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If you’ve seen Cardi B’s “WAP” music video, one thing that stands out – apart from the sexy outfits, dance moves, and celeb cameos – is the hair.
Every style that the Bronx rapper wears in the video is a wig. From the extremely long chain-link ponytail to the purple and green bob.
All of those looks were crafted by celebrity hairstylist, Tokyo Stylez. The 30-year-old (whose clients have included Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and Beyoncé) believes that wigs don’t just look good, they can be a healthy move for your hair.
“Wigs are definitely a protective style,” Tokyo says in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. (Cardi B would agree. Back in June, she showed off her long hair in an Instagram post writing that “wearing wigs” helps with “hair growth.”)
Why? Tokyo explains: “You’re not blow drying your actual hair. You’re not coloring your hair. You’re literally just letting your hair sit there and do its own thing. As long as you’re keeping it moisturized underneath and when you do take it out, treat it, cut your ends… You keep continuing to do that [and] your hair will grow tremendously.”
That all sounds great but, if you’re not used to wearing wigs, what do you need to know to get started? Firstly, you don’t have to wear your hair in cornrows underneath for it to fit properly. “It depends on the style that I’m actually doing,” Tokyo says, adding, “I have some clients who would rather slick their hair back in a ponytail [and] put the stocking cap on.”
Here are some other basic tips that every novice wig wearer should know:
Lace Front Wigs:
“Lace is the base of the wig that you construct and ventilate the wig,” Tokyo says. “It’s super small, micro holes, like lace. So the hair is wrapped between all those holes in knots to create the effect that it’s coming out of the actual scalp.” Once that’s applied you can “pull your hair into ponytails or whatever…and it still looks very natural.”
Swiss, French, and HD are the basic types of lace. “Swiss and HD transparent lace are going to be your best go tos for blending the lace into the skin and making sure it’s undetectable,” Tokyo says.
“There are two different options,” Tokyo says about the adhesive you can use to make sure your wig stays secure. “You can glue it or there’s a glue-less method that requires you to use this stuff called Got2B Glued. It’s a gel paste, but it’s so strong and sticky, once it’s dry it’s like glue.” Kylie Jenner likes to use this “temporary solution” that you can wash off, Tokyo says. Alternatively, the hairstylist is a fan of Lace Grip Cosmetic Adhesive.
Wig Care Tips:
As for caring for the wig itself, Tokyo says you can style and wear it as though it’s the hair growing out of your scalp. That means you can swim (if you use a waterproof lace adhesive), sleep, and even exercise while wearing it. “Your scalp can breathe through underneath,” she says.
If you’re wearing your wig to bed, Tokyo suggests doing whatever you would normally do to maintain your style, like putting in flexi rods or rollers, before putting a silk bonnet on top.
To wash the wig, Tokyo prefers using cold or warm water. “When it’s too hot, if it’s colored, the hot water will make the color fade out quicker,” she says. “Once you’re done, I like to place mine on a mannequin head and let it air dry. You can blow dry it as well. I like to let mine air dry so that I’m not tugging and pulling too much on the actual wig, because the lace [is] very fragile and it can rip and tear.”
Speaking of which, Tokyo says that lace front wigs are not for everyday use, because of that fragility. Instead, she says a better option would be to take a break or to buy multiple wigs and switch them up. Tokyo, whose wigs cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 says some of her wigs last two years.
For wig fans who want more in-depth tips, Tokyo is giving two live demonstrations on how to install wigs, The Master Frontal Meltdown Class, on Sept. 12. (The details are on her Instagram page.) For everyone else, she recommends following her easy care tips above. “Just have fun and live,” she says.