Saturday, 27 April 2013

Wig Cutting and Styling

As well as my passion for wig and hairpiece making, I have a more general 'all things hair' obsession too. This isn't even something that developed due to my hair loss, but is deeply rooted in my childhood. I have been pretty crazy on hair since I was a wee one, because hair was my thing, that I liked about myself and that people knew me for - rather ironic, given that it then started to leave me!

Anyway I digress, but the point of this is that to me, there is so much more to the whole wig making process than just making a wig or a hairpiece. That is just the starting point. Once the wig or hairpiece is completed, the magic needs to happen - someone has to turn that raw state into a hairdo. So there is the original styling of whatever has been made - what cut/style you wish to achieve for yourself or the wearer - and then the ongoing care & maintenance of the hair. For me, this aspect of being a wig maker has pushed me to further develop my hairdressing skills. What I have lost in being able to do with my own hair, I have gained in being able to do with other people's bio hair and with the wigs and hairpieces. I enjoy the styling and cutting aspect as much as making the wig or hairpiece itself.

One such project I recently completed:
  1. Take one virgin European human hair wig in the style of a mullet (eek!)
  2. Wash & deep condition the wig
  3. Cut the wig into a bob (as that was what was required, plus it got rid of the mullet)
  4. Blow the wig dry into desired style
So yes, I took the horrendous mullet wig style and rendered it into something more sleek and sophisticated (I think). Pictures below...

This wig needed serious styling help due to it's mullet style

The result is a far more comfortable wig, that looks rather chic. It can be worn in the classic bob style, roughed dried as shaggy layers, or even flicked out.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Starting Out in Wig Making & Supplies

I have had more queries about starting out making wigs. As a result, I have added a search box to help people find information in previous blog posts. Please use it before contacting me, as I may have already provided you with the information and answer.

To recap, this post is helpful for anyone getting started:
I definitely suggest getting the book (and no, I am not an affiliate/don't get paid to say that!), as it will help you to learn wig terminology and provides a useful reference tool, as well as plenty of inspiration.

Wig making supplies -
My UK recommendations are here:
There are others in Europe, but for various reasons including price and ease of ordering, these would be my preference if you are living in Europe. You should be able to order from those companies internationally too (so if you are in the US or Canada, don't discount them), but obviously shipping costs may be prohibitive.

If you are in the US, then His and Her sell wig making supplies. There are other places that sell bits and bobs, but His and Her has the widest selection. Alcone Company sells some products and is worth a look: I have not used either of the US companies - shipping is too expensive and I can get what I need on my side of the pond, so to speak.

I shall also start a glossary of terms, so that people who are confused what various terms mean can refer to it.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Things to Think About When Using Galloon to Make a Wig

One more intensive aspect involved in making a non-bonded wig is the 'structure' required to make it work (stay on your head with minimal intervention). This additional element impacts the amount of time the wig takes to make.

Full Lace Wig - No Galloon
For those of you who are unfamiliar - a full lace wig has a quite unstructured foundation (cap/base). It requires bonding to the scalp with an adhesive tape or glue, because the edges are essentially 'floppy' and they would come away from the scalp/head at the sides. A key element to this type of wig working is it fitting and staying flush to the scalp/skin. This helps the edges and the lace, in general, to blend with the wearer's skin and thus appear flawless.

One way to achieve more structure is to use galloon (a fabric tape). It is used in many off-the-shelf wigs along with higher end VEHH (virgin European human hair) sheitel wigs, in order to create the edge of the wig and sometimes the inside structure too. When combined with any of the following elements: elastic, adjustable straps, combs and clips, galloon helps to ensure the wig will stay both flush to and on the person's head.

Sewing Galloon Seams
With my first non-bondable foundation design, I quickly realised that using galloon adds to the labour requirements  far more extensively than when making a full lace wig without it. The full lace wig cap is definitely the quicker and somewhat easier option, in terms of making it from scratch and ventilating to it. A full lace wig requires some darts to give it shape, and usually some joining of fabric/a seam or two. On a non-bonded, fully hand tied wig, you have all that to do, plus pinning the galloon to match the hairline/head shape (in this case around the edge, crown and above the nape), then sewing it to the lace or other foundation material. When you add to that the time  taken ventilating into the galloon versus just lace, using galloon is more time consuming.

The upside for someone like me, who has a mix of hair loss/alopecia, chronic health limitations and allergies to products, is that this type of foundation/cap gives me the feel of full lace without the issues that caused me to stop wearing them. As someone who has gone back to wearing non-custom wigs that are constructed of a far thicker base (a sheitel wig), I love the lightweight lace cap because it feels less hat-like and less obvious to me. I tend to prefer fully hand tied because I feel the hair mimics natural hair growth. I also find it more comfortable and cooler in the summer months.