A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Wig for You

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Three rows of mannequins in a wig shop. The mannequins have assorted colored hair

Wigs have been around for centuries. Ancient Egyptians wore them as a barrier against the hot sun.

The trend was also found in other ancient cultures, including those of the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans. Some used them as a status symbol while others put them on for theater productions.

Wigs were often worn for many of the same reasons that we wear them today: to change appearance or to conceal hair loss.

While the need is the same, the styles have changed. Today’s wigs tend to look more natural. It’s often nearly impossible to tell the difference between a quality wig and real hair. Shopping for wigs is no easy task, especially for beginners. There are many styles, brands, and colors available.

Finding the Best Wig Hair for Your Style

The first big decision you will have to make before you buy a wig is the type of hair you want. There are three main categories including human, synthetic, and heat defiant.

New wig buyers often assume that human hair is better than artificial. That is not always the case. A lot depends on quality. Newer synthetic styles can look just as authentic as human hair. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when choosing your wig.

  • Human Hair Wigs

Let’s start with the pros of human hair wigs. They are highly versatile and can be colored or permed much like naturally grown strands. Remember that it’s real and should be handled with care, so it’s usually best to have a professional stylist do the work for you to avoid damage.

Human hair comes in different textures, which can be helpful when trying to match the wig with existing hair.

When properly maintained, a human hair wig can be worn every day for years. They look and feel natural, which is what most people want in their hair piece.

So, what’s bad about human hair wigs? It’s important to remember that it’s real hair, so it must be treated accordingly. You will have to wash and deep condition often. It will also need to be re-styled more often than the other two types.

There is significant color variation in human hair, so it may be harder to match the wig with your natural tone. It will also react to weather, creating frizz, drying out, or becoming limp and lifeless based on your surroundings.

Color can fade and strands can suffer damage from harsh handling, overuse of heat, and back-combing. Human hair also tends to weigh more and will come at a higher cost.

  • Synthetic Hair Wigs

If you haven’t already, you should explore examples of what’s out there under the synthetic wig category. You may be surprised to find many styles that look completely organic.

Synthetic hair is easier to care for compared to real human hair. It comes with style retention, so you never have to re-do your style. Just wash and dry it then shake it out to restore its original look. This also eliminates weather-related hair problems because synthetic material doesn’t frizz or lose its shape because of environmental conditions.

This type is also highly versatile and available in many colors.

Synthetic hair is cheaper to buy, which is more cost-effective when you are on a budget or if you would like to own multiple wigs to change out styles.

Before you go with a synthetic hair wig, make sure you also know the drawbacks. If you buy an economy-level product, you may find that it has an unnatural shine. This is usually found in products that cost under $100.

You can’t change the color of synthetic hair. Dye won’t adhere to the fibers. Whatever shade you buy is what the wig will keep for its entire lifetime. If you are someone who loves to change hair color often, then expect to buy multiple wigs if you go with synthetic.

Synthetic wigs do not last as long as real human hair wigs. You can usually expect to get between four to six months of daily wear out of each one with proper care.

  • Heat Defiant Hair Wigs

Heat defiant hair wigs, also known as heat friendly, are the third option. They are technically a synthetic product but with a bonus: the ability to use styling tools.

This category offers a middle ground between human and synthetic hair types. They come with the style retention of synthetics, so the wig will return to its previous look after getting wet. They are realistic like human hair but without the delicate strands that require more maintenance. Synthetic hair does not react to weather conditions.

Heat defiant wigs are priced in between the other two types. You should expect to pay more than you would for a regular synthetic, but less than you would for human hair.

While they sound appealing, there are some cons to heat defiant wigs. They tend to have the shortest lifespan, usually only a few months.

Just like other synthetic products, they cannot be colored.

They can also suffer from a deterioration of texture. Abrasive contact with other objects like pillows or headrests can cause strands to become nappy. This issue can also appear if the wig is excessively styled.

This type can be a challenge to work with when styling. It isn’t as receptive to changes as human hair.

How Do I Choose My Wig Hair Type?

You need to know which hair type you want before you shop for wigs. Since the right choice will vary based on your needs and expectations, it’s important to ask yourself several questions:

  • What is My Wig Budget?

Budget is a big determining factor when buying wigs. If you have a modest amount set aside, then a synthetic product might be a better option. Heat defiant costs a little more but will give you more styling flexibility. Human hair is the most expensive but tends to last longer so you buy fewer wigs over time.

  • Where and When Will I Wear My Wig?

Weather can be a problem for human hair wigs. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors or if you live in a region with severe weather, consider going with synthetic hair. Human hair can experience fading when exposed to direct sunlight.

Do you plan to wear your wig often, or only for special occasions? Look at the longevity of the hair type you are considering and make sure your wig will last based on your wear frequency.

  • Am I Buying a Wig for Hair Loss?

Hair loss can be permanent or temporary. If you know the type of hair loss you are experiencing, then you can use this to choose the best wig. Permanent hair loss may justify an investment in a human hair product that can last for years.

If your hair will eventually grow back, then you can save some money and go with something synthetic that costs less and doesn’t last as long.

  • Will I Be Going Through Chemotherapy?

Many women buy wigs when undergoing chemotherapy or other intensive medical treatments. If your condition will leave you feeling fatigued or cause mobility issues, you may want to go with a lower maintenance wig. Synthetic styles can be air-dried and will regain their look without extra styling.

  • How Often Do I Change My Look?

Some women love to change their look often. If you are one of them, then consider human hair wigs. These take more work but will allow you to style any way you want.

Regular synthetic wigs come in one style and stay that way. Heat defiant wigs can be changed, but you must be careful to not over-do it and cause damage. Both synthetic types cannot be colored, but human hair can.

The best way to find the right wig for you is to talk to a professional. Tiffany Taylor can discuss your needs and recommend a product that matches your look and lifestyle. Get in touch today to learn more about wearing wigs.