That Celebrity Hairstyle You Love Is Probably a Wig
Splitting Hairs is our monthlong exploration of hair based on a survey of women across America. It’s like you brought a photo to the salon — we’re giving you exactly what you want.
When anyone's image can be augmented by a simple Instagram filter, nothing is reliably as it appears. And when it comes to achieving new and different looks in Hollywood, that couldn’t be more true. Hair is probably the apex of A-listers' beauty experimentation, and stars are making it their business to be more extra than ever before. Someone like Kylie Jenner or Cardi B, for example, changes up her length, style, and color so frequently that if you blink, you just might miss one look entirely as she skips on to the next.
That’s where Angela Meadows comes in. The South Florida-based hairstylist who lists Serena Williams, Kelly Rowland, and La La Anthony among her top clients is behind some of the most sought-after wigs in Hollywood right now. Lucky for you, her skill set isn’t just reserved for the stars. In addition to running a Miami hair salon, Meadows sells her own specialty line of wigs — and these aren’t just any old hair pieces.
Meadows creates lace-front wigs, which seamlessly blend into the wearer’s scalp. Unlike cosplay-esque alternatives, the lightweight and breathable styles create the illusion of natural hair thanks to the thin layer of lace fabric at the hairline — and they’re much more comfortable to wear than the costume-shop kind, too. “Most wigs you find in a store are so heavy and itchy, but this is as light as a wig can be,” says Meadows, who began her career on the sets of rap videos, styling hair for dancers who appeared alongside the likes of Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. “All of my wigs are made from 100 percent human hair, so of course the actual hair weighs some. But because the front is made from lace — like the lace of a dress — it feels so much lighter. Each wig even has baby hairs around the rim to make it look natural, and you can part it any way you want or even pull it up into a ponytail.”
Since officially launching her own line of wigs last year, Meadows has already garnered a cult following. A huge portion of her business caters to the wives of NBA and NFL players, and in Hollywood, her wigs have been worn by everyone from Nicki Minaj to Kylie Jenner — whose hair stylist personally reached out to Meadows to hook up the mogul's hair. “When stylists are in town, they’ll come to me and say, ‘We need a wig!’” says Meadows. “When it’s someone really famous, like Kylie, the hair stylist knows what they want for their client. So they just ask me if I have it and then they customize the color and cut when they style it later.”
While it once may have felt taboo to discuss the prevalence of wigs in pop culture, thanks to stars like Cardi B and Lady Gaga switching up their looks so often that it couldn’t possibly be a transformation of their natural hair every single time, wigs are finally having a moment as a veritable trend. “It’s so liberating that wearing a wig isn’t as secretive as it was before,” says Meadows. “You see Kylie Jenner one day and she has green hair, the next day she’s back to black, and then that night she’s blonde. People don’t say anything negative about it; you can really just be whoever you want to be when it comes to your hair now, and I love that.”
The colored wig phenomenon has certainly taken off with help from influencers like Jenner and Kim Kardashian, who just recently sported a neon green look of her own. “The most popular style depends on which age group you're in, but young girls really want to be fun and have colors,” says Meadows. “They want to look like Kylie and the people that are in that same area of pop culture.” Of course, not everyone is as on board with the multicolored hues as Gen Z's finest. “If you’re talking about a professional woman or a woman who has lost her hair to cancer or sickness, she’s going to want a simplistic style that looks real. Wigs serve so many purposes, from fashion to medical.”
The key to finding the perfect wig for you (assuming you aren't going for alien-green shades) is that it looks like it could really be your own hair, and styling it like it is your hair is a great way to pull that off, Meadows explains. But styling the hair under the wig plays a big part, too.
“So often I’ll realize that someone is wearing a wig, but it’s hard for other people to notice. I think the trick to pulling it off is the hairstylist — and the best way to do it is by getting it customized, where your hairstylist takes your measurements, knows the shape of your hairline, and gets the color just right. I can create any style that a client shows me — if you have long brown hair, I can braid it up and give you a short blonde pixie cut that looks real.”
Unlike the wigs you might find at your nearest costume shop, lace wigs take a bit more effort to put on — which is why they look so much more realistic. “You may need a professional to put it on with adhesive, or a glue called Spirit Gum which is used all the time in movies,” she says. “But there are different methods to put it on these days. I could put clips in there or an elastic band. There are a lot of options.”
No matter how it’s applied, once it’s in place, a lace wig is still a wig at the end of the day. And that means they might not be immediately comfortable for everyone — especially if you’re not accustomed to sporting one. “Many black girls are used to wearing extensions all over for long periods of time, so they can usually wear wigs all day long,” says Meadows. “It really did start out that black girls were the ones wearing lace wigs, but now I have clients of all ethnicities and backgrounds. For my caucasian clients, I wouldn’t suggest keeping a wig on too long. I usually braid their hair up, get it under a wig cap, put the adhesive around the rim, and by the end of the day, we spray alcohol or adhesive remover and take it off.”
Keeping the wig stored properly is key in maintaining its look. “I suggest putting it on a wig head,” says Meadows. “You should get wig pins, pin it, put a net around it, and store it in your closet. If you don’t have room, you can stuff it, put it in a net, and store it in a ziplock bag to put away safely.”
And you’ll want to keep these wigs safe, given their hefty price point. “When I sell to the general public, I keep my wigs at $1,500 and under,” says Meadows. “If a person doesn’t want to spend a lot of money but wants a nice wig, they could probably get one for $500. But when you start going into good wigs, and highest quality, they start at $1500 and up.”
Hey, no one said Keeping up with the Kardashians would be cheap.
Angela Meadows Salon is located at 1422 NE 163rd St, Miami, FL. For more information, call 786-487-2999.