A wig is a wig is a wig - until you see a really bad one, then they're apt to be called "rugs." And of course, there are those wigs - costume wigs - that are meant to be "really bad" - as in Frankenstein's bride, Bozo, or Donald Trump, er, I mean, Forrest Gump. . . Anyway, you get my drift.
Wigs have been around since probably even before the ancient Egyptians who shaved their heads to more comfortably wear them in the intense desert heat. It's theorized the poor Egyptians were so tormented by sand fleas, yet needed the protection, that they used beeswax to adhere woven wool and palm fibers, animal fur, and even gold and silver to a mesh they then placed on their heads.
And then, of course we're all familiar with the wigs worn by the judges and barristers ("attorneys" on the Yank's side of the Atlantic) in British movies - which is what they inexplicably do in real life, too. For the sake of diplomacy, we'll just say it's been done for so long that there's sure to be a very good reason that judges in the High Courts of England wear heavy, hot, horsehair wigs that are expensive, uncomfortable, and reputed to not always smell that great.
Costume wigs range all the way from sexy (Marilyn Monroe) to silly (Marge Simpson), and like "serious" wigs, come in all price ranges. A well-made, 12" human-hair wig with bangs typically runs in the $500-$600 range, while the same thing in synthetic fibers costs about $200 less. For those with even deeper pockets, spending $1,000 or more for a very nice, custom-made hairpiece is not out of the question. On the other end of the price spectrum, you can pick up a 30" neon green "fall" - perfect for Halloween or maybe just to give your family a jolt - for about fifty bucks. Like everything else, the more you pay, the higher the quality (regardless of what the ads say!).
Ventilators - what wigmakers are called - do everything from actually piecing together entire wigs made of synthetic fibers and/or real human hair to adding color highlights, attaching extra hair to existing hairpieces, and mending damaged wigs. One of the most magnanimous things wigmakers can do is volunteer their time and skills to make wigs for underprivileged children who have lost their hair from cancer treatments. Of course, in order to do this, ventilators depend on people with long, healthy hair to donate their tresses to the cause - and what better cause could one find?
So if you're looking at wigs for yourself or to give away your long and luscious locks toward the making of a wig for some lucky child, you now know a little about what you're getting into - or at least what may be going onto or off your head. So whether you're suffering from hair loss, you're a cross dresser, bank robber, Halloween partygoer, or you just feel like a change, don't get "wigged out" - go ahead and take the plunge. You just might like what you see!