Take a quick minute to scroll through Kendall Dorsey's Instagram, and you'll see some of Hollywood's elite (and hair-blessed) talent. From music industry goddesses like Nicki Minaj to models and actresses like Elsa Hosk and Yara Shahidi, he's one of the A-list's best hair talents. And if you're really observant, you'll notice a running theme: wigs. Dorsey is the go-to mane man when it comes to creating both natural and otherworldly wig moments (he counts creating a 50-inch wig for Nicki Minaj as one of his most memorable looks) in addition to his all-around artistic aesthetic when it comes to hairstyling.
We don't know about you, but our know-how surrounding wigs—styling, dressing, application, everything—is quite limited, to say the least. Therefore, who better than Dorsey to walk us through a detailed play-by-play in anticipation of peak wig season? Keep scrolling to find out how to put on a wig once and for all, plus Dorsey's additional tips and tricks for nailing your wig look Halloween night. Truly, you're learning from the best!
Step One: Dorsey tells me the first step in perfect wig etiquette is a squeaky-clean hairline. He recommends grabbing a pad pre-saturated in 99% alcohol and swiping your hairline to nix any lingering oil and or makeup.
Step Two: "Use a completely flat toothbrush (no ridges!) with your favorite hair gel—I love the below from Göt2B—to sweep all of your fine baby hairs away from the face," Dorsey carefully instructs.
"You don't need much gel and just under a pea size should work, depending on the density of your hairline," he adds.
Step Three: Set, set, and set! Dorsey recommends utilizing the cool-shot button on your hair dryer to blast gelled strands with a cooling hit of air, which will naturally lock your hard work into place. We always reach for T3's Cura Dryer for a spot-on dry. It's expensive, but 100% worthy of the splurge.
Step Four: "You should have a sheer nude, back, or tan nylon wig cap," Dorsey tells me. "Apply the cap to your head and make sure it's at least a half-inch away from the hairline."
Step Five: Next, more setting. Dorsey specifically suggests this "freezing" spray from Schwarzkopf's Göt2B line, which you'll mist across the hair right where you plan to place your wig. "Two thick applications will give you 24 hours of lasting hold," he assures me.
"Then, use the cool shot from the dryer again—but only for one minute this time around."
Step Five: Last but certainly not least, it's time to place your wig.
"Working from the center and ear to ear, use your finger to press the hairline of the wig into the spray," Dorsey explains. "Once it's on, use another one of your alcohol wipes to remove excess spray. Then, wrap your hairline with a silk or satin scarf, removing it after about 10 minutes."
Invest in a wig stand. In addition to the wig itself, Dorsey tells me a wig head is crucial because it not only keeps the piece safe and well-coiffed but also makes styling or air-drying it post-shampoo infinitely easier.
"When choosing a wig, please understand there is a major difference between a glueless wig versus a glued wig, which will require Beyoncé levels of maintenance," he warns. (Aka opt for glueless if you're in the market for a one-night-wear piece, like on Halloween.)
According to Dorsey, using U-shaped pins on all corners of your head is non-negotiable if you want to secure foolproof all-night wear.
Dorsey's final parting advice for how to put on a wig? A strategic hint of hair powder. "A big tip for all the Halloween wig festivities is to use a powder like this one from Color Wow to perfect lace blending on the hairline."