10 Different Types of Hair Wigs

The ancient Egyptians shaved their heads as protection from lice and from the brutal sun. However, they wore wigs made from human hair or other cheaper substitutes using sheep’s wool or palm leaf’s fiber. They also wore wigs to denote their social status.

Similarly, the ancient Romans wore wigs made of their slaves’ hair and added elaborate hairpieces for increased volume and effect. Other ancient civilizations known to have worn wigs included the Greeks, Assyrians, and the Phoenicians.

The term “wig” derives from the French word perruque, referring to a complete head of false hair, which became colloquially known as a peruke, periwyk, and periwig. During the reign of Louis XIII, who went prematurely bald, wigs became fashionable and indicated one’s class and income as well as became the target of snatchers.

On the other hand, the ancient civilizations in the Far East such as China and Japan weren’t as fond of wigs. Only their traditional actors and female entertainers such as the Japanese geisha or the Korean Kisaeng were known to wear wigs.

1. Anti-Slip Wigs

Woman Wearing An Anti-Slip Wig

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These can also be called suction wigs and they work best for people who are completely bald. They consist of a base made out of transparent polyurethane and monofilament that gently grips your scalp and therefore needs no elastic adjusters. Some anti-slip wigs are even made with a lace front and they come in various sizes and types, including both synthetic and human hair.

If you aren’t completely bald, you can still wear these types of wigs, although they do work better for people whose hair is no longer than two inches in length. They tend to be lightweight and very comfortable. Most of them are made of a material that naturally attaches to your scalp and won’t irritate it or make it feel scratchy.

2. Full Lace Wigs

Full lace wig on a mannequin.

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Full lace wigs are made on a full-sized lace cap but also include urethane strips to stick the adhesives to. There is a lot of variety with a full lace wig and they can be styled, parted, or brushed in any way you wish. These types of wigs are a bit more expensive than standard wigs but they are well worth the price since they tend to last a lot longer and are much more versatile than standard wigs are. In fact, if you wear wigs regularly and want the most realistic-looking wig available, a full lace wig is definitely what you should be looking for.

3. Hairpieces

Rows of hairpieces in various colors.

By definition, a hairpiece doesn’t cover the entire head but merely enhances the look of a person’s natural hair. Hairpieces are meant to blend in with the hair that is already there and they are usually there to give shape to a person’s hairstyle or even cover up baldness.

There are many different types of hairpieces, including the following:

  • Banana comb hairpiece. In a banana comb hairpiece, one of the ends is connected permanently while the other one has some type of closure such as a snap clip.
  • Claw clip hairpiece. This hairpiece has round interlocking combs that you can open and close by squeezing them and that attach the hairpiece at the crown.
  • Drawstring attachment hairpiece. With this type of hairpiece, there is a drawstring that forms a pocket and tightens in order to give the hairpiece a more secure fit.

4. Human Hair Wigs

Different types of human hair wigs.

For the best-looking and most realistic hairdo, wigs made of human hair are the smartest choice. They are more expensive than wigs made of synthetic hair. If you’re wondering where they get the hair for these wigs, the answer is simple: the hair comes from all over the world, including Europe, China, Africa, and many other countries.

The price you pay for these types of wigs depends on the quality of the hair itself so the prices can vary greatly across the different wigs available. If you’re considering purchasing a wig made of real human hair, it is recommended that you research the different types of human hair first because this is the best way to ensure you get the wig that works best for you.

As a general rule, people who do best with wigs made of human hair include those who want shoulder-length or long hair, those who want to be able to change their hairstyles frequently, people wanting the best-quality hair texture available, and those who wear wigs for a very long time. Once you purchase a wig made of real human hair, you will find it difficult to go back to any other type of wig.

5. Lace Front Wigs

Lace front wig on a mannequin.

