Updated: Mar 3
Unless you’re already a part of a community that uses a lot of wigs or in a profession that requires a lot of wig knowledge (such as cosplayers or actors), you likely don’t know much about wigs for women.
That’s okay! We’re here to help with this.
When it comes to a wig, unless you use them very often, you may not be aware that you need to take care of your wig almost as if it was normal hair. Real hair pieces are not just things you can throw on when you need them and throw into the closet when you’re not using them.
They, as with all things, require care and good treatment to make sure that they will last for as long as possible.
Today, we’re going to learn about how to take care of your synthetic styled wig, including looking into how to wash it, store it, and all-around keep it long-lasting and in good condition.
When it comes to synthetic wigs for women, there are two main types: human-hair wigs and synthetic wigs. The former is a type that is made from real human hair, and the latter is made from a specific type of fibrous material that can mimic the look of human hair.
When it comes to a synthetic, this fibrous material is typically made out of a low-grade plastic acrylic – meaning that you will want to avoid putting your wig anywhere near heat – but technology has advanced in such a way that some synthetic wigs can look just like normal hair.
The higher the quality, the more it will look like real hair that has grown naturally from your head. However, even though a synthetic wig can look like human hair, there are two important things to keep in mind:
A synthetic fibred headpiece cannot be used forever. They tend to last for a minimum of three months and a maximum of six months. They might last for a shorter amount of time or a longer amount of time, but it’s not a guarantee.
The more you take care of it, the longer it will last.
As such, we will now discuss the best way to care for a synthetic fibred wig to make sure that it will last for as long as possible.
Synthetic Wig Care
As mentioned, the better care you take of it, the longer it’ll look good and maintain its initial shape. (Keep in mind that most synthetic wigs come pre-styled, and the hairstyle can’t be changed up.)
Make sure to do your research to make sure that you are caring it as best as possible. Caring for a synthetic wigs is much different from caring for a headpiece made from human hair.
Gentle Is Best
Your synthetic headpiece is going to be very durable, but that doesn’t mean that you should treat it like a dog treats a new chew toy. If you want it to last, you must make sure to handle your wig as gently as possible.
This is not to say you need to treat it like fine china but being aware of it and how long it’s been since you last cleaned it is a basic amount of information to have!
Use a Wig Brush
Before you decide to wash it, it’s best to brush it with a wig brush. This will help to remove any tangles that have appeared, and it can also help to remove any product you may have previously used on the piece that you now need to remove.
Wash Your Synthetic Wig Every 1 to 1.5 Months
Unlike real hair, synthetic only needs to be washed every month or so. This is because the synthetic fibers don’t gain the same amount of dirt and buildup that your natural hair does. As such, it doesn’t need to be washed as often.
However, there are specific requirements you must follow when it comes time to wash your synthetic fibred wig. If you do it wrong, you might end up with a soggy, unusable mess… and you’ll have to buy a whole new one.
Before beginning your washing process, make sure you have wig shampoo and conditioner on hand. Because it is not made from real human hair, using generic shampoo and conditioner will ruin it.
Wig shampoo is a specific type of shampoo that is meant for wigs. Make sure that whichever one you choose, it says it’s for use on synthetic wigs. If the shampoo you choose doesn’t work on synthetic wigs, you may find that you will ruin your wig or that the shampooing is not quite as effective as you might otherwise like.
Similar to wig shampoo, wig conditioner is a specific type of conditioner that is meant for wigs. If you want your headpiece to last for a long time, it’s in your best interest to use a a conditioner often. This is because the conditioner is meant to soften dry fibers and give them a sheen like real hair. Additionally, conditioner is meant to loosen the fibers so that they flow more like normal hair rather than like plastic. The condition can also “activate” the original pattern of the synthetic by restoring it to the original style when you bought it.
Keep in mind that there’s a specific process for washing your synthetic wig! Realize that you only have to do this every month or so, so it’s best to do it as diligently as possible to keep your it looking good for as long as possible.
Brush your hair with a wire brush. Do not use a normal hairbrush, as normal hairbrushes will damage the fibers of the synthetic.
Get a bowl of cool water and add a teaspoon of the wig shampoo.
Put the entire wig in the bowl of shampoo and water. Let it sit for about a minute or until it is entirely saturated with the solution.
Remove the wig from the basin, spray it with conditioner, and then let it sit for a while longer. Give it a quick rinse.
Remove it from the basin and squeeze the excess water out. Do not wring or twist your it, as this will damage it and reduce how long you can use it. Be gentle!
Blot your it dry with a towel, then let it stand to finish air-drying.
Once it is completely dry, you can style it. However, if the synthetic is at all still wet, don’t try to style it. Styling it will lead to failure, and that’s not what you want.
If you’re not wearing it, you should be storing it nicely! This will help it keep its shape and last you for up to six months.
A quick note: if your natural hair is cleaned, you can wash it less often. This will help it last longer, as it’ll reduce the number of times you have to wash it to deal with the buildup and contamination from your normal hair.
