Worn by people all over the world, hair wigs are a common and functional type of accessory. Wigs may be worn for a variety of reasons, whether it be to combat hair loss, to alter one’s appearance, or to manage temporary baldness due to illness. Wigs are also often worn as part of a costume, often by cross-dressers and performers.
The history of wigs can be traced back to Egypt approximately 1,500 years ago. At that time Egyptians began making and wearing fake hair to incorporate into their clothing for special occasions, celebrations, and holidays. These early Egyptian wigs were constructed using vegetable materials, sheep’s wool, and/or human hair, often covered with beeswax. Unlike modern wigs, which are designed to be as lightweight and breathable as possible, ancient Egyptian wigs were often incredibly large and heavy, especially for royalty.
Wigs have been commonly identified throughout history as being related to power, status, and luxury. However, in modern times, wig-making methods have advanced so greatly that this accessory is attainable for virtually anyone. While expensive, high-end wigs do exist, less extravagant, more affordable options are available as well.
Below, you’ll find five main varieties of hair wig. These wig types vary in material, design, price point, and more. Keep reading to discover if one of these types of wigs could fit your lifestyle.
Human Hair Wigs
Wigs made from human hair are a popular (albeit, generally pricey) hair wig option. Human hair wigs are usually of a very high quality and are, therefore, widely sought after by wig wearers. The high quality of this type of wig generally makes them more comfortable and attractive than synthetic options.
You may be wondering why human hair wigs come with a higher price tag than synthetic wigs. The answer to this query simply comes down to supply and demand. Human hair to be made into wigs has a quite limited supply, given that people must willingly give up their own hair for this purpose. As such, the price of human hair wigs must be higher to reflect the limited supply of materials.
The price of human hair wigs can also depend on the type of hair being used. For example, the most fashionable types of human hair for wigs include Indian, Peruvian, Brazilian, and Malaysian. As such, these wig types, as well as wigs made from Asian hair in general, often come at a higher price than other human hair wig varieties.
Main Features of Human Hair Wigs
- Human hair wigs provide a natural, authentic look. When you’re wearing a wig made from human hair, you’re more likely to appear like you have a full head of natural hair than when you’re wearing a synthetic wig.
- Human hair wigs are some of the most expensive wigs available. This type of wig is a fitting option if you have a sizable budget and are planning to wear the wig frequently for years to come.
- In addition to providing a natural aesthetic, human hair wigs provide a natural feel that many people find to be more comfortable than synthetic wigs. It makes sense that this would be the case, given that your scalp is accustomed to the feel of human hair, not synthetic fibers.
- Human hair wigs require as much care and maintenance as the hair that grows on your head. To keep the wig in top condition, you need to wash, condition, and style it accordingly. This is something to consider before investing in a human hair wig: Are you willing to commit time and energy to taking care of the wig on a regular basis?
Synthetic Hair Wigs
Synthetic wigs, or artificial wigs, aren’t made from real human hair. Instead, this type of wig is constructed using synthetic, man-made materials like polyvinyl, acrylic, or polyester. Since the fibers are unnatural, the color and style options for synthetic wigs are virtually endless. Unlike human hair wigs, which only come in natural colors, you can find synthetic wigs in neon, pastel, and other fantastical tones.
Synthetic wigs are sometimes desired by high-fashion stylists and designers for avante garde photoshoots, fashion shows, etc. because the synthetic fibers retain whatever style you put them in. No matter what you put a synthetic wig through, it will return to its initial style. This is highly convenient in high-stress environments or when the wig is styled in ornate, over-the-top ways.
When worn every day, or almost every day, synthetic wigs last for a significantly shorter period of time than human hair. After approximately four to six months, synthetic wigs will show wear and tear from day-to-day use and will need to be replaced. So, although synthetic wigs are significantly more affordable than human hair wigs, they last for about half of the amount of time and will need to be repurchased relatively often.
Main Features of Synthetic Hair Wigs
- If you want to use heat, whether using a blow dryer, flat iron, or curling iron, to style a synthetic wig, you must purchase one labeled “heat-safe”. Not all synthetic wigs are resistant to heat, and, therefore, using a heat-powered styling tool on one can cause damage.
- Synthetic wigs aren’t as long-lasting as human hair wigs. So, they’re a fitting choice if you only need a wig for a specific occasion, such as for a Halloween costume, or if you only plan to wear the wig for a limited period of time.
- Synthetic wigs require much less maintenance than human hair wigs. While you should wash it out after you’ve been wearing it for a while in order to remove excess oils and other unwanted substances, it won’t require a careful, involved maintenance routine in order to keep it in good condition, as a human hair wig would.
- Synthetic wigs won’t change in style or texture depending on the humidity in the air.
- Synthetic hair can’t stand up to color treatment in the same way as human hair. It’s advised to not alter the color of a synthetic wig in order to keep it in good condition.
Full Lace Wigs
Full lace wigs feature a lace cap as the foundation, upon which sections of human or synthetic hair are sewn. The lace is generally quite thin, providing ventilation that makes the wig lightweight, as well as breathable. Plus, the thin lace cap adheres closely and securely to the head, allowing you to install it with precision. This creates an authentic look – full lace wigs look quite natural when installed properly.
