3 Methods to Add Volume to Your Cosplay Wig

Give your wig more poof

It’s pretty common for anime and comic characters to have extremely fluffy hair. Sometimes, when you get a new wig for cosplay it looks a little flat and boring. Even if the wig is high quality, it just might not have enough poofiness to help you recreate your character’s hairstyle correctly. The good news is, there are many ways to add volume to your wig to create your desired look.

The best way to add volume to your wig is by manually adding in wig wefts (layers of wig fibers) to make your wig much fuller. However, if you don’t want to purchase extra wefts, you can use traditional backcombing and hair-fluffing techniques to help you create a much bigger hairstyle.

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wigs are made of wefts
Wigs are made of multiple layers of wefts. Sew additional layers in between to add volume to the wig.

Method 1: Add wig wefts

The best way to increase the volume of your wig is to add hair to it. However, this is also the method that takes the longest amount of time. If you look at the way a wig is constructed, you’ll see that it’s made up of layers of wig wefts that are separated by about ½ to ¼ inch. If you sew or glue more layers in between those that already exist on the wig, you’ll get twice as much volume and twice as much fluff.

You can purchase long lengths of wefts to sew into place and then trim them to match the length of the wig. Many places that sell wigs for cosplay will also sell wefts in matching colors (Such Epic Cosplay and Arda Wigs). Alternatively, you can also purchase two of the same wig and combine them into one extra fluffy wig. This will keep you from having to trim or restyle the wefts you’re adding in.

The basic method for combining two wigs is:

  1. Cut one wig apart to separate the individual strands of wefts. Make sure you keep track of the wefts so you can add them onto the same layer of the other wig.
  2. Place your in-tact wig onto a wig head and pin it in place. Make sure it’s securely pinned because you don’t want it sliding around during the process.
  3. Going from bottom to top, pin the cut wefts from your second wig between the rows of your in-tact wig, then sew or glue it in place. Use the placement of wefts on the original wig as guidance.
  4. Continue the process one row at a time until you have fully combined your two wigs. This can take a long time, so be patient and give yourself a couple of days to work on it layer by layer.

Method 2: Backcombing

The second method for creating a wig with more volume is to use a basic backcombing technique. This gathers the strands of hair together underneath the surface to make the wig appear more fluffy overall. 

The steps for this method include: 

  1. Separate the top section of the wig hair. This will lay over the top of the backcombed section in the end, to hide how messy it looks.
  2. Using a fine-toothed comb or brush, take a section of wig hair in your hand and comb them back toward the roots. It will look very messy and that’s okay.
  3. Spray some extra-strength hair spray on the top and bottom of the backcombed section. I like to use Got2B freeze spray.
  4. Backcomb a little more to better incorporate the spray.
  5. Hold the hair in the position you want it to sit and use a hairdryer to heat the strands. Only do this step if you are using a heat-resistant wig. Keep the wig hair in place until the fibers have cooled down.
  6. Repeat the process all the way around the wig. If you have a long wig, you will also want to backcomb in layers going down the wig, so you will have more volume throughout.
  7. Release the top layer of hair and gently comb it in place to hide the rat’s nest, backcombed sections. Use hair spray to keep the top layer in place.

Using this method, you will end up with a fluffy, high-volume wig. However, it’s difficult to ever comb the knots out of the wig if you backcomb it, so be aware of that before jumping in.

backcombing bangs
Once you add the top layer of hair over the backcombed section, you won’t be able to see the mess underneath.

Method 3: Curl and fluff

The other method for volumizing a wig can be used for wigs with curls.  The curls will help the wig stay in a more volumized state without having to resort to the backcombing technique. I have never attempted to create curls on the bottom layer of a straight wig (I’ve only done this with wigs that are styled to have curls), but it might be worth a try if you want to test it out.

The amount of fluff you can get out of the curls will depend on how tight you want the curls to remain. The messier the overall look, the more fluff you’ll be able to give it. It’s always a good idea to use hair spray to lock the look in place once you’re happy with it.

There are a couple of ways of fluffing a curled wig:

  1. Use a hair pick. If you want to keep some definition in the curls, gently lift them up using a wide-toothed hair pick. 
  2. Comb the curls with a brush. This will create looser curls that have a fluffier appearance.
  3. Shake your wig. If your character is known for having messy, curly hair, you can roughly shake the wig, flipping the hair around to create a high-volume look. This method takes only about a minute and will create a frizzy-curly look.

Emily Joice

My name is Emily, and I have been cosplaying since my very first convention in 2008. Over the years, I've experimented with all different kinds of cosplay costumes, especially loving the process of creating props and styling wigs. I also delved into cosplay photography, and love exploring how to optimize costumes so they look excellent in photos. Most of the photos you find on this site were taken by me over my years at anime conventions.

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