To the uninitiated, the world of wigs can be daunting. From wefts and edges to closure and glue, there’s a whole lexicon of niche terms that first time wig wearers, or the wig curious, have probably never heard before. Even the wig savvy can probably benefit from, ahem, brushing up on their vocab. Get your flashcards, kids; there’s gonna be a quiz.
THE WIG DOS·SI·ER
BABY HAIR: Small strands of fine hair added to the base of a wig’s frontal hairline. (NB: Not made from babies.)
BLEACHED KNOTS: On full lace and lace front wigs, hair strands are tied into the lace cap, leaving exposed knots. By bleaching the knots, a delicate and painstaking process (move those baby hairs outta the way!), the knot becomes virtually invisible, making the wig construction less apparent.
BLENDED WIG: Good rule of thumb: If a wig price is too good to be true (read: under $400) it’s probably blended, meaning a mix of human and synthetic hair.
CLOSURE: A hairpiece with a base of lace or silk made to look like your natural scalp that you affix to the crown of your head. Paired with a weave, this added piece covers the hair you would normally leave out. Can also be used in wig-making to create a natural scalp effect for that flawless finish.
EDGES: The base of your hairline.
EXTENDED NAPE / NECK: The most common neckline feature on wigs, this means an extra extension has been sewn to the bottom of the wig cap, allowing for coverage of the hairline at the nape of the neck. A great place to tuck stray neckline hairs when you want to wear your wig in an updo.
FALL: A half wig piece used at the crown for length or fullness. The hair line is left exposed and blended into the fall for the most natural appearance.
FRONTAL: A ventilated lace piece installed with a weave that covers the front of the hairline and gives coverage from ear to ear; when adhered it looks like your natural hairline. Frontals give you the flexibility of wearing your hair up or parted in a zigzag should you so desire.
FULL LACE WIG: A wig with a base made entirely of mesh lace in which every strand of hair has been ventilated. Full lace and lace front wigs are secured to the hairline with spirit gum and should be removed after each use.
HAND-TIED CONSTRUCTION: See Ventilation
INSTALL: The process of attaching a wig to your head, a.k.a. where the shapeshifting happens.
LACE FRONT WIG: A wig with a ventilated lace piece that covers the front of the hairline and gives coverage from ear to ear. It’s adhered closely to the hairline to give the appearance of growing directly from your scalp.
LAID EDGES: Baby hairs that have been gelled and styled.
MONOFILAMENT WIG: Each hair in a monofilament wig is hand-stitched into a semi-transparent, mesh material that allows for the wig to show off your scalp along the lines of the natural parts in your hair style. Unlike a full lace or lace front wig, a wig with this type of cap construction doesn’t require wig glue.
NATURAL HAIR: Human hair that hasn’t been chemically treated, heated, or processed in any way.
SYNTHETIC HAIR: Hair made from plastic fibers and low-grade acrylic that is heated and strung into strands to make individual hair fibers.
UNDER KNOTTING: When hair is added to the edge of the underside of a hair piece to hide the edging of the wig cap.
UNIT: Your wig, weave, or extension.
VENTILATION: The process of tying or knotting individual hairs by hand into the base of the unit.
VIRGIN HAIR: Unprocessed human hair.
WEFT: A long curtain of loose hair that’s been sewn onto a fine strip of cloth that creates a seam, or weft, that you sew or otherwise attach to your natural hair or wig.
WIG CAP: A lightweight, stretchable cap worn under a wig that holds the wearer’s natural hair flat. Helps prevent slippage.
WIG TAPE: Double-sided, medical grade sticky tape that’s safe to use on your skin. Some wigs have silicone strips on the underside of the cap that you can line up with wig tape on your scalp to ensure maximum comfort security. Bonus: Can double as boob tape in a pinch.