Adhesives are a very complicated and personal thing. Different people will find that some adhesives react differently to their body chemistry and their skin type. With so many options available on the market, trial and error is one of the only ways to truly know what works for you. If you choose the right adhesives, you can dance up a sweat on the dance floor or even swim with your wig. We're here to educate you on the best options and how to know what might work best for you.
First, you'll need to understand your skin type. Each and every scalp is different and produces different levels of oils. Is your scalp oily, dry, or sensitive? These are things you will want to consider in your choice of the best adhesives to try.
Another important part of choosing an adhesive is being a label reader. Health experts encourage us to be label readers with the things we put in our bodies, so it is important that we consider the things that we put on our bodies as well as in them; many adhesives have harmful chemicals in them, and these are prone to permeating the skin.
Choosing an adhesive can be overwhelming. Choosing the right one that fits your needs can be a challenge for the uninitiated. The first step is to talk to your stylist or wig expert; we have the knowledge, experience, and often the personal trial an error under our belts to help point you in the right direction. We hope that this simple guide will help you better understand the best questions to ask and the things to consider.
Every wig adhesive is different. Each reacts differently to the demands of your lifestyle, climate, and various other factors, so you will want to consider the following things first:
How long do you intend to keep your wig on?
What is your climate like? Is it humid, dry, temperate? Is it hot or cold?
Consider the changing seasons; you'll need different products for each of the different seasons, more than likely, if weather conditions differ greatly in your region.
What is the weather forecast? Will there be rain or sunshine?
Where do you spend most of your day? Are you especially active? Do you work in an office where air conditioners or heaters are frequently blasting?
You'll want to think about these things and discuss the answers to these questions with your stylist. Depending upon your region, they may have already considered many of these things for themselves, and they will surely appreciate your thought about these matters. Wig care is incredibly important and will shape the experience that you have with your wig.
Water Based Versus Solvent Based
Once you have the answers to the questions we discussed earlier, you are one step closer to choosing the right wig adhesive to use. As new technologies for wig adhesive products are developed, these questions are taken into consideration so that a product can be tailor made for a specific type of wearer.
The original wig adhesives have been solvent-based adhesive, not unlike other types of glues that are commonly manufactured for other purposes. These types of adhesives are great for extended wear and will typically provide a tight hold. Solvent based adhesive requires a very specific regimen before application as well as for safe, easy removal. Those who have not worn wigs for long many be a bit standoffish about some of the chemicals involved in the preparation and removal of solvent based products, however,many advancements have been made to reduce the potential harm and to increase the over all gentleness of these products. Walker Tape is a brand that offers many wig preparation and removal products that are highly regarded and known to be more gentle.
Customers with especially sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are most likely to encounter dryness, irritation, and mild allergic reactions in spite of the many advancements in solvent-based adhesive application and removal products and techniques. These are common factors that may impact the overall comfort of wearing a wig as well as how long a wig can be worn without experiencing discomfort.
These concerns have paved the way for the development of gentler and less irritating water-based wig adhesive products. These water-based adhesives are lower maintenance and known to be easy to apply and to remove. They are comparable in hold time to traditional solvent-based adhesives. Water-based solvents can be easily removed with soap and water, which cuts down on the often irritating removal products and chemicals used with solvent-based glues. Those looking to reduce the number of product applied to the scalp may find this to be a popular option.
Water-based adhesives are known for their difference in texture. They are applied clear and are not prone to getting stringy as solvent-based adhesives do.This makes the overall appearance of water-based adhesives more attractive while also requiring fewer touch ups than traditional adhesives would.
It is worth noting that while water-based adhesives are the most ideal option for some, even the strongest water-based options are not as long lasting. This can be a considerable con to water-based solvents. Typically if you are not sensitive and have not experienced allergies to solvent-based adhesives, or if you wish to wear your wig for two months or more, water-based options might not be the best for you. These solvent-based adhesives generally require less frequent trips to the salon, which is much of the reason why they have remained so commonly used. However, discussing these things with your stylist is the best way to gauge what will work best for you; your stylist will know your scalp and will be able to offer the best and most practical advice the balances the pros and cons of each option.
The Impact of Your Region's Climate & Your Personal Lifestyle
As we highlighted earlier, different adhesive products are prone to different reactions to different climates. Since people in virtually ever type of climate all over the world enjoy wearing wigs as part of their lifestyle, carefully examining which products are appropriate will allow any wig wearer in any type of climate to find a good option. Your lifestyle and climate will be important details that your hair care professional will use to help you choose the best type of product.
Those who swim or athletes in aquatic sports will benefit most from waterproof adhesives, even if they intend to wear a cap over their wig. Preventing water from getting between your wig and your scalp is important for the integrity of the wig. Even the best caps can often fail, thus preventing your wig from keeping the best and most secure hold.
