If you want a high-end wig with a lace front, invisible hairline, it can easily be the most expensive part of the costume. The quality wigs are fantastic to work with, especially when making unique styles for crazy-haired anime characters, but they are not always necessary or affordable to everyone.
The best place for purchasing high-quality wigs is at Arda Wigs. However, these are more expensive and may not be affordable for many cosplayers. Other well-known shops that offer high-quality wigs for a lower price point include Epic Cosplay, The Five Wits, and many others.
To find high-quality wigs, you’re looking for thick ‘hair’ that will fully cover your head, heat resistance so you can style the wig, and minimal shine so that it looks good in photographs. Even if you can only afford a $15 off of e, you can use this guide to help you find a wig that will work for your cosplay and your budget.
|Price range||Heat resistant?||Is lace front available?||Pre-styled for popular characters|
|The Five Wits||$30-$80||yes||yes||yes|
|Wig is Fashion||$25-$115||yes||yes||no|
|Gothic Lolita Wigs||$40-$85||yes||yes||no|
Cosplay wig shops
You can find wigs from many online cosplay wig shops. Some of these will be more reliable than others, so it’s always a good idea to check for reviews before buying the wig. You’ll also want to look for unique photos of the wigs on the website, not photos that have been copied from elsewhere on the internet. This way, you’ll know the images are real and are probably more-or-less accurate.
In the table above, I listed out the most recommended wig sites of cosplayers I surveyed on online forums. While I can only vouch for a few of these merchants personally, they are a good starting point in your search for wigs.
My favorite places to look for wigs include:
- Arda Wigs. These are generally recommended as the highest quality cosplay wigs. They are thick with many of their options having a skin top for parted hair or a lace front for a seamless hairline. These wigs are easy to style because they are heat resistant. If you are planning on doing any heavy styling, I can only recommend Arda Wigs. Unfortunately, they can get a little pricey, and they don’t sell wigs already styled for popular characters.
- Epic Cosplay. Epic Cosplay also has decent-quality wigs with a lot of colors and basic styles. They are also heat resistant, so styling with a curling iron or straightener is also possible.
- The Five Wits. The Five Wits is an older store that I’ve gotten some nice wigs from. They are pretty thick and come already styled for popular characters. The wigs have very little shine and look great in photos.
Finding quality wigs for cheap
Most online wig shops will run you at least $25-$30 for a wig. If that’s too expensive for your budget, you can still find decent cosplay wigs for a slightly cheaper price point. Sellers on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy will have wigs for much more affordable. However, to avoid low-quality wigs that are shiny and your hair shows through, you will need to be careful about which wigs you buy.
- Read the reviews and look at the buyer score. Take the time to look at what other people have said about the product and store. Not every negative comment should be taken to mean the wig listing is a scam since people are more likely to review when they are unhappy vs. when they are happy with a product. But you want to see an overall good experience. On eBay, I like seeing a 95% and up buyer score.
- Look for shops that specialize in wigs or cosplay. Shops that specialize in cosplay wigs or cosplay, in general, are more likely to be legitimate. If it seems to be more of a Halloween store or a random listing, it’s less likely that the seller is paying attention to the quality of the product.
- Ask the community. Try asking around in the cosplay Reddit or other cosplay groups that you’re a part of. You might not get anyone who’s had experience with the product you want to buy, but there’s always the possibility. People may be able to point you in the direction of a different store with a similarly cheap wig too.
- Try to avoid wigs under $15. Sometimes a deal is just too good to be true. I personally wouldn’t trust wigs that are sold for under $15 just because it’s much more likely that they’ll be too low of a quality to be worth wearing.
- Look for copied photos. Check the pictures on the listing to be sure they are actually real. You can do a Google image search with the wig photo to make sure it hasn’t been copied from elsewhere on the internet. If the images are originals that the store has posted, you are much more likely to get what you see.
The limitations of wigs that are bought from these stores are:
- Typically not heat resistant. Most wigs you get off of eBay or Amazon are not going to be heat resistant. If you want to style the wigs, you’ll be limited to hair spray and gel.
- Thinner than high-quality wigs. These wigs will usually be thinner as well. If the top layer of hair moves too far out of position, you might be able to see the wig cap and hair below.
- Shinier. While they may not be as shiny as Halloween costume wigs, they usually don’t hold up in flash photography.
Look during your next convention
Another place to look for wigs is at your next convention. Check for wig merchants in the dealer’s room when you are walking around. This gives you an advantage over online sellers because you can see the quality of the wig before you buy it. It’s also great if you’re making a last-minute cosplay and don’t have time to get a wig shipped. You can simply pick one up after you get to the convention.
Buying used wigs
You might also find cosplayers selling their old wigs on eBay, Etsy, Storenvy, or the Facebook marketplace. You can sometimes find high-quality and fully styled wigs for very low prices. However, you do want to consider wig hygiene before getting a used wig. If possible, you will want to clean them before you wear them to get rid of any sweat or the potential to spread lice.
What you get from a high-quality wig
You can always opt for cheaper wigs if you have budget constraints. However, as you become more experienced and skilled with cosplay, you’ll want to graduate to the higher-quality wigs that you can style for your character. They really do bring a cosplay to the next level.
High-quality wigs are:
- Not shiny. They will photograph well in all different types of lighting situations.
- Not too thin. They will fully cover your hair and your entire head with no risk of exposing the wig cap underneath.
- Heat resistant. You can more easily and quickly style these wigs by using heat tools and curlers.
- Sturdier. These wigs will last for many conventions, not falling apart after only a few uses.
- Easier to detangle. Lower-quality wigs will typically get into impossible knots a lot more easily than high-quality wigs. They are also more likely to fray or deform when you try to detangle them.
- You can part the wig. Many high-quality wigs will have a skin top that lets you create a natural-looking part in the wig.
- A wig that fits your head. For some reason, many wigs are made for small-sized heads. If you have a larger-than-average head or you have a lot of hair you need to fit under the wig, cheaper wigs might not fit.
Read more: Is it okay to wear synthetic cosplay wigs for normal, everyday life?