putting on a wig - tools

How to Put Your Hair Under a Wig

wig caps

When you walk out the door to show off your new look or costume, the last thing you want to worry about is the wig slipping off your head or being uncomfortable, right?

So before you pull the wig from the bag and simply throw it on, you’ll need to take a few minutes to learn how to build the right foundation with your hair. Believe me, it’s worth every second! You’ll spend less time worrying and tucking at your wig, and more time having fun.

The most important tool you need is a wig cap or wig liner, to hold back your hair and to protect your wig. Wig caps can be made of pantihose or fishnet material, and you can stretch them on a wig head if they’re too tight. You’ll also need hair gel, bobby pins or hairpins, a little bit of hairspray and a tail comb.

Bobby Pins
Bobby pins in different colors to match your wigs
slicking back hair with gel
Slick back your hair with gel

Brush your hair and slick back the hairline with gel. Part your hair down the middle, grab one of the two strands and pull it back like you were trying to put it in a tight ponytail. Hold it by the tip and twist it until it starts rolling up like snail.

Rather than making a tight pincurl, however, you’ll want the hair to lie flat against the back of your head. Fix the flat bun with a few pins. Repeat on the other side.

twisting hair for buns
Twist your hair to form buns

For most people with moderately long hair, two flat buns will be enough to fit their hair snugly under a wig cap. If you have very long and/or thick hair, you’ll want to make multiple small buns. Short hair that is not long enough for an updo should be slicked back with gel. Fix it with bobby pins, strand by strand, if needed. If you have thin, slippery hair that does not hold pins well, use strong gel or spiking glue. Not washing your hair for a day or two also helps to give it that extra grip! 

putting up hair
3 ways to put up your hair under a wig

No matter what type of hair you have, the goal is always to have it laying flat against the back of your head, which is where the wig is stretchy, so it can take in the extra volume. Avoid large lumps, and try not to add thickness to the side or front of your head (by wrapping braids around your head, for example) unless you are wearing an extra-large wig.

french braids
French braids to compress thick hair

French braids or cornrows can be helpful if you have very thick hair, or when you need to wear a heavy wig and can’t find traction for hairpins in loose hair buns. Braid as close to the scalp as possible and concentrate the bulk of the hair in the back.

putting on a wig cap
Put on the wig cap and make sure it covers your hair completely

Now that you’ve put up your hair, it’s time to hide it! Pull the wig cap over your head and down into your face, then pull it back up again until it meets the natural hairline. That way you’ll catch any stray hairs in the cap. I do this before I put on my make-up.

putting on a wig cap

Use the tail of a comb to push any remaining fly-aways under the cap. Apply hairspray to the temple area to help the hair stay put.

Et voilà, you’ve created the perfect base and you’re ready to put on your wig!

For an in-depth guide to putting on your wig, including hacks for heavy wigs and lace-front wigs: check out my book Wigs 101 / Perücken 1×1!

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