Toupee vs. Wig: What Are the Differences?

If you’re looking for the right hairpiece, you may be wondering what the difference is between a toupee and a wig. Even if you know the differences, you may not know which one is the right fit for you. Choosing a hair system is a sensitive topic, especially if you’re buying your first ever non-surgical hair replacement.

“Toupee” and “wig” are often used synonymously, but they are not actually the same thing. Nevertheless, it’s no wonder that many people are confused by the difference.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll tell you what you need to know about toupees and wigs. You’ll also learn the necessary information on how to tell the difference between the two options. After going over the similarities and differences between the two, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each.

Our toupee vs wig comparison will help you determine which one is right for your needs.

What is a Toupee?

A toupee is a hair replacement system that covers a small portion of the scalp, typically a balding section on a man’s head. This hairpiece is meant to blend in with a man’s natural hair so that others don’t realize he is wearing a hairpiece at all.


Toupees use a combination of glue, clips, and tape to keep the hairpiece in place. These adhesives are used to make sure the toupee doesn’t slip or shift when worn. When selecting a toupee, it’s important to choose a color, style and texture that can blend in with your remaining hair.

When a toupee is properly installed, it can remain on your head for weeks. You can wash your hair, go swimming, and sleep with it on. A trained hairstylist can help you make sure your toupee is properly fitted and styled. When you wear a high-quality toupee, others won’t realize it isn’t your natural hair.

What is a Wig?

A wig is a hair replacement system that usually covers the entire head. Instead of relying on adhesives to keep the hairpiece in place, a wig covers the entire head usually with elastics or anti-silicone to help keep it in place without the use of adhesives.


Wigs are usually ready to wear right out of the box. You don’t usually have to style or trim them, which makes them easier and faster to put on and take off. Natural hair wigs give men the look and feel of natural hair without requiring adhesives.

Because wigs cover the entire head, they can be used when a toupee no longer covers balding areas. If you’re experiencing thinning or balding across your scalp, wigs offer a full-coverage solution. They are also an option if you want to try a new style without physically altering your real hair. With so many available options, there’s a wig to fit every style.

As opposed to toupee which typically needs to be worn with the help of the hairdresser, wigs can be easily worn or taken off all by oneself. They can stay securely on the head without special adhesive.

Also, because it does not need styling and trimming, it can potentially save the wearer lots of time, energy, and money.

Similarities Between Toupee vs. Wig

When comparing toupees and wigs, the obvious similarity between the two is the fact both are hairpieces. They both offer a solution to cover balding areas. In fact, both can be made using human hair, although many synthetic wig options exist.

Both toupees and wigs require proper upkeep to increase their lifespan and make them look their best. Cleaning toupees and wigs require special shampoo and conditioner designed for use on hairpieces. It’s important to follow manufacturer instructions for washing your hairpiece, especially if you want it to last a long time.

Since both products are used to treat the same problem, many hair system providers offer both toupees and wigs to their customers. Although some companies focus on one or the other, many hair system companies offer a wide range of products, including toupees and wigs.

Differences Between Toupee vs. Wig

Although toupees and wigs solve many of the same problems, they have many significant differences. Knowing the differences between toupees and wigs may help you determine which option is right for you.


The biggest difference between the two is their size. Toupees only cover the crown of a man’s head, while wigs cover the entire scalp. That means that toupees are typically significantly smaller than wigs.

If you’re trying to distinguish between a toupee and a wig, look at the base of the hairpiece. If it has a base large enough to cover your whole head, it’s probably a wig. However, if it’s only the size of the crown of your head, it’s probably a toupee.


How Do Wigs and Toupees Work?

One of the biggest differences between toupees and wigs is their function. Toupees are used primarily to cover balding spots on the crown of a man’s head. These hairpieces are not meant to replace a man’s hair entirely. Instead, they cover one specific area.

Wigs, on the other hand, are made for all kinds of hair loss and thinning. Because they cover the entire head, they do not depend on your natural hair to pull of the look. Many men use these when their hair has thinned to the point a toupee no longer covers their hair loss.

Unlike toupees, wigs can also be used for recreational or aesthetic uses. You don’t have to match your wig hair to your natural hair because the wig will cover any remaining natural hair.

The Way They are Attached

Another difference between toupees and wigs is how they’re attached to your head. Toupees are often attached with adhesives like tapes and glues. Men typically need the assistance of a hairstylist to attach and style a toupee, since it’s difficult to use the adhesives accurately on your own head.

Wigs, however, use elastic or clips to stay on a person’s head. Since you can put it on and pull it off without dealing with adhesives, you can use a wig without help from your hairstylist.