A full lace wig has a wig cap that covers the entire head. Many people find this to be more comfortable than lace front options because the lace mesh is thin and breathable, so having the entire lace cap consist of it makes for a more pleasant fit. A full lace wig will also feel and appear more natural than partial wig options.
Full lace wigs are considered to be of very high quality because each hair is individually tied to the lace cap. While this makes full lace wigs more expensive than other options, it also makes them look and feel closer to real hair. Also, when installed properly, a full lace wig will stay in place, even as you move throughout the day.
Main Features of a Full Lace Wig
- Full lace wigs can be parted in any way that you like, and the part may be changed depending on the hairstyle that you choose.
- Full lace wigs include a full-head wig cap made of a thin, breathable, mesh-like material.
- This type of wig is a common choice among people who wear a wig on an everyday basis and need a natural-looking option.
- While full lace wigs come with a higher price tag than some other wig options, they’re also more durable than low-end options. Just be sure to be careful washing and maintaining this type of wig so that it stays in top condition.
- The cap of a full lace wig should meet or slightly exceed your hairline, from your forehead, around the sides of your head, to the nape of your neck.
Lace Front Wigs
A lace front wig is a wig, either made from human hair or synthetic fibers, that’s secured to the crown of the head. Lace front wigs are often attached to the front of the head using some form of adhesive. Due to the fact that lace front wigs only adhere at the front of the head, (not around the entire head, as with a full lace wig), less material is used and the wig is less expensive as a result.
Lace front wigs provide a natural-looking hairline thanks to the scalp hairpiece, or closure, at the wig’s crown. The closure adds to the authenticity of this type of wig but also limits the ways in which it can be parted. While some types of wigs can be styled in virtually any way, lace front wigs can only have one or two different part styles at the front. This restricts the styling options for those wearing lace-front wigs.
The lace portion of a lace front wig is a few inches wide and blends directly into the hairline. The back section of this type of wig consists of netting with sections of human or synthetic hair sewn on. Lace front wigs stay attached to the head with the adhesive or glue at the top of the forehead, adjustable straps at the back of the wigs, and combs around the sides of the hairline for additional security. Or, tracks at the rear of the wig, spanning from one ear to the other, are attached using machine stitching.
Main Features of Lace Front Wigs
- Lace front wigs can be made using any variety of hair. Straight hair, curly hair, crimped hair – all of these styles of hair can be made into a lace front wig.
- Lace front wigs have a smaller section of lace than full lace wigs and are, therefore, typically more affordable. A lace front wig may be a good option for those who are on a budget but still need a wig that they can wear on a regular basis and will withstand frequent use.
- While the front of a lace front wig is constructed from a thin, breathable material, the back portion of this type of wig consists of a thicker, sturdier cap. This contrast is what makes a lace front cap more affordable than other options.
Monofilament wigs are one of the most popular and highly recommended varieties of the wig. The main perk of this type of wig is that is has a very natural look, which is due to the way in which the wig cap is made. A monofilament wig cap is constructed using monofilament, a mesh material often consisting of a blend of fibers. Monofilament is quite thin and see-through, which helps this type of wig appear as natural as possible.
To create a wig with a monofilament wig cap, human or synthetic hairs are generally tied down to the cap one at a time. With this process, the hairs can move individually, much like natural hair from the root. A monofilament wig will move – and feel – more like real hair than virtually any other type of wig. Additionally, with each hair tied down to the cap individually, you can part a monofilament wig in any way that you like. This provides you versatility in your looks, and you’ll have the freedom to switch up your hairstyle depending on the occasion.
Attaching singular hairs to a monofilament cap one by one is a time-consuming process that requires significant effort. Due to this fact, monofilament wigs are some of the most pricey options on the market today. But, they’re also some of the highest quality wigs that you can find. Monofilament wigs are preferred by stylists and by women who wear a wig on a long-term basis.
Main Features of Monofilament Wigs
- Monofilament wigs feel more lightweight than other types of wigs because the mesh wig cap is so thin. This provides breathability so that you’ll stay cool and comfortable, even if you’ll be wearing the wig all day long.
- This type of wig is one of the most durable and long-lasting wig options that you can find. This is because the hand-knotted hairs are less likely to become detached or broken than those that have been sewn on by a machine. So, although monofilament wigs are more expensive than other wig options, they’re also a great investment and will last for many months, or even years, to come.
- The individual knot for every single hair in a monofilament wig means that it falls just like a natural hair would from the root. When you move, or when a breeze blows through the wig, it will appear just as natural hair would. This is possibly the most important reason why so many people prefer monofilament wigs to other wig types.
- Due to the fact that monofilament is quite a thin material, it’s not as sturdy as each individual hair on the wig. You’ll need to be careful when you clean and handle a monofilament wig so as not to damage the lightweight mesh.
- Since you can part a monofilament wig in any way that you want, it’s a preferred choice among stylists and fashion designers for important shows and photo shoots.
Lisa has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Arts. She is an experienced blogger who enjoys researching interesting facts, ideas, products, and other compelling concepts. In addition to writing, she likes photography and Photoshop.