Sorry if I sound whiney. But what's so good about using ardaswigs? I've seen you been using them and I recently had an incident where someone said I wasn't a good cosplayer because I didn't use their wigs in a cosplay.
I actually really like my wig i’m using. Its beautiful and really long, I don’t think arda has anything similar to it. If anything I would have to style a wig I would get from there and this wig was already styled since it was made for the cosplay.
Hey there Anon! So sorry you have to deal with someone like this. They are clearly being an elitist for the sake of being an elitist, because they don’t seem to know what they are talking about when it comes to wigs. I’m personally a fan of Arda, and their wigs are good for my uses, but they aren’t the end-all-be-all of cosplay wigs, and are actually bad for many uses.
Going to leave aside a lot of the cosplay positivity “what makes a good cosplay is if you have fun!” stuff for now. Yes, that’s true, but what I’m going to be talking about is quality. This isn’t an objective standard by any means, but there is some degree of objectivity to it, since this is what you can be judged on in contests, etc.
Basically, quality-wise, what makes a good wig is if it works for what you need it for. There are many factors that go into this – 99% of quality wigs will have dense wefts, generally smooth-laying fibers (as opposed to a frizzy Party City type wig), good color (color blends look more natural even for bright colors, neon does not), etc. etc. However, a lot of that is based on subjective standards – does it work for this character? If I need to style it, can it take the styling that I need it to? If It’s a basic style (say, long and straight with bangs), does it come in that style and look good? Does it tangle a lot? etc. etc.
I’ve worked with “good wigs” all the way from $8 Ebay and Taobao wigs left generally unstyled to heavily-styled $80 Arda long lacefronts. While the brand of the wig will determine many properties of the wig, and some wigs are inherently “higher quality” than others (many of the US-based cosplay wig companies, like Arda, Epic Cosplay, The Five Wits, etc., will have better fiber types, denser fiber, better colors, etc. than no-name Chinese Ebay seller #9347395), that doesn’t mean that a cosplay using one of these wigs is inherently better than a cosplay using a wig from another company. Look at my cosplays for example – my Roxy cosplay is gorgeous. That wig probably cost me under $10 on Taobao. It’s not the highest quality wig in the world, and it doesn’t like to keep my styling in place, but the fibers are smooth, the color is nice, no wig tracks show, etc. It’s a good wig. It looks good, and it works in the application I have it in. Would the cosplay be somehow magically better if I had an Arda wig? It might be a marginal improvement, but not really.
I have a feeling that this person thinks this way because Arda is used by a lot of good cosplayers (and their wigs are more expensive than your average Ebay wig), therefore, Arda wigs = good wigs, and the only good wigs. It’s a brand loyalty based not on the strengths and weaknesses of the brand, but based on the name of the brand itself and the false sense of prestige that comes with it. Here’s a pro tip: There’s no prestige with different wig brands. Really. No one worth your time cares. It’s what is done with the wig that matters.
Pre-styled wigs are actually a really great resource. If you’re cosplaying a popular character and companies make the pre-styled wig and you don’t have the time, money, expertise, or desire to make the wig yourself? Go for it. You may have to do a little touch up on the styling once it arrives, but that’s not a huge deal. Sometimes these mass-produced pre-styled wigs can go for the same amount or cheaper than buying the raw materials from a company like Arda, and if you’re happy with the wig, it really doesn’t matter if you styled it yourself or not (barring competition or your own personal satisfaction).
Here’s the reason why this person clearly doesn’t know what they are talking about: besides not caring that a good wig is what makes a good wig for that costume, they clearly don’t know that /Arda isn’t good for everything/. (Or they are purposefully trolling you, in which case, block them and move on with your life. :])
Arda is good for many things. I’ll run through them here. But Arda is also not the best choice in many circumstances. I’ll also run through those reasons.
I’ve been buying a lot from Arda recently, yes. It’s because their wigs work for what I need them for, and because I like their product despite many of their shortcomings, or because there isn’t another option out there that I know I’ll be satisfied with.
- Arda wigs are great for styling, especially heavy styling. Their fibers are a bit rougher than those from most companies, so they have more “grip” and do excellently with spiking, updos, and the like. They also make wigs that are specifically meant for heavy styling, such as wigs with the wefts sewn in backwards for spiking straight up, or wigs with the wefts already sewn for pigtails, etc. If you are doing heavy styling, this is the wig company you want. Their wigs are also entirely heat resistant, which is great for styling. They have pretty densely-packed fibers, as well, unlike a lot of cheaper wigs that have a row of short wefts for artificial volume and then a row of longer wefts, since this saves on costs. My last few wigs have had heavy styling – Pearl had that big foamcore point (I got a wig meant for updos so that the wefts on the underside would already be going in the right direction), Juri has those massive curls (and a lacefront), Angela is going to have spiking up top (and I know that the Jareth Long is already cut in the layers I need), etc.
