After the purchase most people are really pleased with the wigs they’ve just bought, but then comes the daunting moment, when it’s time for the first wash. To extend the lifespan of your wig, it is worth washing it carefully. Rough handling means that your wig will lose hair more easily, leaving you with bald patches in your wig too!
Ideally, you should have the following things when you wash your wig: a largish bowl (like a washing up bowl) or basin, specialized wig shampoo or shampoo for bleached/highlighted hair, lots of specialized conditioner or conditioner for dry hair or bleached/highlighted hair, a wide toothed comb for detangling the wet hair and a wig stand (see section below).
Before you wash your wig, brush it carefully from tip to root to ensure it’s free of knots. Fill the bowl with warm (not hot) water, put some shampoo in the water and place the wig into it. Leave the wig to soak for five minutes or so. This allows any residue to come loose of the hair. Gently take the wig out of the bowl and rinse it under running water. Take care to rinse the hair in the direction from roots to ends to avoid tangling. Put the shampoo into the hair, carefully spreading it all over. It’s not necessary to rub/massage the shampoo into the wig. Rinse it again as before. Then put the conditioner on the hair using two or three times the amount that you would use for hair growing on your head. Leave the conditioner in for five to 10 min. Rinse well making sure no traces of the conditioner are left in the hair. Gently place the wig onto a fresh towel and allow the towel to absorb any excess water.
Place the wig on your wig stand (see section below) and attach it to the stand with pins. Carefully comb the hair with the detangling comb, making sure that you only touch the hair not the base of the wig. Take extra care around the root area as the knots expand when wet. Once the hair has dried a little you can style it with your usual brushes/combs and a hairdryer. The great thing about real hair wigs is that you can style it any way you want and use any hair product you want – no need to get gloomy about all the hair care product ads on telly! If you want to use them, you can use them all. Maybe the easiest way of styling the hair on your wig is to let it dry overnight on big rollers. The rollers give the hair more volume and turn the end of the hair in. All you need to do is to take the rollers out of the dry hair in the morning, brush it through and you’re ready to go.
If the hair on your wig gets lighter with time and maybe gets a slight reddish tinge to it, the hair can be died back to the colour you want. Professional advice is always recommended as the hair has been heavily processed already colouring can be tricky. Normal home dyeing kits can work but a shade lighter than the colour you want to get should be used, as the wig hair is quite dry and absorbs colour much more easily than hair growing from a head. Wigs should never be coloured lighter.
Human Hair wigs need to be washed and conditioned regularly. The average is between seven and 10 days, but some people find that they need to wash it more regularly, especially if they play sports. One advantage of wearing a wig is that you only need to style your hair when you wash it, on the following days you can just take it off the wig stand and you’re ready to go!
Incidentally, even if you don’t have any hair on your head, it is important that you wash your scalp with shampoo whenever you have a shower or bath. The scalp produces sebum whether or not there is hair growing on your head. The base of the wig will absorb the sebum and pass it on to the hair on your wig, making your hair look greasy. Keeping your scalp as grease free as possible is well worth it, as it means you have to wash your wig less often.