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Let's get Wiggy with it

One issue that a lot of cosplayers run in to is having too many wigs.


You bought this blonde wig for this specific character, and this red wig for this other character, but now you don't cosplay those characters so what do you do with the wigs?


Sure, you could try to sell them at a flea market or host a cosplay swap, but you can also use them for more than one character! When it comes to cosplay outfits and costumes almost all are character specific, but wigs don't have to be! This article will go through some tips and tricks for using and reusing one wig for at least three characters and then some!



Pile of Wigs


Let's just dive right in to the nitty gritty.


Wigs can get expensive and can take up a lot of space. Wigs can range anywhere from $15 on Amazon up to $90 and up on sites such as EpicCosplay and Arda Wigs especially if you're looking at lace front wigs. If you choose to display your wigs for storage rather than in bins and bags then you're looking at even more money to buy wig heads, stands and shelving. Cost aside, synthetic wigs are made of components that are not biodegradable. Yes, some are made of plastic, but they're not as easy to recycle like a soda can or plastic water bottle so a lot of wigs passed their prime end up in landfills.


But what if I told you that you didn't need to buy a new wig for every character you cosplay? Obviously, there are some exceptions especially if it involves cutting the wig or heavy styling, but sometimes you can get lucky and reuse that wig. Let's look at some ways to do that:


Method 1: Restyling


This is best method if you don't need to cut your wig but it can also work if you're looking for a challenge. It's not always easy, but you can make a longer wig look shorter simply by tucking it in or back. You can always hide bangs by clipping them up or to the side and behind the ears. If the character needs more volume, you can tease the wig and use hair spray. If you end up using a lot of hairspray (like I did for Choso), you can always wash your wig and it'll revert to the original, pre-sprayed style.


Example: I used the same base Amazon wig (with bangs) original purchased for Suma (Demon Slayer).




It took some finagling but by just pinning the bangs back along with a few strands from the side, it was reused for Hagenazuka (Demon Slayer).



The third look took a lot of creativity, a ton of clips and hairpins, and hairspray on my part but I was able to use the same wig for Choso (Jujutsu Kaisen).


Obviously, these are some very different styles created with the same wig, but you can do the same thing if two characters have similar styles such as Astolfo (Case Study of Vanitas) and Sakura (Naruto). Just know that you don't have to cosplay the same character with the same hairstyle in order to reuse the same wig.



Method 2: Wig extensions or wig clips


This may require you to buy a hair/wig clip unless you purchase a wig with a removeable clip. The nice thing about this approach is that you can take a short wig and make it look longer or vice versa. The wig I used for Giyuu (Demon Slayer) came with two parts - the main wig and a clip for his pony tail. Because of this, I was able to repurpose his wig, without the clip, for Tecchou (Bungo Stray Dogs). I was also able to wash and restyle the clip and use it with a shorter black wig for Kanao (Demon Slayer).


A good example of this is the original Cherry Blossom (Sk8 the Infinity) wig I got that came with a ponytail clip. I was able to use it as-is for his "S" version, but I was able to lower the ponytail or not even use the clip for his younger version. This is also a great way to make a character yours and try out different alternate universes or AUs.


Method 3: Harvest those wefts!


If you want to cosplay someone like Genshin Impact's Wriothesley or Demon Slayer's Inosuke who have two-toned hair you can always harvest wefts from wigs way passed their expiration date. This will require some time, patience and a few YouTube tutorials but it can give that wig second life. This is also great for making a shorter wig longer if you know how to sew in wefts. This method works pretty well if you decide that you want to either learn a glued hairline or want to add a glued hairline to a pre-existing wig. If you're curious about how to create a glued hairline, there are some really great videos on YouTube and TikTok. This eliminates the need to purchase extra wefts and minimizes waste from the original wig. For this method, you'll just need a base wig that you'll use as your main wig and an old wig with the color that you need to harvest.


Method 4: Dye the wig!


This is especially good for lighter colored wigs such as blonde, white or gray. This method can be intimidating if you've never dyed a wig before. Make sure that you wear protection so you don't burn yourself when dying the wig and read the instructions, especially if this is your first time dying a wig. Make sure to use the proper dye when dying the wig so that you don't accidently ruin or melt the wig trying to get your desired color. If you're dying a synthetic wig make sure to use synthetic dye otherwise it won't dye properly. "All-Purpose" is not the same as "Synthetic" when it comes to dye.


Tips for prolonging the life of your wigs:


  • Wash your wigs (properly!). You should wash your synthetic wigs with every 15-30 wears or whenever you feel the need to restyle. Do not overwash your wigs! Use a synthetic shampoo (I use Shea Moisture Residue Remover Shampoo) if you are washing synthetic wigs (some human hair wigs can also use a synthetic shampoo). Do NOT use regular shampoo to clean your wigs.

    • Take a bucket, tub or a bin and fill it with cool to lukewarm water, do not use hot water.

    • Add a little of the synthetic hair shampoo in the water, you don't need a lot!

    • If the wig is especially stinky, you can add a teaspoon of baking soda that is sodium bicarbonate in the water and mix it

    • Let it soak completely in the water and synthetic shampoo mixture for about 10 minutes. Work the shampoo into the wig gently. Do not rub it or scrub the wig. After 10 minutes or so, rinse the wig under cool or lukewarm water until all soap and residue are gone.

    • Rid the synthetic hair of the excess water but don’t use force. Squeeze but do not twist it or ring it out.

    • Pat the wig with a towel to dry. Do so softly and with as little pressure as possible. You can also roll the wig up loosely in the towel if you're working with more than one wig.

    • Place it on a stand or hang it to dry. I know you might tempted to try and brush it because it looks knotty, but don't!

    • Brush it only after it is totally dry. Do not dry your synthetic wig in the sun, any heat can alter the style or shape of the wig. Do not use a hairdryer to dry the wig as this can also alter or damage the fibers.


  • Use less product. Obviously, this is easier said than done because some styles require a lot of product. If you must use a lot of product, try using products specifically made for synthetic wigs.


  • Try not to over style using heat tools such as a crimper or steamer. Always make sure to test a small patch of your wig to make sure that the fibers can withstand the heat tool and don't melt. Not every synthetic wig is made of the same heat-resistant fibers.


  • If the wig is prone to tangling invest in silicone spray or something like DeMert Brands Lusterizer and Conditioner. Be careful to follow the instructions and don't saturate the wig because it could become too slippery or difficult to style. Use a wide-tooth comb or a wig brush (a loop brush) so you don't pull on the fibers too hard. Also, work tangles from the bottom up.




And remember, you don't have to wear a wig to cosplay! If you want to dye and style your own hair, go for it! If you just want to wear your natural hair in the character's style, go for it! There's not one set way to cosplay.


 

Transitioning from the world of wig transformations, we hope these tips inspire you to get creative and make the most out of your cosplay wigs.


We'd love to hear about your own experiences and techniques—feel free to share your stories and tips in the comments below!


If you're passionate about cosplay and have valuable insights to offer, consider becoming a Writer for Creative Cosplays Magazine. We're always on the lookout for fresh content and tutorials to feature.


Don't forget to subscribe to our magazine for more cosplay tips, interviews, and showcases. If you'd like to see your work in our next issue, submit your photos and stories for a chance to be featured. Join our vibrant community and let's celebrate the art of cosplay together!

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