I go through about three to four wigs a year. I like changing up my style, but synthetic wigs also require a lot of care. Thankfully Corrie Dubay is here to help!
She is a friend and hero to girls everywhere. She is beyond talented.
Corrie has a newsletter that she sends out with helpful makeup tips like these and is reprinted here with her permission. I am certain you’ll find this useful! You can sign up for her newsletter here
Let’s be honest – I love wigs. They can transform you into an entirely different person. They are super versatile and come in literally every color and cut you can imagine. But!! As we know – over time and lots of use – they can start to get a little rough looking. In today’s newsletter I’ll cover synthetic wig maintenance including how to properly wash and store your wigs.
First, let’s talk about storing our wigs. If you can store your wigs on a canvas block or foam wig head – that is ideal. Storing it on a block or foam head will keep the shape nice and help prevent weird bends or kinks forming in the hair from being jammed into a bag. Wig blocks are made from cork covered in a heavy canvas You can find them here on Amazon for around $30. Foam heads work, too. They just are not as durable and over time you may need to replace them (especially if you are pinning your wigs to them) but they usually are pretty cheap – $4 – $10). In the photo below, the foam head is on the left, the wig block is on the right. I’ve covered my wig block with plastic to protect it from hairspray, color, etc.
If you are unable to store them on wig blocks or foam heads, the next best thing is to keep them in their original packaging. Brush them before putting them in the bag. If your wig came with a little net, put the net back on (it helps keep the hair in place a little better). Carefully put the wig back in it’s box or bag until you’re ready to wear again.
When ready to wear, take out of the bag, give a quick brushing and you should be set to go. If you put the wig in the bag nicely, it should come out looking pretty good. If you jam it in there, you might have some problems. If you do have a weird bend, try spritzing with a little water, that will sometimes help relax the bend. Also – if your wig is wet or sweaty, let it dry before you store it. This is SUPER important. Storing a wet wig can make it really stinky and you’ll for sure want to wash it before you wear it again.
Washing our wigs: You don’t have to wash your wig every time – but it is good to wash every so often. Especially if you sweat a lot or tend to use styling products on it.
Step 1: Brush your wig BEFORE getting it wet. Wet wigs tend to get snarly as we wash them, regardless of how careful we are…and we don’t want to amplify the problem by having a rats nest we haven’t taken care of beforehand.
Step 2: Fill a sink with warm water (not hot, just warm). You can use wig shampoos and conditioners (specially formulated for synthetic wigs – the white bottles came from Sunny’s in Uptown) or the cheap (like dollar store!) shampoo and conditioners work fine, too. Take a cap full or two and dilute the shampoo. Place your wig in the water and gently swish it around for a minute or two. Drain the water and fill again with clean, warm water and two caps of shampoo. Swish again for a minute and soak for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain water and gently run warm water over wig to rinse. If your wig is REALLY bad, you may want to do two swishings, then the soak.
Fill sink with warm water and dilute one to two cap fulls of conditioner. Swish the wig around gently for a minute or two. Drain water and gently rinse with warm water.Step 4:
Gently squeeze excess water out of the wig. DO NOT BRUSH!!! I know you’ll be tempted, but don’t. It’ll damage the hair (can stretch it or create frizzy little curls). Lay the wig on towel on a counter or table to dry. Depending on the wig – this may take a day or two. So don’t do this if you need to wear the wig that, or even possibly the next, day. It may not be dry and using a hair dryer is not an option (could melt the fibers and ruin your wig.
Step 5: Once the wig is fully dry – you are free to gently comb/brush out any snarls that formed during washing (there will be a few) and wear again. Most synthetic wigs will bounce back to their original shape/style (for the most part). Sometimes the ends might need a little trimming if they are looking a little frayed but that is the nice thing about synthetic wigs – you don’t have to worry about re-styling them too much. Some synthetic wigs can take a low amount of heat, others will melt if you touch them with an iron. If you do want your wig to have a different style, I’d suggest bringing it to someone who is knowledgeable and skilled in wig styling for help.
A few last pointers – please note the word GENTLE is used often in this newsletter. The more gentle you are and more you baby your wig, the longer life it will have. If you are rough with it and not good about keeping it brushed – you’ll end up with a seriously tangled mess in no time at all. Synthetic wigs tangle easy and need to be brushed before and after each wear.
Also – spraying them with a wig detangler or leave-in conditioner (I picked these up at Sunny’s as well) is also a good habit to get into every time you wear. The conditioners are great for taming flyaways while wearing – you can spray them down prior to wearing. The detanglers aid in brushing out any tangles you might have when you are going to store your wig for the day (just make sure it’s dry before you put into a bag or box).
There you have it!! A quick overview of how to wash and care for your wigs. If you have any additional questions, please let me know!!