In this article, I’ll give you some styling techniques to help you get that cosplay wig looking just right.
My name’s Katy and I’ve frequented some cosplay events, both dressed up as a character and as a general public patron. I’ve seen some good wig looks and some bad wig looks and I’ve had my fair share of both sides of that coin.
I’ve learned some tips and tricks for styling a cosplay wig over the years that I’m going to pass on to you. Don’t get caught at your next Comic-Con with a wig that’s more wild and untamed than Yasuhiro Hagakure’s hair.
Let’s dive into it!
How to Style a Cosplay Wig (Top 3 Tips)
Here are my top-kept secrets to style a cosplay wig.
Tips 1: Create a Styling Station
Having all of the necessary tools and equipment for styling your cosplay wig in one place will make your life so much easier. When you have a perfectly sectioned chunk of hair in your hand and you have to let it fall because you didn’t have a clip nearby, it can be a major setback in the cosplay wig styling process.
Here is a list of tools, products, and styling equipment that should be on hand before you really dive into customizing and creating the perfect cosplay wig.
Wig Stand, this is important so you can get a full view of the wig and style it properly. Not only is it challenging to style a wig to cosplay character perfection on your head but your arms will start to ache after some time. Save yourself the trouble and get a wig stand.
Haircutting Scissors and Tweezers, hopefully, you won’t have to make any drastic changes and cuts to your wig, but depending on its sizing and where the hair falls, you may have to trim hair to match your face shape as well as plucking the hairline and part if you want a more natural look.
Hair Styling Products, this is where the heavy-duty hairspray (or wig spray) and gels come in. Maybe a spray-in, temporary color if you really need to get detailed with styling to match a specific character.
Hair Ties, Clips, and Pins, if you need to separate bits of hair to achieve a certain style, having some tools on hand to quickly contain hair will be essential to your styling endeavors.
Heat Tools, if the wig you are styling is heat safe, you may want to have a hair straightener, curling iron, or blow dryer ready to go near your hair styling station. Be mindful of having a heat-safe tray or table to place tools on that are away from any flammable or meltable hair products.
These are the basic tools for styling and tame your wigs, once you get all these tools ready, simply follow the steps in these 2 guides for styling and taming your cosplay wigs. Halloween is the time you can see all the cosplays out there, right?
Tip 2: Be Generous with the Hairspray
This is going to become your best friend when it comes to styling a cosplay wig. Get comfortable with your can of hair spray and buy more than one, you’ll need it! As odd as it may sound, cheaper hair spray works better in this styling situation.
This is because oftentimes, characters that would be cosplayed, commonly from the anime genre, have spiky, unique hair do’s. Cheaper, lower quality hair spray notoriously leaves hair a sticky, solid mass, which in the case of styling a cosplay wig, you kind of want.
Tip 3: Learn to Spike
I’m not talking spiking volleyballs here, get yourself off the volleyball court and back to your hair styling station, pronto! Spikes are an essential skill to have when styling cosplay wigs.
Think about it. Most cosplay wigs are done in a true anime fashion. Most anime characters have spiky hair do’s or hairstyles with pure and distinct separation in hair layers. This spiking technique can be applied to styling non-anime cosplays as well if you’re just needing to define layers more dramatically; think Alice from Twilight here.
Take your favorite hair gel product, that’s already on your styling station, right? Right. Take the gel and apply it to your hands. Rub it in till it’s warm and start to run your fingers through the strands of the wig. Separating it into desired sections to match your character.
Once you have it loosely sectioned, apply more gel and hair spray to secure sections into a point. Hair should take a spiky form relatively easily, especially synthetic strands. Synthetic wigs are oftentimes chosen for cosplay looks because they are typically stiffer in construction and can hold a style well.
We have published several buying guides and info articles about different cosplay wigs.
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- Best Lolita Wigs
- Best Sailor Moon Wigs
- Best Halloween Wigs
- Best Quality Halloween Wigs
- Best Cruella Deville Wig
- How to Make a George Washington Wig
Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to styling a cosplay wig.
How Can I Make a Cosplay Wig Look More Natural?
First off, give it a wash. Treat your new hairpiece like your own and go scrub-a-dub-dub in the tub. After shampooing and conditioning your wig, you can let it air dry or blow dry it on a low heat setting, gently, till it’s completely dry.
Once dry, use baby powder or dry shampoo to reduce the shine that some wigs have. This will give your wig a more natural appearance. Next, you can pluck and trim the hairline and part so it looks more realistic, followed up with a dab of concealer and skin-matching powder to make it blend where your natural hairline would be.
How do I Add More Volume to a Cosplay Wig?
Tease, hairspray, repeat. A fine-tooth comb and a trusty can of hair spray are all you need. Repeat the process throughout the wig and all its layers to achieve a big, volumized lift to the hair.
You can also use a texturizing spray to add more grip and hold to hair if you want to keep strands in a particular position.
Can I Curl or Straighten My Cosplay Wig?
This depends on what the wig is made out of. Human hair can be heat styled safely without much of a problem, however, synthetic strands can be a different story. Some synthetic wigs are heat safe and some are not.
As a general rule, if you must heat style, do so at the lowest temperature possible and do a test strand on a bottom layer piece so you don’t risk damaging the entire wig. Some cosplay wigs are pre-treated with a certain style or curl pattern that can be challenging to undo.
There can be some pressure when it comes to styling a wig of any kind, too many products, cuts, or heat styles and you may be left with a wig that’s unworkable. To put it simply, a mess. Take it slow, take time with each styling step to achieve your cosplay character’s look, and have fun with it! That’s what cosplay is all about.