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Wig Terms & What They Actually Mean

In the world of wigs, there is a lot of industry-specific jargon. Knowing some of these terms can make wig shopping easier. Be sure to watch the video at the end for visual examples of each term. When reading about wigs, you might come across some terminology that you are not familiar with. This can be overwhelming at times and very confusing for newcomers to the wig buying experience. Hearing terms like wefting, lace front, and hand-tied can be confusing, and remembering the definition of each term can be just as tricky. This list of common wig terms should help guide you through your wig research, and will help you understand the details needed to make an informed wig buying decision.

Glossary of our Wig Terms Used


a wig/addition piece that covers 1/2” of the head.


a wig/addition piece that covers 3/4” of the head.

100% Hand-tied cap:

A technique in creating a wig where each individual hair or fiber is tied by hand.
Watch our Video.


A substance that causes something to adhere. Used for attaching hair systems and wigs.
Watch our video showing how to use it correctly.

Adjustable tab:

The Elastic straps at the nape area of a wig used for adjusting the circumference fitting/size. See our video for further instruction on how to adjust the tabs.

Lace front single monofilament wig cap construction

Types of Alopecia


The loss of hair from head or body; identified as an auto-immune condition.

Alopecia areata:

Loss of hair in patches on the head.

Alopecia totalis:

Loss of all hair on the head.

Alopecia universalis:

Loss of all hair on the entire body.

Androgenetic alopecia:

Commonly known as male/female pattern baldness. The most common cause of hair loss.

Cicatricial alopecia (scarring):

A rare condition that occurs when inflammation damages and scars hair follicles, causing permanent hair loss.


making adjustments to a hair system/wig or topper to properly fit the head.

Alternative hair:

A term used to describe the attachment and wearing of hair that is not naturally growing from the body, (i.e. a wig, hair system, extension, etc.).


In the “growth” stage of the hair. The hair is attached to its blood source. This stage lasts 2-6 years, depending on genetics.

Anagen effluvium:

Loss of hair associated with radiation and chemotherapy medications/ treatment.

Argan Smooth Treatment Mist:

An exclusive line of human hair care products from Jon Renau, specially formulated to maintain and support alternative human hair. Can also be used on natural hair that may need extra moisture and conditioning.

Basting stitch:

Stitching technique of loose stitches to hold something together.


The term used in the industry to refer to the attachment of a hair system, extension or wig, using adhesive and/or tape.


To place stitches on a base material to attach to and start the sewing process.


The “transition” stage of hair growth, where the hair detaches itself from its blood source Chemotherapy: the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a specific effect upon the disease-producing microorganisms or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue.


Measurement of the head or wig, where the edges of the wig sit on the outer perimeter of the hairline around the head.

Client record card:

a card, paper, or electronic file of a client’s information, such as name, contact information, consultation information, and any other notes. This is kept on file at the wig shop or salon.

Closed/traditional cap:

the original construction of machine-made wigs that have an interior lace material sewn to the crown of the wig. Our Classic Collection features this construction.

View the various wig cap construction types


a specific type of hair texture, having a large diameter; all three layers of hair (medulla, cortex, and cuticle) are present.

Colour treated hair:

Hair that has had any type of chemical applied that alters or covers the natural pigment


The state of the hair’s texture, also describing the health of the hair.

Hair Cuticle:

the outermost layers of the hair shaft, made up of hard, shingle-like dead cells sometimes five to twelve deep that provide protection to the inner layers of the hair.

Cysteine bond: (also known as disulfide bond)

the strand of protein bonds found in the hair strands cortex that is responsible for the curl pattern and elasticity of the hair.

Hair Denier:

A unit of weight indicating the diameter of fibre or human hair.

Human Hair Denier Chart

Hair Density:

Is a measurement of how closely set together fibers or human hair are applied into a hair system. Determining how many hairs per square inch throughout the piece.

Colour Deposit (hair colour):

Human hair colour that has little to no lifting action, making the hair darker.

Double drawn hair:

Hair that has been cut on both ends (generally in a ponytail) so the whole bundle of hair measure the same length.

Double Mono Top:

An exclusive design by Jon Renau, featured in the Mono Top Collection.
This refers to a layer of silk-like material on the inner side of the monofilament to provide comfort to the wearer.

Wig Ear Tabs:

The portion of the wig that sits in front of the ear, contains bendable wire to adjust to the shape of the temple.

Wig Cap Construction

Ear to Ear Measurement:

Measurement over the top of the head, from the hairline at the top of the ear, over to the other hairline at the top of the ear.


To mix and to blend together.


The use of a heated tool to smooth, flatten and style human hair.
This is a semi-permanent effect.

