Types of Wigs

Wigs have become increasingly popular for a variety of reasons. They can be used for a complete hairstyle transformation, to add volume and length to your natural hair, or even for medical reasons due to hair loss. From synthetic to human hair, lace front to full lace, each type of wig offers unique features and benefits tailored to different needs and preferences. But with so many options available, choosing the right wig can feel overwhelming. For this reason, I have created this guide to help you find the perfect fit for your needs.

How Many Types of Wigs Are There?

There are many different types of wigs available in the market. However, all of them can be categorized in two primary ways: by the hair material and the wig cap construction. The hair material determines the wig’s look, feel, and styling options, while the cap construction affects comfort, security, and natural appearance.

Types of Wigs
Types of Wigs

Types of Wigs by Material

When it comes to wig materials, there are two main categories: human hair and synthetic hair. Each offers distinct advantages and disadvantages:

Human Hair Wigs:

Human hair wigs are crafted from 100% real human hair, offering the most natural look and feel. They can be styled, colored, and heat-treated just like your own hair, providing versatility and customization options. Human hair wigs come in various textures, including straight, wavy, and curly, catering to diverse preferences.

Remy human hair is the highest quality grade of human hair used in wigs, hair extensions, and other hairpieces. Remy hair prioritizes preserving the hair’s natural cuticle layer. This outermost layer is like tiny shingles that usually face downwards on healthy hair. Remy hair ensures these cuticles all face the same direction.

  • Pros:
    • Most natural look: Human hair wigs closely mimic the texture, movement, and shine of natural hair, providing the most realistic appearance.
    • Styling versatility: Human hair wigs can be styled with heat tools like curling irons and straighteners, allowing for a wide range of hairstyles.
    • Durability: Human hair wigs can last several years with proper care.


  • Cost: Human hair wigs are significantly more expensive than synthetic wigs.
  • Maintenance: They require regular washing, conditioning, and styling routine for optimal results.

Synthetic Hair Wigs:

Synthetic wigs are crafted from man-made fibers such as polyester, acrylic, and other synthetic materials. They are pre-styled and retain shape even after washing, making them low-maintenance options for everyday wear. Synthetic wigs are often more affordable than human hair wigs and come in various colors and styles.

  • Pros:
    • Affordability: Synthetic wigs are a much more budget-friendly option compared to human hair wigs.
    • Low maintenance: They require minimal washing and styling, making them a convenient choice.
    • Color variety: Synthetic wigs come in a vast array of vibrant colors, from natural tones to fantasy shades, offering endless possibilities for creative expression.
    • Style variety: Synthetic wigs are pre-styled in a wide range of cuts and textures, offering instant style changes without heat styling (which can damage some fibers).
  • Cons:
    • Less natural look: While some high-quality synthetics can achieve a realistic look, they generally don’t mimic the natural texture and movement of human hair as well.
    • Heat sensitivity: Most synthetic wigs cannot withstand high-heat styling tools, limiting styling options.
    • Shorter lifespan: Synthetic wigs typically have a shorter lifespan than human hair wigs, lasting around 3-6 months with proper care.
    • Shine factor: Some lower quality synthetic fibers can have an unnatural shine that may be less desirable
Types of Wigs

Types of Wigs by Wig Cap Construction

The wig cap construction plays a significant role in comfort, security, and the overall natural look of your wig. Let’s delve into the details of various wig cap types:

Monofilament Wigs:

Monofilament wigs are a premium wig construction known for exceptional comfort, realism, and natural movement of the hair. Here’s a closer look at what sets them apart:

  • Unique Cap Material: Unlike traditional wigs with a capped base, monofilament wigs feature a sheer mesh section at the crown or parting area, made from a thin, breathable nylon material called monofilament.
  • Hand-Tied Hair: Individual hair strands are meticulously hand-tied onto this monofilament mesh. This technique allows for a more natural look and movement compared to wigs where hair is sewn onto wefts.


  • Natural Appearance: The monofilament mesh creates the illusion of the scalp, especially at the parting area, resulting in a highly realistic look.
  • Multi-directional Styling: Because each hair strand is individually attached, you can style the hair in any direction you desire, just like your natural hair. This allows for more versatile styling options.
  • Lightweight and Breathable: The monofilament mesh is lightweight and breathable, making monofilament wigs comfortable to wear for extended periods.

