Working with wigs can be a challenge, but knowing some expert tricks of the trade can really help you avoid common wig mistakes. We asked Brooks & Brooks artistic director and wig specialist Marlon Hawkins for his insight


All images: @marlonjhawkins


Brooks & Brooks artistic director Marlon Hawkins has worked with wigs throughout his career, both on stage, for photoshoots and his own creative experimentation, able to create looks that push his imagination and skills to the limits.

“Working with wigs gives you so much more scope to push yourself,” Marlon explains. “And if it goes wrong, you can just start again or use that as a base to create something else.

“There are a lot of restrictions when working with models’ hair, while a wig lets you be as free as you want to be.”

Marlon’s top wig mistakes to avoid

Forgetting to prep

Make sure that the hair is prepped appropriately before any wig is applied – there are so many different styles of wig wraps that can be used for different results. Investing in and understanding the foundations are vital before any wig even touches the head.

Not understanding where the client’s natural volume sits

You want the wig to look as realistic as possible. A trick I use is breaking down the wig closure a bit so that there is less hair, to create a bespoke jigsaw piece that will perfectly fit the person’s head, right where the volume looks most natural.

Not allowing time for setting

When laying down a wig, make sure that your plans include enough time for setting and securing to the head so that it stays in place! It sounds obvious, but it’s an important one. Build that time into your running order on a job.

Not having the right tools

Use a razor, thinning scissors or slicing techniques to get the best natural results. Club cutting may be the obvious choice, but texturising is best for a seamless finish. It doesn’t mean that you can’t club cut – just be aware of the distribution of weight to get a realistic result.

Not using the right shampoo – or shampooing process

When you want to make platinum wigs or extensions cleaner with blue shampoo, it’s super important to not put the shampoo on ‘neat’ to the hair as it will give you an uneven result. Fill a basin or bucket, add the violet shampoo, mix and then dip the extension or wig into the mixture for the perfect platinum result.

Over-processing the hair

Human wigs and extensions go through a lot of chemical processes. They can be difficult to work with, as the bespoke colouring can alter the natural feel of the hair. Dipping the hair into very hot water can help take some excess coating off and allow you to apply colour more accurately – but be prepared to keep a close eye on it as it develops to make sure that you get your desired result.

Find more tips and techniques here >>