Measuring one’s head for a wig is an important step in the process of getting a good fitting wig. Head measurements are as important to wig makers as body measurements are to tailor and seamstresses.
Each wig maker has there preferred measurements, but there are a handful that are universally used. I will be stepping through the measurement sheet I use for every wig order. I will also included additional sheets and references for more information.
To start, prep you hair to go underneath a wig. You can visit my Wig Prep Blog post on more info about how to prep your hair for the best fit under a wig. You’ll notice that on my head measurement sheet there are 2 measurements for letters A-E. I will be focusing solely on the ‘over hair prep’ measurement. I will also be talking in inches, rather than cm.
Once your hair is secure underneath a wig cap, its time to start on the measurements
A Horizontal Circumference: This measurement is taken around the entire head, parallel to the ground. You want this to be around the ‘fattest’ part of the head. It is the same as that used to determine hat size.
B Diagonal Circumference: Also taken around the entire head, follow your hairline, making sure that the tape measure sits below the occipital bone.
C Temple to Temple Across Back: Taken from the furthest point forward of the hairline at the temple around the back of the head to same spot on the opposite side of the hairline. This should also be taken parallel to the ground.
D Front Hairline to Hairline at Nape: Starting from the front and center of your hairline, measure straight back to the center of where your hairline ends.
E Ear to Ear Across the Head: Starting at the top of the ear, measure across the head to the same spot on the other ear. For this measurement, you want to stay perpendicular to the ground.
F Width of Nape: This measurement is for the widest part of the hairline at the base of the skull. My hair has a ‘M’ shape to the back hairline. I measure between the outer two points.
G Temple to Temple (Forehead): Starting at the same spot as Measurement C, measure across the forehead to the other temple. You want this measurement to be parallel to the ground.
H Bridge to Center Front Hairline: Measure from the bridge of the nose, between the eyes, to the center front point of your hairline.
I Bridge to Receding Point: Starting at the bridge of the nose, measure to the furthest back point of your hairline. This will typically be a 45-degree angle from Measurement H.
J Temple to Sideburn: This measurement is for the temple to the lowest point of the sideburn. Measure for each side as hairlines are not typically symmetrical.
K Top of Ear to Nape (Missing Photo): Starting at the top point of the ear, measure back to the base of the hairline. This should match up to the starting point of Measurement F.
L Center Top Ear Across Back: Starting from the center, top point of the ear, measure across the back of your head, parallel to the ground, to the same point on the other ear. The tape measure will try to cup around the occipital bone, try to keep it as straight as possible.
M Back of Ear to Back of Ear: Similar to Measurement L, measure from the back point of your ear, around the back of your head and parallel to the ground, to the same point on the other ear.
N Front of Ear to Front of Ear: Just like Measurements L and M, start at the front point of your ear and measure around the back of your head to the same point on your other ear. This measurement should be parallel to the ground.
O Front of Sideburn to Sideburn: Starting at the front most section of the sideburn, measure around the head to the same spot on the other side of the head. Notice on the measurement sheet that this will follow the same line as Measurement L, just extending forward to the sideburns.
P Width of Sideburn: Measure the bottom width of the sideburn on each side of the head. Make sure to tuck any wispy hair out of the way and measure where the hair grows.
Q Center Top of Ear Over Crown: Starting at the center, top spot of the ear, measure over the crown of the head to the same spot on the other ear. This is very similar to Measurement E.
As I mentioned above, there are many different measurement sheets. Each wig maker has there preferred measurements. I have included a couple different measurement sheets below. Wig Making and Styling: A Complete Guide for Theatre & Film by Martha Ruskai and Allison Lowery is an excellent resources and also has step by step instructions and photos on how to take head measurements. For my purposes, I have found that the more information I can get about a client’s head shape and size, the better. I want to ensure that all of my custom-made wigs fit as well as possible.