Check out our complete beginner’s guide to wigs for black women to learn the basics, benefits of wearing wigs, how to choose the perfect one for your skin tone and hair, and where to find the best.
Wigs for Black Women: A Complete Beginner’s Guide
Wigs are an easy way for black women to try out different lengths, colors, and hairstyles without the long-term commitment. But the world of wigs can be confusing if you’ve never bought or worn one. When you search wigs for black women online, you’re hit with a lot of info at once and it’s hard to know where to start:
- What does it mean if a wig has a lace front?
- Should the hairline be hand-tied or machine-sewn?
- Is it a good or bad thing to buy a synthetic wig?
For a beginner who’s never worn or purchased one, the task of shopping for your first wig is nothing short of overwhelming. That’s why we created this informative, jam-packed guide for beginners. We’re going to walk you through wig basics and everything you need to know to get started.
We partnered with WowEbony to bring you the best selection of wigs online. We think there's no comparison.
From common wig terminology and clear explanations of different wig and hair types to the benefits of wearing one and where to find the best quality, affordable wigs online, this guide will educate you and answer all your questions about wigs for black women.
All set? Let’s start with the advantages of wearing wigs and why they’re especially beneficial for black women.
Benefits of Wigs for Black Women
If you’ve never worn a wig before, you’re probably not aware of some of the incredible benefits they offer. Wigs are insanely popular worldwide for a reason – a lot of reasons, actually!
Take a look at some of the top benefits black women can experience from wearing a wig. You’ll see why, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, about 50% of black women are wearing a wig at any given time.
Easier Hairstyle Changes
Many of the most popular natural hairstyles for black women look gorgeous but take a lot of time to do. Box braids, cornrows, and 3-strand twists can take 6 hours or more to finish!
But wigs present a fast, easy way for black women to switch out hairstyles without the painfully slow process of braiding or twisting each time.
When you’re in the mood to try something different and just don’t feel like messing with your hair, there’s no better option than a realistic, high-quality wig.
Experiment With Different Lengths and Colors
If you like changing up your hair often by experimenting with different lengths and colors, wigs are the best way to do it without damaging your hair or going through the chop-it-off, grow-it-out cycle over and over.
Feeling fierce and want a short and sassy raven black pixie today? Go off! Think long, flowing locks with honey-toned highlights would look perfect with that dress? You can pop on a wig and make it happen!
Protect Your Natural Hair
Even protective hairstyles like braids, coils, locs, and twists can tug on your scalp and damage your hair – especially if done incorrectly. Wigs provide a damage-free way to change hairstyles and adopt the trendiest looks without hurting your hair in the long run.
When you wear a wig, your hair won’t be exposed to the elements, damaged by chemical processing, or subjected to heat damage from hot tools. They’re also a great way to protect and “hide” your natural hair while you grow it out to longer lengths.
Disguise Thinning Hair
Thinning hair is one of the top reasons black women turn to wigs. Dr. Crystal Ugochi Aguh at Johns Hopkins University notes that nearly half of all black women experience thinning or hair loss at some point in their lives.
Wigs can help you create the illusion of fullness and thickness, no matter how thin your hair may be underneath. There are options like U-part wigs and half wigs that boost fullness and thickness without completely covering your natural hair, too.
If thinning or bald spots are tanking your self-esteem, investing in a good wig can help you build your confidence back by disguising those problems and giving you the appearance of full, voluminous, healthy hair.
Comfortable and Secure Wear
Another benefit of wearing a wig is the comfort level. While some hairstyles for black women can be heavy or even painful to wear, donning a wig is comfortable and secure – when you invest in a good quality wig.
Modern advances in wig technology and fit have made them so much enjoyable and comfy to wear, as well as more secure. When you buy a good wig and put it on properly, it’s not going to budge until you’re ready to take it off.
Discreet, Natural Appearance
One of the biggest worries we hear from wig beginners is the possibility of a “wig malfunction.” You’ve seen enough movies and TV shows to know how embarrassing it would be if it just falls off (like the woman whose wig fell off at the worst possible time) or slides back while you wear it.
And no one wants to wear an obviously artificial wig that looks better suited for Halloween! Good wigs have a natural appearance that looks realistic and is discreet.
When you wear a quality wig, no one is going to know you’re wearing one unless you tell them. Wig options today allow you to choose one that closely mimics a natural hairline and part to avoid that artificial “wiggy” look.
