How to Make Wigs Look Real

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For the most natural look, ask your stylist to cut your wig while you're wearing it.
For the most natural look, ask your stylist to cut your wig while you're wearing it. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

The key to feeling good in a wig is making sure that it looks as real as possible. This is true whether you're dealing with the effects of medical treatment or you're just trying a new look. A good fit and expert styling ensures a flattering -- and natural -- look.

Get Fit

To get the right fit, start with three measurements. Pull your natural hair up into a bun so that it lies flat against your head. Determine the circumference of your head by measuring from the middle of your hairline in the front, along your hairline and back to the middle of your forehead. Determine the length of your head by placing the tape measure at the middle of your hairline in the front and pulling it back over the top of your hair to the nape of your neck. Finally, set the end of the tape measure in front of one of your ears at the hairline and pull it over the top of your head to the other side to determine the width. Bring these measurements when you shop for a wig.

Go Natural

If you can afford a natural wig, it’s definitely the way to go for the most authentic look. While synthetic wigs are usually less expensive and easier to maintain, they are often shiny, which can make them look unnatural. They’re also heat-sensitive, so you can’t style them with curling irons or blow dryers. Natural wigs, on the other hand, are made from real human hair, so they look and behave just like your own hair. You can wash them with regular shampoo and use your usual heated styling tools, such as a blow dryer or flat iron, to make them look more realistic.

Get a Trim

Once you buy a wig, take it to your stylist and have it cut while it’s on your head. Even if you like the style of the wig, it helps to have the hair thinned out in certain spots, such as the temples, because most wigs contain excess hair that can make them look bulky. Your stylist can also trim the wig to flatter your face shape. If you have a synthetic wig, however, make sure the stylist has experience with cutting synthetic hair, because special shears are required for the job.

Reduce Shine

The shine can be a dead giveaway in a synthetic wig. Reduce the shininess to make it look closer to the real thing. Apply hair powder designed for use on wigs, or use a dry shampoo powder or spray. Avoid powders or dry shampoos that are white, because they can show up on black, brown and other dark hair.

Have Fun with Accessories

While your wig may come styled, you don’t necessarily have to wear it the same way every day. Add accessories as you would to your natural hair. Wear a headband in a bright color, or tie a bold floral patterned scarf over your wig to dress it up. Use embellished hair pins or clips to pin back your bangs or just add a little bling to your look.

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