A wig cap is the base material of a wig and mimics the shape of the head — similar to the construction of a baseball hat. Wig caps are the foundation of wigs, and the hair and style are attached to the cap. You may have heard the terms lace front, capless, hand-tied, and monofilament, but what do they all mean? Here you’ll find an introduction to wig cap constructions and the pros and cons of each type, so you can choose the options that best suit your needs.
Basic wig cap: Cool and affordable
A basic wig cap (also called capless, wefted, or open-cap) is a machine-made wig cap that is made by sewing “wefts,” or curtains of hair, onto a strip of thin, elastic material. The wefts are disguised with a technique called “permatease” to hide them from view at the part area.
A basic wig cap is the coolest cap construction because the spaces in between the wefts allow air to flow to directly your scalp. If you’re worried about overheating, this is the cap for you.
- lightweight and cool
- affordable ($75 – $150)
- built-in volume
- voluminous (not a “con” for everybody); since permatease is added to hide the wefts, there may be more volume at the top of the wig
Watch the video below for more information about basic wig caps.
Lace front: Higher cost for a natural hairline
A lace front is a feature that mimics the look of hair growth at the front hairline. Each hair is tied by hand into a sheer lace material. This allows the hair to move naturally at the hairline and creates a more natural-looking transition from forehead to hairline. Since a lace front is a feature added to a basic wig cap construction, this would be a good option for those worried about staying cool throughout the day. However, because this is an added feature and the process is done by hand, a lace front wig cap costs more than a basic wig cap.
- natural-looking hairline
- allows for off-the-face styling
- higher price vs. a basic wig cap ($150 – $200)
- sheer lace material must be handled with care
- some lace front wigs are not ready-to-wear, so they must be customized
Watch the video below for more information about lace front wig caps.
Monofilament: Natural movement and added comfort
Just like a lace front, a monofilament feature means that each hair is tied to a soft lace material by hand. A monofilament crown, part, or top mimics the appearance of hair growth from the scalp and helps the wig look much more natural. A monofilament crown creates the look of hair growth just in the crown area and is the coolest monofilament option. A monofilament part lets you part the style in that area and allows the cap to breathe. A monofilament top lets you part your style wherever you’d like — so you can wear a side part one day and a center part the next. However, a full monofilament top is the warmest option of monofilament features, which is something to keep in mind if you overheat easily.
Newer options such as double monofilament tops and French-knotted tops provide the same natural look at the scalp but with an extra layer of soft material for added comfort. But remember: every person’s sensitivity is different, and you don’t necessarily need the most luxurious features to feel comfortable while wearing a wig cap.
- natural-looking scalp
- ability to part hair in different areas
- natural hair movement
- softer on the scalp because the sheer lace material, into which the hair is hand-knotted, is a softer material than the top of the basic wig cap
- higher price vs. a basic wig cap ($200 – $300)
- sheer monofilament material needs proper care
Watch the video below for more information about monofilament wig caps.
Hand-tied: Luxury option with superior comfort and natural movement
With a hand-tied cap, every single hair is tied by hand onto a soft material. A 100% hand-tied cap looks and moves like natural hair and is the most comfortable wig cap construction option because the wig cap material is soft and flexible. An added bonus of the wig cap material is the 4-way stretch the cap provides, which makes it feel like you’re wearing a headcover or head scarf. However, since a fully hand-tied wig can take up to 40 hours to construct, this means that this cap construction is the priciest option.
- most natural look and movement
- good for sensitive scalps
- most comfortable cap
- costliest cap construction ($300 – $500)
- must be cared for properly to avoid damaging the delicate materials
- since this wig cap construction is not ventilated like a basic cap, this wig cap may feel warmer on the scalp.
Watch the video below for more information about hand-tied wig caps.
Knowing which cap features you like will help you to choose a wig style that will be better suited for your needs. You may find that some styles incorporate more than one cap feature. Most wig wearers choose a style with a combination of features. This allows you to suit your wig to your needs by having cap features where you want them. A popular choice among wig wearers is a basic cap wig with a lace front and monofilament part — you get the natural look where you want it while still keeping cool and comfortable.
Carliz Sotelo Moore founded Wigs.com in 1999 and has been a wig wearer and passionate advocate of wigs since. Her passion and mission is to provide a convenient, supportive, and educational platform for those who are affected by hair loss who turn to alternative hair.