Home / Guide to Wig Terms
ADHESIVE: A liquid product, which is medically approved for use in attaching wigs and hairpieces to the wearer's scalp. There are many types of adhesives- for short wear and long wear. Certain brands, such as Ultra Hold, may be worn when swimming and allow for the wig to be washed while still attached to the wearer's head.

ADJUSTABLE TABS: Allow you to adjust your wig with hooks or Velcro (at the nape section) up to 1î larger or smaller for a better fit.

ALOPECIA: Alopecia areata (AA) is a condition affecting humans, in which hair is lost from areas of the body, usually from the scalp. Because it causes bald spots on the scalp, especially in the first stages, it is sometimes called spot baldness. In some cases, the condition can spread to the entire scalp (Alopecia totalis) or to the entire epidermis (Alopecia universalis).

BABY HAIRS: Fine, short, sometimes curled hairs, which are placed around the perimeters of the wig to hide the edge of the cap. The baby hair on our wigs is reverse ventilated (tied from the opposite direction of the rest of the wig) for the most natural look possible). We recommend baby hair on all units since it creates the most natural hairline and is a great cover for the occasionally imperfect application!

CAP (WIG CAP): The foundation or base of a wig to which the hair is attached.

CHINESE HAIR: CHARACTERISTICS: Chinese hair is known for its sleek manageability and strength. It's slightly coarser than other Asian hair and the hair follicles are thicker. Chinese hair is sleek and manageable without having a shiny doll hair look. Thicker follicles than Malaysian and Indian hair. Coarse. Low luster. Excellent match for African Americans. Consistent quality.

Chinese hair ranges in color from off black to dark brown. It is naturally straight and does not wave up after being wet. Does not swell of frizz in humidity.

PROS: Like Malaysian hair, it is very well behaved. It doesn’t pouf or puff the way Indian hair does after a while. It’s relative coarseness and thicker follicle make it an excellent match for African American wearers.

Extremely strong hair. Can be processed from virgin near black to platinum blond. The only hair type that can withstand extreme processing without degrading the hair quality.

CONS:Styles well, but may not hold curl as well as other hair types.

CRANIAL PROSTHESIS or EXTRA-CRANIAL PROSTHESIS: Another name for a wig, but is a term generally used as a description for high-quality, hand-tied, pre-designed and custom units made for individuals who have extensive or total hair loss. A cranial prosthesis can be made from a combination of fabrics, mesh, silk, silicone, or polyurethane, which are used to re-create natural hair growth patterns, and give the illusion of hair growing out of a scalp. All materials used in the prosthesis are designed to provide maximum comfort and natural appearance.

CUSTOM-MADE WIG: A wig where a choice of any combination of cap construction and size, type and quality of hair, length, hair texture, and color are used to create a wig which is unique for the individual. Fully custom wigs may take up to 2 months or more to be handmade from scratch.

CUTICLE: The surface of a human hair strand is naturally covered by overlapping plates like scales. Virgin hair (and Remy hair) is carefully harvested with the cuticle going in the same direction so the hair remains soft and silky. This hair moves in a more natural way. The cuticle of cheaper human hair, which is not so carefully harvested, may run in opposite directions causing the hair to bunch up so it is usually removed by chemicals to minimize tangling.

EUROPEAN HAIR: Generally considered hair that is obtained from people who live in Europe. More specifically, European hair is differentiated by genetics rather than geography. It really refers to Caucasian hair. The physical structure of European hair is flatter and smoother, for example, than Oriental or Asian hair, so it is softer and more desired. It is also less plentiful and therefore more expensive.

FOUNDATION: Cap or other base to which the hair is attached.

FRENCH LACE: A fine lace used as a material for wigs bases. Though French lace is not as undetectable (but also a suitable choice), its advantage is that it is more durable. French lace is a good choice for first timers as it is more durable (though it also needs to be delicately handled). Available in a variety of colors to match your skin tone.