That’s one of the major advantages of wearing a modern wig – even the synthetic wigs today are designed to look more realistic and discreet to safely keep your wig secret.
Wig Terminology Glossary
We’ve briefly discussed a few wig terms so far, but this is where we really dive into the wig jargon and explain what the different terms mean.
If you’ve been confused about all the different wig options and types out there, this section of the guide will set you straight. Take a look at some of the most common wig terms and what they mean below:
- Cap: The wig base where the synthetic or human hair is attached; helps shape the hair.
- Density percentage: A measure of the fullness or density of the wig; wigs with 100% density (light to medium fullness) up to 180% density (extra heavy density) are common.
- Extended neck: An extension of the wig cap that covers more of the neckline at the back of the head; used to help conceal hair from peeking out at the bottom.
- Full lace wig: A wig base made fully of lace to mimic the appearance of the scalp and allow for more natural-looking hairline and parts.
- Hand-tied: Wig fibers are individually hand-tied to the wig cap for a more natural appearance; options include hand-tied front wigs (only the forehead area is hand-tied) to 100% hand-tied wigs where all hair fibers are knotted to the cap for the most natural look.
- HD lace wig: A lace wig base covering that appears transparent and undetectable, allowing the wearer to have an exposed, natural-looking hairline or part during wear; also known as invisible, transparent, or undetectable lace wig.
- Human hair: A wig featuring human hair (100% or a blend with synthetic fibers) that has the most natural look and feel; can be heat-styled and chemically processed due to the strength and integrity of the real human hair fibers.
- Lace front wig: A wig featuring a section of nearly-transparent lace in the front section (about 1.5”) to create the illusion of a natural hairline and off-the-face parting.
- Remy hair: A wig made with real human hair fibers all running in the same direction when collected from donors (usually by securing the remy hair in a ponytail before cutting).
- Skin part: A wig that appears like natural scalp skin where it is parted for a more discreet appearance.
- SofTouch®: A silicone-like gel that enhances the fit and security of a wig without the use of adhesive glue or tape.
- Synthetic fiber: A wig featuring synthetic, man-made fibers that are designed to mimic human hair; you can’t usually heat-style synthetic wigs and you cannot chemically process (color, perm, relax, etc.) this wig type.
- U-Part wig: Partial wigs featuring a U-shaped cap that clips in place and allows you to wear your natural hair through the opening in the top center; typically used to boost fullness in thin hair, and also known as 3/4 wigs.
- Virgin hair: Human hair used in a wig that has never been chemically processed (either while on the donor’s head or afterward); the gold standard in human hair for wigs.
- Wig liner: A stretchy cap worn over your natural hair before wig application; holds the hair flat and keeps it securely contained while helping grip the wig.
- Wig sizes: The cap size of a wig, ranging from mini petite to large, that determines how the wig will fit on your head; proper wig sizing prevents slipping and keeps the wig securely attached.
While the wig language may be a little confusing at first, once you know what the basic terms mean, things start to make more sense.
From the terms above, you can now understand what a website is selling when they advertise a 100% hand-tied, full lace wig or what it means when a wig has 150% density.
Understanding these basic wig terms will also help you start to zero in on the type of wig that will be the best fit for you. We’ll talk more about choosing the right wig next.
Choosing the Right Wig Type for You
Choosing the right wig type for you means picking out the best options from the wig cap and fit to the fibers. We’ll help walk you through the process below.
Should You Get a Human Hair or Synthetic Wig?
The first thing you need to think about when choosing the right wig type for you is the wig fiber material. It’s a simple question of whether you want real human hair or synthetic hair. There are pros and cons for each.
Human Hair Wig Pros and Cons
- Pros: Most natural appearance, lasts up to 2 years, can be heat-styled and chemically processed
- Cons: More expensive than synthetic, non-virgin and non-Remy human hair may look frizzy and dull
Human hair is the most natural-looking option because it comes from real human donors. No synthetic fiber can quite mimic the natural softness, texture, and shine of real human hair. Because it’s real hair fiber, wigs made with human hair can last up to 2 years.
Human hair wigs can be heat-styled with curling irons, flat irons, and hair dryers. They can also be chemically processed with color, perms, relaxers, or straightening treatments (but this isn’t always recommended, especially if the hair isn’t virgin).
But since human hair has to come from real donors and supply is limited, the price for human hair wigs is higher than synthetic hair wigs. And unless you specifically seek out remy human hair, you could still experience issues with roughness, frizz, and dullness.