Those who live in sunny and humid environments must consider that the sun and moisture may not only cause damage to their wig, but will also be likely to compromise the bond of their adhesive. If you are in a warm, humid, and sunny environment, you will want to keep the moisture level of your wig in mind. Your hair care professional may have tips that can help to keep your wig fresh and comfortable even in hot, sticky, and difficult conditions.
One major concern for those that wear wigs is bacteria. It is not uncommon for bacterial overgrowth to occur when it is hot and humid and the scalp is prone to becoming sweaty. Anti-microbial adhesive formulas can be extremely valuable to the comfort and health of the scalp. These will help to prevent upsetting odors that often occur with bacterial issues and will allow you to feel cool, confident, and free of worry about how your wig smells.
Most Importantly, Talk to Your Stylist!
Learning to position your lace front wigs takes practice and the best products for you and your various circumstances. For lace front wigs, there are two primary types of adhesives on the market. Tape adhesives and glue adhesives.
Tape adhesives incorporate a special double sided tape that has adhesive to make both sides sticky, with one part adhering to the skin and the other adhering to the lace. Glue adhesives are applied first and given time to become tacky before the lace wig is bonded with the scalp. The lace wig is then applied and the glue is allowed to dry, securing the wig to the scalp.
As with anything else, each type has pros and cons that will be important to consider. Typically, most adhesives used with lace front wigs are known as contact style adhesives. These contact adhesives are unlike normal adhesives in that their ingredients work best when in contact with the skin. This makes the dermatological impact of the skin of significant importance, as well as ease of application and durability.
Soluble varieties of wig adhesives can be either water-based or solvent-based. As with most water-based adhesives, these are more gentle and less invasive to the bare scalp and skin and are less prone to causing adverse reactions. Likewise, as with other solvent-based adhesives, these are more prone to aggravating the skin and scalp. The compounds and chemicals present in solvent-based formulas will provide a longer lasting bond, but the impact on the scalp and overall comfort may be considerable.
One of the best methods for determining the potential for an adverse reaction is to do a hand or patch test using the glue on your inner forearm before trying it on your scalp. Simply apply a small drop of glue on your inner forearm and allow it to dry. After about one hour, you can remove the glue and watch for reactions over the next 24 hours. If there is a reaction, it may be a sign that you should choose another glue, in which case tape adhesives may be preferable.
You'll also want to note that lace front wig application require more tools than just the glue or tape adhesive itself. You will find adhesive kits that have a number of products meant to maximize your application. These kits typically include your chosen adhesive, a scalp protector, a fray block or knot sealer and products designed to aid in removal, as well as conditioners. The conditioners usually included in these kits are meant to treat the hair of the wig, preventing damage and normal wear and tear that can take place. These kits will often have everything you will need from application to removal.
Where your wig adhesive is concerned, your stylist is the best suited to help you make the correct choice. This is a point that we highlight again and again with good reason; this is a job for a skilled professional. While going the DIY route and attempting to do it may be unwise—and not at all the money saving measure that you might have intended. You may ultimately wind up spending more time and money fixing the damage done by applying or removing your wig yourself at home, and you're likely to wind up in your stylist's chair either way.
Keepers Product Pro-Bond III
Keepers Product has a longstanding legacy of exceptional products including their silicone based Pro-Bond I and Pro-Bond II. Their newest product—the Pro-Bond II, boasts a two to three week bond, which is of course dependent upon your body chemistry, environmental factors, and your lifestyle. For poly-base materials, you will need to apply Pro-Bond III to the base as well as your scalp for the best bond.
Keepers Product has created this adhesive for a smooth, ideal application. It is formulated to have the perfect viscosity; it is not too thick, nor is it runny. It spreads evenly with a brush or other applicator and unlike other products, it resists stringy buildup. Much like other water-based adhesive products, the Pro-Bond line goes on white and dries clear. They have a scent that is similar to craft glue with a similar texture, but otherwise, Pro-Bond is very different from craft glues.
Keepers Product is a company that is best known for their attention to safety and their FDA compliance. They are cooperative with FDA regulations for food safety, using only formaldehyde and latex free ingredients for the most non-toxic glue possible.
Walker Great White
Great White is a long-wearing water-based adhesive and is known to be one of the strongest and longest-holding water-based adhesives on the market. It provides a strong bond that makes it a wonderful alternative to Ultra Hold. Great White—in spite of its name—dries completely clear, giving you the most undetectable look.
This product is easy to work with, providing a smooth application that is free of stringiness, which saves time with application and makes it easier to use. The formula contains anti-bacterial ingredients, which prevents the bond from succumbing to the effects of bacteria and keeps the adhesive fresher for a longer period of time.
For those who wish for an adhesive that is compatible with extended wears, Soft-Bond is a great choice. With a one to two week hold, Soft-Bond dries clear and remains undetectable for the duration of wear. This product is a thicker version ofLiquid-Tape that lasts longer.
