Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

“Wigs give me confidence”: how a beauty pro uses hair to match her mood

shevelle main.jpg
shevelle

Shevelle Rhule is a London-based fashion and beauty editor who has been a devout wearer of wigs for the past three years.

Here, she explains our growing fascination with hair pieces and charts their growth throughout history, as well as examining how they have the power to instantly transform much more than just our appearance.

I have a confession to make: I’m a wig addict. With seven units currently decorating my dressing room table I’m embarrassed to admit I’m still struggling to fight the urge to get another.

I have a wig for the gym, one for when I'm going to meetings and want to be taken seriously, a wig that makes me stand out from the crowd, another that has gone from soft brown to bright blonde (when I was going through my Beyoncé phrase) and back again (when sanity returned), a unit I lent to a friend and never got back and one that compliments the majority of my wardrobe. I have been known to wear four different wigs in a week, much to my male neighbour’s confusion, although I later made a pact with my fiancé that I would try and be a little less obvious in future.

And if you’re wondering, no, I'm not bald, suffering from alopecia or have any other hair loss condition; in fact my hair is currently swishing well past my shoulders when straightened and a super sized afro when not and more importantly, in the best condition of its life thanks to wigs. 

wigs

Wigs can instantly transform any look

To many, the idea of wearing a wig when you have an adequate amount of your own follicles is baffling. Particularly as wigs haven’t always had the best reputation, and have often been treated as a style worn as a comical addition to a fancy dress party or simply for those who have little of their own.

Yet Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Hudson and Kim Kardashian are just a snippet of the celebrities who have caught onto the delights of wigs. The new generation of wigs isn’t anything like you think you know and as a result people’s attitudes towards them are changing.

“I feel like it’s becoming a little bit more mainstream, people are talking about it like it’s not a big deal,” explains Isaac Davidson, founder of New York-based wig and extension studio, Wigbar, and singer Sia’s wig maker. “It used to be [that] everyone was nervous [that] people would figure out what they are wearing. Now they are like I’m starting a wig collection and talking about all the different styles they have.” 

Sia

"I feel like wigs are becoming more mainstream," says Sia's wig maker, Isaac Davidson

It’s this freedom to be creative and spontaneous, to be able to unleash your inner diva and be the blonde you dreamed of, or try out a cut you have been toying with for years, all without the consequences of peroxide damaging your own hair or growing out an awkward cut, that has made a lot of women rethink the concept of wigs.

My own wig addiction started after a bad experience with hair extensions, leaving me with multiple bald patches the size of a 10 pence piece. It was from then that I decided to put the health of my hair first and was introduced to the wonderful world of wigs by my stylist. At first I picked styles that mimicked my own afro hair but the more comfortable with how to wear and care for them I became, the more adventurous I got with styles, cuts and colours.

At first I picked styles that mimicked my own afro hair but the more comfortable with how to wear and care for them I became, the more adventurous I got with styles, cuts and colours.

“The fact you can transition and change your entire look, hair, makeup, clothes within seconds has become very on trend,” says Edee Beau, Wig Maker for Destiny's Child alumni Michelle Williams. “People get bored of the same look after a while. Kylie and Kim do it because they don’t want to damage or change their natural hair, so if you can do that with a wig it makes it attractive to everybody.” 

Beyonce and Michelle Williams (right) are both avid wig-wearers

Beyonce and Michelle Williams (right) are both avid wig-wearers

Of course, wigs have been around for centuries, worn by the Egyptians in 2700BC and considered the height of fashion by the French monarchy in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the last 50-plus years wigs have undergone a massive boom in popularity, with stars like Diana Ross wearing stylish bouffant styles that inspired almost one third of women to own a wig in the 1960’s.

The present day resurgence is thanks to a mixture of celebrities being open about it, wig innovations like lace fronts (which mimics the look of the scalp and allows you to style it like your own), quality and ethical hair sourcing and affordability.

