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How to Care for a Wig

It is important to wash and care for a wig regularly to ensure that it has a clean and attractive appearance. Just as with real hair, wigs can get dirty, matted, and tangled when not cared for properly. Ideally wigs should be washed every two or three weeks, but the fewer cleanings they receive the longer they’ll last. The steps for cleaning wigs are the same for synthetic and human hair wigs.


The process for washing human hair and synthetic wigs is basically the same, but different products are needed. Only shampoos designed for use with synthetic wigs should be used on synthetic wigs. Using regular shampoo could damage the fibres of the wig. The differences between the wig shampoos is minimal, so shoppers don’t have to invest in expensive products. Less expensive wig shampoos do just as well.

Only cool water should be used when washing a wig because hot water loosens the construction of the wig and causes it to lose shape or fall apart. The sink is filled with about two litres of water and two capfuls of shampoo are added. The wig is submerged in the water and left to soak for at least one minute. If the wig is especially dirty, then it can be left to soak for up to five minutes. Unlike washing real hair, a person should not rub the wig to scrub it clean. The shampoo will do most of the work, so unless the wig has excess dirt and debris caked on it, no scrubbing is needed. Once the wig is done soaking, it is rinsed in cool water until all of the shampoo is removed.


Wigs should always be air dried. Immediately after removing the wig from water it is placed on a bath towel to absorb the excess water. It can either be laid flat on the bath towel overnight to dry or positioned on a wig standfor quicker drying. Wigs should never be twisted to remove excess water. This puts too much pressure on the hair and causes it to break. While the wig is drying, the strands can be straightened using fingers only. Brushes and combs will damage the hair if used while it is wet.


Applying conditioner to the wig makes it easier to comb once it is dry. People can either condition the hair as part of the washing process (human hair only) or as part of the drying process. In the washing process, conditioner is distributed evenly through the hair, then rinsed out. Spray-on conditioner that can be left in is applied to the wig as it is air drying. It can be distributed through the hair using the fingers.

Styling a Wig

Synthetic wigs are very easy to style. All that is needed is a brush or a comb to straighten the hair. In some instances, the wig just needs to be shaken out to return to its original style. Human hair wigs can be styled as needed. Curling tongs and hair straighteners work well to curl or straighten the hair to the desired style. As with synthetic wigs, human hair wigs should not be styled until they have completely dried.

How to Care for a Wig Between Cleanings

If the wig just needs a little bit of freshening up but is not quite ready for a full wash, then there are a few things that women can do to care for their wigs between cleanings. First, the tangles are removed using a wig brush or a wig comb. Baby powder is applied to the fibres of the wig and then the excess is removed with shaking. The baby powder removes the shine from the hair to give it a cleaner appearance. Rather than using products that can cause the fibres of the wig to look dirty, water can be sprayed on to remove frizz, volume, and also assist with restyling.

Tips for Increasing the Life of a Wig

Only clean a wig as often as needed and as sparingly as possible. This ensures that it will have a long life. There are several other steps and tips that a person can follow in order to increase the lifespan of a wig. If a high quality wig receives the proper care and maintenance, a woman can expect to get several years of wear from her wig.

Have an Extra Wig on Hand

It is a good idea to have an extra wig on hand. This is especially true since the process for washing and drying a wig takes several hours. Having an extra wig available means that the wearer doesn’t have to worry about being without a wig while one is being washed. Additionally, having two wigs can increase the lifespan since the wigs are being used half as much as one wig alone would be used.

Only Use Hair Tools Designed for Wigs

Regular hair brushes and combs should not be used with synthetic or human hair wigs. It is natural for real hair to shed, and combs and brushes assist in removing this excess hair. Instead, wig combs and wig brushes gently remove tangles from the hair fibres without putting enough strain on the hair to break individual strands. These special combs and brushes often come with rubber tips on the ends of the teeth.

Keep Hair Clean

It is important for the wearer to keep their own hair clean underneath the wig in order to increase the lifespan of the wig. Dirt and oils from the scalp and hair are transferred to the underside of the wig while it is being worn and might cause the wig to need to be washed more frequently. To further protect the wig from dirt transfer from the scalp, a wig cap should be worn. Lastly, a wig should never be put on over wet hair since the excess moisture can damage the underside of the wig.

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