A Custom Wig Company

Wig Blog

Wig Prep

Hair prep is important to how a wig looks and feels. Hair prep helps hold and hide the performer’s own hair out of sight, and provides the anchor points that the bobby pins and wig pins go into to hold a wig in place.
— Wig Making and Styling: A Complete Guide for Theater & Film by Martha Ruskai and Allison Lowery

A wig prep is the way your hair is prepared (prep) or ‘styled’ underneath your wig. A good wig prep makes your hair as flat as possible to your head while providing good spots to anchor on the wig. There are multiple ways to prepare your hair to go underneath a wig. I’m going to focus mainly on pin curls and wrap. I will address braids in a second blog post. I will also provide links to a couple of different methods.

You’ll find some sources on the internet saying that its acceptable to just shove your hair in a wig (or stocking) cap. I completely disagree. I’ve seen wigs go flying off of someone’s head because the wig was not properly attached. Wig prep doesn’t need to be pretty, just secure!

I used a hair brush, comb, bobby pins, wig cap, and hair pins for my pin curls. Please forgive me for not wearing makeup!

If your hair is short or thin enough, you can continue to pin curl the entirety of your hair. My hair is relatively thick and past my shoulders at the moment. I’m going to create two more pin curls at the back (nape) of my hair line and wrap the rest of my hair.

  1. Three different styles of bobby pins. I prefer the middle pins.

  2. I started by brushing out my hair. I have naturally wavy hair.

  3. I sectioned away the first 1.5” of my hair. I pulled the rest into a ponytail to get it out of the way for the moment.

  4. I sectioned a 1.5” square of hair in the center of my hairline.

  5. I wrapped my hair around my first two fingers. I made sure to keep the section of hair flat, like a ribbon, as I wrapped it. I do not recommend twisting the hair, it adds bulk to the pin curls.

  6. I gently slid the wrapped hair off of my fingers towards my scalp. I laid the curl against my head, creating an “O” from the top. I set this “O” near the back of the section. I want to keep about a fingers width of hair along my hairline free from pin curls.

  7. Using two bobby pins, I pinned my hair into place. I made sure the bobby pins ended up with the wavy side towards my scalp. I keep the wavy side down to keep the ends from sticking up. I also crossed the bobby pins, which locks them into place. This is one of the reasons bobby pins have the wavy sides.

  8. I moved onto the next section, about 1” wide. the pin curls should all be about the same size.

  9. I flat wrapped the hair around the same two fingers, gently slid the hair off, and secured into place using bobby pins.

  10. I continue sectioning my hair and creating pin curls until there are five relatively equally sized pin curls across my hairline.

  11. I divided the back section of my hair about the 1.5” bottom hair. Essentially the hair below my occipital bone.

  12. I spit this section in two.

  13. Each of these two sections I then create into pin curls. Wrapping the hair flatly around my fingers and crossing the bobby pins.

  14. I create two more pin curls at the top of my head, directly behind the first row of pin curls. These will serve as anchors for the wrapped part of my hair.

  15. I divided the remaining amount of hair into two large sections

  16. I portioned off about a third of the same section, pulling the hair from the perimeter or outside of the hair to start.

  17. I brought this section under the remaining loose hair and to the opposite side of the head.

  18. Wrapping the hair up to the top two pin curls, I secured the hair with bobby pins. I pinned into the pin curls.

  19. Repeating on the other side, I took about a third of the hair out of the section.

  20. Wrapping the hair underneath the remaining loose hair, I continued around my head and secured the hair into the top pin curls.

  21. I repeated this process, alternating sides until a small section, about the equivalent size to the other portions remained

  22. This last amount of hair, I turned into a giant pin curl. I used my whole hand, flattened out, to wrap the hair around. I secured with bobby pins.

    This ‘wrapped up’ my hair prep process. On to the wig cap!

Once my hair has all been pinned up, I add a wig cap. For today I chose a beige colored wig cap. You can get wig caps at a variety of places. I bought wig caps in bulk from Amazon. Each of my wigs gets sent out with a wig cap, bobby pins, and hair pins.

  1. Three different types of hair pins. I prefer the style that doesn’t have little balls at the ends.

  2. Start with a clean wig cap. I chose beige for today.

  3. I placed both of my hands inside the wig cap. I then stretched it out and over my hair. Using flat, open palms work best.

  4. Pushing the edges of the wig cap back, I exposed my hairline. For lace front wigs, this will help the lace lay flatter against your hairline and look more natural.

  5. Lifting the wig cap away from my hair, I push the hair pin into and back out of the wig cap.

  6. With the wig cap still attached, I then flip the pin 180 degrees. I hook the pin underneath the front edge of the wig cap.

  7. From here, I gently push the hair pin into the curl directly behind it. This anchors the wig cap into the pin curls. Doing so will aid in anchoring the wig to my head.

  8. I repeat the process with the top center of the wig cap, anchoring into the first pin curl I created.

  9. I repeat this process until I have anchored the wig cap at five points along my hairline: center front, each temple, and each side of my nape.

I will address braiding hair for wig prep in a future post. I hope you all enjoyed and please let me now if you have any questions!

The following are references for various different ways of creating a wig prep.

Marcia Willard