Hollywood has always had a love affair with wigs.
With the ability to instantly transform a look, wigs are a celebrity staple. The technology has become so advanced, there are probably more wigs on the red carpet than you think (think: lace fronts). Some celebrities wear them discreetly, while others opt for bright colors and lengths that are much different than their own. One thing is for sure: The stigma of wearing a wig is gone. So, now we can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about behind Hollywood wigs, including why they can cost up to $8,000 a piece!
To get all of our questions answered, we talked to two celeb-loved wigmakers. Amy Gibson is the stylist that celebrities go to when they don't want the public to know that they're wearing wig. After her journey with Alopecia Areata (an immune disease that causes hair loss), she specializes in helping women that are losing their tresses. At the other end of the spectrum is Tokyo Stylez, the hair designer responsible Kylie Jenner's standout hair pieces. He's known for creating head-turning styles that have the likes of Naomi Campbell, Kim Kardashian and Ariana Grande making appointments.
Why are wigs so popular in Hollywood?
Amy Gibson: The stigma that you must be sick to wear a wig really doesn't exist anymore, because 50 percent of women are wearing wigs or extensions or some kind of hair. In Hollywood, a celebrity's hair is commonly overworked, because they have to get ready quickly and often. It gives women the opportunity to expand an idea of their self without compromising their hair's health, which they may not be able to do with the hair they were born with. I watch wigs instantly increase my clients' confidence and sensuality, because they can step outside of themselves.
What's the process for creating a wig?
Tokyo Stylez: Normally I sit in front of the wig block and figure out the whole creation in my mind first. From there, I create the base and dye. Then, I customize the hair line. Once that's done, I go into style mode. A normal unit (a.k.a. wig) takes me about two hours to complete.
How do you select the best style for your client?
AG: First, I look at the symmetry of their face. If a woman doesn't want anyone to know she's wearing a wig, but she wants to look fabulous, you have to consider the density. If the hair is too dense, it won't look natural.
How do you chose the color of the wig?
TS: I like using Manic Panic hair. They already have great colors that I can mix for my desired look. It makes my job much easier.
AG: I take my client outside, into the sunlight, and compare the highlights of the wig to the inside color of her eye. For example, if a woman has brown eyes, she'll look great with auburn highlights, because the gold and brown hues complement each other very well.
How much do your wigs cost?
TS: I start around $900, but I have units that cost upwards of $5,000.
AG: For synthetic hair, it starts around $1,000 and caps at $3,000. For human hair, the price ranges from $2,000 to $8,000.
How do you care for your wigs?
TS: I wrap my units in satin. To clean them, I love Moroccan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. But, as long as the shampoo and conditioner is sulfate-free, you can't lose. Tip: If ladies are wearing them overnight always make sure to secure the hairline so the wig will last longer.
How can wigs damage your natural hair? What are the best ways to avoid damage?
AG: As a cancer hair loss expert, it's so important that wigs are breathable. If it isn't breathable, natural hair won't be able to grow. Wig clips can also damage hair if you don't know how to work with them. Tip: Make sure to take your time when you're unclipping your wig, so your hair doesn't get caught.
TS: Units are a great protective style, especially if your hair is already damaged. However, leaving the unit on too long without taking good hair of your natural hair first will lead to more damage. Make sure you follow a healthy natural hair regimen before throwing a unit on.
There you have it!