Sheitel wearers everywhere have become obsessed with having the most natural looking front and will do anything to achieve that, including adding baby-hair, lace fronts and even doing “expensive wig surgeries,” that flatten the top front of their wig to try to achieve the flattest and most natural looking hairline. In my previous article last week, I discussed the pros, cons and general expectations one can have of lace top wigs. In this article I am demystifying the truths of a lace front. A lace front is very different then a full lace top wig. A lace front is a piece of lace that is attached to just the very front of a regular wig that contains a multi directional part. The goal of the lace front and its attachments is to help soften the line from the wig to one’s hair line to make the sheitel appear more natural.
A lace front can be added to almost any wig, and can run anywhere from $180-$800, in addition to the price of the wig. Obviously, the more natural looking the lace, the more expensive it will be. The more natural looking laces are more transparent and made with a thinner material, which also makes them much more delicate. You must handle these pieces with extreme care as they can easily tear, lose hair and stretch. The lace front looks most natural when laying very flat and flush flush on one’s hairline. Since the lace easily stretches, every few months the lace needs to be repaired by opening it up and taking it in so that it will lay flat once again. When you see a wig with the lace protruding from the wig, appearing to be popping off, it’s because the lace is not laying tightly enough against the wig wearers skin and needs to be adjusted so that it properly fits its owner. It’s a good idea to have your sheitel macher check your lace fronts every few months for necessary repairs.
Since lace fronts are so fragile, expensive and require costly maintenance, I only recommend getting them for those hairlines that need them. Lace fronts can be a good option for someone with a low hairline who wants to cover all the front strands of her hair. If someone is taking out the front of their hair, having a lace front is not only unnecessary but the lace will actually fray easily and create an undesirable lift, destroying the purpose of the lace. Those with high hair lines generally do not need a lace front attachment.
Speaking of low hairlines, a recent trend in Israel that is making its way over to America, especially in those circles where the women are makpid to cover every strand of their hair, is to do laser hair removal on those with low hairlines and/or a widow’s peak. The reason to laser the hairline is so that the sheitel can be worn on the head in the correct placement, rather than having to wear the wig too low down on the forehead (ensuring every hair is covered) which gives that undesirable “wiggy look.” The initial cost of the laser hair removal can save you money on a lifetime of costly lace fronts and repairs. Although I am not advocating one way or the other—removing a low hairline that is difficult for a sheitel wearer can solve many problems and end years of frustration one may have had with wigs.
Another popular trend in trying to make the fronts of wigs appear more natural, is adding baby hairs to the front of a wig to add a softer more natural look. The way baby hairs work is they add a bit of height to distract away from the lip of the sheitel line. The baby hairs mimic the natural frizzier baby hairs that every natural hairline has. Baby hairs do tend to add height to the wig, so its not recommended for those who want a flat, no lift front. I don’t usually recommend baby hairs to those with low hairlines. Many think the more baby hairs the merrier, however the complete opposite is true. To achieve a natural front, I recommend using as few baby hairs as needed, unless it’s for a women who is looking to add a lot of height in the front or needs the baby hair inserted in specific placement to hold the height and style of her wig. Make sure you tell the person inserting the baby hairs your purpose: to create a soft transitional line or to give you height and lift. Often an experienced cutter can soften the hair line on a sheitel by using shears to mimic the look of soft baby hairs while still maintaining the flatness on the front of the wig.
It seems that many people are asking for lace fronts and baby hairs without properly understanding what they really need to achieve the look they want. I see many clients who spent money on expensive lace fronts and baby hairs that come to me because their pieces are not laying flat anymore. They are doing unnecessary “procedures” to their wigs when all that was needed from the start was a simple fix. If you plan on wearing a bang, do not ask for lace fronts or baby hairs. If you plan on taking out hair, do not get a lace front or baby hairs as they will add a lift in the wrong place.
Before investing in expensive “sheitel trends,” I recommend consulting with a professional who knows and is experienced with cap fitting, cap structure and blending of hairlines. What works for your friends won’t necessarily work for you, your head shape and hairline. The current trend with wigs is to be very flat with defined parted hairlines. If you would like this look, make sure it is flattering on you, as this look is not flattering on all face shapes and bone structures. Rather than simply going along with the wig trends, make sure the overall look of the wig will compliment you so that you can look and feel your best.
By Sari Friedbauer
Sari Friedbauer is the owner of Sari’s Wigs. She is a licensed cosmetologist and hairstylist and certified wig maker. She is available for consults and can be reached at 201-694-5319.