Hee-Hee’s Misfit Wigfit!
Posted on 23 February 2016
WE ARE THE MISFITS, OUR WIGS ARE BETTER
Hey, fellas! Hee-Hee here with another wig blog! This time I’m going to be talking about two wigs I’ve styled from the Jem and the Holograms franchise; Pizzazz and Stormer! This project was from fall of last year, but thankfully I had enough progress documented to revisit and share, so let’s get started!
I’ll talk about my Pizzazz wig first; the character choice was pretty easy for me! As soon as I saw the new design from the IDW comics, I was hooked. A great design for an already great character. It’s big, bold, and edgy– AND she had an undercut like me! I was sold, please take my money.
Image via Comics Alliance
The biggest obstacle was, of course, the volume. Pizzazz has a LOT of hair (well, at least in this design. If you keep up with the comics, it changes pretty consistently!) to match her rockstar lifestyle, and I didn’t want to skip that detail. One thing I loved about the original series was how big the hair was, and I really appreciated how the new designs paid homage to that in a new, modern way! With that said, I knew I would need much more than one wig!
I purchased two Jareth Long wigs, and also had about five bags of green bulk hair that was a very close match (unfortunately this was before Arda began selling their jumbo braids, so I purchased these off of eBay), along with leftover wefts in yellow and pink. I harvested one of the Jareth Longs and added it to the first wig, ignoring for now the side that would ultimately be “shaved” off. I’ve already covered how to do this, so once again I’m gonna refer you to my video tutorial on the subject! Give it a little watch!
*It’s also going to cover how I spike my wigs, and while I’ll get to that further down in the blog, if you’re a visual learner like myself, you’ll want to watch that part of the video, too!
You can see the difference in volume on the photo’s right side; remember that I’m not bothering to add volume to the left side, because it’s going to be cut off… and speaking of, let’s get to hackin’!
A VERY important step before you start cutting from your wig is to try it on before deciding where you want to cut. Remember that wig heads aren’t the same measurements as your own (unless you’ve made yourself a custom one, in which… yeah, you’re good!), and what may seem like a small space may end up much larger once you put it on. So keep that in mind! But once you know what you want cut off, just take a small pair of scissors or a seam ripper and start carefully cutting wefts away. I generally leave the elastic (the vertical strips you see on the side) in place until I have the new shape pinned down to my wig head and secured, but eventually you get rid of these, too.
This leaves you with a raw edge, which ain’t pretty, so I took some of the short wefts from my harvested wig and glued them with fabric glue along the side hairline. Fabric glue works great because it dries clear and retains some flexibility, unlike hot glue. One great quality about the Jareth wigs (the regular and the Long) is that the shorter wefts on top are very coarse and thick at the roots, and it was easy to simply glue them along the curve and the wefts were hidden! I helped control the direction of the hair by simply blowdrying it while brushing it with my fingers. The fibers work really well with heat!
I added yellow wefts toward the front of the wig, and then was ready to start spiking. Because of the art style, I didn’t have a strict reference to base the spikes on, so I basically just started spiking and adjusted/ respiked sections as I went along. SPOILER ALERT, I restyled this wig about six times. So don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get the look you want right away!
My spiking method was already described in the video shown above, but here’s the basic rundown…
I start by sectioning the hair with rubber band, and each grouping represents a single spike. This helps me make sure that I won’t run out of hair or end up with too much of it at the end!
I tease the hair in the direction I want, then hit it with freeze spray and a blowdryer. Got2BGlued has become a cosplayer’s best friend, but I also really like New Image’s freeze spray, too! Basically, when it comes to these crazier hairstyles, anything that says Freeze on it is good to try out. Experiment and see what you like the most! But just layer on the hairspray, and set it with gentle heat from a blowdryer. Let it cool, and go again! Make sure you’re tugging the hair while it’s warm, and don’t let go until cool. This will help the hair reset in this new shape; otherwise, gravity will pull it down.
Once you have a messy spike in place, gently brush it– and I mean gently! You want to only brush the hair on the outside of the spike, making it look nice while the hair inside remains a sturdy nest of knots. Then you spray the tip, gently pinch with your fingers, blow dry to set that hairspray, and voila. A lot of folks set their spike tips with watered down fabric glue (dilute it some so that it doesn’t make the tip of the spike a darker color!), but I haven’t had the need to yet.
And this is all, of course, another alternative to using foamcore, though foam or felt spikes could also work for a wig like this! But I enjoy only using wig hair whenever I can.
I worked from back to front, one spike at a time, and finished off with the easiest spikes to do; the ones on top. Again, I have to mention the coarse roots of the Jareth wig; they’re awesome. If Arda could make a wig with those closely packed, coarse fibers on all sides of the wig, I think I’d start writing up the deed to my soul right then and there- they could have it! Those frizzy roots make it very easy to create standing spikes, so I didn’t have to put much teasing and spray onto these! This was also helpful because I was ready to start adjusting spikes– when I found one I didn’t like the angle of, I simply brushed the whole thing out and started over! Make sure you brush your wigs from tips to roots, even when its just taking out a lot of teasing. If you yank a comb or brush through tangles from the top, your’e going to stretch and warp the wig fibers and then it’s a real headache trying to get it nice again! Just take your time with this!
