PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.

When a new cut, color or style starts trending, we’re pumped to switch up our look for the season. However, some of us are not actually ready to make a major hair change like chopping off several inches or going for a Cruella De Vil-inspired ‘do. Enter wigs: A simple (and often more affordable) option to rocking a new look without the huge commitment. From Ciara to Lady Gaga, this hairpiece has been a staple in the beauty world for years. Whether you’re dealing with hair loss, pairing it with a Halloween costume or simply want to try a bold new shade for the day, wigs are a great way to experiment with your style—no salon appointment needed. But if you’re new to the wig game, how do you get started? We reached out to Brittany Johnson, licensed hairstylist and senior content manager for Mayvenn, to teach us everything you need to know, including how to find the right hairpiece for you, how to wear a wig in just five simple steps and how to keep that baby nice and clean.

RELATED: 6 Natural Hair Trends for Fall, According to Hairstylists

Finding the Right Wig for You

Just like there are many hair types, textures and colors, the same goes for wigs. A quick trip to the beauty store and you’ll find an array of them on display. To avoid getting too overwhelmed, follow these expert tips to buy the right hairpiece for you.

  • Measure your head size. Not all wigs are one-size-fits-all. If you want it to sit comfortably on your head (and look the most natural), it’s a good idea to measure your head size first. (FYI: The average head size is around 21 x 14 x 13 inches.) Once you have your exact measurements, it’ll be easier to find a wig (and wig cap) that fits perfectly onto your head. Here are the three basic measurements you’ll need:
    • Circumference: Wrap the measuring tape around your head by beginning at the hairline and working it back to the starting point.
    • Front to Nape: Start at the middle of the hairline and run the tape down to the nape of your neck.
    • Temple to Temple: Place the tape above your left temple (above the ear) and wrap it across the middle of your head to the right temple.
Wig maker and vlogger TheHareLife provides a detailed tutorial on these measurements in the video above, including three additional sizings for a better fit. Certain wig types (like custom and lace-front ones) require all six measurements for quality style and comfort.

  • Choose a wig type. There are three options when it comes to wig types: human hair, synthetic hair or a combo of the two. “When buying a wig, think about your goals for your style,” says Johnson. “Are you looking for longevity and a unit that looks very realistic? Then go with 100 percent human hair. Are you getting a wig for a quick, temporary style, like Halloween? Then, a human hair and synthetic hair blend may be able to work for your needs.” When it comes to human vs synthetic hair, there are a few pros and cons depending on wearability, cost and management.
    • Human Hair: This is just what you expect—wigs made from actual human hair. That means that the texture is easy to manipulate and you can cut, color and style the hair with no issues. Unsurprisingly, these wigs also look and feel natural. The downside to human hair is that these types of wigs can be pretty expensive (up to $5,000!). Plus, if you’re looking to wear this look daily, expect close management when it comes to cleaning and styling.
    • Synthetic Hair: This type of wig is more affordable and low maintenance than human hair. Synthetic wigs are pre-styled which can be limiting, but if you are looking for a wig to spice up your look for the day then it’s a great option. However, because of the weaker strands (and inability to use heat tools and/or products), synthetic hair has a limited shelf life (think: three to six months) and won’t look “as natural” the more times you wear it.
    • A combo of the two: Yes, a mix of synthetic and human hair exists. You can enjoy the best of both worlds with this combo wig that offers a natural look without breaking the bank. But, can I use heat tools? You’ll want to tread carefully (because this style is still half-synthetic after all). Read the wig’s specific instructions to make sure it is heat-resistant.

OK…What About Lace-Front Wigs?

Lace-front wigs are a popular pick with celebrities and influencers alike and can be human or synthetic hair. What makes them so special? They have a sheer lace base to make the hairline look more natural. Think of lace-front wigs as the reason why people do a double take and question whether or not someone is wearing a wig in the first place. (Yes, it looks that good.) It's also a fan favorite because you can part your hair any way you like, while other wig types have just one standard part.

Shop our wig picks: Amazon ($22); Insert Name Here ($74); Uniwigs ($120); Waeve ($148); Mayvenn ($750; $550)

How to Wear a Wig 101

So you’ve measured your head and found the perfect wig—now it’s time to show off your new style. It only takes five simple steps:

1. Prep your hair. The goal is to keep your locks as flat as possible. The last thing you want is a weird bump when wearing the wig. So….

  • If you have short hair: Brush your hair back (away from your face) and pin it in place. A good tip is to use gel, mousse or hairspray to keep your hair slicked back with no pesky flyaways. Johnson recommends Got2B Glue Gel that’s “strong enough to hold all day, but also allows for your wig to be removed at night.”
  • If you have long hair: "Before applying your wig, you should braid your hair down in a cornrow-style pattern,” advises Johnson. "Braiding straight back is common, but you can change the direction and parting style of your braids based on where you’ll be parting your wig unit (if at all).” Wrap the ends together for a flat surface. If you’re not much of a braider, try wrapping your hair around your head and securing with bobby pins.

2. Apply the wig cap on. Start at the back and adjust the cap so that it’s sitting firmly on your hairline. (You want all of your actual hair to be hidden inside the cap.) Note: When purchasing a wig cap, try getting one as close to your scalp color as possible (which is lighter than your actual skin tone). If the wig cap doesn’t match your scalp color, use foundation powder and lightly pat your shade onto the cap for a better match.

