If you think Nicki Minaj is to thank (or blame) for the growing popularity of wigs, you'll be interested to learn that humans have been actually been wearing wigs for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians were known to shave their heads and instead wear wigs to protect their scalps from the blazing sun (Encyclopedia). In the 1600s, men of status donned enormous powdered wigs to signify their wealth and virility (Cracked).
While the wig once symbolized power and prestige, today it's mostly considered a costume item. People don't really take wigs seriously anymore, and the practice of doing so has even become contentious in the natural hair community. Some people argue that wigs shouldn't be considered natural because they mask the wearer's true curls much like a relaxer does. Conversely, others state that if the wearer's hair is unprocessed and free of chemicals underneath, then s/he is natural regardless. No matter which side of the debate you fall on there are indisputable benefits to wearing a wig.
- Wigs protect your hair. Because your strands aren't exposed to the elements (sun, wind, snow, etc), they are more likely to grow strong and healthy rather than breaking and splitting.
- Wigs give your hair a break. Low manipulation styles are a naturalista's best friend, and wigs are a great way of achieving low maintenance hair. A popular strategy is to cornrow your hair underneath the wig, which buys you days (if not weeks!) of leaving your curls alone so they can flourish.
- Wigs allow your hair to grow. When your hair is shielded from the damaging effects of weather and frequent styling, it's easier to retain length. For this reason many people choose to wear wigs specifically when they're trying to grow their hair out.
- Wigs eliminate indecision. We've all spent far too much of our precious time flipping through magazines and staring in the mirror agonizing over what to do with our hair. If you're anything like me you might even start a hairstyle, only to take it down an hour later to begin over again. Doing this isn't just a waste of time and products, but it can also be rough on your hair. However, there's no dilemma with wigs. Just pick one, put her on, and go!
In order to enjoy these benefits, though, you've got to make sure your wig is installed and maintained correctly. Here are some tips:
- Prepare your hair carefully (cleanse, moisturize, seal, then protective style)
- Read any included instructions
- Be gentle when putting the wig on and taking it off
- Wash the wig as required