Cosplay tips for wigs; this will be a complete guide!  

Whether you’re a new cosplayer or an experienced one, you’ll know that cosplay wigs can be a tricky thing sometimes. There’s a lot of nuance when it comes to wigs, such as styling, taking care and storing and even buying the right wigs. Well today, I decided to make this post to answer all your wig-related questions!

In this article, I will provide a complete cosplay wig guide, with help from wig expert Qfacepaint Cosplay.

We will go through various cosplay tips for wigs that’ll make you more skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to wigs. These will be the most frequently asked questions when it comes to wigs.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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1. Where to buy cosplay wigs? Are cosplay wigs good quality?  

I had Cosplay Station do my Professor Sycamore wig! Highly recommend 🙂

Let’s start with our first cosplay tips for wigs.

Unlike cosplays where you can totally make the costume entirely from scratch, you can’t really do that with wigs. You’ll have to buy them from a wig store. And that’s totally okay because most of the time, wigs are very affordable! If you’re buying a short or medium length wig, it should be around the $10-$30 USD range, which to me is financially viable for most cosplayers. If you’re going for a super long wig that’s very unique, those ones will be more expensive, around $50 USD or more.

Now where to buy cosplay wigs? There are lots of reputable online wig stores, such as Arda Wigs, Cosplay Station, and Epic Cosplay Wigs. These websites sell high-quality wigs that make styling very easy. Many cosplayers also buy from eBay, but the quality can be hit or miss. Buying a wig from your typical Halloween store is not recommended, as the wig quality is usually not good in these places.

I made an entire guide on the best cosplay wig sites. Click here to check it out!

2. What do you do when you first get a cosplay wig?  

wig head (cosplay tips for wigs)
When the wig arrives, the best thing to do is place your wig on a mannequin head.

Most wigs come out of their bags messy and full of static. Therefore, you’ll want to have a place to store and hold the wig before it arrives at your home. It’s recommended that you buy a wig mannequin head, as this maintains the shape and style of the wig for as long as possible.  When the wig arrives, you’ll want to remove the wig and pin it to your wig head. I pin right at the base of the ear where the most fabric is available.

Once you’ve had the wig styled, keep the wig on the mannequin head until you’re ready to wear it for the big convention or photoshoot.

If you don’t have a wig head yet, you can buy a high-quality one down below here:

3. How do you make a wig look real cosplay?  

lace front wigs make your cosplay hair look more realistic! Cosplayer: 4hanagoromo. Photo by jotaku87.

The biggest reason why a wig will look fake is because there’s too much hair. Thinning your wig with specialized thinning scissors and cutting out wefts from the crown can make the wig look more natural. I suggest buying a lace front wig to make a wig look real. The hairline on a lace front wig is very uniform and if you pluck some of the hairs with tweezers you can make the hair look more gradual, as if it’s actually growing out of your head.

The lace comes long on a lace front wig so you can cut it to your hair line. After plucking the hair line, cut the lace to the hairline. I suggest using pinking sheers (sewing scissors that create a zig zag cut) because the zig zag is easier masked on your skin than a straight line.

You can also paint the lace with copic markers (or your foundation) to match the lace to your skin tone.  

P.S. If you want to go super-realistic, you can also opt to use your real hair instead. Yes, it’s okay to cosplay without a wig. Click here if you want to find out why.

4. Can you wear cosplay wigs everyday?  

This wig is beautiful, but not something you want to wear everyday! Photo by C. Fountainstand. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Cosplay wigs are very durable and good quality. You can definitely wear them very often. However, you probably don’t want to wear them out in public every day. Most characters worth cosplaying have very exotic and unique hairstyles, and it’ll difficult to maintain that style if you’re wearing it all the time. On top of that, you’ll be drawing a lot of unwanted attention to yourself. If you want to wear a wig regularly, you’re better off buying a fashion wig that’s easier to maintain all the time.

5. How to fix cosplay wigs

cosplay tools (cosplay tips for wigs)
Things like Mane ‘n Tail Detangler: The Tangles and Knots Solution work wonders for fixing cosplay wigs!

This is a big cosplay tips for wigs.

Synthetic AND natural wigs are prone to get dirty. Sweat and other atmospheric factors break down the fibers in all wigs. I recommend a water free cleaning solution such as On Organic Natural Water Free Cleanser for Wigs and Weaves – Synthetic & Natural Hair. This solution is easy to use, dries quickly and makes little to no mess.

For wigs that need a stronger cleaning solution do the following: mix 1 part Fabric Softener to 2 Parts Water in a basin and allow the wig to soak for 1 hour; then rinse the wig and allow it to dry for 24 hours while hanging from a hook and/or over the top of a shower rod/wash basin.

Detangling wigs gets VERY tricky. But you can use Mane ‘n Tail Detangler: The Tangles and Knots Solution. This was originally created for horse shows to detangle horse hair and has since become the go to product for wig AND natural hair detangling.

You can also use a handheld travel steamer to steam the plastic and carefully detangle stuck strands.  

Here are the products that we talked about above for you to buy, if you need to fix your cosplay wig:

Here’s a great video by Iawasaka Miyuki on how to detangle and fix your wig!

6. What can I use to style a cosplay wig?  

cosplay styling (cosplay tips for wigs)
Using a bunch of tools to style a cosplay wig is totally fun!

