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Concise Guide to choosing and buying your wig or hairpiece

Wig base types

Basically there are three types of wig bases or caps. The cap can be machine made, hand made or a combination of both.

Machine made wig bases or caps

Machine made wig caps are the most durable. The hair (normally synthetic) is attached to a "weft". The weft is a long string onto which the hair has been sewn prior to sewing the weft onto a machine made cap. A machine made cap is one that is "wefted" in all areas of the cap. These are generally the cheapest wig bases as they can be mass produced.

Combination wig bases

The construction of the combination wig cap varies between manufacturers. In general, the crown is a fine mesh net, a monofilament fabric or polyurethane material, and may or may not have mesh net sides with a wefted back. This type of wig is less expensive than a fully hand tied wig, but it offers some of the finer features of the hand tied wig.

Hand tied wigs

A hand tied wig cap is a slightly stretchy mesh net on which hair can be tied or knotted by hand. Most have a polyurethane border. This feature is very useful as it's a base for double sided tape which will provide extra comfort and security. The crown of the wig is made from monofilament which is transparent and allows the natural skin colour of the scalp to show through. Monofilament bases are semi-permeable which ensures ventilation, allowing your scalp to breath. Because of the cost of the labour involved, these wigs are more expensive.

Wig Types

Modacrylic Fibre Wigs

The most commonly worn wig is the modacrylic fibre stock wig. The range of hair styles and colours available in this type of wig are now considerable. Modacrylic fibre wigs come with or without monofilament tops. They are expected to last 9-12 months.

Human hair wigs

Wigs made from human hair are made with two types of hair, European hair and processed hair.

Processed hair is hair derived from China or India, which has been refined and the outside layer of the hair (cuticle) removed. This process stops the hair from tangling. The hair is then heavily colour treated affording a wide variety of shades from blonde to black. All hair wigs fade over time however. Wigs made from processed hair are less expensive than wigs made from European hair.

There are a limited amount of ready-to-wear processed real hair wigs, normally on nylon monofilament top bases.

Scalp Moulds for Wig bases

If you have complete hair loss, a transparent base can be made from using mould of your scalp. Hair is then hand knotted to the base. These wig bases are called supplex or dermalites.

Each type of wig and base can be made in a partial form when a full wig is not necessary. When a cast or template is called for then specialist skills are required. It can also take 8-14 weeks to make!