Quality Locks Shop
296 Elizabeth St., nr. Bleecker St., Ste. BF; 646-701-0026; and 65 Bond St., nr. State St., Boerum Hill; 718-797-1910
The mission of this mini-chain: 100 percent virgin remy hair, known to stay tangle-free for as long as a year (lower-end counterparts can become unmanageable in a few months or even weeks). Quality doesn’t come cheap, of course: The sew-in extensions—primarily Indian locks, which tend to be the most compatible with African-American hair—are sold in four-ounce bundles from $159 to $330 (often you’ll need more than one), and that’s before you take them to your salon for application, which can set you back a few hundred bucks. A selection of clip-in extensions (from $199) are available too.
Ryan Trygstad at Sally Hershberger Downtown
425 W. 14th St., nr. Ninth Ave., No. 3F; 212-206-8700
Trygstad’s custom so-called Wigstad extensions—in which the faux hair is fastened to an elastic band, thereby slipping onto your head sans clips or glue—got a boost when client Kelly Ripa showed them off on air last year. (They start at $875.) He also does tape-ins and keratin bonds, incorporating the extensions to create a subtle enhancement (say, a more voluminous updo; from $150) or a full-blown Rapunzel (permanent extensions run around $3,000).
Feel Beauty Supply
370 Fulton St., nr. Court Sq., Downtown Brooklyn; 718-852-6889
While other drugstore-style shops have a similarly costume-y selection, the prices tend to be lowest at this Fulton Mall fixture, where you can get Blonde Ambition–style clip-in ponytails from $14 (at Ricky’s, for instance, you’d be hard pressed to find any hair for less than $50). Among the hundreds of choices are an array of $20 synthetic wigs in colors from basic brunette to acid pink and Smurf blue.
LaVar Hair Designs
134 W. 72nd St., nr. Columbus Ave. 212-724-4492
Owner Ellin LaVar is something of a celebrity herself, thanks to a 30-year career that’s included a onetime reality show on WE, a roster of famous clients like Whitney Houston and Naomi Campbell, and, at the root of everything, a pioneering weave technique (dubbed the “invisible braid”). The method, which she developed in the seventies, involves threading extensions through cornrows of the client’s existing hair. A less damaging alternative to glue-in and tape-in extensions, it remains the salon’s gold standard (from $600), though LaVar offers the aforementioned too. For private types, the weaving can be done in a back room.
Wig Tip No. 1
“If you’re just dipping your toes in the wig pond, wear it around the house first; wear it around your neighborhood. Then you’ll feel bold enough to wear it to work and out at night.” —Wendy Williams, talk-show host and wig designer
Wig Tip No. 2
“Get a wig with bangs—it’s much cheaper than Botox.” —Lady Bunny, drag performer and founder of Wigstock
Wig Tip No. 3
“If your wig isn’t an expensive custom one, wear a hat with it—cheap wigs tend to look fake at the roots, but the ends are just fine.” —Bevy Smith, host of Bravo’s Fashion Queens
Wig Tip No. 4
“I make my wigs look more natural by darkening the roots—about a full inch—with brown eyeliner or eye shadow.” —Kim Zolciak, Bravo star, singer, and wig designer