Things to Consider with Monofilament Wigs:

  • Cost: Due to the intricate hand-tying process and high-quality materials, monofilament wigs are generally more expensive than capless or basic cap wigs.
  • Durability: While durable when cared for properly, the monofilament mesh can be delicate and prone to tearing if not handled with care.
  • Limited Availability: Monofilament wigs might not be as widely available as other wig types, especially in terms of style and color options.

Who are monofilament wigs good for?

  • People who prioritize a natural-looking hairline and maximum styling versatility.
  • Those seeking a comfortable and breathable wig option, especially for long-term wear.
  • Individuals willing to invest in a premium wig for a realistic and high-quality hairpiece.

Capless Wigs:

These lightweight wigs have an open cap construction with ventilated areas throughout. The hair wefts are typically attached to elastic bands that fit around the head.

  • Pros: Capless wigs are the coolest and most comfortable option to wear, especially in warm weather. They are also lightweight and allow for maximum airflow to the scalp.
  • Cons: Capless wigs offer less security and can be prone to slipping or shifting, especially during windy conditions. Styling options are limited due to the open cap construction.

Lace Front Wigs:

Lace front wigs are a popular choice for those seeking a balance between realism, styling versatility, and affordability. Lace front wigs incorporate a sheer lace panel specifically at the front hairline of the wig. This lace is nearly invisible when worn correctly, creating the illusion that the hair is growing directly out of your scalp.

  • Natural Hairline: Unlike traditional wigs with a capped base, the lace front allows for a more natural-looking hairline. You can style the hair away from the face without the wig appearing bulky or unnatural.
  • Styling Options: Lace front wigs offer more styling freedom compared to basic cap wigs. You can part the hair at the front within the lace area, which adds to the realistic look. While not as versatile as a full lace wig, you can still achieve various styles like braids, ponytails, and some updos.

Here’s a comparison to other wig types to understand their position:

  • More Realistic Than: Basic cap wigs with a capped base and visible hairline.
  • Less Versatile Than: Full lace wigs which offer complete styling freedom for parting and updos.
  • More Affordable Than: Full lace wigs due to less lace being used.

Things to Consider with Lace Front Wigs:

  • Cost: Lace front wigs are more expensive than basic cap wigs but generally less expensive than full lace wigs.
  • Maintenance: The lace requires delicate care to prevent tearing or damage. Special cleansers and gentle handling are necessary.
  • Installation: While easier to install than full lace wigs, you might still need to use wig glue or tape for a secure and natural-looking hairline.

Who are lace front wigs good for?

  • People who want a more natural-looking hairline than a basic cap wig but don’t require the complete styling freedom of a full lace wig.
  • Those on a budget seeking a good balance between affordability and realism.
  • Individuals who are new to wigs and want a relatively easy-to-maintain option with a natural look.
Human Hair Wigs vs. Synthetic Wigs - types of wigs

Full Lace Wigs:

Full lace wigs are thecrème de la crème of wig construction when it comes to achieving a realistic and versatile hairstyle. Here’s a breakdown of what makes them stand out:

  • Base Construction: Unlike other wig types that have a capped base with wefts sewn on, full lace wigs have a base made entirely of sheer lace. This lace can be very delicate and transparent, making it nearly invisible when worn.
  • Natural Hairline: Because the entire wig base is lace, you can part the hair anywhere you desire on a full lace wig. This creates a natural-looking hairline that mimics real hair growth, even when you pull your hair back in a high ponytail or bun.
  • Styling Versatility: With a full lace base, you’re not limited by pre-styled wefts. You can style a full lace wig in any way imaginable, from high ponytails and braids to intricate updos and sleek straight styles. This makes them ideal for people who like to change their look frequently.
  • Comfort and Breathability: The sheer lace base is very lightweight and allows for excellent airflow to the scalp, making full lace wigs comfortable to wear for extended periods. This is especially beneficial for those in warm climates or with sensitive scalps.

Things to Consider with Full Lace Wigs:

  • Cost: Full lace wigs are one of the most expensive wig types due to the intricate construction and use of high-quality materials.
  • Maintenance: Full lace wigs require special care to maintain the lace and prevent tearing or damage.
  • Installation: Full lace wigs can be trickier to install and secure compared to basic cap wigs, especially for beginners. You might need to use wig glue or tape for a flawless and secure fit.

Who are full lace wigs good for?

