The wig in the 21st century: 3 important things to know



On women’s heads, hair is less and less natural. It is often replaced by wigs. Wigs are becoming a beauty object par excellence. From its manufacture to its use, the subject of the wig is far from being trivial. Here, 3 important things to know about the wig in the 21st century.

First of all, a little history

Before all, we must understand that the wig is an old object. Moreover, it is by no means only feminine. In ancient times, it was already used in Africa, in ancient Egypt. In this place and time, it protected shaved heads from the burning sun. It was also used in ceremonies. We can notice the presence of the wig in other civilizations too. We think in particular of the Assyrians, the Phoenicians or the Greeks.

In the West, in France for example, the use of the wig has gradually declined from the 18th century. It is towards the end of the 20th century that it will be recognized a revival of popularity. Nowadays, we observe a rise in popularity of synthetic wigs in Africa.

Today, the huge market of wigs

Natural or synthetic hair, wigs represent today an important market. Human hair is the only legally marketable body product in the world.  This status already gives them significant advantages. They represent a market of about 10 to 15 billion dollars (Figures from the management of Raj Hair International). Clearly above the GDP of some African countries. We think in particular of Togo or Sierra Leone among others.

Natural hair comes from India or China. India is in the lead in the production of natural hair. China, on its side, dominates the manufacture of finished products.   They cross borders to end up in the United States or Europe. They also end up on the non-negligent heads of many African women in the diaspora. This industry has existed since the 1940s.

In Africa, an attraction for these wigs and hair is also developing. In a program on Radio Television Ivoirienne (RTI), a report was devoted to “the madness of the hair business”. It showed a woman spending a budget of 500,000 XOF on a human hair wig. That’s about $865, more than a monthly salary.

Yes, the “natural wigs” come from sacrifices to gods

If India remains at the top of the natural wigs (or natural hair) business, it is because of its temples. The hair in India has an important symbolism. This is especially true for women. In the southern states of India, pilgrimages are made where hair is offered to Shiva or Vishnu. Hair is a symbol of purity and elegance. It is one of the most important things about a woman. Maybe the most important. So she offers it in exchange for a child or something she asks for.

In ancient times, this hair was burned. Today, however, it is collected and sold at auction. The business must be going on.

Wigs, a real help?

When faced with alopecia, wigs can be a real help. Alopecia refers to hair loss. It occurs, for example, during cancer treatments. About 40% of those affected are women. The wig and hair extension industry is now very broad. We can therefore find a suitable solution in an invisible wig.

As far as men are concerned, there are also quality wigs to suit their needs.  There are different kinds of wigs:

– Synthetic wigs

– Natural hair wigs

– Remy Hair quality natural hair wigs

– …

A question of identity

Beyond all considerations, wigs raise lately questions of identity. This issue is especially raised in the black community. Women use astronomical amounts of money to get as far away from the image of the black woman as possible. This is what critics of the use of natural wigs say. They put the use of extensions or wigs, excessive straightening or depigmentation in the same bag; practices of rejection of one’s identity.  

Moreover, these criticisms evolve in parallel with the new “Nappy” fashion. Natural and Happy.

Because of its history and its evolution in today’s society, it should be noted that wigs still have a bright future ahead of them.

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