Synthetic hair comes in two forms: loose extensions and ready-made wefts. To match your wig, both should be made of the same fiber. I like to use “Silky Straight Kanekalon”, that is straight synthetic fiber with a mild sheen. You can buy it straight from your wig supplier, at online stores that specialize in hair extensions (like Doctored Locks or I Kick Shins, both US-based), or locally in ethnic hair supply stores.
A standard pack has 100 grams of 120cm / 48” long hair. Look for loose extensions, bulk hair or braiding hair of the Silky Straight kind. Careful not to buy Yaki or Jumbo Braid: this kind of rough, kinked hair is great for ethnic hairdos, but will not match the silky texture of most wigs.
Loose extension fiber must be treated with extreme care until you seal it with glue, heat, or by wefting it. Pull the bundle of hair from the packaging and cut the rubber bands or thread that’s holding it together. (Do not slide them off, or you’ll risk pulling out hair as well.)
Grab the bundle of hair by the middle and let it hang (like a “U” turned upside down). Carefully section off a strand. Keep a firm grip on both halves to keep the hair from slipping.
If the bundles refuse to be separated, remove the tangles by shaking the hair ever so slightly back and forth. For long hair, it really helps to have someone give you a hand, or use your own foot to separate the fibers. Start at the bottom and do not pull on the fiber with force.
When you’re done, secure both hair bundles with rubber bands right away. Always keep a few cut-open elastic hairties and ribbons at hand to tie around the fiber. Never leave it lying around in the open, or you’ll end up with a tangled mess in no time!
Do not brush loose extensions to avoid pulling out single fibers.
Extension hair that has been sewn or woven together is called a weft or weave. They come in different hair lengths. The width does not matter, since you can cut them anywhere you want. Try to cut into the thread, not the hair itself, so you don’t lose too much hair (best to do this with a pair of sharp scissors). Pick off any loose hair from the cutting edges, and there you have your two smaller wefts that are easy to use. The thread will not unravel because the seam or weave is made with very small stitches.
Use wefts to sew them into a wig that’s too thin, spice up your uni-colored wig with highlights, or magically create contrasting tips. Wefts are also essential for creating your own hair extension pieces and crazy foamcore styles.
Wefts are easy to brush and detangle when you use laundry clips to hang them on a line, or pin them to a wig head with sewing pins. Put the head on a wig stand or tripod where it can’t move.
You can buy ready-made wefts or harvest them from an existing wig using a seam ripper. Wig stores that offer matching wefts include: Arda Wigs (USA), CosCraft (UK) and myCostumes (GER). You can, however, also create your own wefts from loose extension fiber – check out my wefting tutorial! This will give you ultimate flexibility in choosing the color and length, and the materials tend to be less expensive than store-bought wefts.
Need more ideas and step-by-step tutorials how to create amazing wig styles with wefts and extension hair? Continue reading in my book, Wigs² – Level Up! (English editon coming soon, die deutsche Version gibt’s hier zu kaufen.)