What is a custom wig?
If you’re not sure exactly what makes a wig or piece of facial hair “custom”, that means we create the entire wig from scratch. Each piece is tailored to fit the client, and we put all of the hair in by hand, paying attention to the hair color, texture, growth direction density and style. The piece has a fine lace front that matches the client’s hairline and skin tone. The result is a well-fitting piece that looks ‘at home’ on the wearer, whether it’s a faithful replica of a character’s hair or an original design.
Wigs are very popular right now, for both mainstream and cosplay use- 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. In short, it’s never been easier to find a decent wig ‘off the rack’. So why spend substantially more money and time having a wig 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.
Why, though? What does spending $1300-2000 on a single wig get you?
The right color, texture, density and length. These are the fundamental elements of any wig or facial hair. For our Santas, cosplayers, historical interpreters and other clients, having a wig built to order means all of the details will be right. The wig will have enough hair to achieve the desired style but not so much hair that it looks unnatural or is unnecessarily heavy. The color will match your own color or the color you choose and, it will have realistic highlights and lowlights. The texture of the hair in the wig will be correct, whether it’s matched to your own texture or modeled after a character or taken from an inspiration image.
The right fit. Let’s say you manage to track down a wig in the right color and mostly the right overall look. The hairline is even decent. Many people might be able to use the wig as it is. But what if this wig doesn’t fit your head? You 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.
A custom wig is built to fit you. It’s tailored to your head and face and it’s built with room to accommodate your own hair.
The right hairline. This tends to be the weakest link for most mass-produced wigs. You’re going to need a lace front hairline unless you are planning to wear heavy bangs or a hat. Do you want to have the wig hair pulled back from your 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. The lace front needs to match your skin tone and and the shape of your forehead and face. The density and direction of the hair should be consistent with your hairline or that of the character or source.
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. 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 the right colors and the appropriate texture. This is especially important for facial hair, historical or historical-ish characters, or a wig 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. We 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. You can read more about the differences between synthetic and human hair for wig making here. 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.
“Wig Tech Support”
No, really. When we build a piece for you, we also become part of your support team. Any time you have questions about using it, caring for it or wearing it, we’re here to help. We guide you through each part of the process, from ordering to routine maintenance. Take a look at Client Support Services to see all the ways we make sure your wig works for you.
We offer a full Cleaning and Maintenance Service for when your piece need some TLC.
So how do you decide if it’s worth it?
In general, if you’re doing a project and you can tick off two or more of the above points, then consider a custom wig. If you’re 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, you’ll probably be happier in the long run if you get your pieces made to order.
If you’ve been using a machine made or mass produced wig and are thinking about transitioning to a custom wig, check out What to Expect When you Transition to a Custom Wig.
Ok, but $1350 is still a LOT of money to spend on one wig. And why DOES it cost so much more?
There’s no denying that investing in a custom wig built represents a serious chunk of change for most people.
A tremendous amount of highly skilled labor goes into even “simple” custom pieces and that has a significant impact on the cost. Most wigs take over a full work week to produce, even before styling. The materials costs also affects the price, of course, as do the fixed costs of operating a business. A lot of our clients don’t have a frame of reference for what it takes to produce a handmade custom wig, so being given a quote for $1200-1800 can be a shock.
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.