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Adventures in getting a Human Hair Wig

The Taming of the Rat
The Quest for the Right Wig for Re-creating the Character “Frodo.”

 == by Primmy B.

Over the last year  I’ve been putting together a Frodo costume,  and there’s been a LOT of trial and error in my search for the right materials and accessories.  My goal is to be as accurate to the film as possible. 

 This search included wigs.   Frustrated with the three separate synthetic-hair women’s wigs I had bought,  I finally figured out that:

 A.     All the wavy, curly women’s wigs I chose were too “bouffant” or tall in the crown, which is not very much like the character’s head/hair shape, and

 B.     Synthetic hair does not maintain its curl very well when cut, and it cannot be permed. It is not easy to set synthetic hair to achieve the proper waves and curls, either.


Purchasing good wigs, even synthetic-hair ones, can be expensive.  So I gritted my teeth and decided to try just one more time, and go for what I should have chosen to begin with: a real human-hair wig, in a man’s style.

 Cat had listed a wonderful wig store on her site that caters to the entertainment industry. She graciously agreed to help me select a wig one afternoon.   ( )

 Wiltshire Wigs does have a huge selection of all kinds of wigs, more than I’ve ever seen in one place!  When the sales person brought me a couple of men’s wigs to look at and try on, it was hard for me to tell which one would be a good choice because the hair was so long!  I was used to trying on wigs that were already cut and styled, but these high-quality human hair wigs are custom-styled for the purchaser.  They were both about the same color: medium-dark brown.  The first wig was shorter and curlier, and had a more “breathable” stretch cap.  The second wig was longer and straighter, and had a non-stretchable cap.  I wondered how this second wig would stay on my head, as it seemed designed to be attached with tape.  It was quite voluminous and shaggy, and the cap felt too large for my head.  I had doubts about it.

 After the sales person had examined the reference pictures in the book I brought along, she and Cat both felt that the wig with the longer, straighter hair would be the better choice.  It had better quality hair (finer and softer), it could be permed to the right degree of waviness, and then cut to match the hairstyle in the photos.  The sales person mentioned that if I bought that wig,  the cap would need to be sized for my head before it was permed and cut.

 So I made the commitment and bought my first human-hair wig, which was also my first (and probably only) man’s wig!  With sideburns, even!

After the store received the special ordered wig, I made an appointment to have it styled and sized.

It fit much better after the cap was sized.  When I consulted with the stylist, I gave her a packet of Xeroxed screen caps showing the character from the back, in profile, in a 3/4 front view, and a straight front view.  I also found a shot that showed more of the top of the head.  This helped the stylist give the wig the right kind of permanent wave. 

I came back the following week, and was encouraged to see that the wig now had soft waves all over.  It was still very long and the perm made it look even more voluminous that it did before.  But it was ready to cut and style.

 The stylist trimmed off the excess “lace” at the hairline, then strapped the wig snugly onto my head with a band that attached to the sideburns.  Lace is a thin, transparent mesh material that is almost invisible when glued to the skin.  It makes the hairline of the wig appear to be natural when the hair is worn away from the face.  But since this character’s hair has bangs that cover the hairline, I decided I’d rather not glue the lace front to my forehead. 

 She placed the reference images on the table against the mirror, and quickly began to feather-cut the locks with a razor.   In no time at all, I was looking at a head of hair shaped very much like little Frodo’s: a layered cut, shorter on the top and longer in the back.  The layers fell in gentle “S”-shaped waves.  The sideburns curved backwards at the bottom.  And the crown hair lay close to the skull, not “bouffant” like a lady’s hairstyle.

 I was delighted with the results!

 When the wig was all cut, the stylist took it in to the wig-maker who sewed five separate clips to the underside of the cap.  These small clips are curved. They have teeth that open when the clip curves outwards, and snap shut on your hair when the clip is bent to make it curve in the opposite direction (which matches the curve of your head.)  Together these clips hold the wig on very securely, but they could cause traction alopecia if worn too frequently, I think.   I happily took my new acquisition home, and put it on a Styrofoam head, and waited.

After three days I was allowed to shampoo the wig, which got rid of the smell of the permanent solution, and after it air-dried overnight I began playing with it.  I may still need to have the bangs trimmed a little shorter, and I thought the whole wig might need to be thinned.  Cat advised me to wait, though, as the hair would settle down after a while and look less voluminous.  I’m still experimenting with setting the bangs different ways to see if they really do need to be shorter, or not.  This hair takes a set beautifully!

 I think it is close to perfect now,  and I highly recommend a real human-hair wig in a man’s style for anyone who wants to re-create the male hobbits’ costumes.   It is more expensive, but the results are worth it, in my opinion.

Wig and styling managed for under $400.

(photos to come later)


Note: the wig that Primmy discusses is a special theatrical and movie wig.  It has a heavy plastic base that the hair is knitted into.  While it has the best look... it can be uncomfortable worn all day because your scalp has even less breathing room that in a regular wig.  However, the look is perfections... and that's what is done for many a movie.

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Intro and Terms | Wearing Wig Tips | Altering Wig Tips | Wig Care | Human Hair Wig

LOTR Home | Elven Faces | Arwen Makeup | Hobbit Feet | All About Ears | Elven Hair | All About Wigs | Removing Eyebrows | 5 O'Clock Shadow | Beard Stubble | Foam Gelatin Recipe

This page was last updated 04/22/08