Monday, January 13, 2020

Wigs, Wigs, Wigs, and More Wigs

Mannequins, Wig, Hair, Blond, Wig, Wig When my sister lost her hair due to chemo, she opted not to wear wigs but I know many women who do historical recreations who rely on the use of wigs to create "the perfect look".  I own a few hairpieces to fill out the look because I have super long hair and can create the basic hairstyle.

The term "wigs" comes from the term "periwig" used to describe the type of wig made famous by the return of King Charles to the throne  in 1660.  It refers to a style of wig we see worn by barristers in the English court even now.

Records indicate wigs were used as far back as Ancient Egypt.  They often shaved their heads to keep from getting lice and to stay cooler in the extreme heat.  At this point in time, wigs were made out of human hair for the highest classes, sheeps wool for middle class and vegetable fibers for the poor.  In addition, wigs protected heads from getting sunburned.  Women often decorated their wigs with braids, gold, ivory ornaments, or and hair rings while men's wigs were plain.  Those of higher social rank wore the more elaborate wigs.

Most other societies such as Greeks, Assyrians, Phoenicians  used wigs including the Romans who often made wigs using human hair from slaves.  Women in Roman society used elaborate wigs to add volume and create better hairstyles. On the other hand, societies in Asia did not use wigs except in theatrical productions or by specific specific entertainers.

The use of wigs continued in the west until medieval times when styles dictated that women cover their heads so the need for wigs decreased tremendously for a few hundred years but in the Renaissance, heads coverings disappeared and the use of wigs returned and their use became wide spread.

In England, Queen Elizabeth I loved wearing elaborate wigs and she set the style in England while King Louis XIII started the trend of using elaborate wigs in France when he began going prematurely bald and wanted to cover it up.  This caused the first wigmakers guild to form in France back in 1673 because wigs became an intricate part of fashion.  Over time, the wigs became higher and more elaborate, filled with flowers, birds, and so many other things.

Due to the demand for elaborate wigs, the number of wig makers skyrocketed in France, England, Europe, and America.  Many wigmakers traveled the country side producing wigs for the common man without the permission of the guilds.  Men wore wigs even in America but it was a shorter, less elaborate wig called a "Bob wig" in the late 18th century.

Soon after the French Revolution, wigs began fading out of popular use.  Men returned to a more natural look while many women used hair pieces to create the actual look.  Over time, the use of wigs decreased but in the early 1900's one person is given credit for using wigs to create different looks on the same models at a fashion show.  Since then, wigs how gained in popularity because they allow people to change their looks without changing their hair.

In fact, there are even places out there where you can get the perfect wig styled to your exact standards and leave with it, much like going into a beauty parlor to get it done.  Otherwise, you can visit a hair store, or order off line.

There are five things to keep in mind when buying a wig.  The first is the actual hairstyle of the wig.  Second is the length of the hair.  Do you want a short, medium, or long length.  Third is the texture of the wig.  Do you want straight, wavy, curly, or frizzy?   You might even think about style because certain styles look better with certain face shapes.  This site has a nice infographic to help you with that or you can visit the local wig store to check different ones out.

Fourth is the color of the wig.  When my sister changed to a dark hair color from being blond, she had to change her make up and even then the dark color didn't look quite right with her skin tone.  Sometimes it is not the blond or brunette, it is the shade chosen that makes the difference, so if one color doesn't work, try a different shade to see if it is better.  The last consideration is the cap size.  If the size is too small, it won't fit right and if it's too big, it may look like a wig and may not stay on right.

Not all wigs are constructed in the same way and that can effect its final look.  The ways they construct wigs are as follows:

1. 100 percent hand tied hair or hand knotted.  This type of wig is said to have the most natural look where hair moves and flows naturally.   In this wig, every strand is hand knotted to the cap and if you have sensitive skin, this is the one most often recommended because it is softer.

2. A Lace Front cap has a natural hair line.  This is the best type of wig if you like styles where hair is pulled away from your face.  In this hair is tied individually in the lace front part but not on the whole wig.  Unfortunately, this material is more delicate than others so it needs special handling and may not wear as well for an active life style but it does come ready to wear.

3. Monofilament Top Wig looks as if hair is growing naturally from the scalp at the part.  The hair is hand tied to the sheer base but not the whole cap.  This type of wig is the most popular type of wig worn and when purchasing the wig, you can choose from full top, parted, or crown areas.

4. Open Cap or Wefted Wig is the most basic of wigs.  The hair in the wig is lifted due to the teasing done at the roots before you purchase the wig.  It offers good ventilation and if you can't afford much, it offers the best wig for the dollar.

Wigs are made of either human hair or synthetic fibers.  Each has something going for it.

Human hair has the most natural look and feel.  They can be styled and can be quite durable but once you wash the hair, it does have to be restyled and tend to be the most expensive.  Synthetic hair fibers can provide a natural look and feel but they cannot be styled as well because you cannot use heat from blow dryers or curling irons unless you get one that is specifically designed for heat up to 350 degrees.

One last thing, if you buy a wig be sure to use products designed for wigs to make them last longer.  This includes shampoo, conditioner, brushes, and combs, etc.

I hope this helps you figure out if you want to indulge in a wig and if so what to consider.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

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