When it comes down to it, you can use whatever wigs you want with your cosplay costumes. However, wigs that are marketed and used by cosplayers do tend to have some unique attributes that make them a good fit for the hairstyles of anime protagonists with gravity-defying hair and comic book characters.
Cosplay wigs are made of synthetic fibers, not real hair. They also tend to be thick, brightly colored wigs that can be styled with heat or other hair products so that cosplayers can create different hairstyles. Cosplay wigs also tend to be less durable over the long term since they are not intended for everyday wear.
The type of wig you end up getting for your cosplay will depend on how much styling you want to do, your budget, and the special attributes that you need for your character’s look. There are different types of cosplay wigs, including (latex) skin-top wigs, lace front wigs, and up-do wigs.
What are cosplay wigs?
Cosplay wigs are not really all that different from synthetic fashion wigs. Instead, think of cosplay wigs as a subtype of synthetic wigs. They are typically available in a wider variety of vibrant and unnatural colors to account for anime hairstyles, and most cosplay wig brands are made with heat-resistant fibers to allow for intense styling.
Like all synthetic wigs, they are made up of strands of plastic fibers that are sewn into wefts and used to construct the wig. The quality of the wig will depend on the quality of the plastic fibers, the number of weft lines that are sewn into the wig, and the overall structure and style of the wig.
One type of wig that you see more often in cosplay is skin-top wigs. These are made to help parts in hair look more natural. Skin top wigs have a small section on top that is made of a patch of latex (usually) that mimics the look of skin. The wig fibers will be attached directly to this, rather than using wefts in this section of the wig.
Unfortunately, most cosplay skin-top wigs are made for light skin. At the moment, I don’t know of any cosplay wig company that offers skin-top wigs with any alternative skin tones.
Lace front wigs
Lace front wigs have a section along the hairline that has wig fibers sewn directly into a piece of lace. This gives the hairline a much more natural look, allowing it to blend into your natural hairline and look like real hair. These wigs tend to be more expensive due to the work needed to lace the wig fibers on, but they are the best option for any cosplay character with a visible hairline.
Up-do wigs are the ones that wefts sewn in backward along the bottom of the wig to allow the fibers to naturally style into a ponytail or up-do hairstyle. If you try to create any kind of up-do with a normal wig, you’ll see that the wig structure underneath is exposed and the fibers generally don’t want to sit flat in an up style. There are cosplay wigs for single ponytails and for twin tails too, since the construction of these need to be treated differently.
Are cosplay wigs different from fashion wigs?
The biggest difference between cosplay and fashion wigs is the style of wig you’re likely to find. Fashion wigs are usually meant to look like actual hairstyles while cosplay wigs are often geared toward vibrant colors and outlandish styles you find in comics and anime.
If you want to use a ‘fashion’ wig for a cosplay, there is nothing stopping you. Many people do this for characters who have normal hairstyles. Alternatively, it’s also okay to wear a cosplay wig on an everyday basis, but that’s a lot less common.
Are cosplay wigs different from Halloween wigs?
Even though both cosplay wigs and Halloween wigs are vibrant colored, synthetic, and are intended to wear with a costume, most people consider them to be separate due to the vast difference in quality.
Halloween wigs are the cheap wigs you can get that pretty much fall apart after wearing them once. They also tend to have an ugly synthetic shine and look like cheap plastic. They are called Halloween wigs because they’re the type that you’ll usually find at Halloween stores. However, you can also come across these low-quality wigs online on eBay or Amazon if you’re not careful about the wigs that you purchase.
Where to find cosplay wigs?
Since most of us are buying wigs online, it’s not always easy to know the quality of the wig before you get it in person. In many cases, you can use the price as a gauge. If the picture looks like a beautiful wig, but it only costs $10, then it’s probably too good to be true. But if you’re careful and willing to take a risk, you can get decent wigs from places like Amazon and eBay.
If you’re looking for high-quality wigs, Arda Wigs is generally regarded as the standard. They have heat-resistant wigs in many different styles that are great for styling. I’ve also gotten good wigs from Epic Cosplay and Wig is Fashion, and I’ve seen many members of the cosplay community recommend Kasou Wigs.
How much do cosplay wigs cost?
A decent cosplay wig will generally cost you at least $20-$25, but high-quality cosplay wigs can cost $100 or more, especially if they have a lace front. The wigs you can get in the higher price ranges tend to have less unnatural shine to them. They also tend to be thicker so they can easily be styled by cosplayers, and you’re more likely to find specialized types of wigs, such as lace front and up-do wigs. Shorter wigs also tend to be cheaper even if they are made from higher quality fibers.
Wigs on the lower quality end that are still decent will tend to be thinner overall, making them less able to style. They also might not be heat resistant, so you would not be able to use curling or straightening irons on them. If you just need a basic wig with little to no styling, a $25 wig from Amazon would probably work fine.