3. Secure with your product of choice. There are many ways to make sure your wig doesn’t fly off. Use...

  • Bobby pins: This is the cheapest and easiest way to lay your wig down. Slide the bobby pins between your wig and your hair. It’s totally up to you how many you want to add to keep it comfortable and secure. A great tip is to find bobby pins that resemble the wig’s shade so that they are easier to hide.
  • Snap/Wig Clips: These clips take some simple sewing skills to achieve the look. You’ll want to sew in four to six (or more) clips along with the wig. This option is more stable and long-lasting than pins. (Here’s a handy tutorial to get you started.)
  • Wig Glue: This tool is a popular option among experienced wig wearers (and fans of lace-front wigs). It leaves a tight grip so you can rest assured your wig won’t slip. Apply products (like KISS All Mighty Bond Kit, Got2B Glued Blasting Freezing Hairspray or ORS Olive Oil FIX-IT Grip Gel Ultra Hold) along the hairline, let dry for about 30 seconds (you can use a blow dryer on a cool setting to speed the process) before pressing the wig down.
  • Wig Tape: This has the same effects as wig glue without the worry of residue and toughness after a day of wear. It’s a great alternative for people dealing with hair loss or those who have a sensitive scalp.

4. Place wig onto your head. Use both hands to apply the wig. “Apply your wig starting at the bottom and pull it onto your head (like a beanie),” says Johnson. “Slowly press down on the hairline, so that the [wig] hairline lays on top of the gel and begins to connect and mold along your hairline. Once the wig is sitting on your head, begin maneuvering the piece so it’s covering the whole wig cap.

5. Adjust accordingly. Make sure your wig fits comfortably on top of your head. How to test it to make sure it won’t slip off? Shake your head like you’re at a rock concert. Any tilting (or if it falls off completely) is a sign you’ll need to add more pins, glue or clips. Johnson also recommends wrapping a scarf around your hairline to give it a chance to really set.

How to Style a Wig

When removing a new wig (human or synthetic hair) out of the packaging, give it a nice shake before brushing or applying any products (if you are able to do so). You want to be gentle with your hairpiece and stick to wig-friendly hair products.

As mentioned above, human hair is easier to style. If you’re going this route, Johnson recommends light leave-in conditioners, detanglers and/or heat protectants when styling. “[It’ll] keep your wig detangled and free of product build-up [while] also helping to maintain your wig for months, or even years, to come,” she explains. Once brushed and styled, run the flat iron (or curler) to get the style you want before spritzing hairspray to keep flyaways at bay.

But, what if Im using a synthetic wig? It’s best to comb through your wig of choice with your fingers. Again, be gentle and only use products that work for synthetic wigs (like dry shampoo). However, avoid using any heat tools unless the wig is labelled heat-resistant.

How to Clean a Wig

Note: The best way to clean a wig is to follow the specific wig’s cleaning instructions, however here are some general guidelines. It’s recommended that if you’re wearing a wig daily, you should clean it bi-monthly (or after seven to 10 wears) to keep it looking new. But if you’re wearing it occasionally (or after 10+ wears), it’s OK to cut cleaning down to once a month. The key is to always be gentle and let it completely dry before applying it on again.

  • If its a synthetic wig: Submerge the wig in cold water with a teaspoon of sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner made for wigs. Make sure to run your fingers (or a toothbrush) through the hairline (especially if you were dealing with any wig glue or tape). Leave it in the water for a few minutes before rinsing out the shampoo. Lay it on a towel, blot any excess water and leave it out to dry.
  • If its human hair: Soak the wig in warm water with a teaspoon of sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Again, focus on cleaning up the hairline if needed. Let it soak in the water for a few minutes before rinsing. Finally, let it air-dry.

How long do wigs last?

Wigs can last for a few days or for a few years, depending on how often you wear them, the type of wig you’re using and how well you’re maintaining your new hair. So, in order to keep your hair intact for many wears to come, you’ll want to:

  • Store them correctly. It’s recommended to place wigs in a silk bag, pillowcase or on a mannequin head to keep the them matte-free.
  • Be gentle. When it comes to wigs, the strands are more fragile than your natural hair. They are prone to shedding, frizz or stretching. So, consider brushing your hair (synthetic or not) before washing it to avoid tangles and damage. It is also recommended to brush from the bottom upwards rather than starting at the roots to prevent more knots and shedding. Lastly regardless of wig type, always reach for a wig brush or comb.
  • Avoid ripping your wig off. “If you’ve applied it with gel or glue, ripping it off can not only damage your wig but severely damage your natural hair,” Johnson says. “Use designated remover products any time you’re removing your wig.”

Is it bad to wear a wig every day?

Yes and no. “Wearing wigs is meant to be a protective style, but it’s also important to give your natural hair a break and remove them at night whenever possible,” Johnson explains. Wigs are fun and chic but sometimes you’ll need to give your natural locks some breathing room to grow and nourish.

So, what will it be today—a long blonde ‘do or a fiery red pixie cut? The choice is yours.

RELATED: Meet the Latest Hair Color Trend That’s Giving Us Major Cruella De Vil Vibes

From Around The Web