Here's Exactly How to Wash Every Type of Wig, According to an Expert

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If you’re wondering how to wash your wig, we’ve got you covered. Washing a wig is one of the trickiest aspects of wig care because the steps almost entirely depend on your wig type—whether it’s a human hair wig, synthetic, or a lace front. So, step one when figuring out how to wash your wig is determining which type of wig it actually is. Once you’ve figured that out, you can follow the steps in our wig-washing guide below!

How to wash wig | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Getty / Jessie Casson)

About the Expert

Patricia A. Wrixon, is the founder of The Salon at 10 Newbury, a salon and hair replacement center. After recognizing that there were limited hair replacement options available for women, Wrixon spoke with several oncologists and started a business for women’s hair replacement for women having medical treatments and women with thinning hair.

General Wig-Washing Tips

While the exact steps vary, there are some rules of thumb. Namely, wash your wig gently. Treat it with extra special care, as each wash can affect its lifespan. Treat it even better than you would your own hair—because we know that can get a little rough. To prevent matting, the water should be just right—you don’t want hot water or cold water, you want lukewarm water. Likewise, you will need wig-specific styling products depending on the type of wig. Synthetic hair requires a specific wig shampoo designed for these hair fibers but real hair doesn’t. You can be liberal about your conditioner, as a regular non-wig-specific one will do.

Blow dryers are safe to use on human hair wigs, but they can melt a synthetic hairpiece, which is why it’s best to leave those to air-dry on a wig stand. Wigs should be washed after six to eight uses or after two to three weeks, whichever comes first. If you want your wig to last, maintenance is key.

How to Wash a Wig

To find out exactly how it’s done, we reached out to Patricia A. Wrixon, who founded The Salon at 10 Newbury, a salon and hair replacement center in 1995. See her step-by-step guides to wig hair care below!

How to Wash a Synthetic Wig

To wash a synthetic hair wig, begin by rinsing the wig in lukewarm water holding the wig from underneath. Apply a small amount of gentle, sulfate-free, synthetic-specific shampoo and gently work through the hair using your hands. Rinse until the water runs clear before applying a small amount of conditioner to the hair. Then, rinse the conditioner out until the water runs clear.

There is no styling involved when washing a synthetic wig and therefore the washing process tends to be quicker than that of a human hair wig. To dry, gently wring excess water out of the wig using a small towel. Let air-dry overnight or until completely dry. Never use heat on a synthetic wig.

Wrixon shares that she personally recommends John Renau’s wigs if opting for a synthetic wig. Some of her favorite styles are Kristen, Cameron, and Allure.

How to Wash a Human Hair Wig

To wash a human hair wig, always hold the wig from underneath the part and begin by wetting the entire wig with lukewarm water. Next, take a small amount of shampoo and lather it on your hands before applying directly to the wig. Be sure to distribute the shampoo equally throughout the wig, letting the running water carry the shampoo throughout the wig. Continue to wash the wig as if you were washing a delicate garment.

Once finished shampooing, hold the wig from the part and rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear (no soap). Next, apply a small bit of conditioner evenly throughout the wig working in between the hair. Never let the conditioner sit in a wig (especially a blonde wig). Rinse the conditioner out with lukewarm water until the water runs clear, holding the wig again from the inside.

To dry, begin by wrapping the wig in a small, soft hand towel and gently squeeze out any excess water. Use Daniel Alain’s Detangling Comb to work through any tangles, brushing the wig straight (don’t be afraid to comb through tangles, Daniel Alain’s luxury wigs are extremely well made and highly resistant to normal hair pulling when using a wig brush or wide-tooth comb).

Let the wig air-dry overnight as the base takes longer to dry than the hair. Once dry, you can use hot tools on human hair wigs to finish styling to get your desired look. Wrixon recommends Daniel Alain’s Mannequin Head with Clamp and Wig Pins for security and control when styling as it is important the wig remains stable to prevent any unnecessary tugging, especially when using hot tools and brushes.

“My personal favorite human hair-made wigs are Daniel Alain’s FOLLEA Chic Wigfor refined, sleek styling and an effortless look, and Daniel Alain’s FOLLEA René Wig for an entry-level wig option that provides natural volume and fluidity,” notes Wrixon. “For repetitive styling needs, I recommend Daniel Alain’s Ultimate Care Brush Set to style with ease and delicacy.”

How to Wash a Lace Front Wig

To wash a lace front wig, follow the same steps as a human hair wig. However, be sure that when the front lace is being washed it doesn’t flip over and is laid flat to dry. This is important because if the lace flips under/is not flat, it will have a curl and look less natural on the head. A front lace wig is nice for a pretty, natural transition, if the lace gets folded under when washing it would alter this smooth transition. Follow the same drying procedures as a human hair wig as well.

If the lace in your wig needs to be trimmed, Wrixon advises using Daniel Alain’s LaceCut Scissorsto precisely cut your lace with control. Her personal favorite human hair lace front wig is Daniel Alain’s FOLLEA Style Wig crafted with the highest quality 100% European hair.

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