Easy Pro Tips To Make Your Cheap Halloween Wig Look Amazing

Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images.
For those of us who spend months — or possibly even the full calendar year — planning for Halloween, costume details are imperative. Seriously, a transformation just shy of turning into the subject of your costume is the only acceptable form for the diehard Halloween fans out there.
That said, one dead giveaway that you are, indeed, in costume is your wig. Unless you go all out with extensions or a real-human-hair wig (which can run you up to the quadruple digits), a synthetic hairpiece will have to do. But just because it's affordable doesn't mean it needs to look that way — just follow these tips to make even the cheapest wig look amazing.
For guidance, we talked to Priscilla Valles and David Lopez — two pros behind some of the best extensions in Hollywood — about how to keep our Halloween hair looking 100%, even if it was a budget buy.
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Tip #1: Skip The Party Warehouse (If You Can)

Attention, anyone who is spending their lunch break wig shopping: If you’re looking for a realistic or top-quality synthetic wig, don’t bother searching in a Halloween costume store. Head to a specialized wig-and-hair shop or a beauty-supply shop that sells wigs and hairpieces instead.

Its selection will have a much greater range. And while you’re at it, Valles suggests picking up a Styrofoam head form so your wig can have a proper place to sit. “They’re really cheap, like $5, and it’ll keep your wig nice and neat for when you want to wear it.”

Which wig should you buy? Obviously, synthetic wigs that have bangs generally appear less fake. You can’t see the hairline, so there’s no telltale break. But not all costumes require bangs, of course, so if you’re going for a realistic portrayal, a lace-front wig is the way to go. Lace from the front of the wig is attached to the skin around your hairline with adhesive. Valles explains that lace-fronts have the most natural-looking hairlines: “No one can tell with lace-front wigs because they blend in so seamlessly to your hairline. You can blend the lace-front to your skin with foundation, but since it’s glued on it’s undetectable.” She adds, “You can even have a wig custom-made to your hairline with baby hairs put in and everything!”

Already purchased yours from a party warehouse? Fret not, just keep reading...

Marianna Styrofoam Head With Face, $4.99, available at Sally Beauty.
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Tip #2: Add A Little Heat

Using hot tools on synthetic hair is a no-no unless you want to make it into plastic Lego-person hair. However, Valles says that it’s totally possible to heat-style — albeit gently. Use a blowdryer on a low setting and a round brush to style your wig. “Another method if you want to add waves or body to your wig is to set it with Velcro rollers and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds — no more! — to get the hair to set.” Just make sure there aren’t any metal clips attached to your wig before trying that one.

Also, always style your wig before putting it on your head. It’ll be way easier, and that way you can get the back!

Solano 3600Ion Dryer, $229, available at Solano.
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Tip #3: Steam Too-Tight Curls

Some synthetic wigs come with a lot of curls (the idea is that the curls will fall after regular use). If your costume isn’t along the lines of Shirley Temple, you’ll need to get rid of those ringlets fast. “If your wig is really curly, take a paddle brush and a steamer on a lower setting,” says Lopez. “Imagine the steamer is a blowdryer, like you are blowing the hair out with a paddle brush, but instead you’re using a steamer.” The steam will calm down the curls without making them disappear completely.
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Tip #4: Cut It

Just like your haircut should flatter your individual face, so should your wig. Valles says it’s always a good idea to cut into a wig to flatter your face. Obviously, you don’t have to do this part yourself, but the idea is to get the proportions right.

“Sometimes, [costume] wigs can be cut a bit bluntly, so if you snip into the hair, you can give it some more movement and shape — which is much more realistic-looking,” Valles says.

Unique Bargains Portable Stainless Steel Straight Scissors, $5.99, available at Walmart.
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Tip #5: Matte It Out

Another giveaway with synthetic wigs or hairpieces is how the fibers have a too shiny finish that makes them look fake. The easiest fix to take down that sheen a notch is either dry shampoo, or even better, root touch-up spray. “You only need to spray a little and brush it through to take that fake sheen down,” Valles advises. Anyone who has used too much dry shampoo only to have dusty-white roots will be able to attest to this.

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, $5.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Tip #6: DIY Dye

Couldn't find the exact shade you wanted at the beauty-supply store? Just grab a blonde or white wig that's the right length and style to dye at home. Lopez likes to use fabric dye to get vibrant colors without a lot of work. "Buy fabric dye, mix it with water in a big metal cooking bowl, and dip the wig in. Let it sit for 30 minutes and rinse it out," says Lopez. "You can leave it in overnight if you want maximum color." Lopez's go-to dye for synthetic wigs is by Rit. You can use a similar process on human hairpieces using Adore dye.
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Tip #7: Pluck The Part

If you go the lace-front wig route, take the extra step of asking for a lace color that matches your skin tone (the shade on your forehead will be the best match). If that isn't an option, you can use concealer to make the part area look like scalp.

Another pro trick to make a wig look more realistic is to pluck the part. "Take some tweezers and pluck along the part like you’re plucking your eyebrows. You want to make the space look wider, otherwise it looks super wiggy," says Lopez. He likes to pluck his wigs on a styrofoam head to avoid ripping out the lace.
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Tip #8: Protect Your Own Hair

The best way to protect your own hair underneath is by braiding it. Valles suggests cornrows because they’ll keep your own hair the closest to your head, so there isn’t a suspicious-looking pouf under your wig. They’re also partly utilitarian, because you can bobby-pin the wig to the braids for extra security — which is the more important part here. You don't want that wig to get pulled off on the dance floor.

You can also look for a wig that has combs in the back to attach the wig securely. "I do two French braids and pin them down to the nape of the head," says Lopez. "That way you're able to get the comb in there. You can also buy wig clips and sew them into the inside of the wig."

Goody Adult Bobby Pin Pack, $2.50, available at Target.
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Tip #9: Secure It

If you're getting a lace-front option, you'll also want to pick up this blogger-favorite gel. "Glue is hardcore and hard to get off. In a pinch, you can use the Göt2b gel in the yellow tube along the hairline. Just let the gel get a little tacky before you put the wig on."

But the best way to make the wig look natural is to leave your natural hair out around the edges. "If the wig is close to your hair color, leave half an inch of your hairline out and that will make it look extremely real," says Lopez.
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Tip #10: Combine Forces

You don’t necessarily need to buy a full-on wig to change your hair look. If you’re not going for a change of color, but want to add way more length or body, Valles suggests clip-ins or hairpieces as a much more comfortable route — especially if you’re going to be out all night (wigs can be super-itchy and hot). You can find different-length wefts of hair at a hair shop that clip into and under your own hair, and customize the length and thickness. “Easilocks makes really natural-looking clip-ins," Valles suggests. “They even have ponytail pieces, braids, and buns!”

Remy Hair Couture Hair Extensions, $94.99, available at Ricky's NYC.
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