When you’re looking for a wig, especially for the first time, your attention is largely on the outside of the hairpiece – what style is best for you, what color, and how the hair looks and feels. But in everyday use, what you can’t see often makes the biggest difference.
This unseen difference is the cap construction, which is the base upon which the wig is attached. Without a base, a wig would just be a pile of hair. With the wrong base, the wig may be adequately constructed, but feel uncomfortable or look unnatural on your head. But with the right base for your hairstyle and lifestyle, you can feel both comfortable and confident in your new wig.
How Are Caps Constructed?
Caps are constructed in several ways, but the goals are the same – to offer the wearer an artificial hairpiece that looks as natural as possible, but which is also affordable.
Hand-tying – which is done to lace or mesh fabric– is the most natural-looking method. This why the highest-quality wigs are often 100% hand-tied. This means that each strand or group of strands is knotted onto the base using a special needle, which makes it appear to grow out of the wearer’s scalp.
Wigs that are fully or partially hand-tied may fall into one of two categories: lace front or mono top.
Lace front wigs, as their name implies, are made with a very fine lace at the front hairline, to which the individual hairs are tied. The mesh is so light as to be nearly invisible, making it look like the hairs are coming directly out of your scalp. This gives the wearer the flexibility to part their hair any way they like without fear of revealing the tell-tale base fabric.
Sometimes combined with lace, but often appearing on their own are monofilament top wigs, commonly known as mono tops. These wigs are considered by many to be the most comfortable because the hairs are attached to a very soft, light mesh fabric that feels good against the scalp. What lace provides to the hairline, this mesh provides to the top of the head – a nearly invisible base that makes the hairs appear to grow directly out of the scalp and which gives the wearer the flexibility to part their hair how they please.
Machine-made wigs make up a third category and provide wearers with an affordable and natural-looking option, provided that they style the wig as it was originally intended. Wigs may be fully or partially machine-made – machine-woven backs being popular in conjunction with mono top wigs and fully machine-tied stretch caps making up another popular category.
Which One Is Right For Me?
The right cap for you depends on a number of factors and may change throughout your life or even throughout your week.
Lace front wigs are best for people who want the most realistic hairline possible and who like to part and style their hair in many different ways. Different types of lace front adhesives exist, but some can be difficult to apply compared to other types of wigs, so people who will not be changing their wig often or who have the time and dedication to do practice until they can do it well will enjoy this wig the most.
Mono top wigs are best for people who want a natural-looking scalp, but whose hairstyles don’t require lace or who are looking for a wig that’s easy to take on and off on a daily basis. Chemo patients often favor these wigs because they are among the most comfortable, especially on sensitive scalps.
Stretch cap wigs are perfect for people who are looking for the best balance of style and budget-friendliness and who usually wear their hair in the same style from day to day.
What If I Need Elements Of More Than One Style?
Many people, however, see themselves in more than one of the above descriptions. For example, you may want the ease of a stretch cap wig on a day-to-day basis, but want the flexibility to restyle your hair for special occasions or appear as natural as possible for an outing.
In cases such as these, you may want to consider purchasing a primary and a secondary wig with different caps (we always recommend having a backup wig anyway). You can use your primary wig as your “everyday wear” and pull out your backup wig for special occasions. This can be easy on your budget and give you an appropriate degree of flexibility.
Do you have questions about cap constructions or want to see samples of the real thing? Give us a call at (856) 235-3534 and let our friendly staff help you today!