Wig Maintenance: A Beginner's Guide
What’s the one thing every wig wearer worries about? Whether or not other people can tell that you’re wearing a wig.
Nothing is worse than being in the grocery store and wondering if everyone is staring at you because they know your hair isn’t really yours.
First, you should know they probably aren’t staring at all (there’s a half-off sale on paper-towels right behind your head, Carol). Second, whether or not people can tell if you are wearing a wig depends not just on the quality of your wig, but also how well you take care of it.
Read these tips to keep your wig looking fresher, fuller and more natural for longer than ever before.
1. Wear your wig less often
We aren’t saying not to wear a wig every day. We’re saying you shouldn’t wear the same wig every day.
Wearing a wig is like wearing an LBD. Over time the color fades, the threads to start to run, and the overall appearance diminishes.
If you’re an everyday wig wearer, you may want to consider buying two wigs and rotating them. The less you wear your wig, the longer it will last. Besides that, rotating will allow you to care properly for your wigs on “off” days.
2. Wash your hair...but not too often
You don’t need us to tell you that washing your hair too often can dry it out, turn it brittle, and make it lose shine.
The same is true of wigs, both synthetic and human hair wigs. If you’re rotating your wigs, you should be able to wait a few days between washes. If you only have one wig, wait a few days between washes to maintain your wig’s natural luster.
3. You paid good money for your wig, invest in high-quality products to maintain it
Say it with us: “Not all shampoos and conditioners are created equal.”
You know it, we know it, your stylist knows it. Even your husband - who says he is okay with Pert and has secretly used your shampoo for the past 25 years - knows it.
Using shampoos and conditioners specially designed for wigs is the key to wig longevity. Traditional shampoos and conditioners have harsh chemicals that can permanently damage your wig, and your wig hair won’t repair itself over time like natural hair.
Here are some of our favorite wig care products:
- Revlon Texturizing Wig Cleanser & Revitalizing Dual Conditioner
- HAIR U WEAR CLEANSE Shampoo & RESTORE RESTORE Conditioner
- Jon Renau Luxury Argan Shampoo & Conditioner
- Estetica Wig Shampoo & Conditioner
4. Practice proper wig washing techniques
Gone are the days of rubbing shampoo into your scalp.
Doing that will wear out your wig, and you’ll have to buy a new one sooner than you’d like.
Follow these techniques when washing your wigs:
STEP ONE Soak your wig in soapy water for a few minutes. Then, gently comb the shampoo through the hair. Do not rub or massage the product into the wig as that will result in residue buildup, which clumps your wig hair and possibly cause permanent damage.
STEP TWO Gently rinse the wig in clean, warm (not hot) water and comb through. Repeat this process until all the soap is gone.
STEP THREE Repeat steps one and two with your conditioning product.
STEP FOUR Detangle your wig immediately with a detangling brush.
STEP FIVE Air dry your hair. NEVER use a hair dryer on your wig. The hot air will permanently damage a human hair or heat-friendly synthetic wig and completely melt a synthetic wig.
4. Back away from the Elnett Satin.
Really. Put it on the counter and go to the living room.
You there? Okay, now we can talk.
More often than not, traditional drugstore or salon sprays will damage your wig hair. Repeated use of these products causes harmful residue buildup, which can leave your wig with a greasy look and feel.
Not a good look.
Invest in styling products made for wigs that will ensure the longevity of your wig.
Not sure where to find wig-friendly products? Check out our wig care products section for some ideas.
5. Put down your curling iron.
Everyone knows heat tools damage hair, and the same is true with wigs.
When you use a heating tool on your wig the hair gets damaged, dry, and brittle, split ends form, and the hair loses natural shine. Moreover, because wig hair doesn’t repair like natural hair, the damage is permanent.
Hair dryers, curling irons, and flat irons can all permanently damage your wig. If you own a synthetic wig, heating tools can melt your wig.
Make sure always to let your wig air dry. If you want a wavy or curly look, use non-heating curlers. Keep in mind; most wigs come pre-styled, so you can choose your look before your wig arrives at your home.
6. Visit your stylist!
She misses you! (We miss her, too. Say hello for us?)
Styling wigs is an entirely different process than styling natural hair. Your stylist should be able to give you some tips and tricks for styling your wig without damaging it.
More importantly, if you make a mistake cutting your wig on your own, it will be permanently damaged. Your stylist went to school to learn how to cut human hair and wig hair, so she is much less likely to mess it up!
Make sure to check-in with your stylist each time you buy a wig. Different wigs style in different ways, so it’s good to get advice for each one.
If you’d like to talk to someone about styling your wig over the phone, give us a call. We have licensed cosmetologists on staff ready to answer your questions!
7. Do not sleep or shower with your wig
Just trust us on this one, okay? Wig bed head is significantly worse than regular bed head.
Just (clap emoji) Don’t (clap emoji) Do (clap emoji) It (clap emoji)
8. Keep your wig covered and upright between uses
When you aren’t wearing your wig, make sure it is appropriately stored. Keep your wig in a cool room. If you’ve learned nothing else reading this post, it should be that heat and wigs are a dangerous combination.
It’s also a good idea to keep a small humidifier in the room you store your wigs in, especially if you live in a drier climate. A humidifier will keep your wig from drying out.
Leave your wig on a mannequin head (an expensive styrofoam one is fine) and use a light cover to protect the wig from dust and exposure.
9. Don’t neglect your hair just because you wear a wig every day
This tip is last, but it’s probably the most important.
Maintaining clean hair and a healthy scalp is something you should be doing already. When you have a healthy scalp, you’ll prevent residues, oils, and grease from seeping into your wig. Plus, with a healthy scalp, your wig will feel more comfortable.