CUSTOM WIG COMPANY POLICIES FOR CUSTOM PIECES
Why do I need a custom wig? I can buy a wig at the local wig shop or on the Internet. Isn’t one wig as good as another?
While there are many mass-made wigs, beards and toupees available for purchase, there are many reasons to commission a custom wig – a custom hairgood is built to fit YOU, it’s fully ventilated (knotted) using high quality hair in the colors and texture you choose, and when it is complete, it will be styled exactly to your liking. Commercially available wigs have many uses, but if you are looking for the most comfortable, believable and durable wig, you need a custom piece. It’s an investment in your work, life, hobby or art that will last for years!
A ventilated wig is a wig that is made entirely by hand, where each hair is knotted in singly using a tiny hook. This same process of knotting is used to make toupees, beards and other hairgoods as well.
Every single hair?!? Why would you tie each hair in singly? Doesn’t that take a long time? Just exactly how many hairs do you put in a wig?
Every single hair is tied in, by hand. All 40,000 (give or take a few) of them, and yes, it does take a long time – but the result is worth it! Doing this allows for the utmost control over the shape, style, texture and color of a wig. It also creates a wig that is thin where it needs to be so that it looks very natural, and conforms to the head and hair of the client. A fully ventilated wig, which includes a lace front, also allows for the maximum amount of versatility in styling and re-styling.
A lace front refers to the foremost visible edge of the wig, that part that covers the forehead and hairline of the client. Because the fine piece of wig lace (a transparent mesh) disappears when laid on skin, wig makers use it for the front edge of wigs – we tie tiny knots into the fine mesh to create a natural, realistic hairline and then let the lace drape out onto the forehead so that the fine knots of hair appear to be growing out of the clients own scalp.
On the left. a ventilated (hand knotted) wig with a lace front. On the right, a machine made “fashion” wig with a hard front. The small “flaps” visible on the temples of the lace front wig are glued down during normal wear to present a seamless front.
When you commission a custom wig or hairgood, the first step is the head or chin wrap. This is a simple and quick process for getting the shape and size of a client’s head, along with a detailed tracing of their hairline. Taking a headwrap (or chin wrap) is very simple. Clients are able to complete the process on their own using our step-by-step instructions and mail the wrap to us. From there, we use the tracing of their head to piece a wig foundation which fits their head, and into which we ventilate hair.
The creation time of a custom piece depends largely on the complexity of the piece and on the build schedule of our shop. The Custom Wig Company generally books several months in advance, especially during the busy Halloween and Christmas seasons. In general, you can expect the build of your piece to take four to six weeks once your piece is in the shop. When you commission your piece, we will be able to give you a timeline and a delivery date for your piece. We are able to accommodate occasional rush orders for an additional charge.
My own hairline is somewhat receded, but I need a wig that has a lower hairline with a pronounced widow’s peak – is this possible?
Yes! While your own head or face shape and hairline is important to the process of creating a natural looking wig, we frequently create wigs for clients with altered or adjusted hairlines to better meet their needs or create a “look”.
My hair is very dark brown and I need a blond wig – won’t my hair show through that delicate lace front?
It might – but we have a variety of techniques to prevent that. While lace fronts ARE very thin and delicate, they are far more opaque than they appear. In some instances, darker hair under a lighter hairline can actually enhance the appearance of the wig by adding a subtle shadow to the hairline. If there is a significant contrast between the client’s hair and the wig hair, we can put a lightweight silk layer (called a “blender”), dyed to match the client’s skin tone, under the foundation of the wig to help their darker hair disappear. For REALLY high-contrast situations, such as a black haired Santa, a blender might be used in combination with a light application of temporary “hair white” to help lighten up the client’s hair under the wig.
The virtue of a lace front wig is that the transparent lace lays over the forehead and allows the hand-knotted hairline to sit on top of your own hair line. In general, your goal is to ease the wig onto your head, letting the lace front settle down onto the forehead. Then check that the wig is sitting on your head straight – it should be the same distance from your ears on either side and the temples or sideburns should be level with each other. Once it is sitting correctly on your head, make sure the lace front is all the way down on your forehead, and that the knotted hairline is at or just slightly below your own hair.
At this point, the wig should be sitting correctly on your head. You can pin the wig to your head if you have hair under the wig or a wrap on your head to secure it to. Otherwise, you can simply apply spirit gum to the lace front, mostly at the temples. To do this, lift up the lace edge, brush on spirit gum, wait a moment for the gum to get tacky, and then press the lace firmly into the glue, using a foam sponge or piece of silk to keep your fingers from sticking to the glue.
Where should I pin my wig to secure it to my head? And what do I do with my own hair under the wig to contain it and hide it? What if I don’t have any hair?
If you have hair longer than 3 or 4 inches, you can make two small, flat pin curls (see below if you need more info on pin curls) on the top of your head and put the remainder of your hair into either flat pin curls on the back of your head OR a couple of tight braids if your hair is long or thick. The goal is for your own hair to be as flat, tight and unobtrusive as possible under the wig. Once your own hair is secured, put a mesh wig cap over it, and pin to your head with bobby pins. This will help keep your hair contained, and give you an extra layer to help anchor the wig to.
If you have hair shorter than 3 inches, or little to no hair, you can use self-sticking athletic wrap to provide an anchor point for your wig. This wrap is available at most pharmacies and sports store. Cut a piece from the roll that is about two times your head measurement. Wrap it tightly around your head above your ears, leaving your hairline exposed. The wrap will stick to itself – make sure it is very tight around your head, and then use pairs of crossed bobby pins to secure it.
