10 expert tips on how to maintain your wig

Image: Supplied/Darling

There are many protective styles at your disposal come winter, but wigs remain a fave for ensuring that hair stays protected while still giving you the fun and versatility of different styles.

While it’s still vital to take care of your hair underneath and remember that a wig is a means to protect your hair they can cost a pretty penny. So having a proper wig-care routine will not only ensure that your inches always look shiny, healthy and frizz-free, but will also give your wigs longevity and save you money in the long run.

Wash days are key: When getting your wig installed, try to not have it sewn in to give you the option to remove it at home and wash your wig or your natural hair when needed. If you’re on weeks four to six of wearing your wig, it’s time to schedule a wash day. Make sure to also wash and condition your natural hair once a week or every second week, depending on moisture levels and product build-up. 

Get a wig-friendly shampoo: Make sure to use shampoos specifically formulated for wig maintenance, as regular shampoos contain some chemicals that can be too harsh on wigs. You can also use a very gentle, sulphate-free shampoo or even baby shampoo if a wig-specific shampoo is hard to find.

Be gentle: Try not to scrub vigorously when washing your wig. It’s important to minimise tangling as much as possible and protect the quality of the closure and wefts of the hair bundles at the root of the wig.

Use cold water: Add some shampoo to the water, making a soapy solution and place the wig in the water to soak for a few minutes. Wash the wig by dipping and lifting it in and out of the water to apply the least amount of force. Comb the wig with a wig comb or wide-toothed detangling comb to work the shampoo water though. Rinse off with warm water and leave the wig to air dry.

Condition: Sometimes wigs can feel a bit dry or look lacklustre, and this calls for a deep conditioner to restore its bounce and keep it looking fresh for longer. Apply a hydrating conditioner to mid-lengths and ends and carefully place it in a plastic bag to lock in the moisture and allow the conditioner to penetrate the hair. Leave on for the suggested conditioning time stated on the packaging and rinse out with warm water after the time has lapsed. Leave the wig out to air dry.

Heat protect: If you are going to use heat-styling tools (hair straightener or hairdryer) on your wig, always use a heat protectant before as heat can really damage your wig if you don’t have a protective buffer.

Don’t overdo the styling products. Applying a pea-sized amount of hair serum to tame down flyaways or a light spritz of curl-hold spray to keep your curls’ shape is fine, but try not to apply too much or apply too often as overloading your wig with the product can make hair greasy or sticky. This ends up making it tangled and unmanageable.

Avoid sleeping or showering with your wig on if you can help it, to prevent unnecessary tangling and knots. Rather remove the wig and place it on a wig stand so it’s ready to wear again in the morning.

Finish off your wig routine with a few spritzes of hair perfume to keep hair fresh and add that extra-special touch.

Tip: Always remember to cover your natural hair with a wig cap to lay down your cornrows and install your wig. If you still see some unwanted bulk when your wig is on, use a curling wand to curl the wig (if it’s a straight wig) to create volume and disguise any bulky bits.