-Buying a Wig-
First of all, you want to avoid party wigs at all costs. They might be cheap and 'okay' but really they are just not worth the money at all.
What to look for in a wig:
1) Make sure the wig is made with high quality fibres. The best you can get (besides human hair) are kanekalon fibres, second best is toyokalon. Both of these are just fine.
2) Look for a wig with a 'pantene shine'. This may make the wig seem overly fake at first, but trust me, it looks far more natural than a dull wig (at least in natural light, false lighting can have strange effects on wigs lol).
3) Look out for ratting. Ratting is basically a lot of tangling to give the wig volume. Ratting looks nasty and makes the wig almost impossible to deal with. Be aware that the small hairs around the netting of a wig are NOT ratting, those are to hide the netting and they are okay.
4) Wigs with skin tops add a lot of realism. A skin top is usually made of resin, plastic or even fabric. They make the part at the top of the wig appear to be coming out of flesh, which looks more realistic. These are not 100% necessary, but it's nice to have.
5) Thickness is generally a good thing. However, you can get away with some thinner wigs. I have a short wig that actually benefits from being a bit thinner, if it was thicker it would be shaped weird. However, for styled wigs, thicker is usually better :3
6) Price does not always reflect what you are getting. I've gotten good wigs for like $25 and bad ones for like $80. Always check what they are made out of and the look of them.
Wearing a wig properly is very important and can make all the difference.
Full wig instructions:
1) Invest in a wig cap. Wig caps can be made of netting or of stocking material. You can even create a makeshift wig cap out of some old tights you have.
2) If you have long hair, you want to put it into a low ponytail at the base of your skull, a bun is even better. Wigs have extra room in this area to allow you to hide your hair, so you want to make use of this. Short hair you'll just want to push back.
3) To put on the wig cap, pull it right over your head and have it around your neck. Some caps don't have holes in the top, so skip this part if it doesn't. You then want to pull the cap upwards. Make sure the back stops underneath your hair and the front stops at the hairline, be especially careful when pulling it over your ears, hair tends to escape here.
4) Now that you've got the cap on, you want to pull on the wig. The easiest way I've found is to pull the back over your hair and then pull on the front.
5) Now you need to use straight pins to hold your wig in place. Watch out for wig hair that has been pulled under the wig net, this happens to me a lot near the ears. When you pin, you want the pin to go through the wig and the wig cap, this will make it more secure. The most important places to pin is on the back of the head and around your forehead. You don't want that wig to slip around!
1) Half wigs are usually meant to be blended into the hair, however it depends on what type of wig you got. If the wig is meant to sit on the back of your head like a ponytail, you want to pull the rest of your rest hair back. If it's meant to add volume to the back and be blended in, leave your hair alone. Half wigs do not need a wig cap.
3) Half-wigs clip in. Ones that go overtop ponytails/buns clip in on the top of your head. Ones that are meant to add volume should be placed a bit closer to the front of your hairline. However don't take that as gospel, look at your wig and decide where it should be clipped, only you can decide.
4) Generally half-wig's clips have locking snaps so it is not necessary to pin it. However if you feel it might slip around, add some pins along the underside, try to hide them as much as possible.
5 If yours is meant to blend in, you'll want to brush your hair into the wig with a wide-toothed comb. Blending is typically not very difficult and only takes a few seconds.
Here are some visual instructions, the page is in Japanese though: http://www.prisila.co.jp/wear1.html
Things you should not do:
-If the wig is not already built into a ponytail/pigtails, do not just put the wig up and wear it. You will be exposing the netting and this looks horrible. You either need to buy a wig that is already in pigtails or be prepared to sew in new wefts of hair.
-Avoid doing anything crazy in it. Don't jump in the pool, run around in the rain, mud wrestle, whatever. Doing stuff like this will either wreck your wig or give you a heck of a lot to fix.
Getting a wig means you need to take some steps to take care of it. There is no point spending money on something you're just going to chuck into a drawer and ruin.
1) Get some kind of stand. You can get styrofoam heads, full heads made of plastic/resin/etc and foldable wig stands. I find the foldable ones to be the best, although I have one styrofoam head on hand for when I need to work on a wig.
2) It's generally a good idea to keep an eye on your wigs and dust them off. Since they do spend some time sitting around, they do attract dust. Don't worry too much if some dust gets on it, you can dust it off or even wash it if it's really bad.
3) Remember that longer wigs are harder to take care of than shorter ones and curly ones are more difficult than straight.
1) Fill a basin or sink with water, preferably cold or very lukewarm. You do not want hotter water, this will bend the fibres and possibly mess up your wig, colder is better. Make sure the basin is not very deep if you are washing a curly wig.
2) Dip the wig in all the way and swish it around a little bit making sure to get it totally wet.
3) Take your wig shampoo (sometimes called wig conditioner) and pour a little bit in. Do not use the shampoo that is for your own hair, this is not good for a wig (UNLESS it is human hair). Shampoo is important to keep the wig from getting frizzy so don't skip it. Swish the shampoo around, making sure it gets all over the wig.
4) At this point you'll want to rinse the wig. I usually take out the wig, refill the sink and place the wig back in. Swish the wig around, try to get as much shampoo out as possible.
5) If you have a curly wig, you want to be careful when removing it from the water. The weight of the water can drag the curls down and possibly wreck them.
6) You then want to place the wig ontop of a towel and carefully blot it by pressing it down a little. Do not wring or rub, this is bad.
7) If you have a straight wig, you can place it ontop of a wig stand to dry. If the wig is curly, I recommend letting it dry for a while on the towel before putting it on the stand. Do NOT use a blowdryer, let it air dry.
1) If you have a curly wig, it's best to just let the tangles be. You can fix major problems when it is submerged in water, I wouldn't recommend doing anything else or you risk wrecking the curl.
2) For a straight wig, you want to use a comb with very wide teeth. Get it as wide and big as possible, small is bad. Never use brushes, especially not wire ones (seriously, they don't help). When combing a wig, start from the bottom and work up. If you work from the roots to the ends, you'll just end up creating some really nasty knots. Sometimes a wig just moves all over the place and isn't exactly tangled (just messy). If this happens, just start separating small pieces by hand until you've got it all worked out.
3) For especially nasty tangles, try removing them while the wig is wet. If they still won't come out, you may need to cut out the offending pieces. If there are massive knots all over the place, the wig is probably a lost cause.
Here are some shops I've had good luck with
http://www.amphigory.com/ - Good for basic wigs. Great if you do stuff like Katie Bair.
http://stores.ebay.com/COSPLAY-WIG - Has some cheap wigs that look nice. A lot of their stuff is made from kanekalon or toyokalon.
http://www.prisila.co.jp/ - Has some really nice half-wigs. Has sections for regular styles, gal styles, character styles and gothic styles.
http://www.maple-wig.com/ - Very nice stuff for good prices. Great quality and some neat styles.
http://www.pettingzoowigs.com/wigs.html - Has awesome custom jobs, but is good for basic things like wig heads, wig caps, wig shampoo, etc.
-Suggestions From Others-
I do not have any personal experience with these shops, so please don't ask me about them. Look for who posted the link and ask them :3