What is a half wig?

Updated March 21, 2017

Half-wigs are used by many women on an everyday basis. They are often also used in the entertainment industry in live theatrical stage shows as well as in movies to make an actress' hair appear longer or give her more of a "period" hairstyle. These wigs are mass-produced and available for purchase everywhere from cheaper wig outlets to premium and expensive salons. The term half wig can also be interchanged with the term "fall".


Half wigs are exactly what they sound like: a wig that covers half of your hair. A half wig must blend in with your natural hair colour, as some of it will be exposed. Some half wigs contain clips placed in the hair, while others have the false hair on a headband (and the half wig is subsequently worn like a regular headband). The natural hair may be left alone (in the case of the headband wing), or can be styled over it to disguise clips that may be in place.

Human Hair Half Wigs

Some women opt for natural human hair. Although they run on the expensive side ($200 and up), they can be curled or straightened, although the style does not always hold all day and the ease of style will depend on the texture. These wigs usually blend in with the wearer's natural hair, but it is important to feel the wig in person before you purchase it. Some authentic human-hair half wigs are actual human hair, but cut from the hair of a person with completely different hair texture than yours. This can be an expensive mistake, as most wigs are not returnable due to sanitation issues. If you purchase a human hair half wig that doesn't match your hair colour exactly, you can talk to your hair stylist about dying it.

Synthetic Half Wigs

Synthetic half wigs are made out of plastic and melted down to resemble human hair. These wigs are usually much cheaper, typcially ranging from £32 to £130, and can be placed on a headband or clips just like their human hair counterparts. The downside of these wigs is that they often have a shiny appearance that some say resembles doll hair and is difficult to blend in with natural hair. The synthetic wig can also not be styled with heating products as it will melt the hair. A half wig made of synthetic hair can not be colour treated. The upside of a synthetic half wig is that the style it came in will hold for the rest of its "life," whereas human hair half wigs may not be able to even keep their style for the entire day.

Who Wears Half Wigs?

Anyone and everyone. Many African-American women wear half wigs as a part of their daily routine, or get them permanently woven into their hair. Celebrities often have fake hair glued or sewn into their hair for special events or for roles on television or in the movies. Actresses may also wear half wigs to make their hair appear fuller or longer for a part in a play or movie. Lubavitcher Jewish women often also wear half-wigs to cover up their natural hair as part of their religious beliefs.

Where They Can Be Purchased

If you're interested in purchasing a half wig, there are several ways to go about purchasing them. The best way would be to go directly to your hair stylist and ask what brand she recommends. You can also browse the half wigs made by Jessica Simpson and Ken Paves or Raquel Welch (see Resources). Look around at your local hair care store as well. They will likely have a wide variety of half wigs and can even show you how to wear one.

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About the Author

Writing since 2008, Fiona Miller has taught English in Eastern Europe and also teaches kids in New York schools about the Holocaust. Her work can be found on, ConnectED and various other Web sites. Miller holds a B.A. in French from Chapman University and an M.A. in educational theater from New York University.