Lace front wigs have recently made a comeback, and part of the reason is because lace fronts are designed to make your hairline look more natural. Unlike wig-cap wigs, the part will look fairly realistic on a lace front. You also have the option to change where your part lies on most lace front wigs, which gives you more versatility over a regular wig. For women looking for styling alternatives, wigs are often a great choice because you can sport any color you like without damaging your hair. Plus, you can go long or short without waiting for growth or touching a pair of shears. Of course, it's all about learning how to wear a front lace wig the right way.
And there is a right way and a very wrong way to wear this type of wig. Done incorrectly, not only will it look bad, it can be detrimental to the health of your own hair and scalp. Actress Countess Vaughn suffered a severe infection, which she attributes to the glue used to secure her wigs. (It also didn't help that she ignored the problem for several months before seeking medical attention.) We spoke with Brittany Johnson, a licensed hairstylist for Mayvenn to get advice on how we can wear lace fronts while keeping our edges and scalps intact. Scroll on for some expert tips on how to wear a lace front wig — without damaging your hair.
Meet the Expert
Brittany Johnson is a licensed hairstylist & senior content manager for Mayvenn, a 100% virgin human hair wig and extension company.
Secure Your Natural Hair
You can braid longer lengths to your scalp to create a flat surface, or if your hair is short, you can wrap it. Make sure all of your own hair is secured before applying any adhesive—you don't want to mess this part up, because a bad foundation is going to make the rest difficult.
Use the Right Adhesive
When it comes to knowing how to secure a lace front wig, using the proper type of glue is key. Look for one that's specifically formulated to secure lace fronts, like Hair Queen's Meltdown Invisible Lace Bond Glue ($28). This isn't the time to pull out lash glue, or (god forbid) glue designed for craft projects. Before you try a new adhesive for the first time, do a patch test to ensure you're not allergic to the glue you're using. If you plan to swim in your wig, you'll need a waterproof adhesive. You can also use double-sided tape to attach your wig if you know you only plan to wear it for a couple of days.
Don't Forget to Give Your Wig the TLC It Deserves
Wigs need to be taken care of just as much as the hair that comes from our scalps. As Johnson says, "We tend to forget that our wigs are made of human hair, too. They need shampooing, conditioning, detangling, and protection from heat styling - just like our natural strands. Make sure to thoroughly cleanse both the lace on your wig and the hair in general to ensure maximum longevity. The timeline for shampooing and conditioning your wig can vary on the amount of styling product and type of adhesive you use, but never going longer than every couple of weeks is ideal."
Take Care of Your Hair
If you only wear your wig a week or so at a time, you can feasibly skip shampooing and conditioning until you remove it. Long-term wear, however, requires routine care so that your natural hair doesn't become dry and brittle. After cleansing your hair and scalp, thoroughly dry your tresses using a hood or bonnet dryer to avoid bacterial growth.
Don't Wear Your Wig for More Than Six Weeks at a Time
While experts generally agree that you should take a break after six weeks, don't hesitate to remove it sooner. In fact, some adhesive types are designed for short-term use only, so the maximum length of time you should wear a lace front wig depends in part on the type of adhesive you use. Don't use a short-term adhesive if you want to wear your wig for several weeks at a time. Once the six week time period is up, however, it's time to remove the wig and give your hair the post-wig attention it needs in the form of thorough cleansing, deep conditioning, and moisturizing.
Practice Gentle Removal Methods
And speaking of removal, don't take off your lace wig when you're rushed—patience is key. Use a designated adhesive remover for lace front wigs. Apply enough of it to soften the glue and slowly take the wig off. If you feel any resistance, apply more remover and wait several minutes before trying again. Take your time to avoid damaging your skin and hair. Johnson states, "After you safely remove your wig, don't forget to cleanse the excess glue off of the lace. You can use the same designated remover and a bit of diluted rubbing alcohol if necessary, then shampoo and condition as well."
If You Can, Remove Your Wig While You're Sleeping
While it might be convenient to sleep in your wig, it's not the best for your natural hair. Johnson gave me the following advice, "Removing your wig only works with most temporary adhesive solutions, of course, like Got2B Glued Gel ($4). This product is a strong gel that can be safely removed every 1-2 days, and still helps to secure and blend the lace on a wig's hairline. Plus, if you're doing activities like working out or live in a humid environment, it may actually be easier to use less-rigid adhesive solutions—like gel and a Wig Grip ($15)—to secure your wig and remove it nightly. Bonus points that your natural hair will get a breather, too!"
While knowing how to wear a lace front wig can you feel glamorous and make daily styling a breeze, don't become overly reliant on them. After all, wigs are an accessory; your hair is uniquely yours. Give your tresses the time and attention they deserve, and a wig will continue to be an enhancement, not a replacement, for the real thing.