Meet The 10 Best Wig-Makers In The Beauty Game

In past years, it was easy to notice if someone was wearing a wig. Even an untrained eye could spot lace-fronts, wig tape, and unnatural colors from miles away. But my, how times have changed! Today, a celeb can grace the red carpet with platinum hair on Monday, get caught by the paparazzi in a jet-black pixie on Tuesday, and hit the stage for a performance with gray, waist-length dreadlocks on Wednesday — making us all wonder which is the real deal. And it's all thanks to a talented team of wig-makers.

These days, the pros are creating realistic wigs that afford clients the opportunity to experiment with wow-worthy looks without the need to cut, color, or even commit. It's much more fun than a total 'do-overhaul, and doesn't damage natural hair with chemicals and heat-styling tools. (It's all for a pretty penny, of course. Some artists have created wigs for up to $15K!)

Page through to learn more about the top industry stylists changing the wig game one high-profile client at a time.
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Photo Courtesy of Kimble Beauty.
Kim Kimble
Far more than a wig-maker, Kim Kimble is a true hair maven. Most notable for her role as the woman who's been getting Beyoncé's hair in formation since the singer's Austin Powers in Goldmember days, Kimble is also the star of WE TV's L.A. Hair. On the show, you can find her creating custom wigs for clients in her eponymous Los Angeles-based salon, Kim Kimble Hair Studio.
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Kimble is also the founder of not one, but three hair-care brands, most recently launching HairDrobe, a line of wigs and hair extensions. "I would get phone calls from women with hair-loss issues who needed to wear wigs but wanted them to look natural," says Kimble. "So I created a line for the everyday woman who doesn't want to pay $15,000 for a wig, but wants the same effect."

When she's not creating custom wigs for her regular customers, Kimble finds time to build masterpieces for iconic editorials — like Oprah's 3.5-pound 'fro on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine. NBD.
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Photo Courtesy of Stacey Butterworth.
Stacey Butterworth
Today, you can see Stacey Butterworth's work on the FX hit series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, for which she helped transform John Travolta into defense attorney Robert Shapiro. With her over 25 years in the wig-making biz, you can credit Butterworth for some of the most iconic looks in film and television, from Gillian Anderson's red bob on The X-Files to Hugh Jackman's tousled crop in X-Men: Days of Future Past. "Wigs for film are great for continuity," says Butterworth. "Actors come back months after the film wraps for reshoots and it's easy to restore their look with a wig."
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Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
When asked to share the most memorable wig she's ever created, Butterworth has no problem picking favorites. "My most memorable wig was [the one I created for] Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle. Why? Because of the intricacy of color-blending [that it took] and the limited time I had to make it — and, of course, because she rocked it! I had people from all over the world calling me after that film came out."
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Photo Courtesy of Shon Hyungsun Ju.
Shon Hyungsun Ju
While some celebs opt to keep their wig-wearing ways on the low, others — like Katy Perry — wig out with no shame, making stylists like Shon Hyungsun Ju's jobs all the more fun.

"Katy is a client that constantly challenges me creatively," he says. "Her wigs are always unique, but need to look as realistic as possible — there's no retouching on the red carpet!"
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Photo: Charley Gallay/KCA2010/Getty Images.
Hyungsun Ju's Instagram feed could be considered a virtual hair museum, sprinkled with frequent photos of dramatic wigs on eerie mannequin heads and in glass domes. Katy's colorful wig from her H&M Christmas ad last year is the perfect example.
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Photo Mateus Porto.
Isaac Davidson
After a chance encounter with a wig-maker in an NYC wig shop the week of 9/11, then hairstylist Isaac Davidson began as an assistant wig stylist on Broadway and fell in love with the craft. "Working with those New York club kids helped me learn all of these little tricks that are just invaluable," he says.
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Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic.
Today, Davidson is the founder of NYC-based wig and extension design studio Wigbar, where he creates custom styles for fashion campaigns and celebs. But because he is the go-to wig-maker for the albums 1000 Forms of Fear and This Is Acting, it's Sia's face-hiding wigs that Davidson's hands are full of these days. "She's literally amazing," he says of the mysterious singer. "She's brilliant and gives us the freedom to do what we want."
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Terrence Davidson
Terrence Davidson — a.k.a. the self-proclaimed "Wig Master" — has been styling wigs for over two decades, but it was his longstanding partnership with Nicki Minaj that put him on the map. Nicki's ever-changing platinum, pastel, and multicolored tresses ushered in many of the hair-color trends that prevail on Instagram (and at Coachella) today.
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Photo: Leon Bennett/FilmMagic.
And though Nicki's wigs are somewhere out there feeling sad and lonely now that she's moved on to a more subdued hairstyle sensibility, Davidson's wig work lives on with iconic celebs like Patti LaBelle and female rappers like Remy Ma and Trina. "Hair brings out a lot in people," says Davidson. "When a person puts a wig on, it makes them feel like they're in a whole other world and helps bring out their true personality."
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Photo Courtesy of Henkel.
Larry Sims
Larry Sims is a dancer-turned-hairstylist who got his start on tour with girl groups (and Bring It On cast members!) like Blaque. How's that for a #TBT? "I became the hairstylist for everybody that I danced for, and they all wore wigs," says the Göt2b and Smooth 'N Shine hairstylist. Sims is now known for creating wigs for some of the hottest celebs in Hollywood, from Kerry Washington to another fellow Bring It On star, Gabrielle Union.
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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
And if you're ever so lucky as to receive an invitation to his crib, you'll find a full-size portrait of the work that Sims has created for hair chameleon Zendaya. "One of my favorite wig pieces was the high-top fade that I gave Zendaya for Mane Addicts. Her natural hair reaches the middle of her back, and we didn't have to cut any of it. It was a really cool moment."

