We seasoned wig wearers know that synthetic wigs have never been better. They look and feel great, and there is one (or several) to please every wig wearer. They have many great qualities, and having many to choose from is just one of the many benefits. However, like with most things, nothing is perfect, and they do require attention to styling and correct product use.
These are some helpful tips to make living with your synthetic wig easier:
1. Remember the wig “hairs” are not hairs, they are fibers, and must be treated as such.
2. Invest in a spray bottle. It will be your best friend as you “wake up” your new fibers, and tamp down those flyaway bits, and static electricity in general.
3. Use your hands for styling. After waking up the fibers with a spritz of water, most wigs can be styled with just your fingertips. Combing or brushing too “perfectly” is often the culprit behind the “wiggy look” so go easy on perfection.
4. It can’t be said enough: when using a comb or brush on your wig, make sure they are designed for wigs, not human hair. The pulling action of some brushes or combs can damage the fibers or pull them out of the cap.
5. When using comb and brush, (always on a DRY wig) use short strokes for those with curls and longer strokes with light pressure for the smooth styles. Use a pick comb to style ringlet curls to help reduce frizz and manage flyaway bits.
6. Do not use hair care products designed for human hair.
7. Do not use heat unless the synthetic wig is “heat friendly” because it will damage the wig fibers.
8. When it’s time to wash your wig, you can restore it to its original style by washing it in cool water with wig-designated products. A lot of wig wearers swear by the “hang it upside down” to dry method. I have yet to try it because most of my wigs are shorter and dry fast on the wig stand.
9. How to get more volume: Some wig wearers like to back-comb/tease the underside of individual layers, but you can often get the lift you need by lifting the layers with a wig-comb/pick and spraying underneath.
10. Making changes to your wig: This topic comes up a lot. How easy is it to cut bangs, trip, or otherwise make changes to your wig? Unless you are skilled in this area, my advice is to take it to a professional. A professional can, along with cutting in bangs, trimming, etc., also do so in a way that flatters your face, making it more “you” for a truly customized look.
11. Accessorize! This is a tip that is often overlooked. Though I have more recently seen more wig reviewers talk about this. And how true it is. By using headbands, clips, and other accessories, you can add color, and brightness around the face, and make the style truly reflect your taste.
12. There has also been a lot of talk about how to straighten a wig using water or steam. Also, how to curl a wig is a question that I see often on our FaceBook group page. I won’t address these issues here because there are really good “help videos” about this from some of our reviewers that will answer your questions. These are the kinds of questions that need more than a line or two types of answers. Watching a video, and listening to the experts on these subjects will be a better use of your time.
At the end of the day, we are all faced with the good as well as the challenging when it comes to wig wearing, no matter what type of wig it is.
We are all in this together—
Until next time,
I see this question a lot—what is the best way to store my wigs for a season or an extended time? I have seen a lot of answers on this topic. In the end, it’s up to an individual’s space, resources, and personal preference. But... there are some ways better than others.
A few storage tips:
- Always make sure the wig you are storing is clean.
- Make sure the wig is completely dry and there are no tangles.
- Keep them away from heat and direct sunlight. They will dull your color and break down hair fibers.
- Keep them safe from children and pets. (A good idea in storage or not).
- If you want your wig to maintain its style better, invest in good-quality hairnets.
For more short-term storage, consider these options:
- Use the box it came in. They are stackable and labeled, making it easier for you to grab one and go.
- If you don’t have your wig box or need a way to travel with it that doesn’t take up so much space, fold your wig in half from ear to ear, insert it into a clean, plastic bag, and put tissue inside the wig cap to help it hold shape. You can use a Sharpie and label them to make searching for the one that you want easier.
- Always travel with at least two wigs to ensure that you don’t get an ugly surprise if something happens to one.
- If you have space wig stands are great and convenient, especially if you rotate your wigs often.
- Invest in a shoe rack just for your wigs. The over-the-door racks are perfect for wig storage.
- You can also invest in airtight plastic containers for your wigs so that you can label them with the names and colors of each wig that is stored inside. It will save you time opening plastic bags when you go to search.
What about wig stands? Wig heads? Which is best?
- Collapsible wig stands are great if you are lacking space and just want one or two available all the time, and great for travel.
- Wig stands are also helpful for styling because they let the wig fall as it is meant to, making it easier to style. Securing the wig stand is important to give you more flexibility.
- Mannequin or wig “heads” can also be used for wig storage. Be careful of sizing because storing on this type of head can stretch the wig cap it’s too large. They often cost more than the others and are not travel friendly. Also, they take up space.
- The lightweight styling foam heads are similar to the mannequin heads but less costly, and they are a bit more substantial than a wig stand. They do help keep the wig in shape and are great for those who keep a few wigs out at all times in a rotation. But are not great for travel, of course.
So, the answer is, get all three if you can. They each serve a different purpose.
Remember, if you leave your wigs sitting out, they can collect dust just like anything else. Never fail to give your wigs a good shake before wearing, and if they are to be sitting in one place for longer periods, covering them with scarves will help protect them.
