While it can be tricky, the best way to tell if someone is wearing a wig is by investigating the hairline.
Though this can be a difficult assessment to make, it’s usually one of the easiest ways to subtly determine whether or not a person is wearing a wig.
Both men and women wear wigs, and there are many different types of wigs out there.
From synthetic wigs made of polyurethane and mesh to real human hair, the wig industry is a multi-billion-dollar market.
How to Tell If Someone Is Wearing A Wig (Top 10 Ways)
1. Investigate The Hairline
The hairline is usually the best place to start when trying to identify a wig.
Sometimes, however, a high-quality wig can elude you, even if you’ve inspected the hairline closely.
Similar to identifying if the hair is colored, the roots can help you see if a person is wearing a wig.
If you look at the hairline and there appears to be a discrepancy, that person might be wearing a wig.
More often than not, this will be the easiest, fastest, and most reliable method for wig identification.
This will be especially true for a poorly made wig or one that isn’t secured properly.
For individuals with a receding hairline, you might notice that the front of the hairpiece is not attached where the hairline used to be.
This should be a dead giveaway since the hair is probably secured at the crown of the head.
Obviously, the only way that hair can grow is out of a root stemming from a hair follicle.
If you can’t identify the hair coming out of the root at the hairline, chances are you’re looking at a wig, or at the very least, a comb-over.
Again, if the wig is made well enough, it may be possible to fool people staring directly at the hairline.
In one case, in particular, this method can be entirely insufficient.
This would be, of course, with extensions.
Since extensions aren’t attached at the root, you’ll have no luck looking at the hairline.
Some of the other tricks we’ll cover for wig identification will be more applicable to extensions, however.
2. The Colors Don’t Match
No matter how great a wig is, the color has to be an appropriate fit for the specific individual.
You wouldn’t expect someone with brown eyebrows and roots to have platinum blonde hair on their head, would you?
By that same token, you can’t expect that someone will have one color in their roots and a completely different color for the rest of their hair.
Using this approach, you might mistake hair that has been dyed for a wig.
While the colors should match for purposes of blending in, some people prefer a wig of a different color.
In other cases, you might have someone who just chose poorly.
Perhaps they thought they were getting one color, but it’s not quite right.
Maybe they bought it online and the color wasn’t as advertised.
Of course, there are always those who wear a wig proudly and couldn’t care less if others knew the hair wasn’t their own.
Some people even want a wig to be a markedly different color from their natural hair.
For these people, you shouldn’t have any difficulty identifying the wig.
A color mismatch could be a telltale sign of the presence of a wig.
Keep an eye out for any differences in hair color, but don’t jump to conclusions when using this method.
3. It Looks Awkward
Hair comes in all shapes, sizes, textures, colors, and styles.
Everyone’s hair is a little different, and it’s often one of the first things we notice about each other.
For most people, their hair fits.
It looks natural and suited to the individual.
With a wig, this might not always be the case.
It might not be obvious, especially at first, but a wig may not fit the person whose head it resides on.
This approach requires close attention to detail and some practice.
A wig can often look awkward on the wearer’s head.
Even with a high-end lace front wig, some people might still be self-conscious that others are judging them for wearing a wig.
While natural hair will usually look natural with no effort, a wig can require much more work.
First, the person must select the appropriate wig.
They also have to be confident wearing it because, otherwise, it may be obvious to others that something is off.
Any awkwardness in a person’s hair could be a potential sign that they’re wearing a wig.
If it doesn’t look right, it may not be.
If a person doesn’t take care of their wig properly, it may look awkward, too.
Synthetic wigs can look awkward because they’re either too perfect or lack the qualities of actual hair.
Genuine human hair wigs must be cared for like real hair.
If they aren’t, then they’ll deteriorate, and it may make it more apparent that it’s a wig and not someone’s own hair.
4. It’s Too Flawless
Real hair can look great, but it’s never flawless.
A wig, on the other hand, can be too perfect.
If someone’s hair looks completely flawless, it may be just that.
