Should I cut a long synthetic wig to make a short one?

From a customer e-mail:

At this point I am considering maybe the Zara Large and cutting it to just above my shoulders? If I did get a Zara, where do I have it cut? It seems like the wig shops around here will only cut it if they sell it to you. Is it safe to have a regular hair stylist cut a synthetic wig?

A lot of you can probably tell already that this e-mail was from someone very new to wigs because most of us learn this lesson the hard (and expensive) way:

Please do not buy any synthetic wig with the intention of cutting it, unless it’s just a very simple bang trim. Otherwise, you risk completely ruining your wig!

Here’s why: synthetic hair does not cut, lie, wear, or behave like human hair.

Synthetic hair is perfectly cylindrical and smooth if you look at it under a microscope. It’s made from petroleum! Human hair has a different shape depending on its texture and your ethnicity, and it’s covered in scales. It’s made from proteins and bio-organic compounds! This makes cutting synthetic hair a completely different sort of skill than cutting human hair!

You cannot take a synthetic wig to a hairstylist to have them cut it. Unless that person is a specialist with extensive experience working with this specific kind of hair, a cosmetology license in this situation basically means diddly-squat. They will butcher your wig . . . and because of this, most salons prohibit their stylists from even trying to touch your wigs for liability reasons! They couldn’t even work on them if they wanted to!

We definitely do not recommend letting a friend, your mom, or any other novice give it a whirl, either.

Heartbreaking true story time: I sold a Heidi by Jon Renau at an amazingly good price (as in, I could not duplicate it again kind of price) to a 17-year-old girl with Stage IIB breast cancer so she could wear it to a school dance. I sent it with a free care package so she would have everything she could ever need to wear and care for it on her special day. Then, she let her mom “trim” it . . . and the wefting in the back began to fall out. Long story short, she absolutely ruined this wig one week before her dance because she let someone alter it for her!

I see this happen all the time – PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE YOU!!!!

Synthetic wigs are prestyled and designed to be worn as-is, more or less, right out of the box. Jon Renau, for example, frowns upon changing the parts on their wigs because it can potentially mess up their styles (this is actually true!) . . .

. . . so you’re definitely not supposed to cut them!!!

Wig newbies come up with these crazy pie-in-the-sky schemes because they don’t really know that much about these kinds of things yet and they assume:

“Hey! I’ll just buy the longest possible heat-resistant wig I can afford! Because surely, they must be just like human hair even though they are so much less expensive, and then I will just turn it into a mid-length, and then a bob, and then a pixie before I throw it away!”

To which I reply in my imaginary dialog:

“No so fast, Vidal Sassoon! This is literally the #1 most cliché newbie wig assumption looming disaster known to womankind, so let me unburden you of it. First of all, heat-friendly synthetics are almost always purchased by people new to wigs but require so much extra care and attention that they are really only suited for people who are experienced wearers. And for the record, they are absolutely NOTHING like human hair in terms of how they hold up, style, feel, or wear. Secondly, when did you learn how to cut all these hair styles? Seriously, because I’ve owned a wig store for a few years, now, and I’m still turrrrrrible at it.”

Cutting synthetic hair is a specialized thing, and they don’t teach people how to do it at most beauty schools. There are hundreds of wigs on our site and thousands on the market over all. You SHOULD be able to find something out there without having to resort to DIY chop projects. While we cannot stop you from doing whatever you want to do with your wigs, we definitely wanted to let you know that we advise against it BIG TIME!


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!

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