Synthetic Wig Pros and Cons
- Pros: More affordable, quality synthetic wigs look realistic, and can hold the pre-styled shape for up to 6 months
- Cons: Not as natural-looking as human hair, no heat-styling or chemical processing, can look cheap and artificial, and much less durable than human hair
Wigs made with synthetic hair fibers are the most affordable, and depending on the quality, can look quite realistic and natural. The synthetic fibers are pre-styled and hold the style for 4-6 months with proper care.
It’s possible to finger-style synthetic wigs with special products made for this wig type. But most synthetic wigs (unless labeled heat-friendly or heat-resistant) cannot withstand any type of high heat from a styling tool. This means you can’t use a curling iron, flat iron, or hair dryer on most synthetic wigs.
You can’t chemically process a synthetic wig, either. Synthetic wigs on the cheap side may look shiny, too dense around the hairline, and obviously artificial.
For most black women, a human hair wig is going to be the best option. While these wigs are pricier than synthetic options, they can still be found at low price points to fit any budget (especially through Dolago, the premier wig shop for black women).
If budget is your main concern and you don’t want to spend much on your first wig, you might be tempted to go with a cheaper synthetic option.
But getting a cheap synthetic wig won’t give you the appearance or effect you’re looking for and may turn you away from trying wigs in the future. We recommend investing in one good quality wig so you can give yours a fair shake before deciding if the wig life is for you.
Which Wig Texture Do You Like Best?
Most wig shops offer a range of hair textures (human and/or synthetic) to mimic African hair. You can generally choose from the following wig textures, depending on the overall look you’re going for:
- Straight: Sleek and silky, straight wig hair texture mimics the look of chemically straightened African hair and is generally very shiny.
- Wavy: Silky, wavy wig hair texture in different wave sizes and wave intensity levels; ranges from loose, barely-there body waves to nearly-curly waves.
- Curly: Soft, robust curly wig hair texture that varies in intensity from loose curls to tight ringlets; curls are defined and show a clear curl pattern in this texture.
- Kinky Straight: Sometimes called yaki hair, this texture mimics chemically relaxed African hair and features a barely-there kink in each strand for a more realistic texture with extra volume and body.
- Afro Kinky: Tightly coiled or kinky wig hair texture that mimics natural African hair with the tightest Z- or O-shaped kink patterns; best for creating natural-looking afro styles.
Still not sure which texture will suit you best? Here’s a look at each wig hair texture for inspiration.
Wigs with straight texture look oh-so-silky smooth and sleek.
Wigs with wavy texture can give you an effortlessly beautiful look that can be dressed up or down.
Get extra volume and body with a curly wig hair texture that best suits your look. You can choose from loose curls to tight corkscrew curls.
Adopt the look of your hair texture but relaxed with a kinky straight or yaki wig texture. This texture is straight but with added body and texture thanks to the microkinks in each strand.
The afro kinky wig texture mimics the kinkiest, coiliest African hair texture to give you sky-high volume, lots of density and thickness, and tight coils that hold their defined or kinky shape.
What Wig Length and Color Suit You Best?
The wig length and color are other factors to consider if you want to choose a wig you’ll be excited to wear. One of the reasons picking out a wig is fun is because you have an opportunity to do something radically different with your hairstyle – or you can stick to a similar length and color as your natural hair.
Choosing Your Wig Length
Choosing the right length for you can be tricky. Long, flowing wigs are great and always look beautiful, but they can be challenging for beginners to properly care for.
However, long wigs can be great for beginners who may have trouble properly concealing their natural hair under a short wig that shows the nape of the neck. If you’re unsure of what wig length to try, we recommend a 12 inch length.
This should hit somewhere around your jawline or shoulders, which is a flattering length for most face shapes. It’s also easier to maintain and care for than longer wigs (especially for beginners), but still hides the nape of the neck and provides enough length to try out different hairstyles.
Choosing Your Wig Color
Wig colors encompass every shade and hue under the sun, so your preferences are the most important thing when you choose the color. In general, you’ll want to stick with shades and tones that complement your skin tone and undertones.
The most popular wig colors for black women are rich and warm shades of black, brown, red, and blonde. Choose the general color you like best (or one you’ve been itching to try) and pick a shade within that color family that suits your skin tone.
For warm skin tones that look best in gold and warm colors, rich shades of black, chestnut or coffee brown, auburn or copper red, and honey or buttery blonde are great options.
