search for wigs y style, color, hair type, texture, length or even feature. You can browse wigs that are for sale and even buy products to care for your wig. In other words, you can just about find any look you might want here. The storefront even has a selection of trendy wigs so you can get a look at all the latest, popular styles. 

Medium Length, No Bangs

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Medium-length hairstyles are fun to play with because you can experiment with lots of different styles but don’t have to worry about cleaning and maintaining a long length of hair. MEdium length hairstyles without bangs are always in style and there are always a lot of options for styling this cut. You can play with updos, curled styles and all sorts of different looks. 

Short Wavy Bob

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The short, wavy bob is an extremely low-maintenance and fun hairstyle that’s very popular. This is a cute, fresh look that’s easy to clean and style. It doesn’t take much time to style this hair for the day. Short, wavy bob hairstyles can be parted anywhere. 

Naural Image Wigs are affordable and the selection here is enormous. There are some interesting wig options here, including synthetic wigs made from various wig fibers, including bamboo fibers, as well as heat-friendly synthetic wig styles. You can search for wigs here by cap size and cap type, not to mention length, style and even delivery options. The inventory here includes sale items, so you can shop for deals whenever you like. 

Straight Long, No Bangs

JIASLY Blonde wig For Women Synthetic Hair Long Straight Wigs Free Wig Cap 24 Inches

Long, straight hairstyles are popular because they’re so versatile. Style this hair in a low bun, a cute topknot, long curls, mermaid waves or a great braid look. You can do a lot with a long, straight style without bangs. However, it can also be difficult to keep this hair looking sleek and straight when you’re wearing it in this style. It takes a lot of care and product to keep this hair looking great.

Shop for synthetic or human hair wigs at Uniwigs. They have many color options here, including multi-toned syles, such as highlighted and rooted looks. They have pull-down menus where you can select search options for base, style, color and length and truly personalize your wig shopping experience to find exactly what you want. 

FAQs

There’s actually a lot to know about wigs. Styling them, caring for them, picking one out, choosing the right style…it’s a lot. In fact, it can be overwhelming. You may have a lot of questions. That’s why we have a lot of answers to all the most frequently asked questions about how to style a wig.

How can you tell what type of hair your wig is made of?

You don’t want to pay the price for a human hair wig and find out that it’s actually synthetic hair instead. If you can’t immediately tell by the way the hair feels, there are other ways to determine whether you’re handling human or synthetic hair. 

Cut out a couple of strands of hair and burn them. Real human hair will go up in flames very quickly and curl into a ball. Synthetic hair will melt rather than burn and emit a somewhat rubbery odor and black smoke.

Can you style a wig with gel?

Hair products that are made for human hair, like gel, should not be put on synthetic hair wigs.  Styling products of all kinds can be used on wigs made from human hair. But just like human hair, styling products must be washed out of hair before it can be styled with new product in a new way.

Can you heat-style synthetic wigs?

Some synthetic wigs are made to withstand heat, allowing you to use heat tools like curling irons to style the hair. However, many synthetic wigs are not heat-tolerant and will be damaged by heat tools. To play it safe, it’s better to avoid using heat on synthetic hair wigs. You can use steam to style these wigs. 

How do you wear a wig with long hair?

Having long hair can really make it hard to wear a wig. Try braiding your hair in two sections, starting at the base of the scalp. Wrap the braids around your head and attach them with bobby pins. You want to place the braids more near the crown of the head, as placing them near the hairline could affect the fit of the wig. Don’t braid your hair too tight, as this will put strain on your scalp. 

Once your hair is braided, you can use a wig cap to smooth it all down. This will make it much easier to slide the wig on over your head and give the wig a much better fit. 

What tools and products should you use to style a wig?

Wigs have to be washed and cleaned regularly, which means you will certain tools to clean and re-style them. Synthetic wigs with a set style will spring back into that style once they are washed and dried, though you may need to do some touching up. 

For synthetic wigs, you want to have a wide tooth comb, wig shampoo and wig conditioner, a spray bottle with plain water, a wig stand and a wig head. The stand will allow the wig to dry, the wig head will aid you in styling. You may also want to use shaping cream. 

What you don’t need for synthetic wigs is hair products, such as hairspray. These products are made for human hair, not synthetic wig hair. That means the products can actually do damage to your wig, causing t to break down and wear out much more quickly. 