Walker Safe Grip
Safe Grip is another popular adhesive product for extended wear. This water-based adhesive is not stringy and has a low odor for more pleasant wear and to work with. Like other water-based products, it is washed away with soap and water, making for less irritating removal. It is also bacteria-resistant, so you will feel and smell fresh for longer.
This silicone bonding adhesive has great holding power to the skin and any type of hair system. Not only does it have excellent holding power and lasting power for up to one week, but it also remains completely flexible, making it more comfortable. It is primarily used with polyurethane materials and hair systems. When used with hairpiece tape, cleanup is easier and more convenient.
Walker Ultra Hold
Ultra Hold adhesive is the gold standard for soft bond adhesives on the market, which makes it one of the most popular maximum wear adhesives available. This adhesive dries clear for the ultimate confidence and undetectable appearance. This strong adhesive is one of the best choices for long-term hold, so this tried-and-true favorite will allow you to go longer between wig removal and re-application. Another perk is its squeeze bottle which helps to limit any stringiness that is prone to occur.
Mity-Tite is an acrylic-based adhesive that allows the bond to remain waterproof, as not to interrupt swimming, showering, and any other exposure to water that might occur in your daily life. This popular daily wear liquid adhesive dries clear and will allow you to enjoy a strong hold without worrying about the bond letting go due to exposure to moisture.
Just Rite Positioning Spray
This must-have item is a product that you spray on the adhesive area prior to placing the hair system. This innovative product allows you to slightly move the position of the hair system without sticking. It is ideal for touch ups around the hairline and makes applying your hair system easier. It has a light and refreshing smell—another reason Just Rite Positioning Spray is incredibly popular.
Mehron's Matte Spirit Gum
With simple ingredients like SDA Alcohol 35A, Resin, Methyl Hydrogenerated Rosinate, and Castor Oil, Spirit Gum has been a popular product with a long history. It creates a secure bond for daily wear and can be used with adhesive tape for longer hold. Mehron's Matte Spirit gum has been a staple in backstage dressing rooms for decades, and its continued use is not just because of tradition, but also because it is incredibly effective.
Mastix “P” Spirit Gum
Mastix “P” Spirit Gum is formulated with Pastacia Lentiscus, Alcohol Denat, Sandarac, Silica, and Glycol Rosinate. This product is most commonly used by those with oily skin and provides an application which can last for us to 3 days. The easy cleanup and quick drying nature make this an attractive product, and the addition of adhesive tape can increase the application's lasting power and hold.
Pro Hair A B Adhesive
Pro Hair Labs' solvent-based acrylic adhesive A B Adhesive in an innovative and long-wearing product. The hold and overall bond time are comparable to—and at times longer than—the hold with Ultra Hold Adhesive.
Brandywine Superstick Adhesive
BrandywineSuper-stick Adhesive is daily wear product wit a convenient cylindrical bottle and a dab on applicator that makes application easy. This adhesive offers a one to two day strong bond and can be used with adhesive tape such as white clear liner tape for added security and easier cleanup upon removal.
MAX Dermatex Adhesive
MAX Dermatex Adhesive is a popular option for both lace front wigs and polyurethane hair systems alike. This adhesive is water based and in a liquid adhesive form that goes on white and dries clear. It is easy and safe to use and lends itself great for extended wear an daily wear alike. You can wear it for a little over a week.
Pro Hair Dermal Loc Adhesive
Pro Hair's Dermal Loc Adhesive is specially made for polyurethane hair systems. It is designed to be used on both the base of the hair unit as well as on the scalp, or just as on the scalp for a head skin bond adhesive.This non-toxic copolymer is a water-based adhesive that applies white and clears as it dries.
Davlyn Waterproof Adhesive
Davlyn Waterproof is an adhesive that is typically used for extended wear or situations where a waterproof adhesive is required. It can be worn for one to three weeks and can be worn while showering, swimming, or sweat, so vigorous workouts are no match for the bond created by this liquid bonding adhesive. It is not designed for daily wear and will keep a strong bond for the duration of the wear time that will not lose freshness with contact with water. It has a small bottle that is great for keeping in your purse or while traveling, so you can touch up on the go and resolve emergency situations to keep your hair system secure no matter where you are.
Invisi-bond is an incredible soft bond adhesive from the same company that makes Super tape. Unlike many other products, the creators of Invisi-bond believe that a tinted adhesive makes for a more natural, undetectable finish as it blends with the scalp. It applies dark brown and has a matte finish. It can be applied a variety of different ways. You may mist or brush it on, as well as apply it with your finger into the bonding surface.
This water-based adhesive is waterproof and ideal for use with lace wigs and is pressure sensitive, making it comfortable to wear and long lasting. It is latex free and skin safe, But it is not, however not recommended for use for those with sensitive scalps.