Wig and hairpiece makers create adapt and maintain hair prostheses for use in live performance. They work from sketches, pictures and artistic visions combined with knowledge of the human body to ensure the wearer maximum range of movement. They work in close cooperation with the designers.
A wig and hairpiece maker typically does the following:
- Lays out, sews, and fastens together materials and hair strands to make wigs and transformations
- Draws or pins wig pattern on model of customer’s head.
- Places sections of gauze, lace, net, ribbon, and springs over pattern and sews sections together to form wig foundation.
- Weaves hair to form speciality hairpieces, such as braids, switches, and chignons.
- Arranges woven hair in specified position and sews hair together to form hairpiece.
- May repair wigs.
- May supervise or train other workers.
The following job titles also refer to wig and hairpiece maker:
wig & hairpiece maker
wig and hairpiece technician
wig and hairpiece builder
make up artist & wig maker
junior wig maker
senior wig maker
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a wig and hairpiece maker. However, it is an advantage to take beautician courses, or something similar, at a technical school or community college.
Experience is usually acquired via on the job training.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Wig and hairpiece maker is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Wig and hairpiece maker career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to wig and hairpiece maker.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of wig and hairpiece maker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of wig and hairpiece maker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of wig and hairpiece maker.
- Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
- Understand artistic concepts: Interpret an artist’s explanation or demonstration of their artistic concepts, inceptions and processes and strive to share their vision.
- Dye wigs: Apply dyes to wigs to obtain the desired colour.
- Maintain wigs: Organise, maintain and repair wigs and hairpieces.
- Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
- Adapt to artists’ creative demands: Work with artists, striving to understand the creative vision and adapting to it. Make full use of your talents and skills to reach the best possible result.
- Prepare personal work environment: Correct settings or positions for your working instruments and adjust them before starting operations.
- Maintain theatre equipment: Check up on, maintain and repair tools and machinery used for onstage purposes, such as lighting equipment, stage sets or scene-change machinery.
- Translate artistic concepts to technical designs: Cooperate with the artistic team in order to facilitate the transition from the creative vision and its artistic concepts to a technical design.
- Work safely with chemicals: Take the necessary precautions for storing, using and disposing chemical products.
- Meet deadlines: Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.
- Create wigs: Design and maintain wigs and hairpieces.
- Maintain workshop space: Keep the workshop space in working order and clean.
- Decide on wig making process: Decide on what materials and techniques to use for performance wigs, and document the decision.
- Manage personal professional development: Take responsibility for lifelong learning and continuous professional development. Engage in learning to support and update professional competence. Identify priority areas for professional development based on reflection about own practice and through contact with peers and stakeholders.
- Work with respect for own safety: Apply the safety rules according to training and instruction and based on a solid understanding of the prevention measures and risks to your own personal health and safety.
- Keep up with trends: Monitor and follow new trends and developments in specific sectors.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of wig and hairpiece maker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Manage consumables stock: Manage and monitor consumables stock to ensure that the production demands and deadlines can be met at all times.
- Manage technical resources stock: Manage and monitor technical resources stock to ensure that production demands and deadlines can be met at all times.
- Plan workshop activity: Plan workshop activities according to production needs.
- Support a designer in the developing process: Support designers in the course of the developing process.
- Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
- Promote yourself: Market one’s own strengths in terms of skills and knowledge.
- Organise workshop space: Arrange the space of an equipment workshop to ensure maximum efficiency, including installing ligh fixtures, a workbench, etc. Decide on the activities and equipment to fit in and the most convenient way to work.
- Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
- Design make-up effects: Develop and apply special make-up including effects.
ISCO group and title
7531 – Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and hatters
- Wig and hairpiece maker – ESCO
- How Do I Become a Wig Maker? – PracticalAdultInsights
- Featured image: By Auckland Museum, CC BY 4.0