Helpful rules that bear repeating:
Never store a damp wig, make sure your wig is tangle-free, and never store your wigs in heat or direct sunlight. If storing on wig stands/heads, make sure they are protected from dust, pets, and children.
Until next time, think wigs for fall, the holidays, and parties,
Those of us who have been on the wig-wearing and wig care journey for a long time sometimes forget the overwhelming feeling we had when we first started. Having heard from new wig wearers recently, I was reminded that to master anything, you have to start with the basics.
Let’s begin with something that new wig wearers often forget about until they get that new wig home. We are always so excited, traumatized, scared, happy—pick your word, about getting that first wig that we often don’t think about how to maintain it until we get that wake-up call: How do I take care of it?
What follows are some basics for any new wig wearer or about to be wig wearer. If you aren’t one to read and research, and like one woman told me that when she started, this was a call she made to her hairdresser: “I washed my wig every day, just like my hair, and it didn’t last very long, what am I doing wrong?” Of course, the hairdresser knowing considerably more about the difference between human hair and synthetics gave her the scoop on the differences. This woman, not a fan of reading up on wig care, just treated it like her bio hair. You can imagine the result.
So, let us look backward in this case to how best to get started and what you will need to chair for a wig (and some of this information can be tweaked to include human hair, of course. The type of products may vary but the needs list is about the same.
Here is what would be on any list I made for a new wig wearer:
- Wig stand
- Water spray bottle
- Wig Shampoo
- Wig Conditioner
- Wig brush (Human hair wigs ONLY)
- Wig comb
- Towel (I use a large hand towel and partially dry my wig by gently blotting it wrapped in a towel before hanging on a drying stand (NOT a Styrofoam head).
- Wig hairspray
*Don’t use regular hair products on synthetic wigs (I get this question a lot)
*Don’t ignore your wig’s need for care. Proper maintenance will add weeks to the life of your wig, many months. And save YOU money.
*Detangle your wig before washing
*Resist the urge to comb a wet wig. Let it dry on its own sitting on a proper stand before you touch it with a comb. Don’t worry about how it looks. It will bounce back into its style when dried and then combed.
Special note: Make sure your wig is heat resistant before using any heat on it at all. The fibers on a heat-resistant wig will act differently from a regular synthetic wig with non-heat-resistant fibers. You can ruin your wig quickly by making this mistake.
Tips: in-between washes, lightly spritz your wig with a spray bottle filled with water. Then use your fingers to bring style back and calm down any frizz or flyaway.
A friend of mine swears by Ellen Wille Hair Power Hair Tip Liquid. I have NOT tried this, but if any of you have, let me hear from you.
More Tips: What about curly wigs? Use short and very gentle strokes so that the curls remain intact. A “pick-comb” comes in handy for these styles as well.
How to create volume: Light teasing, then smoothing over and subtle lifting will usually do the trick, followed by wig spray to set it. Be gentle but not too afraid of manipulating it. The fibers are made to take a level of punishment. But remember, too much, too often, and not done with the right tools—the wig’s life will be shortened.
Problems: Try as we might, our wigs will incur some damage, sometimes just by repeated wearing and sometimes due to our mistreatment. Here are some common problems and fixes for synthetic wigs:
- Dryness: Since the fibers are synthetic they can’t produce moisture, so we must take care of that by adding a conditioner. There are multiple leave-in conditioners and deep conditioners out there to choose from. For those clumpy ends, try a little trimming or get your hairdresser to do it, and the popular silicone sprays. (and of course, low heat with a styling tool if heat resistant).
- Fixing unwanted curls, bends, and kinks: Unless your wig is heat resistant, you can’t use high temperatures. But you can use steam. Start slowly and gently and underdo it rather than overdo it because the steam will loosen the fibers but you don’t want it to remove fibers. (Use low heat on heat friendly wigs)
Preventing the Problems: How to prevent common problems and save time, money, and a few tears.
- Only use COLD water on your wig
- Don’t comb a wet wig
- Always air dry your wig
- Don’t apply heat unless it is a heat friendly wig or human hair wig
- Never sleep in your wig
- Use products designed for wigs not human hair
- Use your fingers more than combs for styling, detangling
- Use conditioners to make the wig softer, easier to manage, and comb (and to keep the stray hairs tamed).
How often to wash your wig: As you might expect, it will depend on how often you wear it and how much product you put in it. Rule of thumb every 10-12 wears, but if you wear it two hours a day that will vary greatly compared to wearing it ten to twelve hours a day—you get the point. You must be the judge on this. Does your wig smell okay, is it still smooth and untangled, is it looking dull from the products? You will know when it’s time if you pay close attention.
When it’s time to go: I’ve heard and read different “rules of thumb” on this topic. The consensus is that human hair wigs very well cared for last about six months with “regular wear” and synthetics from six to eight months on average. Sadly, yes, they all have a much too short life span. We’re up against fading, heat, friction, washing, drying, combing, products, and they all take a toll on the fibers (human hair wigs as well). And again, you will have to be the judge. The life span of your wig will be driven by you and what you do or don’t do. Maintenance is the magic word
Your wig can become and will become a great asset to you if you treat it like one.
Until next time,
Best to all,