Lace wig cap construction types and types of lace material
When it comes to lace wigs, there are many different types of cap construction, and they all have their advantages and drawbacks. Which one you choose depends on a variety of factors. Below are some examples of the most common ones, including their advantages and disadvantages. You can use this as a decision guide when placing a custom order. Please remember that cap construction varies with sellers - the below pictures should only be used as a rough guide. A good seller will provide picture examples of their own cap construction types, so don't be afraid to ask for pictures!
Full lace with stretch in the middle:
The most common type of cap construction and found in most stock units. Advantages: stretch panel allows for half an inch leeway, so will fit head sizes that are up to half an inch larger than the given circumference. Great for beginners who are unsure of their measurements! Hair can be worn up in a high ponytail. Disadvantages: wearing a style that requires the hair to be parted in the middle from the very front to the nape (for example pigtails or cornrows) can be a problem, though not impossible!
Full lace cap with no stretch:
This type of cap construction has no stretch. Advantages: some feel that it lies on the head flatter. Allows for styles that require the hair to be parted in the middle from the very front to the nape (for example pigtails or cornrows). Hair can be worn up in a high ponytail. Disadvantages: This cap is not recommended for beginners who are unsure of their measurements, because unlike a cap with stretch, a full lace cap does not give any leeway! You must be sure of your exact measurements when you order this cap construction.
Full lace with stretch from ear to ear:
This cap type is quite similar to a full lace cap with stretch in the middle, but the stretch panel extends from ear to ear. Advantages: stretch panel allows for half an inch of leeway, so will fit head sizes that are up to half an inch larger than the given circumference. Great for beginners who are unsure of their measurements! Disadvantages: wearing the hair up in the areas above the ear may be a problem.
Full lace cap with stretch in the middle and no PU strips:
This cap type is quite similar to a full lace cap with stretch in the middle, however it does not have any polyurethane (PU) strips like the conventional cap construction does. Advantages: stretch panel allows for half an inch of leeway, so will fit head sizes that are up to half an inch larger than the given circumference. Great for beginners who are unsure of their measurements! Some people just don't like PU strips so if you feel that way, this cap type is great for you. Disadvantages: the stretch panel in this type of cap is not quite as "stretchy" as in the one with PU strips, so it allows for less leeway. You need to be very sure of your measurements when ordering this type of cap construction.
Lace front cap:
This cap has lace in the front and a stretch panel and adjustable straps in the back. Advantages: no need to adhere the nape of the wig (you only glue it down from ear to ear), so this cap type is great if you don't like adhering the nape. It's also a great option for beginners who are concerned about their ability to apply a full lace wig. Disadvantages: you cannot wear a wig with this type of cap in a high ponytail, and you can only part it as far as the lace panel extends (i.e. in the front only).
Silk base cap (also known as hidden knots or silk top):
This cap type contains a piece of silk (usually located in the front centre of the cap and 4x4 or 5x5 in size) through which individual hairs are injected. A silk base can be ordered in the colours light brown, medium brown and dark brown. Advantages: the hair in the area of the silk base has invisible knots (the knots are hidden under the silk base), which gives a more realistic illusion that the hair is growing directly from your scalp. Disadvantages: if the colour of the silk base is too light and does not match the colour of your own scalp completely, the silk base may require tinting - this can easily be done using tea (yes, tea!!), which is gentle enough not to harm your unit.
Thin skin perimeter:
This type of cap has a material called polyurethane (also known as thin skin) around the perimeter. Advantages: some individuals have reported that thin skin seems to adhere to their skin better. Because hair is not knotted but injected into the thin skin material, there are no knots in that area. Disadvantages: some individuals have reported that they get hot under thin skin, because it does not allow the scalp to breathe as lace does.
Types of Lace Material
A lace wig cap can be constructed from different types of material.
French lace is a popular choice for those new to lace wigs. It is the most durable lace type, but still fine.
Swiss lace is finer than French lace (but still very durable), and offers more undetectability than French lace. The reason that Swiss lace is finer than French lace is that the holes (grids) are smaller and the material is thinner. Newcomers to lace wigs are often advised to choose French lace rather than Swiss lace for their first lace wig - HOWEVER, we don't wholly agree with this advice, as Swiss lace is still very durable, providing you treat it with tender love and care, as all lace wigs should be treated!
Thin Skin, also known as polyurethane (PU), is a material in which hairs are individually implanted through the fine poly skin base one at a time. Many like this cap material for its undetectability; however, you should be aware that it can get quite hot underneath the cap, as thin skin does not allow your scalp to breathe as lace does. Also, thin skin needs to be a very good colour match to your own skin tone in order to be undetectable.