  • People who prioritize a completely natural hairline and maximum styling versatility.
  • Those seeking a comfortable and breathable wig option, especially for warmer climates or sensitive scalps.
  • Individuals willing to invest in a premium wig for a realistic and long-lasting hairpiece.

100% Hand-Tied Wigs:

100% hand-tied wigs are the top tier of wig construction when it comes to realism, comfort, and styling versatility. Here’s what makes them special:

  • Intricate Construction: Unlike basic cap wigs, where hair wefts are machine-sewn onto a cap, 100% hand-tied wigs involve meticulously hand-tying each hair strand onto a sheer lace or mesh base.
  • Natural Appearance: This meticulous hand-tying technique creates a wig with an incredibly natural look. The hair appears to grow directly from the scalp, mimicking natural hair growth patterns and offering unmatched realism, especially at the hairline.
  • Styling Freedom: Because each hair strand is individually attached, you can style a 100% hand-tied wig in virtually any way you desire. You can part the hair anywhere, braid it, pull it back in a high ponytail, or curl or straighten it with heat styling tools just like you would with your natural hair.
  • Comfort and Breathability: The sheer lace or mesh base used in hand-tied wigs is very lightweight and breathable, making them comfortable to wear for extended periods. This is especially beneficial for people with sensitive scalps or those who experience scalp irritation with other wig types.
  • Durability: When cared for properly, 100% hand-tied wigs can last for several years due to the high-quality materials and meticulous construction.

Downsides of 100% Hand-Tied Wigs:

  • Cost: Due to the labor-intensive hand-tying process, 100% hand-tied wigs are typically the most expensive type of wig construction.
  • Maintenance: While not as high-maintenance as human hair wigs that require regular washing and conditioning, hand-tied wigs still require gentle care to maintain their shape and prevent tangles.

Who are 100% hand-tied wigs good for?

  • People who prioritize a completely natural look and maximum styling versatility.
  • Those with sensitive scalps seeking a comfortable and breathable wig option.
  • Individuals looking for a high-quality, long-lasting wig willing to invest in a premium product.

Basic Cap Wigs:

Basic caps are made with a thin elastic material that forms the base. Hair wefts, which are curtains of synthetic or human hair, are machine-sewn onto this base. Unlike some other wig types, basic caps don’t have a full material covering the scalp area. Instead, spaces exist between the wefts, allowing for ventilation and a cooler feel on your head. 

Pros: Basic cap wigs are the most affordable option. They are easy to put on and take off and are generally quite durable.

Cons: Basic cap wigs offer the least natural look, particularly at the hairline. Styling options are limited due to the pre-sewn wefts. They can also be hot and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods due to the lack of ventilation in the cap.

Who are basic cap wigs good for?

  • Those on a budget seeking an affordable wig option.
  • Individuals who prefer wigs with built-in volume.

Which Type of Wig Should You Buy

Choosing the right wig depends entirely on your priorities and lifestyle! Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

Top PrioritiesRecommended Wig Type(s)
Affordability* Capless Wigs (Open-wefted) * Synthetic Wigs (if willing to forgo heat styling)
Natural Look & Hairline* Lace Front Wigs * Monofilament Wigs * Full Lace Wigs (most natural, but pricier)
Comfort & Breathability* Capless Wigs (Open-wefted) * Wigs with Lace Bases (full lace or lace front)
Styling Versatility* Full Lace Wigs (most versatile) * Monofilament Wigs * Lace Front Wigs (with limitations)

Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Hair Type: If you have straight, thin hair, a capless wig might be comfortable. If you have thick hair, a wig with a full cap might offer a more secure fit.
  • Scalp Sensitivity: For sensitive scalps, look for wigs with breathable bases like lace or monofilament.
  • Maintenance: Human hair wigs require more washing and conditioning than synthetic wigs. Lace and monofilament wigs require delicate care.

Here are some quick cheat sheets to help you decide:

  • Natural look & budget-conscious: Lace Front Wig
  • Maximum styling freedom & budget not a concern: Full Lace Wig
  • Comfort & breathability: Capless Wig or Wig with Lace Base
  • Natural look & styling versatility (with some limitations): Monofilament Wig

Ultimately, the best way to choose is to try on different wig types and see what feels most comfortable and looks most natural for you. Don’t hesitate to consult with a wig specialist or hairstylist for personalized advice.

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