Hot hair tools, such as a straightening iron or a curling iron, can only be used on human hair wigs, no synthetic hair wigs. For the most part, you want to use steam to style synthetic hair wigs. 

Can you create an updo look on a wig?

You can style a wig into an updo the same way you’d style your natural hair. However, you should use a wig head to do it. This will allow you to see fully all the way around the wig so you know how it looks from every angle. This way, you can style the updo how you want it and then put the wig on. Remember, an updo will only work with wigs that have a natural-looking hairline all the way around the hairline and not just through part of the hairline.

How do you take care of wigs?

Wigs should be washed frequently. Stylists recommended washing wigs once a week or more. To do this, soak the wig in cold water that has a little shampoo in it for about five minutes. Gently massage the soapy water into the wigs, then rinse it thoroughly several times. Moisturizing conditioner should follow. Next, gently brush out the wig and place it on a wig stand to dry. If you have a synthetic hair wig, use products designed specifically for synthetic hair wigs. On human hair wigs, use standard products. 

Can you color a synthetic wig?

You can dye a synthetic hair wig a totally different color if you want…as long as the wig is light-colored. Unlike dark hair, you cannot use bleach to lighten a synthetic wig. But if the wig is a blonde or silver shade, it can be dyed. However, you can’t dye it the same way you’d dye your own hair or even use the same materials and tools. 

Instead of using hair dye, use ink. Mix it in a one-to-one ratio with plain water and put it in a spray bottle. This will yield a vivid, bright color that’s very close to the shade of the ink. If you want a paler color, add more water to the mixture. If you’re working with an inexpensive costume wig, it won’t hurt to experiment with different ink shades and play around a little.

Set up in a spot where you can spray down the wig. Because you’re using ink and water, this can cause stains and messes. It’s best if you like a very large sink, tub or even a small plastic pool with plastic. Work outside if you can, away from buildings and landscaped areas. Put on latex gloves and old clothing you can ruin. Spray the wig thoroughly and run your hands and fingers through it to coat every strand. Start at the top and work down. 

Use a wide-tooth comb or wig brush to comb through the wig once it’s been covered with dye. This creates a more even finish. Let the wig dry in the sun. Allow it to dry completely. Next, rinse the wig until the water runs clear. Comb the wig, let it dry and style. 

How often can you style a synthetic wig?

Before you leave the house or take any selfies, you’ll probably want to do a little styling of your wig every day to freshen up the style and get it looking nice. You’ll also need to style your wig after you wash it, so you’ll be doing a little something to your wig every single day. This is especially true with human hair wigs, which will probably need to be washed and styled more frequently than synthetic hair wigs. 

What is the safest way to transport wigs?

You can travel with your wigs if you want to keep them close. You just have to pack them wisely in order to transport them safely. First, place each wig in its own silk back. Yes, it should be silk. This material will not cause damage to the wig hair or any part of the wig. Place the wig in a mesh net laundry bag, roll it up and then place it in a silk bag. Carefully place this bag inside your suitcase. Don’t forget to bring along the tools and products you need to style your wigs, such as your wig comb and your wig styling head. 

How should you wear a wig over natural hair?

If you’re wearing a wig on top of natural hair, braid your natural hair first. It’s best to use small braids so the hair sits close to your scalp. Alternately, you can use a wig cap to cover your natural hair. People with short hair have the luxury of skipping these steps. If you have short hair, you can typically simply tuck it up under the wig to hide it completely. You can use bobby pins to secure the wig safely to your head.

Sources:

Allure – How to Travel With Your Wigs, According to Hairstylist Cliff Vmir

Amazon – Best Sellers in Hair Replacement Wigs

Breast Cancer – How to Style a Synthetic Wig

Cosmopolitan – How to Style a Wig: The Best Tips, Tricks, and Products

Glamour – How to Wash a Wig and Other Expert Tips to Always Look Flawless

LovetoKnow – History of Wigs

Naij Hair – Fake Hair vs. Virgin Hair – How to Tell the Difference

Simply Wigs – How to Wear a Wig With Long Hair

Simply Wigs – The Ultimate Guide to Wig Styling

The Trend Spotter – 30 Most Popular Hairstyles & Haircuts for Women

Wig Outlet – Human Hair Wigs or Synthetic Wigs | Which is Best for You?

Wigs – What Is the Difference Between Synthetic and Human Hair Wigs?

WikiHow – How to Dye a Synthetic Wig

WikiHow – How to Style Wigs