Lace can seem intimidating, but we promise, it doesn't have to be. Our step-by-step guide will help you transform that beautiful wig into luxurious hair.
Wigs have become a must for most people's style and for good reasons. In the last decade, hair units have become a well-known strategy for achieving trendsetting style. Wigs have evolved into mainstream fashion companions to natural hair care regimens. If you are reading this, you have probably already binged one-minute wig installs and are ready for the nitty-gritty of nailing an at-home process.
Now, take a deep breath, ready your tools, and follow our step-by-step guide:
Step One: Prep your Natural Hair
The first step to wearing a wig is taking care of your natural hair. To ensure your wig is protective, the initial steps are about keeping hair moisturized and minimizing friction to prevent unnecessary breakage.
Start by giving your tresses some TLC by cleansing, conditioning, and following with a hydrating oil ideal for your hair type. For everything texture, we have a big crush on BLK + GRN, a self care marketplace that offers an awesome catalogue of black owned products.
Once your hair is mostly dry, you can braid your hair, twist it, or create a small bun depending on the length. Once your tresses are neatly braided and tucked away you can slip on your wig cap. The goal is to get our hair as flat to your head as possible to ensure a more natural fit.
Step Two: Clean your Hairline
For best results with any wig adhesive, it is essential to apply it to clean skin. Residue from make-up or skincare on your hairline can prevent the glue from sticking on your hairline effectively. Thoroughly and gently, cleanse along the edges of your hairline thoroughly to remove any oil or chemicals. We recommend using alcohol prep pads for the best results.
Step Three: Secure your Wig Cap or Stocking
Most wigs come with wig caps included, but you can find extras in beauty stores or Amazon. The wig cap should be positioned so that it does not cover your desired hairline. Often when people install their wig, they will adjust how high or low the wig sits to make room for baby hair styling or to minimize the forehead (no judgment). If the fit is tight, you can experiment going without the wig cap. We recommend a cap to help prevent friction, keep your wig in place, and ensure you have a smooth base for a more secure fit.
Step Four: Position your Wig
Before applying the glues or adhesive, see that the wig fits properly. Place the wig on your head and line it up with your desired hairline. If the wig has a tightening strap on the inside, you can further adjust for a comfortable but snug fit. Be sure to loosen the straps if you feel a strong ring of pressure around your head. It's important to get the fit just right, so shop for styles that are adjustable and have a clear size chart in their product listings.
Step Five: Apply Glue or Adhesive
When selecting your glue, you should prioritize your skin. Ensure your hair routine is healthy by choosing a glue that won’t irritate the skin. Check out Elle’s Picks for the 6 best wig glues.
Dot or spraying a thin line of adhesive along the hairline and smooth it out with a comb or sponge. Then use your blow dryer to speed up the curing process. Once the adhesive is clear, repeat this step and apply a second layer of glue. When the bond is beginning to dry and is in a transparent, tacky state, you are ready to move on to lace trimming.
Step Six: Trim Lace and Lay It Down
At this point, you should put your wig on but avoid fixing it to the skin. Use a small sharp scissor to trim the lace along your natural hairline. Leave about 1/8 inch (3 mm) of lace for blending. Some people will use make-up to outline a guide for an even line.
Stylists recommend cutting the lace in sections starting from the middle, making it easier to cut precisely. You can only snip once! But don't worry, you can use the baby hair and make-up to cover any imperfections. Now add your last layer of glue, repeating the process from step 6, then place the wig at the very edge of the adhesive. Placement is essential as you lay down your sections, step back and make sure you are following a natural-looking line.
Once the wig is glued down, you can use your rat tail comb to gently press the glued wig into the skin. Then Wrap a satin scarf or headbandaround your hairline for 15-20 minutes to further cure the glue and lace to the skin.
With your wig securely attached, you are ready to melt the lace.
Begin by cutting away any excess lace, you can use your sharp scissors, but some prefer a razor for precision. Use an adhesive spray like Got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Hairspray in a thin fine line across the front and press with the back of a comb to see the lace dissolve into the skin. Then repeat the wrapping step with a satin scarf and use a hairdryer to perfect the cure and hold.
Step Seven: Baby Hairs
Many units come with baby hairs pre-styled along the hairline, while others can be styled to add them.
To design your own baby hair, take a very small section from the front of your hairline, around 1/16 inch, and trim it to 3/4 inch. Then shape them as boldly as you desire using your favorite edge control or styling mousse and comb. Once your design is finished, let your edges set. You can do this by pinning it down with setting paper or using a scarf and a blow dryer on the cooling setting. After a few minutes, remove this paper or scarf and reveal your masterpiece!
Step Eight: Style
Styling is a must; that last touch of extra style will make the wig more you. Synthetic fibers have become far more adaptable, and human hair can withstand most anything. If your wig is synthetic, avoid using a regular brush and hot styling tools over 400 degrees. Instead, use a wide-toothed comb or wig brush to adjust your hair. If it is human hair, you'll have no problem using a typical brush and extra hotter styling tools.
Looking for more insight? Check out Destiny Dove's tutorial and review of our Viola Wig.