I’m a wig snob, and here’s where I shop.
I’ve been accused of being a wig snob in the past, and I’m rather embarrassed to admit that it’s probably true. I’m of the opinion that a wig can make or break a costume, and in the following article I introduce you to the places I believe to stock the best quality wigs for cosplay and Lolita.
I first started cosplaying fifteen years ago (and boy don’t I feel old typing that out?!) in a time when cosplay hadn’t really made its way to England in quite the way it has today. The only wigs I knew of at that time were party shop wigs, such a Smiffy’s. Because I knew no better, and had no better choices, Smiffy’s wigs were all I utilised.
Most Smiffy’s wigs can, at a push, be utilised for cosplay (or Lolita, I imagine) but I personally would suggest only if you are planning on using them as they are; ie, you’re not going to try and put them up or style them in any way. The other down-side to Smiffy’s wigs is that they look very unnatural, and by that I mean they have a very plastic-y shine. This is not exactly surprising, since the wigs are made of low-quality plastic fibre.
As I cosplayed more, and became more interested in the Japanese anime culture, I discovered Amphigory’s selection of wigs. These wigs are made of higher-quality Kanekalon, Toyokalon, or Elora fibres. These fibres offer a softer, more natural look to the wig. In addition, Amphigory offer a much wider choice of styles than Smiffy’s, giving me a much better base wig. It is through Amphigory I discovered that I really didn’t have to work out how to add wefts into a wig to part it at the back for pigtails: They stocked a pre-parted wig! That was cause for much celebration.
The main issue I had with Amphigory was that they didn’t – and still don’t – ship worldwide. Though this put a small spanner in the works, I have a number of very kind friends in the US who were willing to become middle-man services for me, allowing me to acquire four wigs from Amphigory at different times. If they shipped internationally, I would certainly be using them more frequently, as the quality is high and their customer service was very good. I ordered three of the “Innocent” wig for Sailor Moon cosplays, and a “Really Long Wig”. I still have both the “Innocent” wigs, one styled and one part-styled. The “Really Long Wig” wound me up due to its length and tangle-ability (and my own ineptitude at caring for long wigs) and has since found a better home.
After Amphigory, I searched through a few eBay sellers. I was disappointed with most of the wigs I received; although they were of a better fibre than party wigs, they were often far too thin to be anything but plain bases like party wigs. I discovered a seller for more ‘cosplay-style’ wigs in various unnatural colours, Laura_wu, whose wigs are very nice, though again only really useful to me as base wigs. I was also lucky enough to discover a seller of lace-fronted wigs, LuxVogue, at very reasonable prices, though the choice is limited.
Not long after I was getting frustrated with searching for decent cosplay wigs, I was introduced to a (then) new company by the name of Arda, a company run by cosplayers, acquiring wigs for cosplayers. It seemed too good to be true, but I checked them out. Much like Amphigory, they have a very wide selection of wigs running the gamut from “normal” to “dear goodness my eyes are bleeding out” in colour, and a vast selection of styles also. Thanks to their penchant for doing speciality sales when they reach certain goals, and some dealing with friends/family regarding birthday/Christmas presents, I am the proud owner of a number of Arda wigs. Their quality is exceedingly high, easy to style and re-style, and the unnatural colours are done with a great deal of attention to detail; instead of flat pinks and reds, there are subtle shades of the colours in the wig, giving them a much more ‘natural’ appearance than one might expect.
Like Amphigory, Arda stock a number of wigs that are usually more difficult-to-find, such as pre-parted wigs for pigtails, wigs in multi colours, and wigs that are up in ponytails. They also stock a number of lace-fronted wigs in various colours.
Price-wise, they are more expensive than Amphigory, though in the years since I have purchased from the latter company their prices have increased. They are more expensive than most of the eBay sellers, but I can highly recommend a number of their wigs due to the high quality. Had it not been for the last company to come in this article, I wouldn’t shop for wigs anywhere else, if only for the sheer variety. So many pretty wigs! So little time! (And money…)
Lastly, the wig company I only don’t purchase from if they don’t stock it, Coscraft. A relatively new company, Coscraft is based in the UK and like Arda is run by cosplayers for cosplayers. Their wig selection is growing by the month, meaning that I am likely to slowly cease purchasing wigs anywhere else. I own more Coscraft wigs than I can count off the top of my head, and their quality is as high – if not higher – than Arda’s. Like Arda, even the unnatural colours are hued to look more natural, and the fibre quality is soft and easily manageable. Coscfraft wigs are easy to style, and so work well as either base wigs for further hefty styling, or used as they are. I have used Coscraft wigs for both the above, and have found them to work absolutely fabulously. It’s a pleasant change to be able to comb tangles out with my fingers rather than swearing at a comb and wig and hoping for the best!
In addition, they also stock wefts, for those among us who are capable of wig editing, which match the colours of the wigs sold. No more hoping that the kanekalon extensions purchased elsewhere will match!
It’s also a blessing to have a high-quality wig company operating within the UK; it means that much of the time I can emergency-order a wig and upgrade my shipping to receive it as swiftly as Royal Fail Mail allows. I can’t sing Coscraft’s praises enough, and I can highly recommend them to both veteran and beginner cosplayers alike, especially given that their prices are, to date, the best I have found.
I think, given the choice I now have from the likes of Arda and Coscraft, I shall continue to be a wig snob. What about you, dear readers? Have you any wig companies you prefer to shop at? Let me know in the comments!