BRAIDS today, a bob tomorrow and an Afro on Tuesday.
While wigs have always been a popular option for style-conscious women having a bad-hair day, silky human locks are the latest hot-ticket item for trendsetters who want to change their look on a whim.
Reality stars Kim Kardashian and her sister Kylie Jenner regularly have cornrows, purple hair and even trendy bobs — which local salon owners say has sparked “an increase in human wig sales”.
Unlike many synthetic wigs, those made from human hair can be flat-ironed, curled and even coloured. But they don’t come cheap, selling for R4000 to R7500.
KayaFM breakfast show co-host Kuli Roberts has about 50 wigs made from human hair in her wardrobe. Model Rosette Ncwana, TV personality Khanyi Mbau and singer Kelly Khumalo are not far behind.
Stylist Thakane Mohale of TT’s Beauty Salon said demand for wigs made from human hair had rocketed.
In 2013, she was making one or two a month, but now she’s churning out up to 80.
“Wigs have existed for many years, but now many women want wigs because they are tired of losing their hairline and also sitting for hours at the salon,” she said.
“With human-hair wigs, they can drop them off at the salon and collect them when they are washed and styled.”
She said the most popular hair was from Peru, Mongolia, Malaysia and India.
“A good wig, depending on length of the weave, can cost up to R7000.”
Mbau, who owns 25 wigs, said she wore them to “protect my hairline from receding and avoid burning my hair with relaxers or hair straighteners”.
She added: “I have hair from all nations — Afro, Russian, Peruvian, Indian, braided, Brazilian. Wigs are cool and more stylish than sitting at the salon for hours.
“I once had an oopsie in Cape Town when my wig flew off. I didn’t feel bad. I picked it up put it right back on my head.”
Khumalo started wearing wigs in 2010 and now owns 10.
“I can wear a different wig for breakfast, lunch and supper. It’s like a pair of shoes. I have created closet space for my wigs because they are part of my accessories now.
“The best part is that I don’t have to endure the itching scalp from a weave and can just whip it off when I get in the car or at home. Many people associate wigs with abogogo [grannies], but wigs were worn by divas like Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin,” she said.
Roberts has “every colour [wig] you can think of”.
She said: “Currently I’m blonde. It’s just great being able to pick and choose how I want to look without having to think about the consequences of losing my hair.”
Ncwana said she began buying wigs after she moved to Cape Town in 2014 and couldn’t find a hair salon she was happy with. She now has five. “They are my refuge for bad-hair days. I have cut my hair but when I go for shoots, clients still want to see my long hair, which is where the wig saves the day.”
University of Johannesburg law student Mpho Dzhivhuwo began making human-hair wigs part time in October.
“The wig-making industry is a very lucrative business. I charge up to R4000 for a wig, depending on length and the fibre. Making one wig takes four to eight hours, depending on the type of cap and closure the client wants.” - article published in Sunday Times