What is Wigs?

A Complete Guide for Beginners

There are so many different kinds of wigs on the market that it can be difficult to decide which type is right for your client. In order to help you assist clients, we’ve created this handy key to pull from. By the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly what to look for when you start helping your client shop.

What Kinds of Wigs are There?

There are so many types of wigs! First off, your client will need to decide if they’d like a ready-made or custom wig. Ready-made wigs are stock hair systems. They’re generally synthetic, pre-styled, and a one-size-fits-all option. For a slightly more customizable option, these units can be adjusted to the wearer’s head for an increase in price. Because these units aren’t custom made for individual clients, they tend to look a little less realistic. However, they’re generally the most affordable option.

Custom wigs are made specifically for a client. They’re generally made from lighter materials and can be more comfortable to wear. Because these are tailor-made, more detail can be focused on the front of the hairline. This is important because the front of the hairline is considered to be the most important part of a hair system. This is because the hairline can be a dead giveaway of a wig or replacement system. If it blends well, no one notices that it’s anything other than the wearer’s own hair.

Types of Wigs

There are four main types of wigs: polyurethane (“poly”), mesh (lace and monofilament), combo, and open weft units. Depending on your client’s needs for hair replacement, they can also choose from full wigs, toppers (partial wigs), and hair pieces. Let’s take a deeper look at these systems so your clients will know exactly what type of wig to reach for.

Polyurethane Styles

Polyurethane (“poly”) wigs are generally thin and pigmented. This helps them match your client’s skin tone and blend in. This skin-like material makes using tapes and adhesives easier on the wig as a whole and helps extend the wig’s life. The comfort of poly units isn’t quite at the level of what you’d be able to expect with a mesh unit. It tends to run hot since this base material isn’t as breathable. Some wearers have also reported that poly wig bases have a thicker feel and creates a “floating” sensation over their scalp. This has a tendency to affect the look of the hairline and can make it appear less natural.

Types of Hair: Synthetic or Human

This is the issue at the heart of choosing a hair unit! Your client can choose from human or synthetic hair, and there are multiple types within those two categories to decide between.

  • Human Hair – This hair type gives the most natural look and feel, along with the most styling versatility. This type of hair also requires more styling and care. It can be worth the investment though as they can last over a year with proper care.
  • Virgin Hair – This is the highest quality human hair available. This hair is all from a single donor. This hair hasn’t been dyed, permed, or bleached. This helps cut down on tangles and can last over a year with proper care. Virgin hair qualifies as Remy hair, but not all Remy hair is virgin hair.
  • Synthetic Hair – Higher quality synthetic hair offers a look and feel similar to human hair, but has limited styling versatility. Requires little maintenance and can generally be worn as soon as it’s unpackaged. Less durable than human hair and will last 4-6 months with proper care.
  • Heat Friendly Synthetic Hair – This type offers more styling versatility due to heat friendly construction. Can be more challenging to style than human hair. Less durable than traditional synthetic hair that can last 2-3 months with proper care.

Synthetic hair is generally less expensive, but needs to be handled differently and doesn’t last as long. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if your client likes to change their style up often though. Although, working with synthetic units can be a bit of a challenge because they aren’t able to be styled using hot styling tools unless you get a “heat safe” model.


Synthetic hair might be the perfect choice for your client is looking for a more affordable option and want to use it on a short term basis. These units are also better for short to mid-length hairstyles. Just remember, you’ll need to keep synthetic wigs away from any kind of heat. It will cause permanent damage to the hair fibers and may even melt the hairs together.

Human hair wigs are generally a more versatile hair replacement option. While they are generally more expensive, they can last much longer than synthetic alternatives. They also just tend to look more natural as the hair shifts during wear because they have a higher quality texture and feel.


Heat tools can be used on human hair wigs and are great for clients that get bored of how their hair is styled day after day. They’re able to change the style of these wigs up much more often than if they were using synthetic hair. If your client’s goal is to wear their wig for longer than a year, human hair is the best option. These hair systems hold up well and are the best choice if your client prefers the look of longer hair.

Human hair can come from places all over the world, such as Asia, Africa, China, and Europe. Hair can be sourced through various different ways, so make sure to do your research and look into different types of hair from different regions before taking the plunge and making an investment in a wig.


Whichever unit your client chooses, you’re going to need something to adhere it to their scalp. Various glues (sometimes known as bonding adhesive) and tapes are used by over 90% of alternative hair wearers because they offer a more secure attachment. Some stylists even feel that the adhesives can help to give a more natural appearance. Shop our tape and adhesive products today to find the right fit for your client’s needs.

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