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Just as the name implies, these types of wigs have lace only in the front portion of the unit. The rest of the cap is a little thicker and there might be clips sewn into it so that the wig stays in place while you’re wearing it. Lace front wigs are very common and the remainder of the wig usually consists of material that is unlikely to rip or tear away at the lace, in part because it is made out of a material that isn’t very fragile. With this type of wig, the wearer can actually select his or her own hairline, thanks to the way the wig is made. Because the lace is only found in the front section of the wig, you can part the wig any way you want to.

6. Lace Wigs

A model sporting a colored lace wig.

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With these types of wigs, French lace or some other fine type of lace is usually used as the base. They are usually either full-lace or lace-front wigs and they are often custom-made so that they fit your head perfectly. Some have hand-tied hairs and they do a great job of presenting a very natural look for your hair. Lace wigs can be made of either synthetic or human hair and they are tied by hand to the lace base, which then fits over the scalp for a natural look and feels. There is a large variety of wigs made with this type of lace base.

7. Monofilament Wigs

Monofilament Wig

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If you want the most natural-looking wig available, try the monofilament wig. In this type of wig, either polyester or nylon micro mesh is used and individual strands of hair are attached by hand. In fact, it even looks the same as the skin surrounding your hair and it can be parted or brushed in any direction you wish. The material used is a lot softer than the regular cap used by many wig-making companies so they are perfect if you have thinning or balding hair or a sensitive scalp.

Monofilament wigs are usually either partially or fully hand-tied and even though the fully hand-tied type is very expensive, this wig is also the most natural-looking. This is partly because the hand-tied hairs or fibers are actually found over the entirety of the wig, meaning that it costs more to make it.

If you’re interested in purchasing a monofilament wig but think that your budget won’t allow it, you can choose one that is skin-top or skin-part, which is often much cheaper. These are usually made with a wefted cap and less micro mesh than the regular monofilament wigs, allowing them to be less expensive.

8. Partial Wigs

Partial Wig or Wiglet

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Also called wiglets, partial wigs include wigs that are made to cover part of your head — a little more than a hairpiece but not as much as a regular wig. The two main types of partial wigs are:

  • Honeycomb or pull-through partial wig. These partial wigs are perfect for people whose hair is thinning because they contain large holes that you can pull your own hair through and quickly add thickness and volume to your natural hair. You can choose from among various shades and most of them are held in place with either small combs or clips.
  • 1/2 or 3/4 wigs. As the names suggest, these partial wigs cover either one-half or three-fourths of your head and, similar to the honeycomb variety, you can pull strands of your own hair through them. Your natural hair blends in well with the wigs for a beautiful all-natural look and they are usually held in place with either combs or clips.

9. Standard (Wefted) Cap Wigs

Standard (Wefted) Cap Wig

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Most wigs do not actually contain a cap per se but rather have a cap-like structure that is actually made of rows upon rows of hair wefts constructed by a sewing machine. Its top normally has a top or crown that is closed and usually shorter fibers that are put there in order to hide the cap so the wig looks more natural. Since these wigs are made by machine, they tend to be very affordable and there are many types of them to choose from.

A capless wig is a little cooler and more lightweight because its hair pieces are continued over the top part of the wig. There is also a type with wefts that are spaced out a little further apart and although it does allow some of your own hair to show through, it is often a more comfortable and airy type of wig to wear. These are often called a thin-wefted cap wig.

10. Synthetic Hair Wigs

Synthetic hair wig on a mannequin.

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Not surprisingly, wigs made out of synthetic hair are a lot less expensive than those made with real human hair but these wigs are made much better nowadays and can still provide a very realistic, attractive look. For the most part, however, synthetic hair wigs usually don’t last very long and are not good for those people who use a lot of styling tools on them even though there are “heat safe” types of synthetic hair wigs. Often, a wig made out of synthetic hair consists of many different types of hair and you can treat it just the same as you would a wig made of human hair.

Wigs made out of synthetic hair usually work best for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money, prefer short- to mid-length hair, don’t need or want much styling or care for the wig, and intend to use the wig only on a short-term basis. Synthetic wigs serve a good purpose but most people agree that for long-term use and for the most attractive look, wigs made out of real human hair are best.

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