Many things in life are too good to be true.
Much like trying to identify body parts that have been enhanced with Botox or cosmetic surgery, sheer perfection is always a red flag with hair.
We’re all subject to natural flaws, no matter how well we take care of our hair.
If someone’s hair is too lustrous or shiny, you may be able to chalk it up to a synthetic wig.
If you notice there’s not a single split end or flaw, it can’t possibly be real hair.
Normal hair will never be perfect.
Everyone will have a couple of split ends or damaged hairs.
Only a synthetic wig can give you perfect tips.
While we like to strive for perfection, some minor flaws remind us of what’s real.
Just like the natural diamond is preferable to the lab-grown diamond, human hair is considered superior compared to its synthetic counterpart.
5. The Wearer Is Touching Their Hair Often
Wearing a wig can be uncomfortable.
It can be a lot like wearing clothes that you’re not used to.
Your body isn’t used to it, and as a result, you may be uncomfortable.
Those who wear wigs often complain of itching.
For some, a wig might just be plain uncomfortable.
Particularly when it’s new to the wearer, a wig can cause noticeable discomfort.
As a result, most people won’t be able to resist fidgeting with it and touching their hair too often.
On days when it’s hot outside, the discomfort can be unbearable.
That’s because some wigs, specifically synthetic wigs, are not breathable.
It’s very natural to feel uncomfortable with a wig, whether it’s a physical discomfort or simple self-consciousness.
In an effort to try and be more comfortable, many people will touch their hair and make frequent adjustments.
Though plenty of people touch their actual hair, fiddling with hair too often can be a sign someone is wearing a wig.
6. It Looks Too Stiff
Natural hair falls naturally.
A wig can fall naturally but often doesn’t.
Synthetic wigs in particular tend to look too stiff.
This can be more obvious when hair is very long and with curly hair.
Curly hair will be naturally bouncy.
If it looks too stiff and doesn’t seem to move at all, you might be looking at a wig.
Hair has its own unique qualities, and like the rest of the human body, it can’t be replicated perfectly.
Yes, there are great substitutes, but there’s always a noticeable difference.
When it comes to hair, one of those differences is stiffness.
Natural hair will move with a force, like a gust of wind or someone moving or touching it.
A wig might be too stiff, and as a result, won’t move freely in this way.
If someone had a huge Mohawk, you would assume they used gel or hairspray to keep it upright.
Hair isn’t naturally going to be very stiff.
Unless it’s synthetic.
In that case, such stiffness might be a sign that you’re looking at a synthetic wig.
7. Look For An Attachment Point
Wigs have to attach to somewhere.
Whether it’s with adhesive tape, clips that attach to your hair, or glue, there’s always an attachment point.
If you can find an attachment point, you’ll know if a person is wearing a wig.
A good wig will do the best possible job to conceal this, of course.
Most people prefer for others not to know if they’re wearing a wig.
For that reason, you might have a difficult time identifying the attachment point.
It’s also possible that someone could mistakenly deem an attachment point where there isn’t one.
People spend a lot of time and attention trying to hide their wig’s attachment point.
Therefore, you may find yourself at odds with the wearer.
You want to know if they’re wearing a wig while they want to hide the fact that they’re wearing a wig.
Here again, attachment points will usually be more readily apparent in a lower-quality wig.
Like other items you can buy, those that are more expensive generally offer better quality.
One of the selling points of a wig will be how inconspicuously it can be secured to one’s head.
Of course, there are all sorts of other products people can buy to better secure their wig.
The cheaper the wig, the easier it will be to find the attachment point.
Looking for any clips, tape, bands, or pins between a person’s hair and their scalp is usually the best way to root out the attachment point.
From there, you can reasonably conclude whether or not a person is wearing a wig.
One final hint to look out for is any deviation in skin tone.
If the wig is attached to a cap, look for the change in skin tone around the person’s forehead.
It’s very hard to perfectly match a skin-colored cap to actual skin.
That’s because our skin is constantly changing colors due to sun exposure and the production of melanin.