Air Dry Your Wig
When you do wash it, don’t try to towel dry it, and definitely don’t blow dry it. This is because, as a synthetic wig, it doesn’t deal well with heat. You could accidentally melt it if your blow-dryer is on too high a setting.
As such, it’s best to air-dry it to make sure that it will dry properly without getting mussed or melted.
Styling Your Wig Is As Important
Knowing the best way to style it is almost as important as making sure you’re keeping it clean. One of the most basic – yet most important – things is to use tools that are specifically meant for styling wigs.
One of the best ones is to look into buying a wig cap. A cap is an item that you put on your scalp (over your real hair), and it not only helps you feel more comfortable when you’re wearing it but it can also help secure the wig onto your head. Not to mention, a cap can also act as a protective barrier for your real hair, as it can keep your natural hair from thinning out or from breaking.
When Styling, Use a Chin Strap
It may not be the most attractive option, but using a cap with a chin strap can go a long way towards helping you style it. When you’re just starting with a wig – especially if you’ve not worn them before – a chin strap can help keep it attached to your head. Having that extra security can not only free up your hands for extensive styling, but if you struggle to raise your hands over your head, it can allow you to take breaks without losing your progress or having your wig fall off.
Restyling Your Wig
It can last you for many months, and during that time, you may decide that you want to change up your look. Even though there are limitations regarding how to style your wig.
Go to a hairstylist and watch them work their magic. If you want a change, but you don’t want to buy a new wig, many hair salon staff members have experience with styling synthetic wigs, and they can help you change your style with minimal effort.
Do your research in your area to see who can work on and then be clear about mentioning if your synthetic wig is a heat-friendly or not. That will determine how your hairstylist can style it.
Final Tips and Tricks to Help Your Wig Last as Long as Possible
You can do everything in your power to keep it washed and styled as well as possible, but there are also specific things you should avoid when it comes to keeping it as healthy as possible.
Read on to learn about some techniques and facts you need to know to help you make it last as long as possible.
Heat Is a Bad Idea
You will want to keep it away from heat. There are heat-friendly wigs, but they aren’t the standard for synthetic wigs. Normal synthetic wigs will melt if put near heat that’s over 300 degrees F or so.
This means that if you’re wearing a wig, you should try to avoid sticking your head in front of a hot oven, and you should definitely avoid hot combs, blow dryers, and flat irons. All that those will do is ruin it. Once you melt the plastic fibers, there’s no going back – you’ll have to buy an entirely new headpiece.
Make Sure All Your Products Are Meant for Wigs
You may not think it’s important, but using specific products can be the difference between your hair lasting for months or weeks. This is because specific products are those that are specifically designed for synthetic wigs. If you decide to try and use regular shampoo and conditioner, or hair sprays and gels, you will be adding product to the wig. This product will build upon itself and shorten how long it will last. It can also dull the look of the hair fibers, which will make it look fake and unkempt.
Brushing Your Wig
Do not brush it when it is wet! If you do, you’ll find that the fibers start to stretch and warp, but they won’t be able to return to their previous state. This is why you must only brush when it’s dry and also only use combs and brushes that are specifically meant for these wigs.
If Your Wig Is Done, Let It Go
Don’t try to extend the life if it’s starting to show its age. Once it is done, the best thing you can do is try to buy another one. The longer you try to use it after it is dead, the less real it will look, and the more matted/frizzy it might appear to passersby.
Look Into Wig-Caring Kits
Caring kits are specifically meant to help you with caring for your synthetic hair. If this is your first time wearing it and you’re not certain where to start, using a caring kit will, at least, provide you with the proper tools so that you’re not ruining the fibers from the get-go.
Many of them have instructions to help you with your wig-care, as well, so make sure to follow the instructions!
Keep Your Wig From Falling Off
This may seem like an odd one for taking care of your wig, but it’s actually very important. If you can keep it from falling off, you’ll prevent it from taking any damage from hitting the ground, and it’ll remain more secure on your head – this can keep it from getting stretched out!
The gentler you are, the longer it will last you. Keeping it from falling off is a very basic aspect of taking care of it, so you’ll need to take great pains to make sure your synthetic headpiece is secured as best as possible.
Your hairpiece will automatically come with adjustable tabs on the inside, and you can use these tabs to help it fit better. However, there are additional tab-like items you can use to also help with your security, such as grippers, toupee clips, adhesives and tapes, scarves, and cushion bands.
If you’re interested in any of these, do your research and try a few different ones to see what will work best for you, your needs, and your comfort.
Even at the furthest extent, synthetic will only last you for about six months. However, this is only possible if you make sure to take care of your wig, from treating it well, cleaning it periodically, styling your wig, and following the generic tips of owning a synthetic headpiece.
There are many things to keep in mind about how to keep your synthetic wig alive, but the more you work at it, the easier it will get. You might make mistakes in the beginning, but it’ll become easier with time.
If you’re uncertain that you’ll be able to keep your wig alive for as long as possible, invest in multiple wigs at once so that you won’t be without one if you need alternative hair options.