All your weave & wig questions answered by a pro!

Whether you’ve had a few attempts at wearing wigs, or you consider yourself to be a hair extension virgin, you probably have some unanswered wig and weave questions. That’s why we’ve enlisted the founder of Hair By Sisi, Sisi Nxumalo, to give you the ‘tea’ on all things hair.

Hair By Sisi Sibas Kitchen hair
Photography: Instagram / @sisi_with_the_great_hair

Six years ago, when she was having trouble finding pure virgin human hair extensions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Nxumalo decided to take two years to research and source the highest quality hair extensions. Thus, resulting in her opening the doors of her Johannesburg hair and installation boutique, which calls celebrities and influencers like Anelisa Mangcu, Jasmine Sehlako, and Siba Mntongana devoted clients.

From closures to frontals, Sisi answers your top weave and wig questions:

What are the most important things to consider before getting a weave or wig? 
Quality. Quality is always the number one thing to take into account before embarking on your weave or wig journey. You want hair that looks good and hair that lasts. The second thing to consider is your lifestyle. If you know that you want to change your look often, then a wig is for you. But, if you know that you want to keep the same look for an extended period of time, then a weave is better for you.

What are the different types of weaves you can get?
There two different types of weaves that you can get – a partial sew-in weave or a full sew-in weave. The partial weave is very risky because your natural hair has to blend in with the hair you are installing. A full sew-in is the easier option because all your natural hair will be covered. For a unified look, a full sew-in is best. For a more realistic looking hairstyle, a partial sew-in is best.

What’s the difference between a lace closure and a lace frontal? 
A closure gives you a natural-looking parting. A frontal gives you a natural looking hairline. But, the maintenance of frontals is much higher than a closure. If you have a closure in a weave or wig, you can literally get up and go. With a frontal you have to make sure that your baby hairs are ‘layed’ every day, otherwise, the weave or wig won’t look natural.

Any expert advice on how to ‘lay’ your own baby hair, or that of a wig? 
If it’s your natural hair that you are ‘laying,’ edge control is your best bet. I have my own line of edge control, within the Hair By Sisi brand, called Sleek Edges. Products like Göt 2be Glued and Gorilla Snot Gel are for your weave or wig’s baby hair.

How long does it take to install a weave vs a wig? 
With a weave, the installation process is anywhere between an hour and forty-five minutes, to two and a half hours, maximum. A wig is very quick to install. If you’re not sewing in the wig, it takes as little as fifteen minutes.

How long should you keep your weave in? 
Six to eight weeks, at most! After this period your weave hair will still look fresh, however, you run the risk of neglecting your natural hair – resulting in receding hairlines,  breakage and balding.

What are the best products to use for your weave and your wig? 
I use the products from the Hair By Sisi range, which are specifically formulated for weaves and wigs. When you use commercial or drug store products on your weave, they will dry out the weave hair because, unlike your natural hair, they don’t get moisture and nutrients that come from your scalp. You want to invest in products that are specially made for hair extensions. If you don’t have access to these products, use a product that is sulfate-free, or use a product that is safe enough to use on babies.

How often should you wash your weave or wig? 
You need to wash a weave every 5 to 7 days so that the oil from your natural hair doesn’t inhibit the weave hair’s movement. Because you don’t wear a wig when you sleep, you can wash it every 10 days.

What’s the best type of hair?
Each hair type does different things, so my job is to find out what life my clients lead so that I can give them hair that matches their lifestyle. If you live a very busy lifestyle, don’t invest in a curly weave or wig because that type of hair requires lots of upkeep. Instead, opt for virgin Indian hair because it’s low maintenance. But, people who are ‘slay queens’, who love to spend time doing their hair and makeup each morning, should go for Brazillian hair. While Brazillian hair is very versatile, it is extremely high maintenance as it will turn against you if you don’t handle it with care.

How much does a weave or a wig cost? 
Low-quality hair can cost up to R1000. While high-quality hair ranges from R3000 to R7000, depending on the length of the hair. Wigs will start at R3000 and can cost as much as R10000, depending on the quality and the length of the wig.

How can you tell if hair is real or fake? 

Who are the hair muses that we should be looking to for wig and weave inspiration? 

We have a tendency of looking to celebrities for inspiration in different areas of our lives. Unfortunately, we can’t apply that principle when it comes to hair. One needs to remember that celebrities have access to different types of hair and hairstylists. You’ll never know how a celebrity’s hair behaves after 2 or 3 months of wear; because no celebrity is wearing hair for that long. Instead, look at business women or women that are in your circle of influence, so that you can assess how the hair they’re wearing has behaved over time.

Bookings for weaves and wigs are available at Hair By Sisi.

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