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A Guide to Washing Your Wigs

An African-American woman wearing a big dark brown Afro wig and a white top.
An African-American woman wearing a big dark brown Afro wig and a white top.

When you start wearing wigs, maintenance can be quite the challenge. A ton of questions can go through your mind. Should I wash my wig before wearing it?
How often should I clean my wigs?  Can you wash a synthetic wig the same way you wash a human hair wig? The questions can be endless, but we’re here to help with a guide to hassle-free wig care.

Research shows that 3 out of 5 African-American women buy wigs. Newbies usually have both a straight and a curly option, but seasoned wig fans average between 5-6 in a variety of styles. We love our tried and true wigs so much, we give them cute names that fit our fabulous personas.

As high quality wigs become more affordable, maintenance is and will always be priority #1. With some good TLC, your beloved wigs will last a long time.  So where do we begin? Let’s start with the most common types of wigs: lace fronts, full lace and synthetic wigs. For all wigs types – you definitely want to cleanse new wigs before you wear them. Cleaning a wig before wearing to remove any debris left in during the manufacturing process.

Wig Care Myths

Let’s dispel a myth that is probably the reason your wigs aren’t giving you the life you want. Do NOT use hair care products for natural hair on wigs. 

No, not even on human hair wigs. The ingredients in regular shampoo & conditioner create frizziness and that oily look that makes wigs seem flat.

Buzz around the wig stand centers around how to wash a synthetic wig using fabric softener. Believe it or not, fabric softener and cold water are like a fine leave-in conditioning treatment. Try it, you’ll love it.

This applies to synthetic wigs only, never use fabric softeners on human hair or lace wigs. Another no-no is using wigs in washing machines. The results will be a dry, frizzy mess.  Just don’t.

Shop for products designed specifically for wigs. These products are more gentle and will add life to your wig. You also want to pick brushes that are made for wigs to avoid damaging the wig cap and shredding the wig hair. 

With proper care your wigs can stay lustrous, with minimal tangling, matting and shedding.  Ready?  Let’s go through a few tips and tricks for washing your wigs that will help extend the life of your favorite wigs.

How to Clean a Synthetic Wig

An African-American woman wearing a big dark brown Afro wig and a white top.

Caring for synthetic wigs is all about the details, and synthetic wigs hold up in hot weather much better.  While they need more care, the upside of wearing a synthetic wig is a longer life and styles that last. Just like when washing your own natural hair, you want to treat your synthetic wigs delicately. Be sure to use cool water for cleaning to keep your wig looking new.

Some brands of synthetic wigs are heat-resistant, letting you safely use flat irons to create your look. To spruce up a curly synthetic wig, use your curling iron on the lowest setting possible.

How to Wash a Curly Wigs

For curly wigs, gently brush out the wig while wet. Tangles are much harder to deal with when the wig is dry. Remember to start brushing from the tips and move up toward the root, detangle along the way.

Never use a blow dryer on synthetic wigs, as the heat could damage the whole wig.Air drying your wig on a stand will make you thank us later.

Wash your wig at least once per week, adding more frequent washing if you live in a hotter area. 

How to Wash a Lace Front Wig

A smiling African-American woman wearing a white top and a full, curly burgundy Vivica Fox wig with bangs.

The biggest misconception about human hair wigs is that they can be cared for like natural hair. While the hair IS human, it’s processed and dyed, and needs to be washed and treated differently to preserve the hair fibers.

Lace front wigs can stay in great condition with products specific to caring for lace wigs. This requires high quality products that safely wash, condition and detangle your lace wig. Deep conditioning care is also necessary to protect the health of your own virgin hair.

A general rule is to wash human hair wigs once a week or every other week. Depending on the climate you live in, more heat and humidity will require more washing to prevent frizz and to refresh the wig cap after sweating.  Don’t forget your wig comb or a wide tooth comb.

Tips For Cleansing Human Hair Wigs

Before washing any wig, gently finger comb your curly or use a wig comb on straight wigs to remove tangles.  Always clean wigs in cool water; hot water will shred the wig hair.Another golden rule: a tablespoon of wig shampoo (and conditioner) will go a long way. Don’t be heavy-handed. Avoid adding soapy water to the wig’s scalp area if you can so you won’t loosen the knots holding it all in place.To dry your wig, use a towel to gently wrap and squeeze out the excess water. Be mindful and gentle with the towel so you don’t rub in the frizz.

Trying new wigs can be so much fun, your wigs will soon need their own space in the closet.  Now that you’ve read our best tips for maintaining beautiful wigs, check out our selection of wigs and accessories.

Have fun naming and rocking your new wig!

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