FRENCH TOP/FRENCH PART: A silk (or other fabric) lining is placed under the cap area, simulating the color and appearance of a natural scalp. A French Part wig will have the silk in a one inch strip just under the place of the part. (This lining may be darkened with tea to accommodate darker complexions.)

HAND-TIED, HANDMADE: A wig or hairpiece into which the hair has been knotted by hand into the base, usually some kind of mesh or lace, and which creates a more naturally flowing direction of hair. A wig with a HAND-TIED or HANDMADE TOP may have a machine-made cap but the top of the cap is hand-tied to allow more versatility in the style.

HUMAN HAIR: Hair, which has been obtained from actual human beings who contract with the factories to grow hair specifically for use in making wigs. Temple hair also used frequently.

INDIAN HAIR: This is hair from India, which is generally similar in texture to European hair. People from India are Caucasians, and therefore their hair is finer in texture than most Chinese hair. This hair is in high demand for making high quality wigs because of its length, softness and wonderful textures.

INDIAN VIRGIN HAIR: This is unprocessed hair from India and can be purchased in gorgeous straight, wavy and curly textures. It is a wonderful match for African Americans looking for hair with great body and shine. Deep wavy, curly and kinky curly textures are similar to Latino and bi-racial hair and are extremely flattering for women of different ethnicities. Because there are so many variations in highly textured Indian virgin hair, we will speak to you to find out exactly what you are looking for and the look that is perfect for you. Beware of too much volume, unless you're looking for Diana Ross and Traci Ross style glamor! You can always decrease the wig density to account for this, but Indian hair silky straight, glamorous waves, bouncy curls or tight ringlets. Curlier textures are more rare, and generally more expensive. We recommend specific products to keep these gorgeous locks well moisturized and shiny.

LACE FRONT: A wig which is made with, a mesh insert in the front, into which individual hairs are hand-tied. This is designed to create a realistic looking hairline. The lace front usually has extra un-ventilated mesh so that the front can be custom-ventilated or trimmed to resemble an actual hairline. When properly worn with special adhesive, the hairline can be so realistic looking as to be undetectable that it is not the wearer's own growing hair.

MALAYSIAN HAIR CHARACTERISTICS: Luxurious feel. Gorgeous, high quality. Finer and lighter than Chinese hair. Manageable. Holds curls well. Truly outstanding.

Malaysian hair processes curls particularly well.

Malaysian hair is generally dark brown, sometimes a bit lighter at the ends. Some naturally wavy Malaysian hair is available, but virgin Malaysian hair is generally naturally straight. Naturally straight Malaysian hair may have a gentle "bend" or very loose wave and remains the same texture after being wet. Does not swell or frizz in humidity.

PROS: Malaysian hair is one of the most sought after hair types- it is sleek and manageable without having a shiny doll hair look. It is flattering to women of all ethnicities. Does particularly well when processed for African American Relaxed textures- providing the thicker follicles and

CONS: Most expensive of the three primary hair types.

MEASURING: Full lace wigs should fit you perfectly. It is important to measure your head to determine whether a wig's cap will fit you properly. This is done with a cloth measuring tape. Please see "How to Measure your Head" for detailed instructions on measuring your head,

MONOFILAMENT or MONO TOP: Fine, breathable nylon or silk mesh with hairs individually hand-knotted into the mesh. This type of foundation material allows the hair to fall naturally and gives more versatility in styling. We recommended monofilament foundations for hair loss patients, as it is the most comfortable for sensitive skin and it allows excellent ventilation.

MULTI-DIRECTIONAL: These higher quality skin top wigs can be combed and parted in any direction just like your own. They allow you to change the position the part to right, left or center.

NAPE: The area at the back of the neck, just under the little bone that protrudes at the base of the skull, where the bottom of a wig fits against the head.

NON REMY HAIR: This hair has been stripped of its cuticle is often coated with silicone and other chemicals to mimic the softness and shine of Virgin and Remy hair. These coatings break down over time, which result in tangling and unsuitable appearance of the hair.

