Ask the Experts: Secrets to Styling and Wearing a Wig

We caught up with Nicki Minaj's wig designer, Terrence Davidson, for insider wig styling tips. From choosing the right hair to keeping a healthy scalp, this must-read guide has you covered!

Nicole Marie Melton Feb, 05, 2013

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Stars like Nicki Minaj and Wendy Williams are known for their over-the-top wigs, but nowadays regular women are growing more drawn to wigs because of their versatile styling options and convenience.  We caught up with Minaj's mane man, Terrence Davidson, aka "The Wig Master," who has been designing celeb wigs for over a decade, to get his top tricks for rocking a wonderful wig. 

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While it's true that wearing a wig can give your own hair a break from daily styling, it's important that you pay attention to the upkeep of your natural tresses. "You can still wash your own hair while it's braided as long as you rinse out the shampoo thoroughly and sit under a dryer to make sure it's completely dry afterwards," says Davidson. If you leave braided hair damp under a wig, you run the risk of breeding bacteria or mildew.

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The best way to prep your own hair under a wig is to wash and condition it then apply a hot oil treatment. "A hot-oil treatment is great for moisturizing the hair and the scalp," says Davidson.  After your treatment, Davidson advises cornrowing the hair.  "Braid the hair straight back. Then, take the ends, fold them up between the parts and sew everything flat.  That is the best way to create a seamless foundation so your hair won't look too bulgy under the wig."

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When wearing wigs, don't compromise your edges by using plastic clips around the hairline. A better option, says Davidson, is wearing a wig with a built-in stocking cap that's more likely to offer a snug fit without harsh clips.  To secure the hair, use discreetly placed bobby pins in the crown or behind the ears where you're less likely to damage your edges.

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If you're going to wear a wig, maintain your hair with extra TLC.  Instead of throwing your wig on the bedpost at night (ladies, we know we're guilty of this!) purchase a wig head to store it on. Straight hair can be be wrapped on the wig head to maintain shape and bounce, advises Davidson, who also uses Saran Wrap around the wig once it's wrapped to lock in moisture. Genius!

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When purchasing synthetic hair wigs, be sure to avoid hair that is too shiny.  Glossy hair is a dead giveaway that you're wearing a wig. "You can find synthetic hair that doesn't look too shiny," says Davidson. If you suspect your hair is too glossy,  "brush it out with a paddle brush before wearing it to remove some of the shine."

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For added versatility in your wig, create a custom look with a lower price tag by getting your wig made with human hair in the front and synthetic hair in the back. "Sometimes, I would make wigs with human hair in the bangs so that you can swoop it or wear it curly, but the rest of the wig is synthetic," reveals Davidson. "This way, you can really play with the hair in the front and make it look totally new from one day to the next." 

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When blending your own hair into a half-wig, be certain to choose a texture that closely matches your nautural hair. "I don't like seeing someone wear their hair and it doesn't blend into the weave," says Davidson. If you need help selecting a texture, make a trip to the salon to get expert help from your stylist.

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When caring for wigs, be very selective with the products you use. "No protein treatments—ever. No hard hair sprays at all. You want the hair to last.  I'm not a fan of heavy or hard products," says Davidson.  "You should definitely use a moisturizer on the hair. I love Mizani's Spradiance High Gloss Serum. It's the absolute best."

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Wigs are all about being versatile, so don't be afraid to experiment with longer lengths. Who cares if it hits your waist?  Embrace your inner diva and rock your wig with confidence, whether it's short and sweet and down your back and bold!

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