Traditional wig making is a true art form and dates back to Egyptian times; the wealthy wore elaborate wigs to protect their heads from the sun and kept them in place with beeswax.They were made from human hair or sheep's wool and consisted of a bulky mass of plaits or braids. Men had shaved heads under their wigs and women wore their hair short. In Roman times, wigs were worn by women as a fashionable accessory. Since blond hair was in vogue then, expensive wigs were made from blond hair obtained from the conquered people in the north.
It was not until the 16th century that wigs became prominent In the second half of the century, both men and women started wearing wigs more and women often dyed their hair red or gold in an effort to imitate the wigs worn by Elizabeth I. She herself is reported to have owned more then 100 wigs.
Luckily today wig making has come a long way and gone are the days where you could spot a badly made hair piece a mile away.
In 2016 I trained with Leading UK wig makers at Banbury Postiche in wig making techniques.
For those new to wigs, there are many different ways in constructing a wig but they all start with your foundation (commonly referred to as the wig cap).
Wigs can be brought to fit most head sizes such as a the huge range of synthetic and even human hair wigs on the market with a stretch cap, meaning it has a flexible base with adjustable straps to make it fit snugly on the wearers head, these are often machine made with a sewing machine and wefts ,this also means they are much quicker to produce and are not of the handmade tradition.
There are some truly amazing synthetic wigs on the market today most of which are extremely realistic So much so the synthetic hair is silky soft and can be treated with heat just like human hair with some more expensive wigs being a combination of high heat synthetic fibres and human hair.
Synthetic Wigs with medical hair loss wearers in mind can be lace front to give a more natural finish or monofilament top to give the illusion of hair growing from the scalp and or hairline .
From my experience with private clients suffering with medical hair loss or undergoing cancer treatment the most sought after wigs are monofilament with high heat synthetic fibres Or human hair . For some people the Lace of some handmade wigs can cause itchiness and irritation to the scalp and the lace front can often be detectable for close up wear . Price and time were also a factor in the decision as most people with medical hair loss required a wig for life so had more then one and they’d need replacements and those with Cancer didn’t always have the time to wait for a handmade human hair wig Instead opting for a wefted machine made human hair wig .
This is is one of the reasons that I introduced the pre loved wig service to my own wig studio I ran for a short while here in Sheffield to ensure that wigs were available to everyone and anyone who needed one no matter their budget by taking wig donations sanitising them and making them as good as new again . Each wig would sell for just £20 with the money going to Cavendish cancer care here in Sheffield. It was a very popular service and I’d love to be able to offer this again .
I have experience working with Top wig brands and helping customers with medical hair loss. The brands I have worked with include Jon Renau, Ellen Willie, Rene of Paris and Dimples . Clients would visit me in my wig studio for consultations and wig fittings were I would do my best to select them the perfect wig always ensuring they were happy with there new do .
I can still source wigs from leading brands if necessary for private clients , productions and events with experience working with many brands.
I worked closely with Little Princess Trust in my wig studio providing human hair wigs to young women in particular who had lost their hair through cancer treatment.
A lace front wig has wefts of hair sewn into the foundation and the top of the wig has hair hand tied into the lace in a process called knotting to give the effect that hair is growing from the scalp, these wigs are quicker to make due to this process and are perfect if you are wanting to wear your hair down all of the time, however they are not as suitable if you wish to wear your hair up as the tracks may be visible.
A full lace wig has every single hair knotted by hand into the lace on the whole foundation, this is a much longer process but does mean the wig can be worn however the client desires.
To make a bespoke full lace wig every hair is tied by hand and can take a minimum of 60 hours of work to complete, depending on specifications it can often be much longer. It takes real craftsmanship and dedication to produce a bespoke wig which is why prices start from £800 upwards depending on the length, density and hair quality.
I have had the opportunity to use my wig making skills to hand make a wig for the production of We Will Rock You on board the Anthem . I used European Human Hair and a pre made wig foundation brought from the wig department.
The Skills taught to me by Banbury Postiche in Wig making techniques has given me a basic understanding of Wig making , I am competent in my Wig knotting ability’s in single , double and point knotting and although I was given the opportunity to make a wig for We Will Rock You I acknowledge that I need further training with my wig making skills and in particular in the art of foundation making using lace.
I am also able to hand make my own double wefts which can be used in wig making or for super fine hair extensions in a variety of hair types.
this moment in time I do not offer a wig making service and instead offer my services as an outsource wig knotter. I can also offer handmade facial hair. From time to time I will have hand made wigs available for purchase in my shop for Cosplay.
Wig Knotting - Single Knotting, Double Knotting.
Point Knotting - knotting underside of hairline.
Align hair to be point/cuticle correct- double drawn.
Sort and store hair into length & colour bundles.
Add texture to hair to make curl or Afro curl.
Handmade Double wefts.
Handmade Facial Hair.
Handmade Hair Toppers/Volumisers.
Source Wigs from leading brands.
Wig Consultation & Fittings.
Wigs for private clients with medical hair loss.
Hair pieces, Volumisers/Toppers , Hair extensions for private clients with fine , thinning hair and medical hair loss .
