Editor Charli Penn was on a mission to find a protective style that was fabuous, easy and kind to her weakened edges. Mission accomplished!
You Can Have It All
On a journey to find a fierce style that would both protect my weakened edges and conceal them in between weaves, I wound up with this fabulous custom wig from Indique Hair. Here's my style story and tips on how to make your wig work for you, and not against your edges.
My first stop was to pay stylist Joyce Koomson at Indique Hair's newly opened SoHo salon. (Chic on fleek, but I digress.) I chose Indique because the company specializes in healthy hair and great styles. My first visit was for a detailed consultation with Koomson. When she realized I needed to give my broken and damaged edges a break, she recommended a custom unit as opposed to a weave to alleviate stress on my edges. I'd mostly been wearing synthetic wigs on top of my natural hair cornrowed or one sewn-in weave after another, so we agreed this was the best move to make.
Photo by Courtesy of Indique Hair
Hair Care First
During my consultation, Koomson and I discussed which hair texture would be most flexible for me (we chose Pure Wavy with a closure, so I could easily switch between wearing it straight or with deep waves) and after learning my "Style Vision" she created a cast molding of my head to ensure that the custom wig she would make for me would be a perfect fit. When I arrived at the salon to have the wig installed, my dry hair was detangled, I was given a pre-shampoo treatment, then a wash and a conditioner using Design Essential products so that it could be best protected beneath the wig. (Look how excited I was to meet my new wig.)
All Part Of The Plan
To make the blow-drying process gentler on my hair it was sectioned into fours, products were applied, combed through with a Denman brush, braided and under a hooded dryer for 10-15 mins to remove excess water and then blow-dried. This is an important step especially for naturals. It cuts down drying time and blow drying is done with far more ease with less stress on the hair. Koomson ensured that my braid pattern was done in a way that mimicked how the unit was styled with a side part and that would not apply extra stress to my edges.
Sew With A Purpose
My unit was sewn down around the perimeter and in between tracks for security. Units can either be sewn down or combs or clips can be attached for those who would like to take it on and off at night.
Close It Up
Koomson recommended a wig with a custom closure for a very specific reason. “The closure is free styling, meaning you can part it in a variety of ways, middle/side/bangs,” she told me. “It’s great for protective styling; you don't have to leave out any of your natural hair therefore avoiding heat damage from continuously using hot tools on leave out. It’s also great if you choose a texture that may not be your natural texture.”
The Finished Product
After my custom unit was sewn on, Koomson created soft layering with a razor cut and then the hair was curled with a large barrel iron. Having the wig hand-stitched in advance cut my salon time in half.
Pause! Of course a selfie moment with the stylist is always a must.
Easy Does It
For the person that wears a weave consistently, custom units are great to use in between sew-ins. It really gave my hair a break while I headed to New Orleans to work at ESSENCE Fest. I was able to have my hair styled professionally with heat daily and sweat in the NOLA heat without worrying about my natural hair getting damaged or stressed.
“Customizing a unit means it's just for you,” says Koomson. “It's cut for your face, and measured for your head making it great for when you have a hair emergency. Plus, you can maintain your hair underneath on a weekly/bi-weekly basis and have your stylist shampoo and treat your hair more frequently while maintaining your favorite style.” All pluses if healthy hair is your end game.
Edges For The Win
My favorite part of the opting for the closure instead of the more traditional wig styles I'd worn before was the optical illusion. They look, feel and move like my edges, but they're not. Meanwhile my edges are taking a much-needed break and I can go from casual cute to full glam (for my best friend's wedding, shown here) without ever touching them.