Note: Should only be used on our Heat Defiant and our Human Hair Wigs.

Hair Follicle:

A small cavity in the epidermis and corium of the skin, from which a hair develops Front to back-a measurement starting at the center front hairline, following down the head to the back hairline at the nape.

Fringe (bangs):

hair that hangs in the front of the face to frame the face. Can be swept off to one side or fall straight forward.

Futura (high heat synthetic) fibre:

Is a nylon based synthetic fiber; one of the original high-heat fibers in the industry. Made originally for the ethnic wig market.

Futura ST (Heat Defiant) fibre:

The “second generation” high-heat synthetic fiber, with a finer denier and smoother texture than original Futura fiber. Introduced for the European wig market. Our HD Collection features this fibre.


Term used to describe a type of wig or hairpiece where the wearer can pull their own hair through the base and integrate with the fibre.

Jon Renau’s Care & Styling card:

An instruction card for the care and styling maintenance of a hair system. These are provided with every SmartLace Human Hair, HD wig, and custom hair replacement system.

Kanekalon fibre:

A petroleum by-product-based synthetic fibre. Used throughout the alternative hair industry for hair systems and wigs. Our SmartLace, O’solite and Classic Wig Collections feature this fibre.

Lace Front:

The front portion of a hair system that is hand-tied, giving the illusion of naturally growing hair at the front hairline


the actual measurement of the hair from the scalp to the tip ends.

Lift (hair colour):

hair color/lightener that lightens the hair.

Machine wefted wig / wefted wig / Machine back wig:

Are terms used to describe a wig that has some or all construction made up of wefts sewn together? Our Classic Collection features this construction.


The innermost layer of the hair is part of the body’s excretory system, having no effect or function on the hair.


The natural colour pigment of the hair and skin Monofilament part-a section on the top of a wig that has only a portion of the top hand-tied to give a natural look at the part only.


A thin, shear material used in hair systems/wigs that gives the appearance of naturally growing hair. Hair is hand-tied into this material to allow multi-directional parting of the hair. Our Mono Top, SmartLace, SmartLace Human Hair and HD Collections feature this construction.

Multi-directional knotting:

A term used to describe hair that has been hand-tied onto the base of a hair system/wig, can be styled in multiple directions.

Natural hair colour:

The natural level and tone of hair before any chemical service.

Remy vs Non-Remy Human Hair – Wig Terms Used

Human hair collected from multiple sources that cannot guarantee the root and tip ends is travelling in the same direction.
The cuticle is partially removed to prevent tangling and inversion of the hair.

Remy vs non Remy Human Hair on Wigs

No-rise smooth skin base:

Jon Renau’s exclusive polyurethane base that holds the hair or fiber in a flat strip (instead of traditional wefting) and can be attached by pressure sensitive clips. Our easiXtend HD Hair Extensions feature this construction.

Open cap/cap less:

A weft based wig with open ventilation throughout. The top portion of the cap does not have a second layer of material covering the wefts so the wearer is cooler. Our O’solite Collection features this construction.

Open ear tabs:

ear tabs that do not have a velvet lining.

Palming (shears):

The act of removing your thumb from the thumb loop of a shear and holding the shear in your hand. This allows the user to hold the shear while combing in between cutting.


esters of para-hydroxybenzoic, widely used as preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, even food. Most commonly used parabens are: methylparaben, ethylparaben and propylparaben.

Pinking shears:

shears that have notched blades for cutting and simultaneously pinking fabric or finishing garments with a notched, non-fraying edge.

Plumb line:

A technique using a weight (needle) at the end of a string/rope to determine an exact vertical line.

Porous (porosity):

A term used to refer to and describe the level in which hair (or other materials) can absorb liquid. Hair that is considered to be “porous” tends to have had extensive processing and will absorb hair color and other liquids rapidly.


A thermoplastic polymer used as a base material in hair systems and wigs, either fully or partially throughout the base, allowing base to be bonded.

Pressure sensitive clips/toupee clips:

Coated metal clips that are used to attach extensions, hair systems and wigs to existing natural hair.

PU ear tabs (poly-U, polyurethane):

A portion of the inside of the ear tab of a wig that has polyurethane to allow wig tape or adhesive to be applied.

Pull through base:

A hair system/addition piece that has openings in between the wefts to allow the existing natural hair to be pulled through and integrated in the piece.


A type of cancer treatment that uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells.


cut/collected uniformly with root end and tip end always running in the same direction which mimics our natural biological hair.