The difference might be ever so slight and nuanced, but it will still be there.
For this approach to work, you might have to be in very close proximity to the person you think is wearing a wig.
8. There’s Too Much Hair
Everyone loses hair, which is a natural process that occurs throughout our lives.
When we age, we continue to lose our hair.
The only difference is whether or not it grows back.
Hair loss is a normal part of aging.
When we get older, we lose our hair.
Men are more susceptible to earlier and greater hair loss, but women can lose their hair, too.
If you see someone with an abundance of hair and something doesn’t seem right, it may be a wig.
A wig is also likely to be the culprit if someone who previously had hair loss suddenly has a perfectly full head of hair.
Sometimes, too much thickness can also indicate that a person is wearing a wig.
Hair that’s too dense is somewhat common among synthetic wigs.
A natural, human hair wig is always going to be superior in terms of looking authentic.
If you see an enormous amount of dense hair, it’s probably a wig.
A wig can also be responsible for an older person with perfectly long, flowing hair.
This is far from a rule, though, as everyone is different, and some people really do keep a full head of healthy hair well into their twilight years.
Hair can only grow so dense, and unnaturally thick or dense hair is often manufactured.
These synthetic wigs might look appealing to people, but they’re easy to spot as fakes.
Most of us would love to have a head of dense, healthy hair, but it’s simply not in the cards for everyone.
Synthetic wigs that aren’t realistically suitable for a person are usually obvious to others as being unnatural.
If your instinct tells you something’s off with someone’s hair, it probably is.
Synthetic wigs can be a great fix for those without enough of their own hair.
Sometimes, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.
9. When You Run Out Of Options, You Can Always Ask
If all else fails, just ask.
The truth of the matter is that this is pretty much the only way to be certain whether a person is wearing a wig.
You have to be careful when asking people about their wig, however.
It may be a sensitive topic for some, so you can’t just ask this question to anyone.
If you don’t know a person well, it’s probably best not to ask this question.
If you feel the need to ask anyway, try to be sensitive when doing so.
You might be able to present the question in a way that makes a person feel good.
A genuine compliment about how beautiful a person’s hair looks might prompt them to confess to wearing a wig.
Asking whether or not a person is wearing a wig should be something of a last resort.
Most people wear a wig because they don’t have hair and are self-conscious about that fact.
Always do your best to be sensitive to others and empathize with their situations.
If you feel comfortable enough to ask, the person you’re asking will most likely feel comfortable enough to give you an honest answer.
10. Use Your Own Judgement
Sometimes, it can be nearly impossible to tell whether or not a person is wearing a wig.
The truth of the matter is that there is no perfect way to tell if someone is wearing a wig.
There are so many different types of wigs, and everyone wears their wig differently.
Like so many other products, the 21st century has advanced the quality of wigs—both synthetic and natural—tremendously.
Wig quality has come a very long way from the periwigs of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Today, we have technology capable of making wigs that are far superior to those so often seen in history.
For that reason, among others, it can be extremely difficult to know if a person is wearing a wig.
Modern wigs now offer people an abundance of choice.
There are countless different colors, styles, lengths, and materials.
Furthermore, thanks to the internet, all of these wig options are available at the tap of a button.
Manufacturing advancements have kept costs down and increased the ease of mass-producing wigs of all sorts.
As you can probably imagine, a cheaper, less well-made wig will be the easiest to identify.
Wig costs span the gamut, from under $50 for a low-cost synthetic wig to thousands for a high-quality wig made 100% from human hair.
If a person has a pricey, high-quality wig, it might have you stumped.
You can look in all the right places, but some wigs are just that good.
Of course, it also depends on the person.
Wig quality is only one of the factors that allow you to determine whether a person is wearing a wig.
It’s also about the type of wig the person has chosen.
How well does the wig fit?
Did the person secure it properly on their head?
Does it match their natural hair or is it just a high-quality wig that really isn’t right for that person?
All of these details can make it very easy or very difficult to know if someone is wearing a wig.