January 2, 2012
How-To Buy a Wig for Cosplayby Elizabeth O'Malley, AnimeCons.com Editor
If you want to achieve the perfect look for your costumes, you're going to need the right hair. Chances are you don't have the same hair as the character you are portraying. Luckily, there are many options for buying wigs online. The market is now full of many different colors and styles, much more than even a few years ago. Here are the steps to take to make sure you get the best wig for the best price.
Finding Wig Sellers
A Google search of "wig sellers" will bring up tons of companies, however these vendors sell mostly natural colors and styles. If that's what you need for your costume that's great, but a lot of anime and video game characters have crazy colors and styles. Also, these wigs can be very expensive. Sometimes these are referred to as "fashion wig" sellers.
You also want to avoid wigs that you can find very cheap around Halloween. Unless you want a wig that looks awful and photographs even worse, you will want to make sure you pay enough to get a good product. You should expect to spend $25-$35 for short wig, $30-$40 for medium wig, $40+ for long wig. If your character doesn't have a unique style, stay away from buying character specific wigs. You can usually find a generic style that works perfectly, while the character specific wig is more expensive.
A great place to start is in costuming communities to find brands that people recommend. Costumes definitely know how to spend as little as possible and still get a great product. If you're cosplaying from a certain source, see if there is a specific community for it so you can search more easily.
Finding the Right Color and Style
A great way to find the right wig is t go onto cosplay website and search to see if anyone else has already done the costume you are doing. Take a look to see what others have used for wigs, and if there is one you really like take a look in the costume description and see if they identify the wig. If not, send them a message and ask what wig they used. You can also look in costuming forums and communities to see if others have asked what wig works best for a certain character.
Usually a seller will only have one or two colors pictures on a specific style's page. The other colors that it is available in will be listed by name and/or number, so you will need to look at their color swatches to see what those colors are. Many wig websites have galleries where their customers send in pictures of them wearing the wigs they have purchased. This is a great way to see how the wig looks in action, not just in a studio. It's also a great way to see how a certain color looks if it's only visible as a color swatch.
ACParadise has an amazing database where members can identify wigs they have by brand, style, color, and character. Other users can do a search based on brand, series/character, or cosplayer to see how a specific wig looks.
Ordering your Wig
The last thing you want is your wig to not arrive in time for the convention. Start researching the wig you need early, even if you're not 100% sure that you will be making the costume. As soon as you know the costume will definitely be made and you have the money, order your wig. When you order your wig, be sure to check for any sales, promotional codes, or deals for free shipping to help you save money. Even if you don't need to order a wig right now, sign up for e-mail newsletters and follow the company on Facebook or Twitter. That way you can find out when they have sales and new products.
We recommend ordering your wig at least four weeks before the con. This may seem like too much time, but you want to leave time to replace it if needed. You could receive the wrong wig, or it could be completely wrong for the costume. Also, if it's out of stock it will take awhile to get it to you. You should give yourself even more time, at least six weeks, if ordering from overseas. Between processing, shipping, customs, and other things, it can take that long just to get the wig to you from somewhere like Hong Kong.
Sellers We Recommend
These are the sellers we recommend and often use ourselves.
Our Favorite Seller
Arda Wigs - Awesome products, awesome customer service. They keep adding new colors and new styles to fit the needs of cosplayers. They travel to a lot, so look for them in the dealers room at your next con!
Cosplay Specific Sellers
Amphigory - A long time wig seller, they have a great variety of wigs and colors. Make sure to give them plenty of time to ship.
Epic Cosplay - Great quality wigs with lots of great styles in tons of different colors.
Fashion Wig Sellers
International Wig - A huge catalog of wigs from dozens and dozens of brands. They have great prices, but it does take some time to ship. Free US shipping over $100 and they have great sales.
Wigs-US - Good variety of styles and colors. If the wig is in stock they ship super fast.
Karen's Wigs - Amazing customer service and fantastic products.
Cosplay Wig - Lots of character specific wigs and tons of colors and styles. They often have free shipping.
Wig Fashion - Great prices for a great product. They also often have free shipping.