Wigs are investments, and you need to protect that investment. You must maintain human hair wigs and synthetic wigs alike to make them last. The maintenance methods vary slightly depending on the type of wig, but all the methods are intended to reduce damage and breakage. Both types of wigs have undergone chemical processing to create bounce and movement, so proper care is needed to keep you and your wig looking amazing.
Check out these tips on how to care for synthetic and human hair wigs.
Human Hair Wigs vs. Synthetic Wigs
Many women have both human hair wigs and synthetic wigs, as both types have their pros and cons. Learn more about the differences between synthetic and human hair here to find the best fit for you:
- Human hair wigs can be colored and permed, while synthetic wigs cannot. But human hair wigs require frequent washing and conditioning.
- Synthetic hair wigs are more inexpensive, but the quality isn't the same as human hair wigs. Human hair wigs look more natural.
- Human hair wigs last longer than synthetic wigs, but they tend to be heavier.
- Only heat-resistant synthetic wigs can be styled. Human hair wigs offer more versatility.
- Human hair wigs offer a wider range of textures that can match your natural hair. Synthetic wigs sometimes have a shine.
If you’re on a budget but you would like the style versatility of human hair wigs, consider a heat-resistant synthetic wig. Heat-friendly wigs are typically less shiny, but they’re usually softer.
Human Hair Wigs
Human hair wigs require a certain level of care to ensure they remain in great shape and last anywhere from one to three years. Always be sure to wash and condition the hair before wearing it. Here are tips on washing and styling human hair:
Before washing, comb the wig to remove any tangles, either with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Be sure your wig is completely dry before combing it. You shouldn’t brush the hair, as that can damage it. Holding the wig carefully in one hand, start at the ends and carefully work towards the roots.
When washing, you should avoid soaking the wig. Hold the hair under cool running water, as hot water can damage the strands and the cap. Let the water run from the roots to the ends.
Apply a small amount of color-treated shampoo into the palm of your hand. Gently massage the shampoo into the strands with a downward stroke from the roots to the ends.
Rinse the shampoo from the hair with cool running water. Be sure not to twist or wring out the wig.
Still holding the wig in one hand, apply a small amount of color-treated conditioner into the palm of your hand. Evenly massage the conditioner into the hair, but begin at the middle of the shaft and avoid the roots and ends. Conditioner at the base can cause shedding.
Allow the conditioner to soak into the strands according to the instructions on the bottle. Generally, anywhere from one to five minutes is typical. Then, rinse again under cool running water. Squeeze the wig gently with a towel.
The wig should dry on a wig stand and never on a mannequin head. Stretching a wet wig over a mannequin head will stretch out the cap and ruin the fit.
You can style human hair any way you want. The natural hair strands can withstand heat from blow-dryers and irons. Blow-drying a human hair wig will reshape the style, as the wig won’t hold its style like a synthetic wig will. You can safely use hair spray and other styling products. If you decide to color or perm your human hair wig, having it done at a salon will ensure your wig isn’t damaged. You’ll find more styling tips here.
Maintaining the intended style of your synthetic wig takes proper care. Synthetic hair wigs have a shorter life span than human hair wigs. Since its fibers are more prone to tangling, a synthetic hair wig only lasts from four to six months. But with proper maintenance, you can ensure your synthetic wig looks great while you’re enjoying it. Here are tips on washing and styling a synthetic wig:
Brushing before washing is necessary to ensure the fibers don’t become knotted. Always brush your wig when it’s dry—never wet. You can detangle and remove spray buildup from synthetic hair with a wig brush. Be sure never to use a regular human hairbrush, which can stretch, break, or pull the fibers from the cap. The styles of wig brushes vary. You can choose between a wig comb, which has wide teeth spaced apart so that hair won't become entangled. A wire wig brush has sturdy metal prongs as opposed to bristles. The prongs glide effortlessly through the fibers without damaging or tangling them. If you have a curly synthetic wig, finger-combing the fibers is all you need. Using a brush can ruin the curls.
Synthetic hair needs to be washed every 4 to 6 weeks or every 30 wears. Soak the hair for up to 5 minutes in a sink with cool water and wig shampoo. Then, gently agitate the wig up and down in the water. You should never wring or twist the wig. To remove makeup stains, scrub delicately with a toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly with cool running water.
Use wig conditioner, as it contains blended oils that will enhance the bounce and mobility of the fibers. Add one to two capfuls of conditioner to a basin of cool water, and submerge your wig. Gently massage the water and conditioner through the fibers. Rinse the wig with cool running water, and blot it dry with a clean towel. Again, never use a mannequin head to dry the wig. Always use a wig stand.
Heat products such as blow-dryers and irons can damage synthetic wigs. However, heat-resistant synthetic wigs are also available. Be sure to check and see which kind you have. After drying, synthetic fibers will revert to their original style.
Knowing how to care for synthetic and human hair wigs will ensure they last longer and look great. If you have more questions, visit our FAQ page. Explore the many human hair wig options, including cornrow braided wigs, at Instant Arẹ̀wà Hair!