This isn’t a sales pitch for commissioning a wig from us, though it may sound like it. This is a breakdown of how and when having a wig built is going to be worth the additional cost. If you’re not sure exactly what makes a wig “custom”, that means we create the entire wig from scratch, it’s tailored to fit the client, and we put all of the hair into by hand, including a hand-knotted (or lace-front) hairline. We make our wigs and facial hair just like they make them for film and tv, much the same way wigs have been built for centuries.
Wigs are very popular right now, you can buy them all over the place, in local shops or on the internet. They come in a seemingly endless range of colors, styles and prices. You can even pick up machine made “lace front” wigs with decent hairlines at very reasonable prices, and most of those can be re-styled using heat tools. So why spend substantially more money and time having a wig or beard made to order?
The short answer is, quality. The longer answer is that the cheaper and more accessible options might work perfectly well for many uses, but what about the other times? Let’s say you spent hours of your time sourcing the perfect fabric and materials, more hours painstakingly sewing your garment, and a whole other bunch of hours tracking down the accessories and props and designing your makeup. If you’ve put that much time, energy, love and, yes, money, into creating the very best costume, it’s worth considering having the wig or facial hair made to go with it.
The right wig – color, texture, length. We can build almost anything. That’s especially important if you need a wig or facial hair that isn’t likely to be available as a mass produced product. For our Santas, cosplayers, reenactors and tribute artists, having a wig built to order means all of the details will be right – no wrong colors, plastic sheen or hair that just isn’t the right texture.
The right fit. Let’s say you manage to track down a wig in the right color and mostly the right style. The hairline is even decent on it, since it has a shallow machine-made lace front. Many people might be able to use the wig as it is, which is great. But what if this wig doesn’t fit your head? Your put it on, and you pull and you tug, and it doesn’t cover your nape. Or your forehead. Or your ears. Fitting issues get worse with updos and short hairstyles.
The right hairline. This tends to be the weakest link for most mass produced wigs. You’re going to need a good hairline unless you are planning to wear heavy bangs or a hat. Does your character have his or her hair pulled back for their face? Then you need a wig with a lace front hairline. And that hairline needs to match up well enough with your own hairline to cover it completely. This is really important if your own hair is very dark but your wig is white or light, or if your own hairline is quite a bit higher or thinner than the desired style.
The right style. You’re going to need to either buy a wig that looks exactly like the hairstyle you’re going for, or you’re going to have to try and re-style it to do what you need. If you’re comfortable with hair and wig styling, then you’ll probably do great with a purchased piece. If styling isn’t in your wheelhouse, then it might be good to job that out.
The right hair. This goes back to quality, and also the getting the right wig for the job. You do get what you pay for and if realism and believability are important to you, or you want to use your wig for a long time, or if your wig needs to be easily styled and restyled, it’s important to make sure your wig is created from the best hair for the job. That means carefully chosen, good looking, realistic, durable hair, in an appealing color or colors and the appropriate texture. This is really important for facial hair, historical or historical-ish characters or characters who have hair that needs to look and act like “real” hair.
It’s not just about using human hair, either – choosing the right hair can also mean using a quality synthetic fiber because it more accurately reflects the aesthetic of the piece, or because a wig can be created successfully from a good synthetic hair at a lower price point. Whenever possible, we try to present as many options for fiber quality and price as we can, so that our clients can pick the best option for their needs and their budget – some projects work well with both human or synthetic hairs, and some don’t. Having knowledgeable artisans to cover the pros and cons of different hair fibers ensures you get the best possible result, and allows you to make an informed decision.
In general, if you’re doing a project and you can tick off two or more of the above points, then you might want to consider a custom wig. If you’re just doing the project casually, or for a single event, then it might not make sense to have a piece made. But if you plan to wear your wig or beard frequently or for the next decade, you’ll probably be happier in long run if you get your pieces made to order.
It is. And this paragraph is as close to a sales pitch as this article will get. There’s no denying that is a serious chunk of change for most people. A lot of our clients didn’t even know having a wig made to order was an option before they came to us, so being given a quote for $600-900 was a shock to them because they had no context for it. If you decide it’s worth the investment, then we can help you set up a payment plan so you can have the wig you want on terms that make sense for you. There’s no additional cost involved in using an installment plan, and we are very flexible with the terms and schedule. Our advice is to do some research, talk to us about your project, and plan your order well in advance when possible. Yes, it might mean you have to postpone a project or use a temporary piece, but you’ll find it’s worth the wait.