Oh, and to Zendaya's mullet-haters: You can thank Sims for the star's David Bowie-tribute style. "People either hated it or absolutely loved it, but the point is that we had so many people talking," says Sims. "We loved what we did, and I would never have put it on anyone else."
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Photo Courtesy Of Joe Labisi.
Troy Mitchell
Nestled among a bevy of plastic-surgery practices, Hair Research and Design is a salon in L.A. that offers custom wigs for those experiencing hair loss. "When the plastic surgeon says that [a patient] is not qualified for a hair replacement, they send them to us," says founder Troy Mitchell, whose clients often suffer from cancer, alopecia, and hereditary thinning.

"Very few people have hair like a Kennedy," he says. "And since almost every hairstyle that we see on TV and in movies and magazines has been enhanced, having normal hair loss is especially devastating these days. My clients have typically already purchased all of the hair-growth shampoos on the internet, taken every pill, spray-painted their scalp, and then they finally come to me and I can give them the hair they want."

Mitchell and business partner Cameka Duncan have a star-studded clientele in their Santa Monica salon, so privacy is at the forefront of their customer-service practices, keeping in line with the clinical standards that are upheld in plastic surgery offices. "Most of my clients are musicians, lawyers, producers, actors, and athletes, but no one knows because we keep it private," says Mitchell. "They think I'm the secret that no one knows about, but half of their friends come here too!"
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Nabil Harlow
When Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner swapped hair colors for Balmain in March during Paris Fashion Week, we had a hunch that the power duo's new looks were the result of a pair of good wigs. And they weren't the only ones on the runway with some hair help. It turns out Paris-born wig stylist and creative director of Balmain Paris Hair Couture Nabil Harlow created nearly 75 wigs for the models cast for the show. "Olivier [Rousteing] made the call," says Harlow. "He wanted the brunettes to be blond and the blondes to be brunette, which I thought was super-cool."
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Photo: Antonello Trio/Getty Images.
With a background as a wig-maker in the French film industry, Harlow has created many a dramatic look for the brand. For the fall menswear collection, Harlow sent models Alessandra Ambrosio and Cindy Bruna down the runway in waist-length dreadlock wigs. "That's probably the look that I love most so far — I think my assistant hates me for how many times we had to start over to make them perfect, but I'm really happy with the way they turned out."

In his role at Balmain Paris Hair Couture, Harlow uses his artistry to translate the French-girl vibe that defines the Balmain brand into the hair-care sector, creating cool wigs for campaign imagery and developing products for all textures. "Balmain Hair is like the Balmain woman," he says. "She's strong, she has power, personality, and swag. She's confident, and that's the theme that I'm going for."
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Photo: via @tokyostylez.
Tokyo Stylez
"When I decided to start selling [my wigs], I couldn't find a model who could work it the way I wanted it to be done," Tokyo Stylez told Refinery29 in an interview in September 2014. "I do a lot of tossing and swinging — so I decided to just do it myself."

Though Stylez is still rocking his own fabulous wigs, today he leaves the modeling to A-list celebs like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and serial wig-wearer Kylie Jenner (and her bestie Jordyn Woods, too!). Stylez has added countless celebs to his client roster and launched Touched by Tokyo Hair Fragrance Mist, a spritz infused with jasmine, iris, and patchouli essential oils.
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Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic.
Beyond his celeb work and entrepreneurial endeavors, Stylez gives back to the hairstylist community by sharing his wig-styling tips. He's currently on his cross-country Touched by Tokyo Handz On tour, during which he teaches a six-hour course on basic wig-styling techniques.
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Photo: Sebastian Faena For Harper’s Bazaar.
Akki Shirakawa
While the rest of us page through magazine ad campaigns admiring the models' seemingly perfect hair and intricate styles with envy, Akki Shirakawa, the mane man behind many of them, is likely thinking up his next high-fashion creation.

The Japanese stylist's work has appeared in campaigns for Givenchy, Jimmy Choo, MaxMara, and more. In an interview with Vogue, Shirakawa revealed that the client who requires the craziest variety of looks for a single shoot is undoubtedly Lady Gaga. All you have to do is look at the singer's voluminous blond 'do for Harper's Bazaar in 2014 and her platinum pony for her big tribute to Alexander McQueen in V magazine earlier this year — Shirakawa's creations are arguably more works of art than they are hairpieces.
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