If you are able to try on a piece in a wig shop before you commit to buy then you can tell how well it fits, how comfortable it is to wear, if the colour suits you and also the coverage and blend with your bio hair (if you are trying a topper). You will also benefit from fitting advice from a trained professional.
At the time of writing, this is unlikely to be possible in the UK due to COVID-19 restrictions. Regardless of lockdown restrictions, many of us simply do not live near to a wig shop and are having to order blind from online retailers. I have been buying toppers and wigs for the past three years and I have never been to a wig shop – all of my pieces have been online purchases. I have made a few mistakes along the way, but I can safely say that the most important thing you can do before making that online purchase is to measure your head.
How to choose a topper base size
These come in different base sizes depending on the amount of coverage you need and the extent of your hair loss. These start from the smaller parting pieces (around 2.5×2.5in), which are good for minimal loss around your parting and for tying up hair in a pony tail. These can add a bit of volume for women with fine hair, but won’t give a huge amount of coverage around the sides or back of the head.
I tend to wear average size toppers (sometimes called mid/progressive), which are anything from 5x5in or 5x6in to 7x7in. These tend to give good coverage of the top of the head/crown area and some coverage on the sides and back. If you have advanced or more severe hair loss, but don’t want to wear a full wig, you can get much larger toppers that are 9x9in and 10x10in. Larger toppers can also be useful if your bio hair is shorter than the topper hair and you want to cover it up, rather than blend the two together.
I found this video from Lusta Hair useful as it explains how to choose the right size topper base and how to work out how much coverage you need.
How to work out your wig cap size
While most wigs come with adjustable straps, you will want to get one that is a comfortable fit for your head. Sizes are usually petite, average and large. Note: different brands work out their wig sizes differently, so it is important to check the exact measurements of their petite, average and large cap sizes. They should have this information on their website.
There are three key measurements you will need to take to work out your ideal wig size: circumfrance; ear to ear; and front to back. The majority of wig wearers will need an average cap, which is between 54cm to 57cm (21.25 to 22.5 inches). Petite wig caps are between 51cm and 54cm (20 to 21.25 inches), while large wig caps are usually bigger than 57cm (22.5 to 24 inches).
Many brands offer custom wig caps where you can submit your measurements and have a cap made that is the perfect size for your head. However, custom wigs are significantly more expensive than ‘off-the-peg’ wigs.
Check out this Jon Renau video, which shows you how to measure your head for a wig using a tape measure.