We all love to look fabulous in our lace wigs but how many of us know how it was made? The lace wig has a long and interesting history that many would be surprised to learn. Here are a few fun facts and details about how lace-wigs are made.
Behind the Wig
The art of ventilating a wig, or knotting the hair, began with Louis XVI of France when he began to lose his hair. Due to shame, he made it popular to wear wigs. Wearing wigs became all the rave for the affluent and still holds onto the saying “big wig”.
The art of wig making has been perfected over the years. While it began with goat skin and an embroidery needle, it has progressed. Lace-wig making has long been used in theater to create realistic looking lace-wigs or facial hair for actors and actresses. Many lace-wigs have about 40,000-60,000 knots and are completed in no shorter than 40 hours.
Prepping the Lace
A wig master either begins with a lace form that fits the average size woman’s head or creates a specialty cast made of cellophane wrap and filament tape for a custom lace-wig. Plain blue paper is then placed onto a wig block, the mannequin head to prevent light reflecting into his eyes while he works. A polyester and cotton lace is then placed on top of the paper as the lace base.
Choosing the Hair
There are many hair types used when creating lace-wigs. The most popular hair for human hair lace -wigs is Indian remy for its texture that easily matches that of most woman. Other popular textures are European remy typically for Caucasians. Newer hair types include Mongolian remy, Chinese remy, Burmese remy, Brazilian remy and kinky remy. The different textures can closely match a client’s hair based on the thickness and texture.
For lace wigs for women with highlights or two-toned colors, a hackle is used. A hackle is similar to a giant comb. The hackle is secured to a table. The main hair color on the lace wig is set down first with the highlighted hair placed in the very middle of the hair bunch. The wig master then flips the hair continuously through the hackle as if vigorously combing until all the hair is blended in and the weaker hairs are pulled out and left in the hackle.
The final step before beginning the ventilation process is to set the hair in a holding card. The holding card is a leather card with small metal pins. It has two plates that interlock. The lace wig hair is placed onto the holding card and secured. This is where the individual or small sections of hair are pulled from while the wig master works.
Lacing the Wig and Final Steps
The lace wig gets its claim to fame because of the lace material used to blend seamlessly into the scalp and the effort a wig master must use to make such a piece. After prepping all of the hair, the ventilation process begins. A wig master uses a small needle similar to a fishing hook to begin lacing through hair at the nape of the neck. Half way through, the hair is combed to make sure it moves naturally.
While machines can do these same steps, a lace wig must be made by hand for the ultimate undetectable hairline. Many wig masters can style the hair as well once complete. Extras such as baby hair or a widow’s peak can be added upon request with a custom lace wig.
After knowing how the lace wig is made, it is a lot easier to appreciate a lace wig. It also makes it easier to understand the expensive price that goes along with the wig. While it is costly upfront, the master craftsmanship pays for itself over time since the wig can be worn for years with proper maintenance.