- Arda has good color blends. Even their unnatural colors are made of fibers of different shades instead of having them all in a single shade, or only having a couple of colors blended together.
- Arda has a wide selection of styles and colors. They are set up differently from a lot of China-based wig companies, who will make a few base wigs in many colors and then a lot of specialized wigs for whatever characters are popular. Instead, they have a wide range of base wigs and a wide range of color options, and while every wig doesn’t come in every color, there’s a huge selection. They also have a pretty good selection of lacefronts in various unnatural colors, which is unusual to find, since these are mostly worn for fashion purposes and come in natural colors (typically darker natural colors, since a lot of black women wear them and that’s what’s most popular with that demographic).
- You can know almost exactly what you are getting with Arda. They have extensive customer galleries, as well as shop-made wig information sheets, so it’s easy to see exactly what features a wig has (skin tops, layers, etc.) and how it looks worn. If you still aren’t sure on a color, you can buy sample fiber for fairly cheap so you can see it in person. Sample fiber is also great if you plan on dyeing a wig (as I often do), since you can buy a whole bunch (they’re 25 cents each so it doesn’t break the bank to buy 10 of them to test on) and test your dyebath or experiment with colors without ruining your actual wig. They also sell wefts and extensions in all of their colors, so you can be sure that you can get wefts that match your wig perfectly.
- For example: my second Julia wig was from Arda because I knew that I could test the color with samples beforehand. My first wig was from Taobao, and while it was a lovely wig in all other respects, it turns /bright yellow/ in sunlight, which is something you can’t know easily from stock images. So I went to Arda, bought some blonde samples, and tested them in varying lights. This is also why I got my Utena wig from there, since I wanted a very specific type of pink (we’ll see when it gets here!). My second Samus wig is also from there because it was the /only/ wig shop I could find with a long, layered wig in a decent looking shade of green.
- Their customer service and community engagement are awesome. Prompt email replies, runs a tumblr blog, has all sorts of tutorials (you don’t need to buy from them to use those though ;]), puts out wig suggestions for currently-popular series, etc.
- Their wigs are fairly matte. I like it, others don’t, so this is down to personal preference.
- They have large wig caps. A lot of people with larger heads or a lot of hair swear by Arda for this reason. I have a tiny head and practically no hair, so this is a drawback for me.
- Some wigs have crimped fiber at the base. Not all. Some. This adds volume, but can make styling harder or make some wigs look frizzier than they actually are. I’ve never had an issue with it, but it’s something I’ve heard others complain about.
- Do you remember the “grippy” fibers good for styling? Great for styling, TERRIBLE for tangling. You have a long wig, Classic fiber, untreated? Those grippy fibers will latch onto each other and create a rat’s nest. It’s not inevitable, but it happens a lot more often than with wigs that have smoother fibers. This is the single largest drawback of Arda. If you need a long wig, unless it’s a very specific color or style, I’d say to stay away just for this. (For the record: I have two medium-length wigs from them that are both fine, since I treated them with silicone, and one long wig, which is also fine, since it’s in highly structured curls that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.)
- They don’t seem to keep up with color or style trends, especially when it comes to popular moebait type anime. So many characters with hair is varying shades of milk tea, and no such option at Arda. They don’t have a lot of soft-looking pastels in general.
- Speaking of colors, their wigs in natural colors don’t look as natural as wigs from some other companies. While their color blends are generally great, especially for unnatural colors, a lot of people complain about their lack of natural-looking natural color options (though they still have a wide variety of options), especially in blondes. If you need a natural-colored wig without a lot of styling, there are far better places to go.
- They are more expensive than many other wigs (though on par with other US-based cosplay-specific wig companies, like Epic Cosplay or The Five Wits). If you don’t need any of the positive properties of an Arda wig, or if the negatives are a dealbreaker, it’s better to either go to another company for the same price or save some money and go elsewhere.
Overall, Arda can be really good, depending on what you need. Since they tend to make wigs for styling, they also tend to not be a good place to go if you are planning on using the wig out of the bag with just a bang trim or other minimal styling. For those wigs, you can get a wig from practically anywhere as long as the fiber is smooth and not overly shiny, and the color is right, and the wig tracks don’t show, which is really the bare minimum you want in any wig. And if you want a wig that you don’t have to touch, pre-styled (or commissioning a stylist if you have the money) is the way to go. If you want a higher-quality wig that won’t tangle as much (smoother fiber) or has a different color or style selection, but doesn’t take as heavy of styling, Epic Cosplay tends to be the go-to US-based seller there.
But even with all this talk of wig quality, I’ll say it again: a good wig is a wig that works for your needs. Are you happy with how it looks with your costume? Does it feel right on your head (not too tight or itchy)? Can it be styled how you need? Do you like it? If yes, it’s a good wig, regardless of brand or anything else. Don’t listen to the haters.