“Wigs have been worn by the elite and now they’re available to everyone,” says wig specialist Andree Marie. “Social media has allowed us to see secrets that weren’t shown to us before. Before we thought Naomi Campbell or Beyonce’s hair was always looking fabulous, when they were wearing a wig all this time.”

“It was set to a certain standard for the rich and the fabulous, and now everyone can be fabulous, everyone can have a wig.”

wig

"Everyone can be fabulous, everyone can have a wig," says wig specialist Andree Marie

In a busy world where women have less time to spend on beautifying themselves it seems wigs have managed to fill the void between wanting to look fabulous but not spend hours to do so. 

It was set to a certain standard for the rich and the fabulous, and now everyone can be fabulous, everyone can have a wig.

Wigs have given me a renewed confidence, allowing me to look presentable when I have no time, or give me an alter ego when I need one - like my sleek bob which helps me feel chic, professional and ready for business or my favourite big curly one that makes me walk into a room like I own it.

Some women put on high heels others smear on red lipstick and me? Well, I put on a wig.


How wigs can instantly transform a look

Shevelle models six of her favourite wigs to show how dramatically a simple hairpiece can transform her look.

The blonde one

3

I feel incredibly flirty and sassy with this blond style and tend to wear it when I want to command a little extra attention. 


The bob one

2

This is my ready for professional life wig. When I wear it, I instantly feel chic and that I can handle my shit like a boss too.


The fringe one

4

I like the easy going nature of this fringe style and usually wear it to the gym or if I’m popping to the supermarket. 


The curly one

5

My absolute favourite, I live for big textured hair and this makes me feel the most sexy and confident of all my wigs. It's a hit with my partner too. 


The wavy one

6

This is the wig I wear the most because it works for everything. 


The highlighted one

1

I don't really do colour so this is about as bold as I go. I call this my ‘fun wig’ and wear it when I'm in the mood to jazz up my look.

Related

celebrity pixie cuts.jpg

Lena Dunham unveils punky new pixie hair cut

love the nelsons project.JPG

Grandparents celebrate 63 years of love with heartwarming photo shoot

illustration (1).jpg

All About Afro: unravelling the culture behind African hair braiding

ear cuff celebrity round up red carpet.jpg

Celebrities who rocked ear cuffs on the red carpet

iStock_45453806_LARGE.jpg

Bite-size novels that were made for your commute

vitiligo.JPG

Model who hid vitiligo for a decade shares inspiring post about beauty

nike.JPG

Nike celebrates all body sizes with hit new sports bra advert

buffy the vampire slayer life lessons.jpg

From feminism to self-belief: life lessons Buffy Summers taught us

harnaan insta 3.JPG

Harnaam Kaur on overcoming bullying and embracing her natural beauty

Comments

More

Kate Middleton has a budget beauty trick that's “quite necessary”

And your nan would approve

by Anna Pollitt
26 Jun 2017

Armpit tattoo designs are here to inspire you

Pit-ink is here for the long-haul

by Jasmine Andersson
23 Jun 2017

Hair inspiration from the world’s most famous music festivals

Exuberant trends through the ages

19 Jun 2017

Fresh, on-trend festival hair styles we love

Hot new looks to re-create this season

12 Jun 2017

Ten quick and easy hairstyles you can create in 60 seconds or less

Fast beauty on the go

by Sarah Biddlecombe
07 Jun 2017

Hot festival hair trends of summer 2017: a day by day guide

A leading stylist creates his go-to looks

01 Jun 2017

82-year-old grandmother gets first tattoo in memory of late husband

The childhood sweethearts were married for 53 years

by Sarah Biddlecombe
01 Jun 2017

This is the high street moisturiser we’re buying every 18 seconds

People all over the world are positively obsessed

by Kayleigh Dray
01 Jun 2017

People are getting this tattoo in honour of Manchester attack victims

And Ariana Grande has broken her silence on the bombing

by Moya Crockett
30 May 2017

Susan Sarandon’s ageing tips are as excellent as you’d expect

Good lighting is everything

by Moya Crockett
26 May 2017