In order to help your wig stay on your head, you should secure it with bobby pins and hairpins. If you have pincurls on the top of your head, use large hairpins to secure the wig into each of the pincurls. These will be your primary anchoring points. Then use pairs of crossed bobby pins to secure the back corners of the wig – you are trying to sandwich the back edge of the wig and your wig cap or sport wrap into the bobby pins.
You can also use pairs of bobby pins to secure the areas above your ears, or anywhere else you feel the wig would benefit from being secured.
Follow up the pinning process by using spirit gum to glue down your wig lace as needed.
A pin curl is nothing more than a simple way to secure and flatten a lock of hair to your head. The term originally referred to a method for coiling hair and securing with bobby pins in order to produce a wave pattern in the hair.
For our purposes, it merely means to take a small piece of hair, no more than one inch in thickness (less if your hair is very, very long or very thick), twist it lightly from root to tip, and then place in a coil on the head, securing with a pair of crossed bobby pins.
The goal is for the pin curl to be as secure and flat as possible – it is better to make the pincurl wide and flat than to make it small and squat, as a fatter pin curl will make your wig sit higher off your head, which will make the wig look less natural. If you routinely wear wigs, try to move the location of your pin curls around your head slightly so you are not putting stress on the same piece of hair day after day.
Spirit gum is a resin used for adhering lightweight items, such as facial hair, to the skin. It works best when a thin layer is applied to the skin, allowed to set up for a minute, and then the item to be glued is pressed into the tacky glue. Since spirit gum can irritate the skin with frequent use, I often apply a very thin layer of zinc oxide ointment to the skin prior to the spirit gum. The zinc oxide serves as a barrier to protect the skin without affecting the adhesion.
To remove a piece that has been glued to your skin, use a cotton ball soaked in Spirit Gum Remover or other adhesive remover (such as Ben Nye Bond Off) to loosen the glue. Then gently peel the lace from your skin and remove the piece. If the glue is stubborn, use more remover rather than tugging on the lace – both your skin and wig lace are delicate! Once the piece is off of you, use more remover on your skin to take away the glue residue – then clean the glue off of your piece using the instructions above.
You can buy spirit gum and its various removers from a variety of manufacturers, some of the most common are Ben Nye, Mehron and Kryolan. Many costume or Halloween stores stock spirit gum, and you can purchase it in a variety of sizes from Alcone Company by phone or via their website, alconeco.com.
It is best to clean the lace immediately after wearing. I like to pour 90% isopropyl alcohol into a bowl and briefly soak the lace in the alcohol to loosen the glue. Once the glue has loosened, remove it from the alcohol, lay it on a towel that you don’t care about, and use a soft toothbrush to rub the spirit gum off of the lace. If this doesn’t remove all of the glue, return the lace to the alcohol and repeat. It is better to soak and re-brush than to try and scrub the lace to remove spirit gum, as the lace is delicate and can tear through rough scrubbing.
To remove spirit gum that may have gotten into the hair, a gentle paste of water and baking soda can be used to loosen up the glue, allowing it to be shampooed out with a mild shampoo.
With proper care, human hair is durable and versatile. However, since your wig is made up of many tiny knots, it is important to handle it carefully as the knots can work loose, causing the hair to fall out. Any time you are going to style your wig, you should place it carefully onto a wig block (available from wig retailers) and pin it down across the lace front, using a piece of twill tape between the pins and the lace to help protect and stabilize the lace (this is called “blocking”). Twill tape is a simple woven band that can be purchased at any sewing or craft store – narrow silk ribbon or bias tape can also be used to block a wig.
You can brush and comb your wig as needed, but it is best to use a wide toothed comb or wig brush as they are most gentle on the hair. If the hair has become excessivley tangled, use a spray on conditioner or de-tangler, available at any super store or drug store.
To wash your wig, submerge it in a basin of warm water and mild shampoo, rinse it thoroughly, and then work conditioner through the hair, rinsing it when finished. After rinsing, lay on a towel and gently squeeze excess water out of the hair. Then block the wig using the instructions above. You will need to comb out the tangles post-shampoo, but it is usually best to let the wig dry somewhat first as it will place less stress on the hair and the knots.
You can use heat tools to style human hair wigs, but be careful to use a low temperature and keep a close eye on the hair to ensure it doesn’t over heat. If you are going to use heat on your wig frequently, purchase a heat barrier/protector spray and apply it to the wig before using heat. Depending on the style, you may want to use rollers to style your wig – if you roll your wig, it is very important to make sure the wig is blocked down correctly as the tension of the hair in the roller can tear the lace and other foundation materials.
Human hair wigs work well with most commercial hair products – gels and mousse can be applied while the wig is damp, hair spray can be used to set a style – be wary of reapplying hair spray to a wig, as it can build up quickly and cause the wig to look dull and damaged.
I’ve heard that human hair is expensive, can you build my wig from synthetic hair to lower the cost?
While it is possible to build a wig from synthetic hairs, we don’t generally think it is the best choice for a high quality wig. Though it is cheaper in the short term, synthetic hairs (most often plastic) don’t hold a knot securely, are highly vulnerable to heat and breaking, are difficult to restyle and lack the natural look and feel of human hair.
I really need a wig that is bright blue. Or bright red. Or olive green. Can you make a wig from a “non-natural” color?
Yes – We can dye human hair nearly any color imaginable. The results are vibrant, accurate and colorfast! As with any wig, we use subtle highlights and lowlights in conjunction with the base color to provide the most dynamic color. We can do multi-colored wigs, two-tone wigs, or ombre wigs – the sky is the limit.
One of my hobbies is impersonating historical personalities – can you build me a wig that will help me look like Abraham Lincoln? Or Napoleon? Mark Twain? Queen Elizabeth? Marie Antionette?
Yes! One of our specialties is recreating historical hair – whether that hair belonged to an icon or an everyday person!