Jay birmingham reveals his wig making process
11th Jul 2022
by Josie Jackson
HJ spoke to Jay Birmingham
about the wig making process and top tips for this popular art form.
Whilst not a craft performed by all hairdressers, wig making encompasses many of the skills possessed by those in the industry. With wigs becoming increasingly popular among those looking to make a statement and switch up their look – often being sported by celebrities and models at awards and on the runway – celebrity hairdresser and wig maker Jay Birmingham shares his process.
Speaking to HJ, Jay explains “For certain styles, a bespoke wig is my go to option for the client. Whether we want to achieve a certain colour or length, there’s lots of occasions where wigs work best. When I begin the process of making any of my custom wigs, I collaborate with my client. They share their inspiration and I share mine. A collaborative approach is always best to create something that’s really special. As my diary at the moment is so full, I only have time to make wigs for my current clients." Jay's current clients include, Maya Jama, Amanda Holden and Munroe Bergdorf. "I work with most of my clients on a regular basis and have really good relationships with them. This enables us to work really well together and come up with some really cool concepts.”
Explaining the wig making process in more detail, Jay says: “When it comes to actually making the wigs, there are two methods. I either make them completely from scratch or I customise a current wig. When I am making a wig from scratch, I will begin with buying the wig cap and the hair along with the lace frontal. That’s everything you need to get started, as well as a mannequin head to construct the wig on. I start by sewing the wefts to the wig cap, then carefully cut out the top area of the cap and begin to sew on the lace frontal. I will then bleach the knots on the lace to ensure it looks as natural as possible to tie in with the lace. Next, I will then colour the lace frontal so that it is a perfect match to the hair on the weft."
“Finally, I will cut in the shape and begin to style the hair until I am happy with the finish. To complete the wig, I will trim the excess lace around the face in a zig zag shape to give more of a soft blend on the lace. This helps massively when fitting the wig for that seamless finish.”
Jay explains that as a celebrity hairdresser, it always pays off to be prepared. “When I am customising a wig, it’s often for a new project or to create a look that I can keep in my kit for use on shoots or last-minute occasions,” he says.
He continues: “To customise a wig, I start by sewing in a new lace frontal on the wig if the lace is looking a little tired. I will then colour the hair until I reach the desired colour. Once coloured, I’ll order new hair and wefts to sew in for added length or thickness, depending on the desired look. It’s important to note that I always order my hair wefts from Beauty Works; you need to use really high-quality hair in order for your wigs to look the best they possibly can.”
Weighing up the pros and cons of each method, Jay notes: “Depending on the turnaround time for when the wig is needed, customising an existing wig is a much more time effective option. My top tip when creating any wig is to have a lot of patience. It can be a lengthy and tricky process, but it is always worth it in the end.”
Whilst you're here, why not read about Why you Should Consider Wig Making for your Hairdressing Business