The extra hair length that is left when the finished length of a hand tied fiber is attached to the base. Jon Renau features a 4-6” return in the mono top section and a 4” return throughout the rest of the cap, in our SmartLace Human Hair Collection. This is for optimal quality and ease of styling.

“RN” Renau Naturals:

Jon Renau’s exclusive line of human hair colors that do not contain any added dyes (textile dyes), giving stylists the freedom to lift and deposit up to 2-3 levels.


The part of the hair that is embedded in the follicle within the scalp. Also a term used to describe the first.”1- 2” of outgrowth of the hair from the head.


a specific area of the head that is isolated by parting Single drawn hair: refers to the length of hair within a weft that has been cut from one end only which means there will be varying lengths of hair (i.e.- 16” hair may have 12”, 14” and 16”).

Sodium Chloride:

Commonly known as salt, used as a condiment and food preservative. Used widely in cosmetic and hair care products.

Wig Steamer:

A devise used to change the style memory of synthetic fiber.
Also recommended to use when smoothing excessive frizz from HD fibre.
A steamer is a machine that emits steam, most commonly used for steaming upholstery and textiles.

Strand Test:

a test performed toward the back of the human hair system prior to a chemical service. The product is applied to a small section of hair to determine processing time, any stress or damage to the hair, as well as the hair’s ability to withstand the chemicals being used.

Style Memory:

every synthetic wig has its “style” baked into it, whether it is curled or straight, once washed it goes back to its original style.


salts of sulfuric acid, found commonly in shampoos and cleansers to create “suds” and foaming. The most commonly used are sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate.


a small section of hair used as a sample for colour, texture, and/or fibre.

Synthetic Hair or Fibre:

A term used to describe a commonly used fiber in the industry. Synthetic fibers are made to have style memory and require much less maintenance than human hair or high heat fibres.

System, “hair system”:

Term used to refer to a partial or full cap hairpiece, wig, or extension of alternative hair. Commonly used term in the hair replacement industry.


the final stage of hair growth, the hair is considered “dead” and is being pushed out of the epidermis by the newly forming hair below it.

Telogen Effluvium:

A type of hair loss that is believed to be caused by emotional and/or physical stress to the body. Hair will usually grow back after the condition that caused it corrects itself.

Textile-like dye:

Dye that is used throughout the alternative hair industry; applied to human hair during processing in the factory to ensure that the color will not fade. Jon Renau does not recommend colouring or using any other chemical process over this type of dye.


The pattern of curl or feel of the hair, i.e. “fine, medium, coarse”.

Texturizing (thinning) shears:

Type of shear that is used to eliminate and remove “weight” or “density” from hair. The spacing between the teeth of the blade allow only a certain percentage of hair to be removed with every closure of the blade.

Thin mono ribbon:

strips of ribbon material used in the base construction of hair systems/ wigs.

“Top of the head” point:

the point on the top of the head that is determined by measuring seven inches back from the front hairline. Used in establishing the “ear to ear” head measurement.

Traction Alopecia:

Hair loss believed to be caused by a pulling force being applied to the hair.


The compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair leading to noticeable hair loss, distress and social or functional impairment.

Velvet ear tabs:

The lining on the inside of the ear tabs of a wig; the portion of the wig that sits in front of the ear.

What makes our Wig Caps Unique

Ventilate (hair/fibre):

the act of hand-tying hair/fiber to a wig/hair system base; a specific tool/needle is used.

Virgin hair:

natural human hair that has not been chemically altered in any way.


Term used to describe the hair height and lift from the head.


a sorted bundle of hair that is sewn together with several stitches to make a single “curtain-like” veil of hair.

Welded lace:

thin synthetic fibers running in a grid pattern that are ultrasonically heated and fused together. Our SmartLace, SmartLace Human Hair, HD and Cheveux Collections feature this construction.

Wide-tooth Comb:

Comb that has wider spacing between its teeth.
Very helpful to detangling any fibre.
It is the ONLY tool recommended to be used on HD Fibre (Heat Defiant) wigs.

Why using a Wide Tooth Comb is better

Private and Personalised Hair Topper & Wig Fittings Available at Fascinations Boutique


Hair loss can be a personal matter and for this reason, we have a bespoke wig boutique where you are able to try on various styles in comfort and in our private consultation rooms.

During your consultation, we will go over all aspects of the wig or topper you are enquiring about. From the materials used to make the piece and the cap construction, right through to the colours and lengths that the piece you have chosen comes in. We are confident that we will find the perfect wig or hair topper to suit you and your lifestyle.

Part of the Jon Renau Group

Wigs are the only official agents for JR in South Africa.
With Distributors nationwide, we have one in your city.
Find a Jon Renau Salon in your area today.

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