If you know wigs, you know they cost a pretty penny. Or maybe an ugly dollar. According to reports, one of Nicki Minaj's 40" wigs cost $75,000. Ahh... yeaa. According to those same sources, Nicki paid a woman to grow her hair just for these wigs, and then had a team of hairstylists put the wig together, and then to put it on her and off her every... single... day. And apparently, it took this woman 6 years to grow her hair to the specified length TWICE! That was so Nicki could have a wig that was both long AF, and thick AF.
Why on God's green earth would a wig cost $75,000?? Like, sorry ladies, pay off your student loans or get a wig. Buy a house or get a wig. Invest in Bitcoin or get a wig...
Although the average wig comes nothing close $75,000, wigs are fairly expensive. A fully customized unit can go for as high as $5,000. What determines the cost of a wig? Why are some wigs cheaper than others? What's the difference? And what can you forgo to keep the cost of your wig low?
1. Quality of the Hair
The quality of the hair used to make your human hair wig is what determines 50% of the cost of your wig. We're not talking about 8A, 9A or 10A. That grading system was made up merely for marketing purposes. We're talking about the source of the hair, how the hair is treated once it's acquired from the donor, and the methods they use to put the wig together.
Let's use an example from our collection. Our Cashmere Moschino is one of our more expensive wigs. This unit is made with the highest grade Cambodian hair we could find. That means:
We used hair from one donor
The hair was sourced from ethical sources (the women were paid reasonably for her hair)
The hair was then treated to remove lice and other diseases with high quality chemical (so you won't get a funky processed smell)
And the hair was aligned so that each individual strand of hair is facing the same direction (roots are with roots, and tips are with tips)
When investing in a good human hair wig you want to make sure your source passes these 4 hair quality checks. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
2. Construction of the Wig
The process and time it takes to construct a wig is another major cost factor. If your wig has a full lace cap, your looking at least 40 hours of ventilating work. And that's on a standard lace cap. Add a monofilament or silk base and the time can as much as triple. Add anything more than 150% density worth of hair, and your adding extra hours. Before that the raw hair would need to be prepped. Which means the hair has to be organized, cleaned, and colored (solid color). After ventilating, we take the wig to our stylist who adds highlights, low lights, baby lights, a color melt or balayage. Before the stylist begins dying the wig, she need to test colors, combinations, and strands and then document each and every step, in order to ensure uniformity.
These are steps that we take to complete the wigs we make at Essence Luxe Couture. And that goes without mentioning that all these stages are done by hand. A majority of wig companies have their wigs completed by a manufacturer in China, and then dyed by a local stylist. Not only is the process cheaper, when the work is outsourced to Asia, but it's also completed much faster, because cheap Asian labor means larger teams.
One other major feature that will increase the process is hand removing the short end hairs or return hair from your wig. Find out what return hairs are and how they're removed.
There are so many points of customization when it comes to wigs. Depending on the length, coloring/highlighting, cap material, hairline features, pre-plucking methods, knot bleaching methods, and styling the price of your wig will vary greatly. Different wig companies have different specializations, in terms of customization. For example, we specialize in salon hand-dyed wigs. That feature alone adds at minimum $150 to the cost of our wigs. But it's a feature that we believe is important, because it adds a unique aspect to our wigs. It's unlikely that you'll find our designs anywhere else.
So when it comes to your human hair wig, look at it as an investment. For some, they may be looking for something more temporary and affordable. But for those looking for something high quality, long lasting, and luxurious, look into purchasing one of designer units. Check out the handy info graphic below. Keep it handy as you search for that one great wig!