If you are a qualified hairdresser and have been asked by a client to cut her/his/they (the knowledge of trans pronouns is a lesson for another day) wig, you may well be a tad nervous.
And so you should be. Almost certainly it was knocked into your head from day one that when cutting ‘you can take more off, but you can’t stick it on.’
And here is the first thought that should enter your head because at least with a human head the hair will grow back and obviously with a wig this does not happen.
So the bottom line is you only get one chance to cut a wig.
But it is not just trans folk who will ask you to cut wigs of course – woman undergoing cancer treatments often lose hair and are naturally deeply emotional about their hair at an incredibly stressful time. And there are also women (and some men) who want to wear a wig because of Alopecia or some other hair disorder.
Client consideration is always paramount, but with a client who will likely be highly embarrassed or stressed; attention and a friendly face become even more critical.
As a trained hairdresser (City & Guilds) and trans woman I have cut a lot of wigs and would like to think that even though I was not the best stylist, I was a good cutter ending my career working for a global brand.
So here are my tips when cutting a wig.
The method of cutting a wig (i.e. club cutting, thinning, etc.) is the same as with a human head. The real issue is that the client never puts the wig on in precisely the same position every time she (from here on, I will call your client “she”) puts it on.
This is for two reasons.
Firstly, because there is the possibility of lateral differences every time she puts the wig on, secondly, because of the construction of the wig will often mean it will have movement in the cap. This is not an issue in the monofilament or fine mesh area of the wig but is often an issue to the crown, sides and back.
This can mean you can cut the wig and it will look straight – only for the wearer to take the wig off and then put it on again and it looks odd.
The key to cutting a wig, therefore, is to allow lots of time, at least twice or three times longer than a normal cut.
When cutting take just minimal amounts off and cut in stages, asking your client to take her wig off continually and then putting it back on again, you will quickly notice that the the “hair” moves and what was straight is no longer straight.
I guess another way of putting it is that you are cutting a “moving target” hence the reason to go slowly taking a tiny amount of the length each time.
Slowly but surely, over time, you will find a balance as positioning “evens out”, and as long as you take off only minimal amounts, you can finally achieve a cut that you are proud of and your client will love.
Hairdressers cutting a wig will for the first time be very nervous, some wigs cost up to £1000 (or even more), and you will be responsible if it all goes wrong – so I hope my suggestions will give you a bit more confidence!
Clients may also ask your advice on what wig to buy, and of course, that will generally be well out of your comfort zone. For your info, I have found the Ellen Wille “Hair Society” range the best. The “Hair Society” range is a bit more expensive than an average wig, but you get so much more. The entire range is very light and looks “natural”, a feature that most wig wearers crave. This is down to the construction of the wig – with the use of a fine mesh hairline etc. together with monofilament panels in the more noticeable areas.
I get dozens of compliments about “my hair” and always say my hairdressing bill is a fortune, but I feel I am worth it! I NEVER admit it is a wig that I cut myself.
I always buy my natural colour or a shade above. I always go for a “rooted” model so to get a natural look. But of course, some clients will want to rebel and go wild!
My wig is called Icone (champagne rooted), and I cut it on a block taking it off and on over days so to get a perfect cut.
I hope this info all helps and while you are on my website could I ask you to glance at my “Home page” and “My Story page”? It is a great read, and I am sure you will find out lots about trans folk that you did not know and see images of me wearing my lovely hair!