Anime & Manga Cosplay Corner

Cosplay 101: Caring for Your Wigs

Local cosplayer and Shuffle's Anime & Manga writer recently cosplayed as Rogue from "X-Men" at Austin Comic Con this month. Here she dons the don for her cosplay. Photo by Taylor Boswell.
Local cosplayer and Shuffle’s Anime & Manga writer recently cosplayed as Rogue from “X-Men” at Austin Comic Con this month. Here she dons the don for her cosplay. Photo by Taylor Boswell.

Wigs and cosplaying go hand in hand. Depending on the character you dress up as, you are probably going to need a wig so you look exactly like the part, and not just someone wearing a costume. You want to be that character, so wigs will become your best friend (and worst enemy) when you start cosplaying.

By Taylor Boswell

However, wigs can get pretty expensive, so to ensure that you get your money’s worth and have your costume to wear for cons in the future, you need to know how to care for your wigs. Here are a few simple tips, so you can wear it again and again and still look fabulous.

Wash your wig after a few uses

Think of your wigs as your own hair: your hair needs to be washed after a day of running around a con, right? You do not have to wash your wig after every use, but I do suggest washing it after five times of wearing it around a convention floor. Washing it is very simple: all you need is some cold water, a sink, some dish soap (or wig shampoo; both are fine, it just all depends on your budget) and towels. You wash the wig like you would your own hair and then you pat it dry with the towels. Now, some higher quality wigs are able to withstand the heat of a hair dryer/blow dryer, along with other hair care appliances, but others cannot. You need to be extremely care and know what the fibers of the wig are made of before you try to blow dry, straighten, or curl a wig. One example of a wig that can withstand heat is a wig made up of hiperlon fibers.

Local cosplayer and Shuffle's Anime & Manga writer Taylor Boswell keeps her Rogue wig on a wig stand to let the hair sit out. Photo by Taylor Boswell.
Boswell keeps her Rogue wig on a wig stand to let the hair sit out. Photo by Taylor Boswell.

Use wig heads/stands for longer wigs

After you’re done cosplaying and your next convention isn’t for another couple of months, you need to know how to properly store your wigs. Longer wigs are best kept on a wig head/stand, so the hair has more room to move freely and less chance of tangling. One option for longer wigs that are straight is that you can braid the wig, so the hair is not moving around a bunch and getting in the way of things. Though if you do this, remember to undo the braid every once in awhile so the wig does not become wavy while waiting for your next convention.

Boswell owns a shorter wig for her Catwoman cosplay, and for shorter wigs, she suggests storing in boxes. Photo by Taylor Boswell.
Boswell owns a shorter wig for her Catwoman cosplay, and for shorter wigs, she suggests storing in boxes. Photo by Taylor Boswell.

Shorter wigs can be stored neatly in a box

While it would be nice to have wig heads for every single one of your wigs, that would begin to take up too much space, so in order to ensure that your home doesn’t become overrun with wigs, you can store short haired wigs in a box (you can also do this with longer wigs using the braiding method I mentioned above, but I personally prefer having my longer wigs out in the open on a wig head). Comb them out, fold it in half, and then gently lay them on a side. This is where the netting the wigs originally come in can really help; the netting will help keep its shape and style while in the box.

Be very careful when using heat

I alluded to this back in my first tip, but I feel that I should expand on it for everyone who is new to working with wigs. Synthetic wigs can either be heat resistant or non-heat resistant. A heat resistant wig is said to be able to withstand 420 degrees Fahrenheit (although, most people will tell you to keep your heat below that mark to ensure that you do not damage your wig). A wig that is non-heat resistant should not have heat used on it at all, because you can burn the fibers of the wig and it will create a crinkled mess that tangles easily.

I hope these few tips help you the next time you decide to don a wig for a cosplay. Wigs are nothing to be afraid of, but if you find yourself doubting your skills, YouTube video tutorials and Google hold realms of information when it comes to styling, dyeing, and cutting.

Now get out there and wear your clean, beautiful, styled wig that completes the already amazing costume you made.

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