Top 4 Things You Can Do To “Keep It Real”
Very few people want to draw attention to themselves by wearing a wig or hair piece. Of course, there are those celebrity exceptions who wear hair to accent their flamboyant style, (think Lady Gaga and Dolly Parton). But, for the vast majority of hair wearers, the goal is to keep things natural and undetectable. Here are the top four things you can do to maintain a natural look while wearing hair.
4. Choose multi-dimensional color, not mono-chromatic.
A common head of hair will typically consist of at least three different shades of hair color. For example, if someone has a base color of medium brown hair, (which is color #4 on the hair color wheel), you will often see accompanying shades of #2 and #6—a darker and lighter shade of brown. Natural color differences typically stay within the same shade spectrum, although things like sun exposure have been known to have a lightening effect. Because a multi-tonal effect is natural, it is important to choose a wig or hair piece that blends more than one color together to simulate realness. You can choose to do this by mixing two close colors together, adding high and lowlights, “rooting” hair pieces, or by doing a balayage/ombre color application. Bottom line: when picking a color choose to blend.
3. Shine Control! There is a difference between a natural sheen versus a glaring shine.
Healthy hair should reflect light and produce a natural sheen. There is a youthful vigor that is associated with hair that can properly capture this effect. There are hair pomades, glazes and deep conditioning treatments the promote luster. Wig and hair piece manufacturers have tried to replicate that healthy glow too. Many hair manufacturers coat the hair in a silicone bath after stripping away the cuticle. This results in hair that looks unnaturally shiny. Fortunately, there is a way to tame the shine to create a subtler appearance. Shampooing will minimize shine but usually takes several washes. Some quick fixes include the following: baby powder, cornstarch, dry shampoo. These products take effect immediately and require very little prep time. Just shake or spray at the roots and slowly blend it outwards. The great thing is, these are basic household products and are very inexpensive. Fortunately, this method works on both synthetic and human hair.
2. Blend your natural hairline with your hair piece when possible, to create a undetectable transition.
If you wear a wig or a hair topper and have a front hairline, consider yourself lucky. If there is one time when being neat and tidy can be ignored, it is for this occasion. Don’t tuck away all your hair underneath a stocking and don’t move a hair topper to the very front of your hairline. If you can, leave about a one forth to an inch of your hairline out of the wig or hair topper. This will give you a natural effect as your hair transitions into the hair piece. Most people have hairlines that include fine, baby hairs or wisps that accent the forehead and sides. Use this to your advantage as it makes a world of difference in the overall look. Blend your own bio hair with the hair piece by dampening both and brushing it together to create a seamless transition.
1. Avoid a fake or “wiggy” look by choosing hair pieces that have a natural scalp effect.
Many low-end wigs are attractive to buyers because of the price point. These hair units will have a teased root instead of being able to see a scalp line. The matted hair at the base also gives the hair a helmet look. Both the helmet-like volume and teased roots are dead giveaways to someone wearing hair.
Higher up on the quality chain would be hair units that offer lace. The see-through lace base is a better choice because it is breathable, more flexible to the head, and allows a simulated scalp line to show. The precaution with this kind of lace is that it looks real until you get close-up, and then you can see the lace netting.
Above the basic lace design is a monofilament top. Many mid-grade wigs and hair pieces will use a monofilament top. Like the lace, it offers breathability and flexibility, but it is made with a finer base construction and so it is less obvious to detect up close. However, unless the hair that has been knotted to the base of the unit has been bleached, the black knots will be visible (almost like fleas) on your scalp. Bleaching can minimize this effect. The downside to bleaching these knots is that the bleach makes the hair prone to breakage. In the end, you could be spending more money for a higher-end product that will not last as long.
Finally, the crème de la crème for realness of hair growing from the scalp is what the industry calls a “silk top” base. It would be nearly impossible for anyone to detect a silk top design from hair growing directly out of one’s scalp. You could be near and still not detect a silk top hair unit. It is made with three fine layers consisting of lace and silk. The hair is knotted to a base and meticulously pulled through another layer to hide the knot, and then finally pulled out to the top layer of silk. It is a tedious process, that can only be done by hand. Unfortunately, the price point of these hair units reflects the time investment it requires. However, it is by far the most natural looking and undetectable.
Depending on your budget and the look you are trying to achieve, you have choices that will help you reach your desired look.