Wigs and Hair
What makes wigs so important?
One of the first items that most crossdressers will purchase and one which makes an incredible difference to your look is a wig. Wigs have the power to transform your look as well as round out and shape your face.
I bought my first wig over 15 years ago and I still have it and wear it today. A good wig isn't necessarily expensive in my experience but the style and usage can make a huge difference to its longevity.
I've compiled and put together all of the information that I have gathered over the years into this page so you can jump straight in. My taste in wigs may not work for you but the general principles are sound.
What about my real hair?
When I was in my early 20's I grew my hair out until about shoulder length. It grew in ringlets and bobbed around my face in a satisfying way, particularly when head-banging. Having gone through that, I know what it takes to grow and manage longer hair and I've never been tempted to go back.
I tend to keep my real hair very short which means that I have less to store away under a wig and less heat to manage in the summer. I typically don't bother wearing a cap over my real hair since it isn't long enough to require it.
If you have longer real hair you may want to wear a wig cap to hold everything in place but otherwise I haven't found it to be necessary unless you are trying on a wig and use it for hygiene reasons.
Choosing a first wig
When you are buying a wig for the first time it can be a daunting decision to make, particularly on a budget. My advice is to go simple and cheap to begin with.
My first wig cost about £40 and was a synthetic, black bob pictured here. I bought this because it seemed manageable and it was pretty cheap. I'm still using it 15 years later and it's aged a lot better than me!
My tendency is towards the conservative when I'm getting into something new so I would advise going for a wig with straight hair, around shoulder length, synthetic fibres and with a natural colour (e.g. darker roots if it's blonde). Spend around £30-50 if you can and look for deals on end of stock items. You aren't going to get quality and flamboyant style for that money and I'd rather opt for quality.
Understanding what type of wig will work for you is pretty hit and miss with online shopping and people could go their whole dressing life not realising that a groundbreaking new look is just a few clicks away.
My primary advice is to look for either wig shops or dressing services that have a wide variety of wig options for you to try.
My first (and for a long time my favourite) Noriko "Angelica" wig was one I tried on at Translife in Brighton. I'd gone there for a makeover and tried on several wigs. This was my first ever usage of blonde and I couldn't stop looking at what a difference it made to me.
These services give you an excellent opportunity to get your hands on several different wig types and see what really works for you.
For the longest time I remained a complete noob when it came to different types and styles of wigs. Monofilament, Lace Front, Human hair blend? so many different options that it's hard to get started. Here's my perspective:
Synthetic vs human hair - I've only ever owned synthetic but I've tried human hair and although I could tell the different with the feel, I didn't notice any spectacular difference in look.
Monofilament - Looks more natural as if the hair is rising from the scalp but for casual wear isn't essential
Lace Front - Achieves a really nice, blended hairline that looks natural (see "Taylor"). Lace front wigs are the biggest change to my routine on wigs, they can achieve some stunning and natural looking results
Most of my wigs are from two brands, Noriko and Hair by MissTresses.
Noriko - Really lovely wigs which tend to be pricey but are widely available and stocked at many online stores including Amazon. Shop around for the best price on the style you like.
Hair By MissTresses - An online store that design their own range of wigs which cover a wide variety of styles from the sensible to the more flamboyant. They also have a physical location that you can visit by appointment to try on different styles in comfort. I would thoroughly recommend their service, see my video review here:
Storage and Maintenance
Storage - I keep my wigs in some plastic covers that I bought from Amazon. These keep them clean and dust free and can be hung up in the wardrobe if space is a premium. I curl the wigs up and store them in a hair net before putting them in the plastic cover for safekeeping.
Maintenance - I won't go into details of how to wash wigs, you can find that on many different websites and it's always a good idea to follow the manufacturer guidelines. What I will say is that shorter 'bob' styles last way longer than others because you don't get sweat on the back of the neck which strips the fibres and causes that irritating tangling...