We first met Ma-musu Nyande when she answered a shout-out to Road Test a local cafe and since then, we’ve always admired her style. We regard Ma-musu as the nearest thing to a professional wig-slayer as you’ll find. Here, Ma-musu shares how to choose a wig that suits, along with how to slay your look!
How to Slay Wig Wearing
My journey to wearing and being comfortable in wigs didn’t happen naturally. For African women like me, wigs and hair extensions are not only an important part of protecting our natural hair but also an expression of art and creativity. Historically African people have used hair extensions, braiding styles and wigs to showcase what tribes we identified as. A specific look could indicate the clan you belonged to, your marital status or your age. For example, a traditional style symbolizing heritage for the Fula women of the Sahel region consisted of five long braids down the back with a small tuft of hair gathered at the top of the crown. Hairstyles were passed down through the matriarchs of each generation—from grandmother to mother to daughter.
Wigs were always more of grown up thing and still are – and now that am grownish I love nothing more than playing dress-up in some of my favourite wigs.
Looking at the wigs I’ve acquired over the years, I prefer human hair wigs over synthetic. Human hair wigs offer the most natural look and feel. And while they can be the more expensive pick, with the proper care, they are also more durable. Human hair wigs can last between 1 and 3 years. They are remarkably soft with a shine and movement that is not easily duplicated in synthetic hair.
Here are my five key elements for choosing an authentic and eco-friendly human hair wig. We’ll chat about ensuring ethical choices in a future post.
Personally I like to go with styles I know suit my face and features.
Carefully consider what type of hair style best suits your face shape. The most important thing to keep in mind is which style will best flatter the shape of your head and face. This will help you determine the other key factors of length and texture.
If this is your first wig purchase, it’s important you consider the length you’re going for: short, aka a pixie cut, medium aka a lob, or long.
Straight and flat, wavy or curly.
There is no shortage of variation in wig colours, however, finding the exact colour to match you or your original hair colour can be a very tricky task. If this is your first wig, you may want to consider remaining closer to your natural hair colour. You can always try new, different colours later. It’s also important to keep your natural skin tone in mind when selecting your wig colour. Look for wig colours that will best compliment your natural skin tone. But don’t let this hinder you from stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new and different.
5. Cap Size
The size of the wig can make an even bigger difference than the actual style since it’s directly related to your comfort. If it’s too small, it either won’t fit on your head. If it’s too big, it might be obvious you’re wearing a wig. If it’s too small, you’ll be guaranteed to sport a headache when you wear it! 95% of wig wearers are actually classified as average size. But you can easily find wigs that come in petite and large sizes as well. A simple tip is to measure your head with a measuring tape. Measure from the front of your hairline (widow’s peak), to the back of your ear, to the centre of the nape of your neck, to your hairline behind your other ear, back to your starting point at the front of your face. This dimension will give you your circumference to double check correct sizing on wig websites. Other than that, most websites sell wigs in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes.
Your daily activities are also important to consider when choosing a wig.
Are you working at a desk? If you work in an office every day, you’ll obviously want to consider a wig that will help you achieve a professional look.
Or do you live a very active life? Consider how much time you’ll spend outside, and how much you’d prefer your hair style to stay in place. Personally I don’t wear a wig when I work-out, because it can get too hot.
The wigs I wear are usually to protect my natural hair and because I have a desk job, my personal preference is for wigs that are usually long or at least shoulder length.
Like anything else, if you look after your wig correctly, it will last longer. Here are a few tips for caring for your wig.
I treat my human hair wig with the same care and love I give my natural hair. When I work-out I choose not to wear a wig, because it can get hot. I wash my wigs once a week, when I’m wearing them. This includes a shampoo and deep conditioning. I also recommend allowing your wig to air-dry because like natural hair, excessive heat can be damaging.
For styling it’s important to use heat protection and applying a light-weight hair serum. This helps with preventing heat damage but also ensures your human hair wig isn’t weighed down by heavy oils and serums.
8. Suggestions for Getting Started
My two favourite Australian owned online wig stores are: Strands N Stiches who provide unbelievable service and a guide for beginners in the wig game and Carolee Hair and Beauty who also provide custom made wigs, bundle deals and eyelashes.
Follow Ma-musu on Instagram at Finding Nyande