Since a vast majority of cosplay wig companies make synthetic wigs, this means you should not use the same products as you would for your own hair. When styling a wig, you will need the STRONGEST hold products AND the GENTLEST heating/styling implements. Below is a list of some of the recommended equipment/products that any beginner wig stylist should own…  

  • Wig Comb (make sure it’s a comb specifically for wigs and not for regular hair)
  • Hairspray (Got2Be works best)
  • Natural water-free cleaner
  • Bobby pins to hold the wig
  • Cutting Shears and/or Fringe Razor

7. What hairspray is good for cosplay wigs? Is Got2Be good for cosplay wigs?  

So many things can go wrong in a photoshoot!

The most popular hairspray for cosplay wigs is definitely Got2Be! Not only is this hairspray strong and dependable, it’s also fairly cheap and very easy to find; you can find Got2Be at any pharmacy or department store. With that said, you don’t have to use Got2Be. As long as you use (something something), that’ll also work for cosplay wigs.

I personally have used Got2Be for pretty much all my cosplay wigs and it works great! Not only does it hold the styling well, it also smells pretty good too. 🙂 If you’re looking to buy some Got2Be hairspray, click the link below:    

8. How to put a cosplay wig on with long hair

French braid (cosplay tips for wigs)
It will be easier to wear a cosplay wig if you French braid your hair. Image by Esteban Ravelli from Pixabay.

Long hair is easily masked under wigs by either French braiding or pin curling your hair.

French braids can be pinned back up against the head to lay as flat to the skull as possible. But I recommend pin curls for the thickest and longest hair. Pin curls are made grabbing a two inch chunk of hair and curling it up with your fingers. Placing the curl flat against the head and securing it with two Bobby pins in an “X”.

Once you’ve braided or pin-curled your hair, you’ll want to use TWO wig caps to secure your long hair. The first a mesh cap to secure the first layer and the second as a regular nylon wig cap. It’s important to secure your cap with wig pins so it doesn’t shift while you are wearing your wig.

I also suggest looking up “installing a unit” videos on YouTube for anyone who needs their wig to stay secure for long periods of time. The method of using a wig cap to cover the hairline by cementing with got2be glued gel is perfect for covering baby hairs and sideburns.

9. How to style a cosplay wig without a crimper? How to tease a wig?

Teasing your wig can add some volume to the hair and make it look great! Cosplayer: katsukioz.

If you are looking for that fluffy Anime look without using a crisper, then you’ll definitely have to tease the wig. A teasing comb has stiff bristles and you can grab it at any beauty supply store or amazon.

To tease a wig, you take a section of hair at the root and brush against the hair towards the root in small motions. It creates a “bird’s nest” type of effect. Then if you want to add to that section, you can take the next section of hair and tease it the same with the original section of hair. Teasing the sections together makes them seamless.

To smooth over the nest, make sure to brush lightly over the top with your teasing brush. Use a hairspray that isn’t too strong in the sections while teasing, so you can still brush and work with your styling. Only at the end of your style should you use something strong like Got2be glued freeze spray.

Styling a cosplay wig: So if it is human hair – which is uncommon for a cosplay wig because of how expensive it is- you can style as normal except we must always brush out your wig from the ends first in little sections. That way you keep from pulling the hairs out of the wefts. If it is a synthetic wig, you can curl it by using foam curlers and covering it in hot steam from a steamer. Put a plastic bag over the wig when steaming for the best result. Don’t take the curlers out until the wig is completely dry.

10. How to maintain a wig  

Your wigs will last longer and look better if you take care of them. Cosplayer: abracatrena. Photo by photobuffalo.

I’ll admit that I myself am bad at this! I have a tendency to destroy the styling on my wigs! Whether it’s not doing maintenance, or stuffing them in crowded bags that ruin the style, basically don’t do the stuff that I do.

If you want to maintain a wig, the most important thing is to keep it on a stand to keep the styling intact. Placing the wig on a mannequin head is the most optimal, as the head is shaped perfectly for a wig. Adding hairspray and wax, as well as keeping the wig clean from dust, is also a great way to keep the wig fresh and new until you’re ready to wear it again.

Here a few products to help you maintain your wig:

11. How to get better at wig styling  

Start with the characters that have simpler hairstyles first. Cosplayer: trekkiebrie. Photo by phantasy.cosplay.

Just like with cosplay, wig styling you’ll get better with practice! The more you attempt to style your wigs, the more techniques you’ll learn and the easier it becomes each time. Try starting with a character with basic hair. Eventually when you get really good, you can try the long elaborate wigs to style as a challenge.

For more tutorials on advanced wig styling methods, we recommend checking out forums like Instructables, Cosplay Tutorial and the Arda Wigs Master Tutorial List.

12. Where to get cosplay wigs styled if I can’t do it myself?  

Your hairstylist can help you style your wig, they’re the experts. 🙂 Image by mostafa meraji from Pixabay.

The last cosplay tips for wigs. If you don’t know how to style a wig yourself, then no need to worry! You have plenty of options to get your wig styled somewhere else. Some of these options include: commissioning a cosplayer to style it, taking your wig to your local hairstylist or buying a wig that’s already pre-styled. So you never have to worry about finding someone to style your wig.  

And there you have it; various cosplay tips for wigs!  

I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any other cosplay wig-related questions, or any cosplay tips for wigs you want to share, leave them in the comments below and we’ll be happy to answer them.

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