Product Review: Arda Wigs Over Dreadlocks

Garnet Facet Differences, Steven Universe, Cartoon Network, 2014

It’s a wig review!

Arda Wigs Cosplay Wigs

Arda Wigs Dragon Con 2014 Booth

I mentioned way back in Cosplaying While Black: The Expense of Representing that I tend to cosplay only characters of color, to show that I appreciate creators making characters of my race, but that I was having a hard time doing so because my everyday hair is 4′ long dreadlocks, and it is no easy task to find a costume that will work with them.

I met the Arda Wigs team a couple years ago, at Dragon Con 2012. They told me then that their wig would fit over my hair. I was doubtful and said so, but they said anytime I was ready to give them a try, I should contact them. I did that in February, and after a little back and forth with the staff, Arda Wigs sent me a wig to review, with helpful suggestions and links to YouTube videos they thought might help.

I did a test run shortly thereafter, and was delighted to see that after mini-braiding my dreadlocks, pincurling them around my head, and cramming a wig cap over them, I could get the wig on!

Arda Wig Test

Excited, I finished assembling my Garnet costume.

I bought two different pairs of leggings: one burgundy and one black, from I cut the right leg out of the black pair, and the burgundy pair, then hem-taped the burgundy leg to the black pair.

I bought a black T-shirt at Wal-Mart, and found iron-on vinyl on eBay for Garnet’s star-emblazoned top. That didn’t work out as hoped because I don’t have a proper square T-shirt press, and couldn’t rent one cheaply. Still, I managed, and used duct tape for the outer edge of the star blazon.  (This won’t work a second time — duct tape doesn’t like being washed).

A pair of arm sleevies made up the rest of the costume, and I made shoe covers from the leftover legging parts. A pair of mirrorshades was easy to acquire, and with the wig, I had success! Well, after a few tries. It took a couple of different attempts to squish my hair down under the wig cap enough for the wig to make it on, and I used a couple duckbill pins to keep everything in place.

Photo by True Blue Spark & Mech Turtle
True Blue Spark (L) as Steven Universe and yours truly as Garnet

I made a special trip to Arda Wigs in the Dealers’ Room on Saturday to show them the finished product and thank them for their kind providing of a wig for me to review. They thought it looked great, and so do I. As expected, my Garnet costume got a lot more recognition than my cosplay of Connie from the same show. I ran into other Crystal Gem cosplayers as well, and we squeed together (even though crowding wouldn’t allow us to photograph each other). Next year, I’ll be improving the costume and wearing it again.

I suggested that I would love another afro wig in rainbow for my Snowanna Rainbeau costume. But even if Arda doesn’t manage that, I’ll be back for another wig for Dragon Con 2015. If you’ve missed Dragon Con, Arda Wigs will also be at Anime Weekend Atlanta September 26th – 28th.

So how was it?

I can highly recommend dealing with Arda Wigs if you’re a cosplayer. They’re patient, friendly, and helpful. Their website has actually improved since last I checked as well.   In an effort to help them help me, I measured my own head and took pictures of my hair so they’d know what they were up against.

Looking at the site now, I see that they’re taking head measurements into account on some of their wig pages so people looking to shop will know what to expect.

Garnet Facet Differences, Steven Universe, Cartoon Network, 2014Crystal Gems: we always find a way.

Jamie Kingston

Jamie Kingston

Jamie Kingston is a Native New Yorker, enduring a transplant to Atlanta. She’s a lifelong comic fan, having started at age 13 and never looked back, developing a decades-spanning collection and the need to call out the creators when she expects better of them. Her devotion extends to television, films, and books as well as the rare cosplay. She sates her need to create in a number of ways including being an active editor on the TV Tropes website, creating art and fan art, and working on her randomly updating autobiographical web comic, Orchid Coloured Glasses. As a woman of color, she considers it important to focus on diversity issues in the media. She received the Harpy Agenda micro-grant in November of 2015 for exceptional comics journalism by a writer of color.