Finding and choosing the right wigs for you is a big deal. It can be a life-changing experience and is truly an investment in yourself and your future. It is important then to take good care of your wigs on a regular and consistent basis to keep them looking new, clean, and stylish. These imperative care practices are necessary for all kinds of wigs, despite differing in specific processes for the various types. Human hair wigs, for example, can be cleaned and styled differently than synthetic hair wigs, but both require such upkeep (ie – regular cleaning) to ensure longevity. Though most conventional wigs are synthetic, today we are going to talk about four different areas of proper care practices for human hair wigs.
When not being worn, your wig should always be stored on a wig block or wig stand to keep it from getting tangled, damaged, or misshapen. It is best to keep the stand in a dry location that is free from moisture, mold, dirt, and dust as well as extreme temperatures. High heat, from a lamp or direct sunlight, should be avoided.
To clean your wig, begin by making sure that it is free of tangles by working through the strands with a comb, starting at the ends and working towards the cap. You will use shampoo for cleaning the wig, but it is important to avoid brands like Clairol, Pantene, Sauve, or Head & Shoulders as these products contain a high percentage of chemicals that accelerate the loss of color and moisture. Some hair specialists will recommend that you wash your wig by submerging it in water while others will suggest sticking to running water or even cleaning it in the shower instead. These differences are dependent on the specific wig you have chosen, and the hair care professional from whom you bought the unit will be the best resource for understanding the needs of that individual wig. Especially when speaking about human hair wigs, which are often an investment in the top quality available, it is smart to make gaining an understanding of the proper techniques a priority. Conditioning is also frequently recommended for wigs that can be washed while showering; however, conditioner should be smoothed over the unit and not rubbed in at the base in order to keep from loosening knots. Whatever method your specialists directs you to follow, remember that regular cleaning is imperative to avoid build ups and loss of sheen.
After washing your wig, gently dab the excess water away with a soft, dry towel. Do this by patting the hair and pressing the towel lightly against it; do not squeeze, wring, or rub the wig while drying. If you want, you can put a very light layer of conditioning spray on the wig at this time. Then, place the wig on a stand to dry. It is best that this be a smaller form than a usual head-shaped block used for storage so as not to stretch out the cap. If you don’t have a smaller wig stand, get creative at home; a can of hairspray can suffice if needed. You can use your hands to gently arrange the hair into the position in which you want it to dry, but do not brush the wig while it is wet or damp. Allow to air-dry completely. Some wigs can withstand low setting blow drying, but the best practice is to avoid doing so and allowing the hair to dry on its own. Talk to your hair restoration specialist to confirm potential drying techniques for your specific human hair wig.
Use a wide-tooth or wig comb or your fingertips to tease through any tangles. As usual, be gentle. Do not use standard brushes. Products such as leave-in conditioner or wig mousse are okay and even a bit of water from a spray bottle can aid in removing dryness and static. Human hair wigs are unique in this area of wig care in that they can be styled using hot rollers, blowers, and curling and straightening irons, allowing for styling options that are limited only by the imagination. Simply place your wig on its stand and style away. For a complete restyle, see your professional wig stylist.
Photo credit (top left): Denise Mahoney via Flickr Creative Commons
Photo credit (bottom right): Daniel Rothamel via Flickr Creative Commons, Cropped