Styling Your Wig for Cosplay

Styling wigs can either be an easy or difficult process depending on what the hairstyle is. You may need extra materials to help with this process or even a friend’s head to borrow while you work on the wig.

With lace front and full lace wigs you have a bit of wiggle room and don’t have to stress too much about the weft of the wig showing. This also applies to full human hair wigs. Because the hair of these wig types are sewn one strand at a time, there is more flexibility. You can part these wigs without having the weft show. These can also be braided.

Pure synthetic wigs and full weft wigs are difficult to style because of the wefts potentially being exposed, but it can be done.

So how do you style your wig?

Well, first you’ve hopefully looked at the hairstyle for your character. Does it have spikes, braids, pigtails or the like?

You’ll want to have a picture readily available of your character and their hairstyle. You’re going to use this to help get the hairstyle as close to the real thing as possible.

Next, gather the materials required to help fix the hair. All of these materials can be purchased online, at local stores, or beauty supplies stores. Start locally if you can, and do some price research and reviews before making a choice.

Materials Needed

  • Hair threading loop
  • Hair spray
  • Hair gel
  • Wig brush
  • Wide toothed comb
  • Hair curlers
  • Ponytail holders, barrettes, decorative pieces, etc.
  • Water
  • Spiking hair wax
  • Spritzer spray bottle
  • Curling iron
  • Straightener
  • Heat resistant spray
  • Scissors
  • Blow dryer
  • Mannequin head

Braiding

Simple centered heart with two side braids

There are numerous tutorials floating around on various hairstyles involving braids. One place to start is YouTuube.

Braiding a full lace, frontal lace or human hair wig is easiest. These wigs don’t expose the wefts to the world. Braiding synthetic and plastic wigs is harder but possible.

When you braid your wig, there may be difficulty if it’s entirely plastic. The hair can be very slick and slide out of your grip or refuse to maintain the braided style. Because of this, you may need to use materials like hairspray, gel or water to make the hair less slick. Reasons like this are why some people prefer the more costly types of wigs. I use a variety of the wig types.

In the image above, I didn’t use anything. It’s a frontal lace, synthetic wig with a lot of slickness. Since I know how to braid hair generally, I was able to maintain the style by making the braids a little bit tight and securing them with rubber bands, being mindful of not pulling too hard. For the small heart in the center, I used two larger hair ties that were strong enough to hold the heart in place while it attached to the hair underneath the heart.

Some people buy extensions for their wigs and braid the extensions. Then they attach it to the main wig. This would be convenient for those worried about exposing the weft of their wigs. I just braid straight from the wig itself and work around the weft.

Don’t pull on the hair when braiding your wig. It’s actually a really easy thing to do. As someone who frequents putting their hair up, I pull on my own hair often to slick it back. You can’t do this with wigs though so always keep that in mind.

Spiking

This can take a really long time depending on your character. Keep an image of your character’s hairstyle on hand. You may be doing some chopping, but for the most part you’ll be using hairspray and gel to maintain your character’s spikes.

Start from an angle that best suits your comfort zone and needs. Some people prefer to work their way back, and others reverse. Then there are those who work from side to side. Regardless, doing the hairstyle of the wig in sections is a good start.

Spiking hair gel, wax or pomade are beneficial to this process. Just a small dab of it can help with keeping those spikes in place.

First, you want to gather a section of hair you want for your first spike.

Take a smaller comb and tease the hair towards the weft of the wig. A smaller toothed comb makes it easier. Teasing is backcombing hair in order to achieve a fuller volume with hair by creating knots.

Take hairspray and spray the bottom of the spike where you finished teasing it to give it more stabilization and blow dry it.

Now shape your spike in the direction you would like it to flow and spray it again with the hairspray. Blow dry this. I use the cool setting on my own hair dryer to avoid heat damage to the wig.

After you’ve finished shaping your spike, twist the tip to give it a seal to prevent the spike from coming undone. Spray the tip or use some form of gel to completely seal the tip off. Some people use a small dab of glue.

Straightening

Make sure the wig being used is heat-resistant. I can’t stress that enough. The last thing you want is a ruined wig or flat iron. I’ve done that before on accident. I’m clumsy, and I’ll leave it at that lol.

Take a preferably small section of hair with a straightener to the small section making sure to use low heat. I gather about an inch or two of hair at one time. Yes this would mean it taking a bit to complete the process, but I have a very perfectionist habit.

Using a wide toothed comb, gently comb the section just straightened. It may be warm, so for those who are heat sensitive, be careful of burning your hands. I can’t say how many times I’ve straightened my own hair and the hair of a wig and immediately taken a comb to it only to realize that it was slightly hot to the touch. My hands did not appreciate the sensation.

Repeat this process until all the hair is straightened.

Curling

If it’s human hair, you can probably get away with using a curling iron. However, curlers and a light amount of hairspray if you think it’s necessary will get the job done.

Curlers come in many styles and sizes, so try different ones to figure out what works best for the style you want to achieve.

Divide the hair into large sections and then smaller sections.

Take these smaller sections and begin curling from the ends towards the weft.

Pin the curlers in place using bobby pins.

When releasing the curlers, don’t tug too hard. Remember, wigs don’t regrow hair.

Do this until the rest of the wig is complete.

So that covers the styling basics. If you have any suggestions or just wanna chat, leave a comment below. I promise I’m friendly. 🙂

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