For cool skin tones that look best in silver and cool-toned colors, dimensional shades of blue-black, ash brown, maroon red, and ash or wheat blonde are suitable choices.
Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and try a vivid color that is worlds away from your natural hue. But keep in mind that for your first wig, choosing a color that you can wear anywhere is the most ideal option.
Where to Buy Wigs for Black Women
Once you know what type of wig you’re looking for, the next step is finding a good place to buy one. And even though millions of results come up when you search for wigs for black women, narrowing down your options can be more challenging than you think!
We’ve been researching and writing about hair care and wigs for years. During that time, no online wig retailer has been able to measure up to Dolago.
Dolago is the gold standard in wigs for women of color. They carry a range of wig types, lengths, textures, and colors that are all hand-picked specifically to suit and flatter black women. Their products top-notch in quality and durability.
We partnered with WowEbony to bring you the best selection of wigs online. We think there's no comparison.
But they’re also the trendiest wigs for black women we’ve seen from any manufacturer. Dolago only makes and sells virgin human hair wigs (the highest quality hair for wigs), so when you buy from them, there’s no guesswork or questions about the quality of the piece.
They’ve got thousands of positive reviews from real customers like you who won’t shop for wigs anywhere else. When you shop Dolago, extensions, and hair pieces, you can be sure you’ll get:
- Fast, free shipping on every order with no minimum
- 100% virgin human hair wigs that can be heat-styled and chemically processed
- Free exchanges within 30 days and full refunds if your wig isn’t what you wanted
- Safe, secure payment options from credit cards to PayPal
- Reward points for signing up and every purchase you make
Try finding that from any other wig manufacturer or seller. There’s a reason Dolago is the #1 maker of wigs for black women. Since wigs are such a popular hair product for black women, scammy companies are rampant in the industry just trying to get a piece of the pie.
Avoid the risk of paying for a bad or falsely-advertised wig by buying directly from a reputable retailer like Dolago. It’s the only way you can be sure you’re actually getting a 100% virgin human hair wig that looks realistic, lasts for up to 2 years, and has the right density and fullness to look natural.
Whether you’re looking for a short pixie wig, a natural kinky afro wig, a medium-length lob, or long, flowing body waves, you’re going to find all the latest trends made with the highest-quality human hair you can find when you shop Dolago.
Other Things to Consider
Beginner who? You’re now pretty much a wig expert! We’ve talked about the benefits of wigs for black women, the basic terminology in the wig world and what those terms mean, tips for choosing the right type of wig for you (hair fiber, texture, color, and length) and where to find the best wigs for black women.
But before you go shop Dolago’s extensive collection of wigs, here are a few more things to consider:
- Think about your hairstyle preferences: How you plan on wearing your wig will determine which type you should get. If you like to wear your hair up in a ponytail or bun often, consider investing in one of Dolago’s lace front wigs. This type of full lace wig allows you to pull your hair up because the lace cap looks just like scalp when it shows through. If you don’t wear your hair up often but like to wear your hair parted off your face, opt for a full lace wig or a lace front wig. These options will allow you to change your part at the hairline without looking artificial or showing the wig base underneath.
- Consider your budget: While everyone’s budget varies, knowing how much you plan to spend on a wig will help you stick to the budget and end up with a wig you’ll be proud to wear out. Dolago offers some of the best prices for 100% virgin human hair wigs that we’ve seen online and they start at just $75. You won’t find a better value for this quality anywhere else.
- Pick an all-occasion wig: For your first wig, you’ll probably want to purchase one that is suitable for any type of occasion, from casual to formal. This will give you the most versatility and you’ll have more opportunities to wear your new wig when it can go just as well with everyday clothes as it does a cocktail dress!
- Ask a friend for help: When you’re new to wigs, it’s really helpful if you have a friend or family member who can help you properly put the wig on the first time and adjust it for the best fit. There’s no shame in getting help from an expert and they’ll appreciate that you trust their advice. You might end up getting some helpful tips on wig storage and care from them, too!
You’ve successfully finished the guide to wigs for black women and are on your way to becoming an expert yourself. The next step is visiting Dolago to find the perfect texture, length, and color wig for you (and that’s really the fun part).
Now that you’ve been initiated into the secret world of wigs, your options are wide open – try a new length you’ve always wanted to, experiment with an unexpected color, or opt for a looser or kinkier texture than your natural hair to get the most out of the experience.
We’re willing to bet that the first wig you buy won’t be your last – it’ll just be the start of your new collection!