It’s happened to all of us. You’re enjoying your time in cosplay, walking around a convention only to look into a mirror and see that your wig has slipped backward on your head. It always feels a little embarrassing, even though it’s such a common cosplay mistake. But luckily this is a pretty easy problem to fix.
The easiest way to keep a heavy wig from sliding on your head is to add a lot of hair pins. If that doesn’t work, you can add small clips to the inside of your wig, use wig tape, a wig grip, or a wig cap, or braid your hair to create a strong base for the pins.
Wigs slipping backward are an especially bad problem for long wigs, wigs with heavy up-dos, and wigs with ponytails or ponytail clips. But, these tips can be used to secure any type of wig and hold it in place for the entire day at a convention.
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1. Sew combs or toupee clips along the hairline
The first step to take to ensure your wig doesn’t slip back on your head is to add two to four small clips or combs along the inner hairline of your wig. If you have a very heavy wig, you’ll want to place two combs along the front on top of the forehead and one in front of each ear to help hold everything in place. You will also probably want to include these on lace-front wigs since these are more likely to expose your hairline.
When you put your wig on, start with it about an inch in front of your hairline. Then slide it back so the combs catch on your hair and clip any toupee clips in place. If you have any combs along the back hairline, you’ll want to repeat the process. In general, I find that it’s less important to include these and it’s only worth bothering if you have a crazy up-do wig.
2. Use multiple types of pins
Bobby pins (the ones with teeth) are good for holding something in place with a strong grip. For example, they are used to pin back hair from the face or hold a bun up on your head. Hair pins (the U-shaped pins), on the other hand, are used for keeping hair parallel to itself and preventing errant strands from moving around too much.
These are both useful if you are trying to keep a wig from moving around on your head. You’ll want to use a few bobby pins at key spots around the hairline. Use them to hold the ear tabs and the wig just behind the ears with a couple scattered around the front and back hairline. These will do the heavy lifting and hold the wig to your hair
Then, use the hair pins to fill in the area in between. These will keep the wig in the exact position on your head. It won’t slide around as you move your head, causing the grip of the bobby pins to loosen over time. Use as many hair pins as you can get away with for a more secure hold. You can even include some in the middle of the wig, especially around the base of ponytails and up-dos.
3. Braid and pin your hair underneath
There are multiple reasons that a wig can slip around on your head. The first is that it’s not securely pinned and clipped to your hair. However, the problem can also be with your hair underneath the wig. If your hair is slipping around on your head, the wig will slip with it.
If you have hair that is long enough, braid it underneath the wig cap. This gives the pins a good foundation to pin into by holding your hair in place. This way, when you pin your wig to your hair, nothing will slide around and your wig will be held more securely.
4. Always wear a wig cap (and pin it in place)
In addition to keeping your hair from falling and poking out from under your wig, a wig cap gives another layer of securing to the wig’s hold. I especially recommend wearing a netted wig cap instead of a stocking cap, since the netted ones give the pins more opportunities to latch onto something under the wig and hold it securely.
When pinning the wig cap in place, you’ll want to add some bobby pins along the outer edge, and some hair pins throughout. This will keep the wig cap securely on your head and keep it from sliding around between your hair and the wig.
5. Use a wig grip
If you don’t have hair or can’t easily pin anything to your hair, you can use a wig grip to help keep your wigs in place. These are headbands that are made of a material that easily sticks to your skin and catches onto the bottom of a wig to give it something to connect to. You may want to use this in addition to wig tape or spirit gum to give a more secure hold, especially if you are wearing a particularly heavy wig.
6. Use wig tape or spirit gum
Wig tape or spirit gum (a liquid adhesive) are more often used for keeping lace front wigs in place. However, they can also be useful for any kind of wig that needs a little extra holding power. You’ll want to consider using one of these if you constantly have problems with your wig slipping backward on your head and revealing your hairline.
You use wig tape by placing the tape just in front of your hairline. Make sure to use pieces all along the front from ear to ear. Then press the wig in place on top of the tape. Use the same process for spirit gum by using the applicator brush and applying the liquid all along the front of the hairline. Wig tape is easier to use and doesn’t leave as much of a sticky residue, but spirit gum tends to give a more secure hold.
7. Clip wig ponytails onto your own hair
Instead of attaching clip-on ponytails and buns before you put the wig on your head, put the wig on first, then clip the ponytails through the wig onto your own hair. This changes the clip-ons from being an element that drags the wig down into an added security measure for the wig as a whole.
To do this, you need to make sure you’re wearing a mesh wig cap instead of a stocking wig cap so that the ponytail can get a purchase on your hair. It will end up just slipping off of a mesh cap and giving no added security to the wig.
If you have very long or heavy ponytails, you can also clip them and also pin them down around the base to make sure they maintain a good hold on your head throughout the day.
8. Make sure the wig fits your head
Wigs that are too big or too small for your head are much more likely to slip and slide while you wear them. Wigs that are too small will slowly contract throughout the day, while wigs that are too big are much more likely to become lopsided and slide around your head in any direction.
The good news is, that most wigs can be resized relatively easily. You usually only need to remove a few wefts around the ears for wigs that are too big and add a bit of elastic to wigs that are too small. For more details on how to make your wig bigger or smaller, check out my tutorial:
9. Test your wig
The final step you want to take before heading out to the convention with your wig on is a basic test. Back when I used to dance, I always tested that my buns were secure by spinning and spotting a section of the wall, basically snapping my head from side to side very quickly. This way I could be sure that it wouldn’t come down during a performance.
Use this same principle to test the hold of the wig on your head. You don’t need to shake your head quite as vigorously, but you do want to make sure you move your head around enough to know if the wig is holding.
Shake your head side to side, and jump up and down. Feel if your wig has moved and check it out in the mirror to make sure everything is staying symmetrical. If you need to, add more pins in the spots that have a weaker hold. Once the wig passes the shake test, it’s probably going to have no problem staying in place for the whole day.