First things first. Let’s take a minute to discuss the general characteristics of machine made or mass-produced wigs and custom wigs.
Mass-produced wig characteristics
These wigs are nearly always made by machines and are created to be ‘one size fits many’. Most of the time, machine made wigs are at least partially constructed with strips of hair (weft) sewn to an open foundation of elastic bands. This cap structure means the wig foundation can stretch to accommodate a wider range of head sizes. Factory wigs might have a heavy lace front with machine-punched hairlines or a ‘hard front’ concealed with bangs.
In general, mass-produced wigs are denser – those strips of hair and machine-punching can pack in more hair. They’re often made from synthetic fibers, which can mean the style or texture is permanently fused into the hair. That leads to less maintenance and ensures the wig usually won’t lose its style if you get caught in the rain or perspire heavily while wearing it.
Since the foundation is not custom built, the wig needs to be dense to hide the foundation and the wearer’s own hair, nape and hairline.
None of these characteristics are inherently bad, by the way. A wig that stretches and then cinches back down will often stay put without much extra work. Since the hair is used to conceal the structure and edges, it’s possible to simply plop a factory wig on with minimal prep or work. And the styles are often almost indestructible.
Not every machine made, mass-produced wig will be the same, the the above offers a very rough description.
Custom built wig characteristics
In one sense, a custom wig can be any piece that’s built from scratch and created to the artisans specifications. But for our purposes, we’re going to talk about the style of custom wigs we build, since that’s what our clients will be transitioning to.
Our custom wigs are created entirely from scratch. The wig foundation is nearly always a tailored cap made from sturdy mesh (called veg net). Most of our wigs include a lace front, which is finer and thinner than the veg net. The lace front hairline means that the wig doesn’t require bangs or styling to hide it.
While we do use some strips of weft for some wigs, the majority of our wigs (and in many cases, the entire wig) is hand-knotted. That means each and every hair is tied into the foundation singly, which leads to wigs that are less artificially dense.
Many of our wigs are built with human hair but we do use synthetic hair for some projects. A custom wig usually requires an initial cutting and styling and then at least some re-styling or upkeep and maintenance.
While most of these things are favorable and lead to improvements in fit and appearance, that doesn’t mean they’re inherently superior or without some drawbacks.