How to Pluck a Wig for Beginners in 2021

Unless you’re piecing together a Halloween costume, the goal is always for your wig to look sleek and seamless. Like, so seamless, no one even questions whether or not it’s real. But there’s a difference between wanting a flawless fit and actually achieving one. Customizing your wig is the one thing that can help close that gap. That means you need to pluck your wig so it’s specifically tailored to your hairline—it’s the best way to make it look as natural as possible.

And in case you’re wondering WTF it means to pluck your wig and how one even goes about doing that, don’t worry—school is now in session. I reached out to Brittany Johnson, a Mayvenn Hair-certified stylist, to give you a lesson in Wig Plucking 101. Ahead, Johnson breaks down exactly how to pluck your wig, so don’t forget to take notes.

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Why do you pluck a wig?

When it comes to lace-front wigs, it’s all about the hairline. Plucking a wig is the process of using a tweezer to get rid of the excess hair around the hairline of a lace-front wig, says Johnson. Think of a wig that hasn’t been plucked—the hairline is typically super straight, which basically screams, “Not my real hair!” If you look at your natural hairline, you’ll see that the hairs aren’t all the same length. That’s because Johnson says new hairs are growing in all the time. So unless you want your wig to have the helmet head effect, go ahead and grab those tweezers to get rid of the extra bulk.

Can you pluck a synthetic wig?

Yes, you can totally pluck a synthetic wig. In case you need a refresher, synthetic hair wigs are less expensive and require more maintenance than human hair wigs, says Johnson. But they do look a little less realistic and you can’t heat style them. It’s really up to you (and, well, your budget) to decide which type of wig is best for you.

Here’s how to pluck a wig

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Here’s what you’ll need in your tool-kit: a lace-front wig (duh), a wig stand, pins, a rattail comb, and tweezers. You can pluck on wet or dry hair, says Johnson. Some people prefer wet hair because it’s easier to move and control, while other people prefer to pluck on dry hair so they can get a true sense of the hair’s density. It’s really up to you.

Wait, but what about bleaching the knots on your wig?

Ahh, yes. When you look at the lace inside your wig, you’ll see a bunch of little black dots. This can look a little unnatural against your scalp, says Johnson, so some people opt to lighten the knots in order to get a more flesh-toned shade that blends in with the color of your scalp. It’s a bit complicated though—over bleaching can damage your wig. Unless you bleach hair on the regular, Johnson recommends skipping this step and either (1) asking a professional to do it for you or (2) applying some foundation inside the lace to get a more realistic-looking hue.

Got it? Cool. Now keep reading to learn exactly how to pluck your wig.

Step 1. Put your hair on the wig stand

You’re going to want to secure it with pins, says Johnson. This will make sure that your wig doesn’t slide all over when you’re going at your hairline with tweezers.

Step 2. Run a comb through the front of your hair

Using a rattail comb, smooth back your hairline to make sure there aren’t any knots or tangles. Then with your less-dominant hand, pull the hair back away from the hairline, says Johnson.

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Step 3. Slowly start to pluck the wig

With your dominant hand, says Johnson, grab the tweezers and being plucking hair strands straight back, away from the face. According to Johnson, you’ll be going in with quick strokes. She recommends plucking about every other hair strand to make sure that everything is spaced out (this also helps you avoid bald spots). Start at your hairline, right above your ear, and work your way to the middle, says Johnson.

She also recommends taking your time—if you over-pluck, there’s no going back. You also want to make sure that you’re plucking the hair, not the lace. If you go in on the lace with tweezers, you can end up ripping it (not great).

Step 4. Repeat the step above with additional layers of hair

Remember, when you pluck your hair, you’re not just plucking the front of your hairline near your forehead. The goal is to make the entire front of the wig look less dense, so you need to pluck several layers of hair, says Johnson.

So, once you’re done with step three, comb out the excess hair you’ve plucked. Then, going from ear to ear, part a thin section of hair and flip it forward (over the head of the wig stand). Pluck that layer to help get rid of the bulkiness. When you’re done with this layer, says Johnson, repeat this step about three to four more times, depending on how deep you want your wig to be plucked.

Brush out everything you’ve plucked out, and boom—you’ve got a natural-looking hairline.

The final word

Not that bad, right? Yes, it’ll take a lot of patience to really nail down this technique—remember: slow and steady wins the race—but, IMO, it’s worth the time to customize your wig for a perfect fit. BTW, after you’ve plucked your hair, head over to our guide on exactly how to put on your wig. (P.S. It’s not as easy as it sounds.)

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