Wigs are my passion and have been my main area of creativity whilst working as a makeup artist. My career has seen me start out as casual wig help too full time wig assistant with Opera North at Leeds Grand and on tour throughout the U.K to becoming Cosmetologist and creative wig stylist for Disney and Disney Cruise lines. More recently I have been creative wig stylist for Royal Caribbean cruise lines and We Will Rock You as well as assisting with Matthew Bourne’s Ballet whilst at Sheffield Theatres. That's just to mention a few.
All of my wigs can be designed , created and dressed for their specified use weather it be for daily wear , fashion, tv , film or theatre. I work alongside my clients to provide solutions to fit company budgets , projects or personal requirements.
I Dress wigs for productions, events and fashion shows as well as for private clients , I also offer a maintenance service .
I am available for freelance wig work & show installs for cruise productions.
For theatre , entertainment and screen productions BECTU union recommended rates apply.
Pricing varies depending on the service you require and the length of time it would take to complete the project. For an accurate quote please contact me.
A little Wig background :
Working for not only Opera North but also for the Disney Production of Twice Charmed along with the Qdos production of Cinderella and various shows on Royal Caribbean I can confidently re-create the big wig styles of the 18th century. Marie Antoinette wigs are one of my passions I absolutely love the flair and creativity of hairstyles and wigs shown in Marie Antoinette's court with their big powdered poufs that were elaborately decorated with ribbons, flowers and precious jewels with the most fashion conscious elite adorning their styles with commemorative figurines and miniatures to commemorate certain life events or popular contemporary themes. For instance a miniature war ship which proved to be very popular. I feel they were trying to make very witty statements in much the same way as we do these days with t-shirt motifs.
I feel confident to produce historically accurate hairstyles from many century’s.
Period wigs and having the ability to re-create and design wigs from almost any era has been an essential part of my career with wigs for stage and theatre productions especially whilst working for Royal Caribbean cruise lines as a creative wig stylist where I could be sent to anyone of their 25 ships to install numerous production shows often with very little prior knowledge of the show before boarding the ship and having to re-create the styles to keep in with the era and shows setting. I could be working on Rhythm and Rhyme with a 60's feel and a Dream girls section one minute and on the same ship at the same time also be working on City of dreams a show that explores different cultures around the world with a modern feel to the show but the very next week be on a completely different ship working on West End to Broadway with a Hairspray section and 1950's wigs to Vibeology with a 90's feel and music such as Dessert Rose.
During my time at Disney I re-created Period wigs for most of the Disney production shows and was given the opportunity to design and create wigs for Turner Classic Movies during a TCM charter cruise. I created six 1940's styled wigs for the lady’s of our cast.
I have styled and created wigs for many characters such as Robbie Rotten in Lazy Town, The skyline gang at Butlins, Qdos Pantomime Dames , Disney Princesses such as Cinderella, Belle, Aerial, Tiana, Repunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty/Aurora, Anna & Elza . Disney Villains such as Lady Tremaine, The Ugly sisters, Creulla DeVille and Captain Hook and Tim Burton characters such as Corpse Bride for Disney. To name a few.
Working in entertainments has also given me the opportunity to dress wigs for tribute acts re-creating the hairstyles of celebrities like Madonna, Abba , Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe. As well as having the privilege and joy of styling wigs for drag show events.
I am very versatile with my dressing skills having worked for many years in the middle of the ocean with the all the challenges that can bring especially when it’s rough at sea. I have styled wigs all over the world including Lapland in the Christmas season as Santa’s Makeup artist dressing wigs and facial hair for Santa, Mrs Claus and his special elves in the freezing cold snowy weather conditions . The challenges I faced with Santa’s Wig and facial hair would see me become an elf so I could ensure I was in the grotto by his side as he sat in front of a real fire due to concerns that the glue holding on the facial hair and lace front of the wig would melt and that children would be pulling and tugging on the beard all day. Other challenges would be with the special elves who would be outside in the snow every day getting wet through . I have also been Makeup Artist for an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatters tea party weekly event which would take place in the beautiful gardens of St Andrews in Nova Scotia and South beach in Miami both in the blazing heat of the summer sun . What all of these jobs had in common was my ability to be able to work with limited resources outside of a studio base on location. I had no hotbox in Lapland instead I had to utilise the sauna the best I could or make my own cardboard hotbox with a hair dryer to re-set and dry the wigs. There were no hotboxes on board cruise ships so again I either made my own or onboard the Disney magic we used an old shower cubicle in a dressing room as a drying room. I could not always have heated appliances onboard Royal Caribbean cruise lines for styling wigs only a steamer so hot sticks or heated rollers were not an option and having to fly with my kit limited me so I had to do the best I could with what I had around me at the time Quite often .
Wig Dressing / Styling :
All centuries : 16th/17th/18th
All periods : 20’s/30’s/40’s/50’s/60’s/70’s/80’s
Wig Dressing/ Styling :
Drag Queen Wigs
Avant Garde Wigs
Wig Dressing/ Styling :
Fashion shows and events
Beauty and Everyday wear
Can source Wigs for your needs Either as a private client or working towards your budget for a production.
Wig Maintenance :
For private Clients I can wash and condition your wig and then re-set and or steam to bring a new lease of life to your once loved wig .
For productions to give your wig stock a refresh and replenish.
Pre Loved Wigs :
If you have any old stock wigs or pre loved wigs Please contact me I would love to be able once again to offer this fantastic much needed service . Your wigs will be made as good as new and passed onto a new head for a new lease of life and the joy it brings.
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