No two wigs (even of the same style and color) are identical.

Here’s the deal: Most wigs are cut and styled by hand.

By a person.

There are hundreds of different people working in these factories making these wigs.

Each has a slightly different technique for cutting and styling the hair. This part is not done by a machine. If it were, it would be exactly the same every time. Unfortunately, that just isn’t feasible with something as complicated as a faux head of hair.

So, even if all of those people had the exact same training, they’re all going to do wave patterns, curls, and cuts a little differently.

This is why manufacturers universally allow for a 10 – 15% amount of variance in cut, color, density, and/or style before they will consider a wig defective.

So if you ever noticed why a back up of your favorite style isn’t exactly like the original, this is why. This is actually most noticeable when people are wanting a curly or wavy wig that they have seen in a review. This is also common with colors that are heavily highlighted. No two wigs in Jon Renau’s 12FS8, for example, look exactly the same, just like no two Scarletts or Juliannes (also Jon Renau) ever look exactly the same. This is due to the variations in the texture of the hair and the way the hair is laid out from wig to wig.

It is not an uncommon thing for clients to contact us to ask about these variations. They often wonder if the difference is big enough to be a “defect”, but in most cases, their wigs would easily pass upon quality or return inspection.

There is a gigantic amount of grey area between what clients are quick to consider defective and what we will actually be able to send back to the manufacturer as a defect. Most of these differences come down to the variations that are part of the production process, meaning that the wig will not be found defective in most cases upon inspection.

Unlike a shirt or other kind of ready-to-wear apparel, a lot of variation can creep into the process because of the added stylistic element of hand cutting and styling the hair. (Shirts don’t have to be cut and styled by hand after they’re made, for example.) We live in a world where people expect uniform perfection from everything they buy because so many things can be easily mass produced by a machine.

Computers are perfect, as my AI profs would say. They reproduce things perfectly every time.

People, on the other hand, cannot duplicate that level of perfection. It’s impossible.

Here is how the manufacturers (and retailers like us, via extension) determine if your wig is defective. 

Does it weigh somewhere within the spec range (which allows for up to 10 – 15% variation)?
Yes = The hair density is sufficient to pass.

Is it free of noticeable bald spots?
Yes = The hair density is sufficient to pass. 

Is the cut length of the layers within the spec range (which allows for up to 10 – 15% variation)?
Yes, even if different from one to another = It passes. 

Is the texture within the spec range (again, allowing up to 10 – 15% variation)?
Yes, even if different from one to another = It passes. 

Is the color made of the same colors on the color swatch from the color ring and laid out in a manner that is consistent with the spec range (again, with up to 10 – 15% variation)?
Yes = It passes. 

Is it generally the same size and cap construction listed in the catalog (with 10 – 15% variation)?
Yes = It passes. 

I can hear a lot of you probably thinking, “I paid good money for this!” and that you have certain expectations that the manufacturers need to meet because of the cost. However, the cost of wigs has actually stagnated since the introduction of Kanekalon in the 1980s. You’re paying less and less for wigs with every year of inflation and rising labor costs while the retail prices remain relatively flat.

This has been a problem in this industry for decades. (Don’t believe me? Please check out this LA Times article from 1988 for reference!) When people expect to constantly pay less for stuff when the costs to make and sell those products continue to rise, something has got to give.

One of the biggest “somethings” is usually consistency.

Conclusion: Customers should never expect two wigs to look exactly the same. Because these wigs need to be cut and styled by hand, and because people cannot mass produce perfectly similar results every time = the logical conclusion is, not only is this normal, but some differences should be expected. If we promote any other kind of expectation we risk being misleading to our clients.

Exactly the same = Not likely.
It’s like owning a unicorn.

Similar, with some variations (particularly in curly and wavy styles) = Totally the norm.
This is what they aim for in the factory. 

Way off in terms of length, cut unevenly, big bald spots, color mislabeled, stuff like that = Defective.
You should send these back to us! 

This is an excerpt from our CysterWigs Knowledge Base. Check it out on our private site to see over 500 articles all about our store, wigs, and how to wear the hair!

2 Comments

  1. Kathleen Ryan
    July 20, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    Perfectly..lol…well said. 😉 I have come to reslize this and really try to not get so married to a color or curl pattern. Because the next wig I order will only dissapoint me if I do. Now I wait and wonder how will she look? Its fun to see the differences and to embrace them and work with them to make them mine. Thank you for such a timely post. Best-Kathleen

  2. Liz Lyons
    July 20, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    I actually like the variation. Otherwise, it would be like living in a cookie-cutter neighborhood, where every house is identical.

    As long as it is close enough (thanks for the 15% concept), we can usually style the hair to work for us. For example, my Emilia in 1BRH30 can look more or less highlighted, depending on where I put the part. I have a dozen 1BRH30s and each has the highlighting in a slightly different pattern. That simulates our real hair, if we had, for example, balayage done. Each time it would be slightly different. Less wiggy!

    This was a useful post. Thank you! xoxo

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