Typically, during the late forties is when some of us begin to start playing around with the idea that there might be a need for a wig. Once we have finally made the decision to purchase one and start rocking the new hair, the next question is, “How do I keep her looking as fresh and fabulous as she does right now?” Well, it turns out that wearing a wig is just not as simple as putting it on your head.
I turned to certified wig specialist, designer, and stylist to the stars, Kym Williams, who counts actresses Angela Bassett and Alfre Woodard as clients, for tips on how to keep your wig fluffed and frizz-free.
Secure your wig. Before placing the wig on your head, make sure to braid or wrap your hair as flat as possible in order to avoid a lumpy appearance. “Ditch the dollar nylon wig cap and opt for a fishnet one as these control the hair and allows the scalp to breathe,” advises Williams. “Nylon can thin out the hairline and dry out the hair. Before you put the wig cap on, consider protecting the hairline with a gel liner that you place around it,” she adds.
Wash your wig. “Ideally your wig should be washed after it has been worn about 8-12 times,” says Williams. Before washing, brush out the wig to remove any tangles. Use your fingers to separate curls or rake through matted strands. “Always follow the wig’s manufacturer’s instructions but in general when washing it remember to use a mild shampoo for human hair. A wig shampoo is formulated for use on synthetic hair,” according to Williams. Some hairstyling experts also recommend fabric softener to wash synthetic wigs in order to keep them looking new, soft and to prevent them from developing unmanageable tangles.
Williams advises that the proper way of washing a wig is to set it in a sink or basin, mix two capfuls of a shampoo with cold water, turn it inside out, then immerse. Swirl the wig for a few seconds, then let it soak for five minutes. Gently work in a conditioner, moisturizing brand for human hair, or wig conditioner for synthetic hair through the wig and leave in for about two minutes for proper penetration. For human hair, apply the conditioner to the ends of the hair. Use a wide tooth comb and start from the ends, continue up the hair shaft to within two inches of the root area.
Rinse the wig in cold water until all the conditioner is completely out. Wrap the wig in a towel and gently pat out any excess water. If you so desire, give your synthetic wig a light spritz of conditioning spray to return oils lost during the cleansing process. “Place your clean wig on a wig stand and allow it to air dry before brushing or combing. However, do not place the wig in direct sunlight,” cautions Williams. She also warns not to use intense heat of any kind on a synthetic wig as curling irons and blow dryers will frizz or melt fibers. Believe it or not, even a short burst of heat from an oven can cause irreparable fiber damage.
Store your wig. Invest in a wig stand or a Styrofoam wig head and do take the time to secure the wig properly on the stand. “Storing your wig properly aids in maintaining its natural shape,” says Williams.
With proper maintenance, even a frequently worn, good quality synthetic wig, should last anywhere from three to six months; human hair can easily last over a year.