There comes a moment in everyone’s life that marks their official coming of age. For me, it was when I got my first weave at sixteen years old. Three 14,16, and 18-inch bundles of wavy Brazilian hair. At the time, my relaxed hair was breaking off constantly, so I had to find a quick fix to get the long strands I desired for my highly-anticipated Sweet 16. With my soirée on the horizon, I successfully convinced my mom to buy me some extensions, despite how costly they were at the time.
Since then, my approach to styling my hair has never been the same. These days, I never wear the same style for longer than a month, save for when I have box braids — your girl has to get her money’s worth! While I wouldn’t label myself a connoisseur of all things hair extensions, I’m darn near close, having tried all kinds from weaves to clip-ins, and now, more recently, a custom wig made with hair from Indique.
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Started in 2007 by Ericka Dotson and Krishan Jhalani, Indique is one of the most popular extension companies on the market known for their premium quality and star-studded clientele, including Rihanna, Kelly Rowland and Demi Lovato. During my consultation at their Soho, New York boutique, I explored all of the hair they carried, as the brand’s marketing coordinator and resident hairstylist that does all of their campaigns, Joyce Koomson, walked me through each collection. They’ve got everything from virgin Indian hair (Pure collection) to natural and steamed textured Southeast Asian hair (Sea Collection). For myself, the original plan was to get a couple of bundles and sew it on as I’ve traditionally done, but after seeing the wig Joyce was wearing — a creation of her own — my mind quickly changed. While toying with my options, she thoroughly explained the numerous benefits of getting a bespoke unit, “Custom wigs are a great alternative to a traditional install. You’re able to preserve your favorite styles because it’s a complete single unit versus individual tracks. Your salon time is now cut in half, [there’s] less tension on your hair, and you don’t even need to be present to have your unit shampooed and styled. You also have the freedom treat your own hair more frequently,” Joyce explains.
Courtesy Shammara Lawrence
Similar to a sew-in where the wefts are attached to someone’s braids with special thread and a curved needle, personalized wigs are made with lace caps and fitted to a specific head shape, with the hair sewn on top in several rows. To keep it secure, a stretchy band fitted to the wearer’s head is attached, as well as three small comb attachments. Lastly, to finish off the look, Joyce added a 16-inch middle-part closure — a hairpiece made out of lace or silk secured around the perimeter that mimics a natural scalp. In order to maintain the integrity and softness of the hair, Joyce suggests, “wash it with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner weekly, and keep styling products to a minimum to prevent weighing down the hair.”
Once I was set on trying getting a personalized wig for the first time, it was time for my favorite part of the entire process: choosing which style to get. Growing up, I deeply admired Cher’s long, luscious black hair from her heyday. With the style’s recent resurgence in popularity with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj’s sporting the look out in public, I knew I had to get some of the longest hair could get my hand on — 24 inches of Sea Zen Straight to be exact, which resembles my natural hair when it’s straightened.
While Indique currently doesn’t offer custom unit services at any of their locations, they are planning on launching a wig collection in 2018. In the interim, if you’re looking to invest in a custom wig, hairdressers who are already versed in the ways of weaves are always an option, with most units costing upwards of $400, plus the price of the hair.
It’s been a month since I’ve gotten my custom unit by Joyce, and I couldn’t feel happier about the decision. Seeing that it was specifically made for my head shape, it looks completely natural. The first day I came back to the office after getting it made, my coworkers couldn’t stop complimenting me about how luxurious it looked. I even fooled my neurologist at my recent botox appointment. Since he was struggling a bit to reach my scalp while administering the injections, I decided to take off my hair right in front of him for the majority of the session. Completely taken aback, he blurted out, “wow, it looks so real.”
Now that, my friends, is a seal of approval.
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