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 Wigging Out

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Kara
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Location : Lancaster
Registration date : 2008-01-18

PostSubject: Wigging Out   Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:09 am

Writing how-toís for makeup, hair and wigs as it relates to theatre can be tricky without the help of photos, but I figured what the heck. Iíll give it a try anyway and yield to QCís suggestion that someone post something during this quiet summer time. So here goes:

Letís seeÖ

Who wants to know how to properly prep their hair for a wig application?

Anyone?

Anyone?

I thought so. Nonetheless, Iíve been in enough community/educational theatre productions where this would have been a mighty good thing to know that Iím going to tell you all about it anyway. Read on if you dareÖ

Proper wig prep is essential for several reasons. First and most importantly, itís essential that the actor wearing the wig feel absolutely secure that the wig isnít going to move, shift, or (gasp!) fall off during performanceóparticularly one that may involve dancing, fight choreography, or just plain head-tossing. Wig prep is also important because hair that is improperly prepped under the wig has a great effect on the wig itself, causing the wigís shape or silhouette to be bumpy, lumpy, or disfigured. And lastly, hair that is not properly secured under the wig stands a very good chance of falling out form under the wig, thus ruining the illusion and being a great distraction to the actor (if he/she is even aware) and certainly the audience.

A few extra minutes in front of the makeup mirror is all it takes to ensure that none of these disasters occur.

The following is for hair that is at least chin-to-shoulder length or longer.

Begin by lightly misting your hair with water and brushing or combing it through to remove any tangles. Hair should be fairly damp, but not dripping wet. Next apply a firm-hold gel (like Dep) to your hair and comb through. Part hair horizontally from ear to ear. Beginning with the back section, brush the hair forward toward the left ear. Use a bobby pin or two to hold it in place. Then brush the front section down toward your right ear and secure with a bobby pin or two. Move back to the first section (now pointing forward, toward your face) and brush tightly over the front/top of the head, securing with bobby pins. Brush the second section around the back of your head and secure. Essentially you will be tightly swirling your hair around your head. Continue to move the sections in opposite directions around your head and securing until you reach the ends of your hair. Your hair should look like a very sleek swim cap around your head, with no bulges.
Next, take the end of a rat-tail comb or the handle of a thin makeup brush and coax out small sections of hair from the very front and center of the hairline, from just in front of each ear, and from either side of the nape of the neck. Some people prefer to have these sections pulled out before the swirling, but itís up to you.
Next, roll each section tightly into a pincurl and secure it to your hairline using two bobby pins. Place the two bobby pins so that they intersect to form an X shape. Make sure that your pincurls, or anchor points, are just at the hairline. If they fall below the hairline they will be seen from under the wig.
Next, apply your wig cap. A wig cap is a stretchy bit of nylon material that looks like the top of a pantyhose. Some wig caps can be a little tight, so the trick to applying them is as follows: Put your two index fingers up to your forehead like youíre making little devil horns. Get a castmate to pull the wig cap over your fingers and head while you ďhookĒ it with your fingers. Once the cap is stretched over the back of your head you can slip your fingers out from under the cap. Voila!
If thereís any excess material at the top of your cap, secure it down with a hairpin or bobby pin.

Now for the wig!!

Remove your wig from the headform and apply it in the same manner as the cap. You may need help. Always handle a wig by the lining and NOT by the hair. Adjust the wig until it the placement looks and feels right and secure the adjustable strap (common in many inexpensive wigs used in community theatre) located under the back of the wig..

Almost done! Using hair pins or bobby pins that match the wig color, push the pins through the wig and into each of the 5 anchor point/pincurls. Gently lift up on the edge of the wig to ensure that youíve gone all the way through the cap and into the anchor points. YOUR WIG AINíT GOING NOWHERE NOW.

I guarantee that by following these steps (they sound complicated but itís actually really, really easy) youíll never have a wig disaster. If any of you are in the local production of You Canít Stop The Beat: A Tribute To Hairspray, I will be wigging approximately 20 cast members for the show and instructing every one of them on proper wig prep.

