Now that you know the inner structure of a wig, let’s apply that knowledge a little! Part 2 provides examples of common varieties of cosplay wigs available on the market, and briefly what each of those style-families is used for.
Featured: Epic Cosplay “Nyx,” Arda Wigs “Victoria,” New Look “Monica,” Cosplay.com “Scruffy”
Let’s start off with wigs of standard construction. This is an incredibly broad category: 90% or more of the wigs you encounter will be of similar construction to this, but with different tops, texture, cut, and styling. Some are made to allow versatility in styling, while others are meant to be worn only in the original style. Typically, all the wefts will be attached so the hair flows with gravity. They usually cannot be put into nice-looking updos without heavy modification, especially pigtails.
Featured: Epic Cosplay “Hermes,” Arda Wigs “Jett,” Cosplay.com “Super Short”
When going for super-short styles that involve hair at the back of the head that 1.5” long or shorter, it’s usually best to start with a very short wig. This not only means less cutting overall, but it also ensures that the wefts will be densely-spaced enough to ensure that the wig cap underneath doesn’t show through.
Featured: New Look “Angela 750,” Lacey “1960s Prom Pageboy” (also known as Amphigory Classic Collection “Femme Fatale”), Cosworx “Clover,” Arda Wigs “Eowyn”
Wigs in this category have been long-time favorites in the cosplay community, as their non-layered cuts, fiber density, and full skin tops make them perfect candidates for heavy modifications.
Featured: New Look “Punky,” Arda Wigs “Jareth Long”
If a character’s hair defies gravity in the most extreme ways (or even in non-extreme ways), the wigs you’ll want to use are the ones with dense, matted fiber at the roots, and poof, poof, poof. Arda’s Malinda is particularly well-suited for this purpose: most wigs are wefted so the fiber naturally hangs down, but the wefts on the Malinda face upward towards the crown.
Featured: New Look “Godiva,” Arda Wigs “Delilah,” Epic Cosplay “Demeter”
Wigs that are over 36 inches in length are worthy of their own category for a number of reasons. All wigs tangle to a certain degree, but anything that you can sit on, or will brush against your lower body while you move, will tangle much, much worse than longer wigs. Super long wigs require lots of upkeep while you wear them, and even with all that effort they can be filled with tangles at the end of the convention. When it comes to characters with super-long hair, it’s usually recommended to forgo a little accuracy in favor of preserving sanity by going with a wig that is still long, but maybe not quite AS long.
Featured: Arda Wigs “Chibi”
The way normal wigs are constructed prevents they from being put into high pigtails without heavy modifications; this is when using a wig that is already styled into pigtails is a good idea. Back-part wigs have a resin skin top that extends from the crown of the wig to the nape, giving the illusion of exposed skin; the wefts are arranged on the wig to accommodate for the style. Because of their construction, back-parted wigs are unsuited to being let down for loose styles, and they are a little more difficult to adjust to fit a larger or smaller head.
Featured: Arda Wigs “Jasmine”
Similar to back-part wigs, some wigs are specially-wefted so that they can be pulled into mid- or high-ponytails. But also like back-part wigs, it is unadvised to take the ponytail out for loose styles.
Featured: Arda Wigs “Matilda,” Arda Wigs “Cady”
A common problem faced when trying to slick wigs back or pull the entire thing back into a smooth ponytail is that the hairline just looks… weird. This can be fixed by creating hairline-augmenting pieces with extra fiber or wefts, or by starting with a lace-front wig. It’s possible to add a lace-front to a normal wig (I can attest to this), but there are a few ready-made synthetic lace-front wigs that are available. Making your own lace-front add-in may be easier on your budget, but a purchased lace-front wig will be far, FAR easier on your sanity.
Featured: Arda Wigs “Braid Bun,” Epic Cosplay “15” Extention,” Cosplay.com “Wavy Clip”
There’s enough variety in this category that they probably deserve a run-down of their own! To cover the basics: clip-on ponytails and buns are commonly added to wigs to create the effect of an updo without the styling headache, or to add volume to an existing updo wig; if you’re lucky enough to find a color that is a believable match to your own, you can use them as additions to your own hair. Clip-on bangs are used as an alternative to cutting bangs into a wig, or your own hair (if you have a match). Extra packs of wefts are godsends when it comes to styling wigs: they can be used to add thickness to a wig, prepare it for parting it into pigtails or putting it in an updo, harvested for lace-fronts, and so much more.
That’s the end of this lesson, but learning about cosplay wigs is a continuous process! Arda Wig’s forum, Cosplay.com’s forum, and even deviantart and tumblr on occasion are great sources for information, tips, and tutorials to expand your knowledge with. Be the sponge! BE IT.