Hard Cap Wigs vs. Lace Front Wigs: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Ever wonder how wigs are made? Or why some are created with a hard cap and others a soft cap?


You are in luck, because in this post we are putting hard cap wigs and lace front wigs (also known as soft cap wigs) head-to-head and uncovering the biggest differences between the two.

A soft cap on the left (photo courtesy of @knotittogether - Niokie Laws). A hard cap on the right.


First things first: a soft cap wig is simply another way to describe a lace frontal or wefted wig. Some wigmakers may call it by different names but are referring to the same technique.


In this breakdown, we’ll use lace front wigs and soft cap wigs to describe this specific style of wig-making.


Now let’s dive in!


A BRIEF BACKGROUND


The process of making lace front wigs is more well-known than the hard cap wig technique. It’s not only taught more extensively, but it’s also seen more often on mannequins, in stores and everyday life.


That’s why hard cap wigs are considered a niche market within the world of wig making. Not many people use this approach to creating wigs, yet it has many benefits from a creator and wearer’s standpoint.


Before jumping into the benefits, let’s see how the very basis of the two wig types differ.


THE FOUNDATION


As their names suggest, hard cap wigs and soft cap wigs are made using different materials.


The foundation of lace front wigs is created with a soft mesh cap while hard cap wigs use a solid material called Buckram (there are a number of alternatives taught on the course).


Generally speaking, soft cap wigs incorporate pieces of lace or similarly soft fabrics into their base and hard cap wigs have a firm, sculpted centre.


Which leads us to the next big difference:


DURABILITY


A major benefit of the hard cap wig is its ability to hold up well over time. Its solid base gives the wig a sturdy build that doesn’t lose its fit or shape easily.


Soft cap wigs, on the other hand, are not as compact and resilient. They typically show signs of wear and tear more quickly and often require adjustments to be made after being worn.


This difference is what makes hard cap wigs great for the theatre and other multi-use occasions like drag shows.


HOW LONG THEY TAKE TO MAKE


On average, hard cap wigs take a lot less time to create than lace front wigs.


The different stages of hard cap wig making.

Once up to speed with the hard cap technique, wigmakers need around an hour to build a simple wig and a few hours for a more elaborate design.


Alternatively, lace front wigs can involve hours spent on knotting the soft cap wig itself. Especially in the beginning, they can take closer to four hours to make.


DESIGN


When it comes to the design of hard cap and lace front wigs, your imagination is pretty much in charge.


Both wig-making techniques have produced stunning masterpieces. Think back to the window displays during Christmas – some hairpieces are truly spectacular.


A phenomenal display wig.

The difference between the two, if we had to pinpoint one, goes back to the foundation. As hard cap wigs have a solid base, the wig is more formfitting. It molds more closely with the wearer’s head and is in a way, more tailored than a soft cap wig.


Needless to say, wig-making of any kind is an art form. They’re original creations made by you – and to us, that’s the most inspiring part!


If you’re interested in making your own hard cap wigs, be sure to check out our beginner course here.


The Big Wigs Workshop offers courses around the world. To see where we’re headed next, visit our Instagram page.

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