Initially created for theater folks and cancer patients suffering from hair loss woes, eight years ago lace wigs became the must-have accessory for every diva in the spotlight. Perhaps because they offer more versatility than traditional wigs, and because sheer lace matches your skin tone when applied correctly to the hairline, it’s undetectable to the naked eye.
Custom-made lace wigs can cost from $6,000 to $10,000, which may small dent in Bey’s hair budget, but can cost the average consumer desiring a celebrity look an arm and a leg. The alternative? Ready-to-wear and lace front wigs, that retail on average $15- $300.
Celebrity stylists KIYAH WRIGHT and MARCIA HAMILTON who style KERRY WASHINGTON, TARAJI P. HENSON, JADA and WILLOW SMITH, KIM KARDASHIAN collectively, advise women to use caution with ready-to wear laces. They’ve seen a ton of horror stories, including messy glue jobs, torn hairlines and wigs applied too close to the brow line.
“A large percentage of the instructional videos [on YouTube] aren’t done by licensed professionals,” says Hamilton. “I don’t think all of the videos are bad, but lace fronts should be done by someone in the industry, specifically someone who works in TV and movies.”
Advice from the Pros
Handle With Care
Lace fronts are delicate and can rip or tear very easily, and repairing a high quality wig can cost about $1,500. To protect your investment, Wright recommends securing the wig on a mannequin head with T-Pins near the ear and washing it on the figure. “Never hold it in your hand to wash it.” Hamilton cosigns, “Do your blow drying and prepping before putting it onto your scalp. Once it’s on, you don’t want to pull on it. You want to shake it out and go.”
“Since lace fronts aren’t meant to be worn every single day,” says Wright. “People come up with these adhesives [to keep the lace front in place] for two weeks…these adhesives are like cement. You should use spirit gum, which lasts for two to three days.”
If you can’t find spirit gum, or if you’re using glue from the beauty supply store, Hamilton says the application process is important. “Put the glue on…and let it sit until it becomes tacky. Then, work the wig from left to right or right to left…if you plop it on your head and stick it on at all at once, it creates wrinkles and there are bits that never properly lie down.” Use cheesecloth to soak up excess or runny glue.
Get Your Money Up
The cheaper alternative to custom wigs isn’t very cheap. A decent mass market wig costs around “$900 to $1,500.” That said, focus on the store not the brand. “A reliable vendor is going to guarantee their product,” says Wright. “They will give you a refund because the product is not working the way they said it would… Make sure that you can purchase your wig and get it repaired in the same place.”
Wright recommends dissolving spirit gum (or any adhesive) from the wig’s lace is to use 99 percent rubbing alcohol. “Dip a toothbrush in a capful of 99 percent alcohol and rub it in the direction of the hairline in the lace, and rub the fibers between the lace to get it all off.”
Now that your better equipped with lacefront knowledge, do you have your own lace front horror story to share?