So I made spikes, adjusted them, made some more, adjusted those, got frustrated and quit cosplay about three times and then ended up with the product you see above. I kept two long pieces in front, which will hang over the front of the shoulders with pink wefts added later, and kept them out of the way by simply tying them together under the chin of the wig head when not styling. You can see how nice the pink looked with the green in the bottom/middle photo of the collage. I ran a straightener gently over both fibers once the pink was added to help blend them.
The pink spikes along the hairline, while a strange part of Pizzazz’s design, were made very simply! I cut off small bits of pink hair after putting them into little rubber bands, then pinched the ends into spiked tips, hairsprayed them, and glued them in place (again with fabric glue) against the edge of the wig’s shaved hairline. Then I used straight pins in a criss-cross pattern to pinch spikes into the bottom, and set that new shape with hairspray and a blowdryer before using scissors to cut the point in permanently. This only took me about fifteen minutes for all six of them!
And I was done! I took about a million photos of the wig from different angles to see what worked and what didn’t. It’s true that cosplayers always want to make sure their favorite side looks good for the camera, but never forget that sharpshooters lurk everywhere! Photos will be taken of the front of your wig, but also the sides and the back! Don’t forget to consider those, too! You don’t want to mourn the lack of styling in the back of your wig when you find photos of it!
This may seem frugal and meaningless, but let me show you why it can matter–
*Hey, it’s Stormer! Don’t worry, we’ll get to her in a second!
I got to the con, had a great time with our Jem group– theeen got home and began looking at the pictures. As much as I liked how big the wig was, it just wasn’t very flattering with my shape. At least in my opinion! Some of the spikes didn’t want to lay quite right, the length dwarfed my already feeble height… there were just more adjustments that needed to be made.
So back to the wigstand it went!
*NOTE: Wearing the wig was easy! I used bobby pins in the usual places where applicable, making sure to put a lot on the very top of my head along the hairline (pointing inward), and then, to get the edge to lay flat to my head, I first drew a line down the curve with a glue stick, and once it was dry I attached the edge to my now protected buzzed hair with pros aide! Spirit gum would also work, I just didn’t have any. Using the gluestick works just like how you would cover your eyebrows or prepare facial hair for sfx makeup, and it washes off easily in warm water!
By this point, several issues of the comic had already come out, and Pizzazz already had all of her hair shaved off, so I decided to give way a bit in terms of accuracy to make the wig more flattering on me, and to also stylize it a bit!
I took hair ties and marked where I wanted to cut the spikes down, readjusted the angles, created a bang to show more of my face, took a lot of the length off, and came up with a product that I was a LOT more happy with!
I guess an important lesson to remember is that it’s okay if your wig doesn’t come out the way you want it at first. Or to even keep in mind that what may look fine on the wig head may not match your own personal face shape or style. Trying on your wig during styling is very important, but I learned to also try it on WITH your costume and a general idea of your makeup, too! It’s much easier to go through the trouble of trying everything on early in order to avoid disappointment later when it’s too late to make changes.
I felt a lot more comfortable with the re-styling, and that showed in the photos I took!
And that’s Pizzazz!
Photo by Michael Mac Photography
Image via Comics Alliance
I also got to style the Stormer wig for my long-time cosplay friend, Pancake Mix Cosplay. For her wig, we used a Jaguar in Denim Blue and short wefts in Aqua and Black!
With the Aqua wefts, I wanted the lighter blue to blend in nicely with the Denim Blue, so I added a weft of the extensions every 3-4 rows in the base wig. This kept the new color evenly dispersed throughout to make it appear more like a natural highlight! The black was added a little more sparingly and in greater number, where I would add a few rows of black in specific sections to make it look more like a “chunky” pop of color. I thought adding the black in the same manner that I did the Aqua would make the colors muddle together, and I was pretty happy with this result!
I brushed back the wig on one side, as seen in the reference, and then got out my hot curlers! While I also like using hot water on foam curlers, I wanted to see if I could get a quicker result by using hot curlers on the wig after lightly misting it with water from a spritzer bottle. I carefully put the hair in the curlers (they ain’t lyin’ when they say they’re HOT!), and even gave it a little hairspray and love from a blowdryer after the curlers had naturally cooled down. And when I took them out, they looked lovely! I barely needed to touch up anything besides adding a bit of “lift” to the front of the bang, but that was quick enough with– again– just some hairspray and blowdrying! Nudging the root of the bang up with the end of a comb or brush while you let it dry and cool down helps it stay in place!
The hairline on the side was all that was left, and it was done in a fashion similar to how I added the small pink spikes onto Pizzazz’s wig! I took strips of my three colors and carefully glued them to the edge of the hairline, then took straight pins in the criss-cross fashion and put the hair into small points. After I firmed the fibers with hairspray and a blowdryer, I carefully cut the points with my scissors and once again used pinching and hairspray to finish them off cleanly. The hair was held to the side with bobby pins that would later be covered with Stormer’s orange flower hairpiece!
And there you have it!
Photos graciously provided by Pancake Mix Cosplay
I hope this blog wasn’t too long-winded! Thanks for sticking’ with it– you’ve made it to the end!
I get questions on Pizzazz quite frequently, so I hope that this can prove helpful to someone! I’ll see you guys next time!