Since toupees use adhesives, they’re often worn for longer periods of time. Men can wear a toupee for weeks if it’s applied correctly. However, wigs are meant to be worn only one day at a time. They cannot be worn to bed. Wigs must be removed and reapplied each day.

Are They Look Natural?

Toupees are typically more natural than wigs.

In fact, most toupees are made with real human hair, which best imitates the wearer’s own hair texture and shine. With the help of professional adhesives, the toupee can blend in with the wearer’s natural hair and create a seamless look. Click to find out the 7 most natural hair systems at New Times Hair.

Wigs can look unnatural compared to hair systems. In order to cover the full scalp of baldness, full cap wigs usually use longer hair across the head thus they don’t match the wearers’ natural hair or style. Unlike the hair systems which use adhesives to create a seamless look in the front hairline, wigs do not use adhesives and will look less natural in the front hairline and the temple area. Another reason is that so many synthetic wigs are available on the market. Synthetic hair can make the wig look thicker and less natural-looking than human hair wigs.

Toupee vs. Wig: Which One is Best for You?

Now that you know the differences between toupees and wigs, it’s time to get into the details of both products to help you find the right fit for you. Below are some pros and cons of both toupees and wigs.

Pros and Cons of Toupee

Toupees are a great option if you only need to cover a small portion of your head. Like all things, toupees have both pros and cons associated with them.


  • They are perfect for covering thinning or balding areas at the very top of your head.
  • They come in a vast array of hair textures, colors and sizes. This allows them to blend in with your natural hair.
  • When secured with the right adhesives, toupees can remain in place for long periods of time.
  • They are often more affordable than wigs since they don’t have to cover as much of your head.
  • Toupees can be styled and cut with your natural hair to create a seamless appearance.


  •  It can be difficult to find a toupee that’s an exact match to your existing hair.
  • You’ll need to replace your toupee fairly frequently, especially if you wear it every day.
  • Although the toupee itself is inexpensive, the care products can quickly add up in price.
  • If your toupee isn’t secured correctly, it may look unnatural.
  • It will only cover one area, which won’t help if you need coverage for your whole head.

Bottom line: Toupees are a great pick if you have a small bald spot on the top of your head. In fact, toupees are specifically designed to cover these balding areas. When your hair is balding at the top of your head, toupees are the best non-surgical hair replacement option.

However, they aren’t a great option if you need to cover up large portions of thinning hair. They are limited in size by their function. If you have a large area you need to be covered, you must choose a wig instead of a toupee.

Many men like toupees because they aren’t as disruptive to daily routines. You can sleep, shower, swim, and work out while wearing a toupee. You don’t have to worry about a toupee falling off your head because the adhesives will hold it in place, even after you’ve worn it a few days.

Pros and Cons of Wig

Like toupees, wigs have their own pros and cons. The pros and cons listed below will help you decide whether a wig is the right fit for you.


  • They cover a larger portion of your head.
  • You don’t need to have your wig cut or styled to match your natural hair, since the only hair showing will be on the wig.
  • Lace front wigs both look natural and stay firmly in place.
  • Wigs are usually more comfortable since they don’t require glues or tapes to keep them in place.
  • You have the freedom to choose something like your natural hair or something entirely different.
  • Synthetic wigs usually don’t need to be styled, which can save you time.


  • Fake hair can be easy to spot. If a wig looks too perfect, people might know it isn’t your real hair.
  • You’ll have to invest in supplies to maintain and clean your wig.
  • Synthetic hair wigs require special care, since they are prone to heat damage.
  • Since wigs cover a larger area, they can be significantly more expensive.

Bottom line: Wigs are a good choice if you need to cover larger portions of your head. They’re also good if you want to try a new style. Since none of your natural hair will be showing, you don’t have to worry about matching them to your natural hair color.

Some men choose wigs, even if a toupee would fit their needs. Toupees work best for men who are balding at the highest point on the head. However, some men opt for a wig instead to bypass some of the drawbacks associated with toupees.

Ultimately, you must decide for yourself which option is best for you. If your needs can be covered by either a toupee or a wig, it comes down to personal preference to determine which one to purchase.


I believe this guide has already answered your question about the difference between toupee vs. wig.

In the end, it’s up to your needs and preferences to determine whether you should get a toupee or a wig. They are both non-surgical hair replacement options that can help you feel more confident about your appearance by giving you the look you want.

When you’re shopping for a hairpiece, it’s important to find a hairpiece brand that cares about you and your satisfaction. We’re a wholesale hair replacement systems distributor and we are here to support you. For any questions and business inquiries, please reach out to us by email at

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