PRE-STYLED WIG: This term can be confusing, because it implies that the wig will arrive at your door styled and ready to wear. Actually, it only means that the wig has been cut, shaped and/or curled at the factory. Most wigs will require some cutting and styling to suit the individual wearer.

PROCESSED HAIR: This refers to human hair that has been chemically treated after harvesting. Hair that has been dyed, for example, is processed. It most often refers to hair which has had the cuticle chemically removed so as to allow the hair to be used without concern for the direction the hair is being put into the wig. At Ruth's Beauty, we only use hair that has the cuticle intact. Non-virgin hair is gently processed for color and texture. See also CUTICLE HAIR.


PROFESSIONAL STYLING: Most wigs will require some cutting and styling to suit the individual wearer. In some cases brave souls can handle it themselves. A professional wig stylist is preferred but expensive and not always available, especially in smaller communities. The next best option is an experienced hairstylist. Just remind them to trim in smaller increments (Whatever they cut will not grow back.) At Ruth's Beauty, we can cut units according to style preferences, but we highly recommend having it cut after you apply it so that it can be best suited for your face shape and provide you with the most flattering look possible.

REMI/REMY HAIR: Please see the description of Remy hair on our site.

SKIN PART: This refers to a strip of white fabric, usually silk, along the part into which the hairs are threaded. This gives the appearance that the hair is actually growing from the scalp. This part cannot be changed.

SKIN TOP: These wigs have a piece of thin latex or polyurethane inserted into the top of a wig, with hair implanted into it, in order to create the appearance of hair growing out of a person's scalp.

SWISS LACE: A fine lace used as a material for wigs bases. Swiss lace is very fine and delicate and is the most undetectable choice, but may be too delicate for first time users. Available in a variety of colors to match your skin tone.

TAPE: In the wig business, this refers to thin plastic or cloth tape, which is sticky on both sides for securing a wig to the scalp. Most effective when used with a TAPE TAB made of a non-porous material (like thin polyurethane) that is welded or sewn into the cap of the wig. Double-sided adhesive tape works best when secured to bare, smooth skin or scalp. This is sometimes referred to as toupee tape.

TAPE TAB: This is a strip of non-porous material, which is sewn or bonded to the underside of a wig in order to create a surface to which to attach tape or adhesive.

UNDERLOOPING or UNDER-VENTING: The process of adding strands of hair just under the front edge of a wig to hide the cap. This hair may be the same wave pattern and length as the rest of the wig, or may be shorter and curlier than the hair in the body of the wig. Underlooping may be done just at the front hairline, or can be done completely around the perimeter, depending on the effect needed for the hairstyle. See also BABY HAIRS.


VENTILATION: A term used in the wig industry to describe the process of tying or knotting individual hairs by hand into the cap of a wig. Hand ventilating is a very time-intensive process and requires a steady hand, a sharp eye, and a level of skill which may take years to master. This is the reason that most hand-tied wigs cost more than their machine-made counterparts.

VIRGIN HAIR: This term refers to human hair, which is still in its original state as harvested from the grower, and which has not been permed, colored, or chemically processed in any way. It is carefully cut from the grower with the cuticle going in the same direction and preserved to maximize its special quality. Harvesting the hair in this manner takes more time, which contributes to the premium price. Quality Virgin hair wigs are in high demand due to their gorgeous luster and completely natural appearance.


VOLUME: The amount of hair or fullness in a style. Most wigs are made with a medium density, which creates a natural volume effect. If more volume is desired, the wig may be set in rollers, blow-dried, or curled with an iron. Volume can also be added by using a styling product such as gel or mousse.

WEFT: An amount of hair or fiber, which is doubled over and machine-sewn or hand tied along the top to create a long strand of hair. Micro thin and skin wefts are available on our site. Wigs made with Wefted caps can be cooler and more durable than handmade caps.

WIG CAP: The foundation or base of a wig to which the hair is attached.

WIG LINER: A lightweight, stretchable cap worn under a wig that holds the existing hair flat and helps keep it from slipping on the head. Caps can be made of nylon (like a nylon stocking) or various types of porous material.