One of the biggest challenges faced by people who wear wigs is making the wig look natural on top of their real hair. A wig cap covers the hair, much like a small stocking cap, to keep it controlled and to provide a smooth surface on which the wig can rest. Wig caps are generally small caps made from a type of nylon similar to that found in pantyhose, though they can be made from different materials and in different colors. People with short or long hair can use these caps if they wish, and some hairstyles may require one for a wig to fit properly.
There are several reasons for wearing a wig cap, though someone with very short hair and no bangs may not need one. Bangs, uneven hair layers or long hair can slip out of the wig, ruining the look. Some types of wigs may also lend themselves to wig caps because of the material used to make the lining or because of the size of the wig. Wearing a cap can help keep the inside of the wig cleaner as well, and the cap may also protect the natural hair from being rubbed and broken.
Regardless of the material or style of the wig cap, getting all the hair underneath it before putting on a wig can be difficult. Using the hands and fingers, it is important to push as much hair up into the cap as possible. Unless the hairstyle is very short, there will probably be at least a few stray hairs. A comb with a long, pick handle can be used to slide the remaining hair up and underneath the edge of the cap. This can take time and patience, especially at first.
Costume wigs that are worn for novelty or special occasions do not require a cap, though one can be used to achieve a better fit. People who wear wigs regularly or on a daily basis may find that a wig cap greatly enhances their appearance and helps the wig pass for their natural hair. Those people who are losing their hair because of chemotherapy may be encouraged to start wearing a wig before the hair is gone, so they can grow accustomed to the look and feel of a wig. Even once their hair has fallen out, a wig cap may protect their skin and can make wearing a wig more comfortable.
The best method of cleaning a wig cap is generally hand washing and air drying. A sturdy mesh or cotton cap can be washed and reused as long as it still holds its shape. Nylon caps generally are inexpensive and often come in packages of two, but these will probably not last through as many washings as slightly more expensive mesh or cotton caps before they stretch and become unusable. Wig caps can generally be purchased anywhere that wig accessories are sold.