We’ve all seen a bad wig in person before—perhaps you've even been caught wearing one once or twice. (Regrettably, of course.) They stick out like white pants after Labor Day and no matter how many times you adjust and readjust them on your head, there’s just no good angle you can pull off. The difference between a good and bad wig starts with the price you pay for it. Now, I know it can be tempting to go the cheaper route when you walk into a wig shop and see the same style in two wigs; one costs $25 and the other one $125. Who wouldn’t want a deal? The trouble is, this sale will cost you big time later. Wigs with super low price tags usually only look good on the wig head in the store. As soon as you get them home and atop your own head, they don’t look anything like what you thought you paid for. Whether the tag says synthetic or human, you have to feel and finagle the hair before you buy it. If it’s feeling scratchy and rough like plastic, before you’ve even brought it home, that’s an instant red flag. Do you really want to feel those prickly ends on the back of your neck all day? I doubt it, and I know I don't.
A great wig should look and feel as much like real hair as possible, and you should be able to manipulate it the same way you would your own. If the wig you’re about to buy doesn’t allow you to use heat on it or wash it, and it feels like a dish sponge that should've been thrown out, walk away – fast! Take it from someone who has been there, messed that up, and has had a few awkward and cringe-worthy hair moments to prove it.
One other thing to remember is that not all wig clerks are created equal. Listen closely to what they have to say. “Everyone buys that one!” That sounds good if you’re standing inside a shop that’s trusted and frequented by many a wig-pro, but not so much if you’re at a place where they value sales quantity over quality of merchandise. If you’re trying on a wig inside a store (a must before you buy!) and you want an honest second opinion, I recommend asking another shopper over the person trying to sell it to you. That fellow shopper is far more likely to keep it real when it counts. Just say, "Girl, do I look good in this?" Whenever I'm shopping for a new head of hair and someone asks me for my thoughts on their selection, I believe it's my sisterly duty to tell the truth.
Think about it, and happy shopping!
Charli Penn is the Relationships Editor for ESSENCE.com and a marriage blogger who enjoys taking in a breathtaking city skylines from a rooftop bar, online shopping and changing her hair like the weather. She's a proud member of #teamlonghairdontcare and a wig enthusiast. Say hello below!