10: Wig Care

OK, so as I mentioned in my first vlog, I’ve had Alopecia for 13 years of my life, which has given me ample opportunity to figure out the “dos and don’ts” of wig care.  So that you don’t have to waste as much money as I have on products I’ve ultimately gifted to friends and family, I’m going to summarize the finer points of my vlog, and provide you with my Golden Product List.  If you’ve got name brands you already trust, fabulous!  These are simply suggestions if you’re on the hunt for the perfect combination of cleansing and conditioning agents.

Long-story-short washing techniques for human hair wigs:

  1. Comb out your wig before washing (I use a wide-tooth comb in general for extra gentleness).
  2. Hold it from the nape, not the front.
  3. Use nothing hotter than luke warm water when filling the sink. This is especially important for human hair prosthetics, the hair on which will expand when it’s exposed to heat, letting out all that lovely dye you’ve paid darn good money for.
  4. Swish shampoo around in the sink and dunk it, squeezing the suds out at every turn until you’re satisfied it’s clean (I’ve found that 10 dunks does the job).
  5. Rinse with warm, to a-little-warmer-than-warm water. This will open the hair up, priming it for…
  6. Conditioning! Fill the sink with COLD water, and more conditioner than you probably think is necessary, and dunk and squeeze until the hair is slick.
  7. Rinse in cold water, and towel dry.
  8. For added conditioning, use Frizzease by John Frieda. As your wig ages, giving it as much conditioning TLC will go a long way in preserving it.
  9. Comb out and drape over a wig stand to dry.

The skinny on synthetic wigs:

I’ve found you can use the same techniques mentioned above, although I’ve observed that the color is much more durable, and therefore the hair not as heat sensitive, in water.  Especially because these suckers are basically plastic, they absorb odor (I know, totally gross, but a reality) differently than real hair, so I tend to not be as conservative using hot water.  The temperature in this case helps remove oils better, or at least that’s what I tell my fastidiously clean self.

This next point is a CLARIFICATION on something I said in my vlog: when you want to deep clean your synthetic wig, let is soak in baking soda for 35-40 minutes.  This will remove the smelly sweat and oil buildup.  OTHERWISE, you can wash it as you would your human hair wig.  When I have time, which is hardly ever, but when I do, I’ll let my synthetic wig hang out in the sink for a bit before squeezing the water and suds through it, but this is mostly just for show (see “fastidiously clean self” comment above).

Products I’ve come to love are:

  1. Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Shampoo and Conditioner ®
  2. Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Conditioner ®
  3. Avalon Organics Shampoo ® (for deep cleaning human hair wigs)
  4. Neutrogena Shampoo ®
  5. Frizzease Leave-in Conditioner ® by John Frieda which works great on both human hair and synthetic wigs
  6. Brandywine Shampoo and Conditioner ® (for synthetic wigs)
  7. One and Only Argan Oil Mousse ®
  8. A new product I just discovered: Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel ®. I use #7 and 8 when rolling my hair in curlers and leaving my wig out to dry overnight.  An added bonus of these products is that there are no harsh chemicals to inhale, as you might otherwise with sprays.  Since no one knows what the heck causes us to lose our hair, I do my best to steer clear of anything that’s several degrees removed from Nature’s intentions.
  9. Last but not least, I use good ol’ Arm and Hammer Baking Soda ® for deep cleaning synthetic prosthetics.


One other point I’d like to make about products 1-4 and 7 and 8 is that they’re products I might have used on my own hair when it still knew how to grow out of my head.  It makes me happy, and helps me feel normal, to use regular shampoos, and to have my hair smell like it used to fresh out of the shower.  Life becomes unfamiliar because of Alopecia, so I’m OK keepin’ it steady with these everyday standbys.  Happy hair washing!

To view the youtube video associated with this post, click here.


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