But you got it here for free! Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. Next time, Iíll post about prepping short hair for a wig application (for those of you who care).


afro
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QuantumCowboy
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PostSubject: Re: Wigging Out   Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:44 am

Thank you Kara! I'm sure all of our members will benefit from this at some point in their acting careers. Bravo!

I know image posting is a problem on this board, which is one of the many reasons I am creating my own "home-rolled" version for the new site. Rest assured, you will be able to post modestly-sized image on the new forums. Until then, your descriptive prose will have to suffice. Once the move is affected, you can go back and edit this post to add images.

Thanks again for taking the time to educate us all on a relevant topic!

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~QC
"Acting is all about honesty... if you can fake that, you've got it down." --Oscar Wilde.
"You must unlearn what you have learned." --Yoda, Jedi Master.
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Tamitha
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PostSubject: Re: Wigging Out   Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:56 pm

Kara - Great info!! I have a question......Many people have differing views on whether the hair should be clean or 'day old.' (Did that make sense??) What are your thoughts on how clean the hair should be for maximum 'holdage' for a wig? Or is it up to the individual's hair? For instance, when curling my hair, near dirty holds the best curls. So, whatcha think?? Thanks, Tam
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Kara
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PostSubject: Re: Wigging Out   Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:32 pm

Tamitha wrote:
Kara - Great info!! I have a question......Many people have differing views on whether the hair should be clean or 'day old.' (Did that make sense??) What are your thoughts on how clean the hair should be for maximum 'holdage' for a wig? Or is it up to the individual's hair? For instance, when curling my hair, near dirty holds the best curls. So, whatcha think?? Thanks, Tam

Oooh, oooh! I LOVE questions. Thanks, Tamitha.

If you are wearing the wig for the duration of the show and you won't be removing it during the performance, then it doesn't matter if hair is "day old" or squeaky clean. Wig slippage is totally dependent on how well you've secured/pinned it to the 5 anchor points mentioned above. And remember, you'll be wetting the hair first and then applying a liberal amount of gel, so the clean versus dirty question pretty much becomes moot at that point.

Just a note here: If you wear a wig onstage and have properly prepped your own hair underneath, don't even THINK that your hair's gonna look cute at Baker's Square or Don Juan's afterward. All that wet gel cooking under that hot wig for the last 4 hours means it's shower time, (or bring a baseball cap) but that's the sacrifice we make for an excellent wig application, right? Right? RIGHT????

HOWEVER, if you're playing a couple of characters or playing a character who ages and both your natural hair and a wig will be worn during performance, then you may not have time to do a complete wig prep. In this case, "day old" hair is best, or dry hair that's been misted with some hair spray or a Redken product called "Traction" (does exactly what it says--provides healthy, fine, or slippery hair with a bit of "traction" to make it more workable) so that the wig cap is less likely to slip because it's "gripped" to your dirty hair. Remember, you should still wear a wig cap! It will contain your hair somewhat and help prevent bulges and disfigurement; it also protects the wig from sweat and bacteria. NEVER JUST PLOP A WIG STRAIGHT ON YOUR HEAD AND TUCK THE ENDS UP UNDER IT. That's not only a recipe for disaster (shifting, visible hairs, and various other wig malfunctions) but it's unsanitary as well.

And finally, for basic hairstyling of your natural hair (hot rolling, creating a bun, etc.), "day old" hair is best. You're right, Tamitha. But I need to point out that hair should never really be much "dirtier" than day-old, nor should it ever be truly "dirty." But try to avoid arriving at the theatre with just-washed hair. The only exception to this rule applies to people with quite oily hair. Oily/greasy hair will NOT hold forms from hot tools like a curling irons, flat irons, or hot rollers. It would be like trying to curl wet hair--it just won't work. But if you do forget and come to the theatre with squeaky clean hair, applying a light mist of hair spray or Redken's Traction will fix it.

Hope this answered your question(s), Tamitha. Happy wigging! geek
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Tamitha
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PostSubject: Re: Wigging Out   Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:52 pm

Cool!! Thanks for the info!!!
Tamitha
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