After decades of being a staple in many people’s beauty regimens, wigs have finally achieved mainstream popularity in the beauty community thanks to social media and the celebrity set rocking them without shame. No longer treated as a dirty secret, they are now openly heralded for their versatility, allowing people the opportunity to change their hairstyle in an instant without any commitment to a particular look. They’re also a great protective style, which saves your own hair from daily manipulation and breakage.
That said, as great as they are, wearing a wig isn’t as simple as just throwing it on haphazardly and hoping for the best. You need to know how to properly affix them lest you risk an embarrassing mishap. Thank goodness, then, for hairstylist and star of the digital BET series Wig Out, Cliff Vmir, who chatted with us and shared some of the common mistakes he sees all kinds of wig wearers making — and how to best avoid these faux pas.
1. Buying lace-front wigs with a thick lace closure
No matter your budget, you should always make sure whatever lace-front wig you’re spending your hard-earned money on is well made and has a thin lace closure that will lay smooth and look scalp-like when installed. To refresh your memory, a closure is a hairpiece that is sewn along the front of a unit that mimics a real hairline. The thicker the closure material, the bulkier it will look. And that’s a dead giveaway to other people that you’re donning a hairpiece when the ultimate goal is to make your wig look like your own hair. “People should buy lace-front wigs with thin lace because the thin lace melts and lays better. With thin lace, you won’t see any kind of demarcation,” Vmir says.
2. Not braiding your hair underneath your wig
The key to making sure your wig isn’t lumpy when you wear it starts with how you prep your hair underneath. Before placing a unit on, don’t forget to braid your hair in cornrows. “Everyone needs small braids that are going straight back to maintain that flat foundation underneath,” Vmir explains. “Some people are not even putting braid foundations under the wig cap. They’re just putting their hair back in a bun or a ponytail and are putting a wig on top of their hair.” That’s a mistake you should never make because if your hair isn’t laying completely flat beneath a wig, it will appear bumpy or like the wig is just sitting atop your head, which is the last thing you want.
3. Failing to bleach and pluck your knots
If you truly want to make sure your wig is undetectable even to the most discerning eye, it pays to bleach and pluck the knots in the front of it for a more natural part. You see, lace-front wigs are created by hand-sewing individual strands to a mesh base, which create tiny knots at the end. When dark hair is used, these knots appear as small black dots that are super noticeable, particularly where the unit is parted. To conceal them, you can either bleach or pluck them, but make sure not to be heavy-handed when doing either or else you risk over-plucking or overprocessing the hair. Vmir recommends “holding the frontal up” to the light so you can best see where the knots are and use a tint brush to lightly apply bleach. If you find the knots are still coming through, apply another layer until the part is to your liking.
4. Over-styling your baby hair
While overly styled baby hair continues to be all the rage, it’s actually best not to overdo it when wearing a wig to ensure the unit seamlessly blends with your hairline. “When you’re wearing hair that’s not yours, you have to make it look as natural as possible without doing too much. Less is more,” Vmir stresses. Though it may be tempting to elaborately mold your wispies, simply slicking them back with some edge control should suffice.
5. Choosing units in unflattering colors
Of course, everyone’s allowed to experiment with color or multiple hues at once if they so choose. However, it doesn’t hurt to purchase or dye your wigs in shades that complement your skin tone and don’t wash out your complexion. “You have to make sure that the color [you’re choosing] goes with your [skin] tone,” Vamir says. He also advises taking into consideration your job and the clothes you normally wear when deciding on a new colored wig so that it fits right into your lifestyle and won’t clash with your wardrobe. “Think about your everyday lifestyle. Think about your job. Think about the clothes you wear. Make sure that it can all go together,” he adds.
6. Not putting much effort into styling your wigs
How you style a wig makes or breaks how it looks in the end. No matter how you choose to alter a wig, always “pay attention to details,” Vmir stresses. Your hairpiece may be fake, but you still want to trick people into thinking it’s growing out of your scalp. So remember to style your hairpieces with care and give yourself enough time to tailor it to your liking so they look as natural as possible. For example, if you’re curling a unit, “everything has to [be] cohesive and go together. If you’re going to do a middle part with curls, the curls should just all flow together,” Vmir notes. Additionally, don’t forget to brush or tease out each curl for an effortless, glam finish.