Wigs Part 4: Washing Wigs

Dealing With Makeup and Odors.

You might not need to wash your wig. It's very common to get makeup, especially foundation and lipstick, on wigs. You can remove this quite easily with a paper towel and 99% isopropyl alcohol. Wet the towel with the alcohol, and then hold it against the makeup stain. Do not rub! You will just smear it all over and make it worse. Instead, tap it repeatedly with the wet towel. The makeup should come off pretty easily, and you're done. The sooner you do this after getting the stain, the better.

If you wear your wig for a long time, you will sweat in it and it can develop an unpleasant odor. This is especially true if you don't use a wig cap. To fix this, take some isopropyl alcohol, and spray it on the inside of the wig cap. This should neutralize any odor. You can buy scented alcohol which works well for this.

Washing Wigs

Eventually you will need to wash your wig. Brush your wig before you wash it, so it doesn't enter the water tangled. Synthetic wigs can be washed in hot or cold water. Here's the rule:

  • Hot water will remove any styling. Use hot water only if you don't want to keep the current styling for the wig.
  • Synthetic hair will keep its curl after a washing if you use very cold water. If you want to preserve the styling, use cold water to wash your wig.

If you have a long wig, you should tie it a few times, so it looks sort of like Princess Jasmine's (from the Disney movie, "Aladdin"). This will help keep it from being tangled.

Here's what you need to wash your wigs:

  • A big plastic tub
  • Baking soda
  • Oxyclean
  • Tresomme "Deep Cleanse" Shampoo

I like to use a tub instead of the sink or bath tub, because I don't want any gunk that might be in those places to get in my wigs. The baking soda is great for getting rid of setting gel and hairspray, and the Oxyclean takes care of the makeup (with some help from the baking soda). I don't have set proportions. I use a lot of both the baking soda and the oxyclean, and 2-3 squirts of the Tresomme.

Washing your wig

Get some water in the tub, and then add the ingredients, stirring them around to dissolve. Add more water, and then take your wig, and put it under a faucet to get it wet. If you have a lace front wig, it's really important not to pour water on it from the top. The force of the water can push the hair inside the wig or even unknot it from the lace. So always wet or rinse the wig from the inside of the cap. And remember that you should never hold a lace front wig by the lace, always by the foundation.

It's safe to soak synthetic hair for many hours if you need to. The fiber won't be damaged. It's best not to soak the lace front, so try to keep that out of the water if you need to soak your wig.

Now that the wig is wet, put it into the bath and agitate it gently with your hands. If the water gets really dirty, you might want to repeat this step. Then either leave it to soak or proceed to the next step.

Drying your Wig

Take the wig out of the bath, remembering not to hold it by the lace, and gently rinse it. Remember to rinse only from the underside of the cap so you don't damage your lace front. Once you have the soap rinsed out, hold it vertically from the top and squeeze it gently along its length to get out some water.

Now take a towel and squeeze wig with the towel in sections, from the top to the bottom as you continue to hold the wig vertically.

Then place the towel flat on a table or the floor, and lay the wig lengthwise along one edge. Carefully roll the wig in the towel, keeping the wig in a straight, untangled line. Now twist both ends of the towel in opposite directions, to squeeze out the water. If you have a lace front, don't go overboard here. If this is a hard front wig, then you can squeeze it as hard as you can.

Air Dry and Comb

There is a rule that says you should not comb out a synthetic wig when it is wet. I think it is actually OK to do this, but only if the wig is not tangled. Synthetic fiber stretches when it is wet, so if you hit a tangle, you risk stretching and thinning out those hairs. This will weaken them and they will break more easily.  So if the wig is not tangled, you can comb it out right away and then set to dry. In this situation, you don't need to block the wig completely if you are just going to comb it. You only need to pin the wig on the top, with the three Pearl Head Pins (see this for details).

If you are going to do any heavy styling, you should block the wig as fully as you need to. And if the wig is tangled, let it dry first, then block it fully to deal with that.

To dry the wig, just place it anywhere air can get to all parts of the wig. You can get these wig stands from Amazon which work well as drying racks. They are not very well balanced and quite lite, so be careful when you put the wig on them so it doesn't fall on the floor.

That's it! I hope you found this helpful. Thanks for reading and if you have something nice to say or a good idea or suggestion, feel free to