ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Styling Cosplay Wigs 101
It seems like the panelist was just roped into doing this panel so she didn’t really prepare. That means it’s going to be a Q&A session. I have zero experience with wigs so I won’t really be able to explain anything discussed in further detail – I’m basically just making a transcript of what the panelist is talking about.
For styling don’t use gel since wigs are not the same as human hair. Hair gel will destroy the wig since the chemical reactions will make the wig into a big unworkable mess.
The best way to de-tangle a wig is to use fabric softener.
It takes a long time but it’s very effective. Spray diluted liquid fabric softener over the wig and then work section by section using a hair dryer. A straightener can ruin the wig if the wig is not heat resistant.
It seems like a lot of things can be fixed using a hair dryer.
A question about the price of the wig versus the quality. No matter how much you work with a $5 wig it won’t ever look as good as a more expensive wig. You should spend at least $15-20 on a wig. The price will go up if the wig is thicker which is necessary for up-dos.
Some of the best wigs? Disclaimer: advertising – Arda Wigs, Epic Cosplay (recently merged with cosplay.com). Epic cosplay is more expensive but feels closer to human hair in terms of weight and how it drapes.
A parted wig can be difficult since you’ll be able to see the netting if you don’t do it correctly. Parting a wig is more difficult that it seems. One method is sewing more hair to the underside and is a long difficult process. Another method is to buy extensions and put cheese cloth and then make it into a weft, pull it in half and then sew it on to make a “cover”.
For the wigs with huge buns one method is to use a headband underneath the wig with wires poking through that goes into styrofoam shapes covered in more hair.
Freeze spray and Got2B are good for making gravity defying hair structures. Sometimes you can use diluted Elmer’s glue which works similar to freeze spray – the only downside is that it takes a lot longer to dry.
The recommended dye for wigs is sharpie diluted with alcohol sprayed on. That’s something I’ve heard and seems to be the most popular method.
A site that might be useful: Katie Bair
Use hair cutting scissors but they will get worn down faster because you’re cutting through plastic although knowing that hair contains hard keratin I would say that it would be somewhat be similar.
Before you start on your wig you should have a plan of what you’re going to do so you minimize the chances of messing up. If you need tutorials you can check on cosplay.com or DeviantArt (usually has more images).
The most complicated wig the panelist has done is the one she’s working on right now which is a character from Harvest Moon: Tree of Tanquility. She says she’s spent over $100 already and isn’t even close to being done (talk about commitment!). Again you have to figure out what’s realistic otherwise you can get a wig that’s really really heavy.
For washing wigs you should use warm water. You can also use certain products like wig shampoos. After washing it you should just hang it up to dry. It’s not recommended to blow dry it since you could lose fibers that way. Proper wig care is important and if you keep it on the wig head, etc. you shouldn’t have to wash your wigs very often.
If your head is big you could potentially sew elastic to the wig cap or use the waist part of pantyhose.
For long wigs like Jam from Guilty Gear you could use pool noodles and then make a sleeve of hair that goes over it. Be sure to not use more hair than you need on your costume.
Sometimes you’ll have itchy wigs which can be remedied with some lotion and making sure the wig cap covers the entire area.
The panelist has also used hot glue for areas where spiky hair is needed but it won’t stay in place when styling it.
If she had more advance notice about hosting the panel she was going to go and get a wig and do a live de-tangling to demonstrate. The de-tangling method was the aforementioned fabric softener method.
One of the audience members said that she uses steaming for styling the wigs. She also warned to make sure to get clear fabric softener for blond wigs or else it could get tinted.
Teasing the wig is basically tangling it purposefully to make it big. Tease it on the inside/underside so no one can see it and it looks good from outside.
Be cautious about ordering from China because the shipping times can be very long. While it may be cheaper it could take months to receive. She says that she had a good experience from TaoBao (Chinese eBay) and would recommend it.
Well that wraps up the panel. It was somewhat disorganized but there was a lot of good info in there.