Wig Walkthrough: Grell Sutcliff

The wig is one of my Franken-wigs put together from a cosworx.com Scruffy L in Dark Red and an Ivy, also in Dark Red. The Scruffy L is the base of the final wig, and the Ivy is essentially a ridiculous amount of pre-cut, pre-wefted wig fibers that are attached to the structure of the Scruffy L wig.



I wanted to approach Grell’s wig from this angle because, as everyone knows, most long-haired bishounen suffer from a medical condition in which they have ten times more hair follicles per inch close to the nape of their neck than the rest of their head, causing their hair to flare out because there’s just that much hair. Even more tragically is that like most long-haired male fighting game characters, Grell is haunted by the ghost of a wind machine and so his hair just goes everywhere regardless of whether a draft is present or not. The wig does not address this supernatural phenomenon to the degree of the first issue, but a portion of the long strands in front of his shoulders do suggest the go-everywhere nature of his hair in a way that will be explained at the end (because it makes way more sense with the final picture than it would with just text).

First, I cut the bottom five layers from the Ivy wig off and pinned it on the underside of the Scruffy wig so that the bottom of the final wig is lengthened by about two inches and it sits much more snugly on the head. I would not suggest doing this for a wig with a higher concentration of fibers or a costume with a lot of fabric sitting at the nape of the neck because it does obstruct ventilation and air circulation somewhat. Good thing Grell’s too lazy to put on his coat properly…



I attached all of the wefts using hot glue. Hot glue works in this situation because even if it doesn’t melt the acrylic fibers, it works around the fibers and seals them in once it cools.

After flipping the Scruffy L wig to fiber-side facing, I pinned back the fibers on the fifth or sixth row up. At this point, I cut out the rest of the Ivy layers in sets of three or four up to the lace area surrounding the top of the scalp. Two of them were glued, layered on top of each other, over the exposed weft of the Scruffy L wig. Some of them had to be folded in on themselves to fit the length of this layer.



The remaining wefts were placed along the bottom weft on weft-side facing of the Scruffy L wig. After this, two or three layers of the laced area of the Ivy wig will be centered over the recently attached previous weft (it should be shorter than the previous weft.) One-inch sections of wefts were placed close to the temples, forming the sections of Grell’s hair that sit in front of his shoulders.




This is what the wig looked like before styling. Pretty exciting…


Even though Grell’s spikes are fairly soft, I saturated the to-be-spiked area with disturbing amounts of Aquanet because the Scruffy L fibers settle pretty close to the head. The most important thing to do when applying Aquanet is to apply it in layers (though it’s more of a concern later on than right now) and I’ve found that it’s helpful to treat the Aquanet almost like mousse rather than hair spray if you want it do something specific like form spikes.



After letting the Aquanet settle, I brushed it out with a plastic-nubbed hair brush, making sure that the nubs didn’t go anywhere near the weft because they tend to sneak into the structure of the wig and pull at it. Then, I sectioned off the spikes and let gravity help them form into Grell’s morning-after hair. Because the tips of the spikes couldn’t be allowed to droop, I folded them back in on themselves with bobby pins before applying more Aquanet.


I left the wig alone for about twenty-four hours after this, spraying it with a layer of Aquanet every time I remembered. That sounds bad, but bright red wigs are halfway decent at grabbing attention (it was about eight to ten layers in the end). Later, I pulled off the bobby pins and gently detached the folded-over ends from where the Aquanet had stuck them to the rest of the spike.


I let them sit for another day or so, but those spikes didn’t even budge with brushing, much less gravity. Which was great, since they were going to get cut off anyways.


Here, you can see that the first few front spikes are trimmed and shaped, in comparison with the untrimmed ones. During the process, some of the larger spikes broke apart into smaller component spikes. I wanted the spikes to look somewhat natural, so having a variety of sizes was important. It’s especially beneficial in this step to use the Aquanet more like a mousse and spray it into your hands and shape the spikes instead of letting the Aquanet go all over the wig.



And here he is! Since this photo was taken in the mirror, it shows his spikes radiating from my right. They really spread from the left side.


The wig’s final style has structured spikes near the top of the scalp and drastically cut layers alluding to those spikes (the bottom of the Scruffy L wig) sitting at the nape of the neck, with a slightly flared, hip-length cut in the back. Sections of the long hair are meant to come forward and sit in front, with one section left loose on each side and one section looped over the shoulder on each side (and optionally bobby pinned to the underside of the base of the wig for stability) to suggest at the personal wind machine nature of Grell’s hair.

(Fun story about the personal wind machine thing. The concept of each long-haired bishounen having his own wind machine to make his hair flow about came from playing Soul Calibur III, when my sister and I noticed that Siegfried’s hair had no business floating about in the Underground Labyrinth stage, since there was no wind.)


About greyrondo

My name is greyrondo. I've been a cosplayer since Fall 2006, and I've noticed that the best conversations I have with cosplayers usually involve the question, 'so how DID you do that?' So after studying costuming and making a closet's worth of costumes, that's what I'd like to help answer. Drop in and stay awhile whether you're a cosplayer or just a curious spectator; one of my musings is bound to be what you're looking for. If you have a question or something to say, leave a comment or contact me! I don't bite, I promise. View all posts by greyrondo

2 responses to “Wig Walkthrough: Grell Sutcliff

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