The Lazy Gal’s Guide to Wig Care
by, Rhea Parsons
Time for true confessions. Though I’ve been wearing wigs for over 25 years, I wasn’t always the best at caring for them. Alright, I may have been the worst, bottom five if I’m being generous with myself. Why, you might ask, would I spend money on wigs just to use them, abuse them, and lose them?
There were several reasons, some of which I’m sure you can relate to. Mainly, I was angry. I didn’t want to wear wigs. I wanted my own hair. I hated my wigs so honestly, I felt no desire to care for them. Wanting them not to exist, I’d treat them that way. That anger and shame lasted over 20 years. There were other personal circumstances that made proper wig wear and care difficult for me, but guess what? It’s been over a year since I stopped blaming myself for my hair loss, over a year since I’ve come to embrace my hair loss and learn to love wigs!!! And I still struggle to force myself to do the minimal care for my wigs. It turns out, unless I uncover some deeper subconscious reason, that I’m just lazy.
Now, don’t get me wrong - I’m not lazy in all aspects of my life. I’m a Type-A perfectionist who always finishes what she starts. I’m a cross between Monica Geller and Sheldon Cooper. Nerd, geek, organized, I want my spices in cross-lists according to use (spice vs. herb) and alphabetically. But when it comes to things like clothes, hair, make-up, shoes, accessories, etc., I’m a mess. Clothes are falling off hangers, good luck finding that matching shoe, and I don’t know who stole the tops and covers to all my makeup and hair products. I suspect the cat, but so far, she denies it.
Every day, though, wigs are getting more expensive and they’re an investment so it makes sense to treat them well. Plus, they’ll look better and last longer. But sometimes you don’t feel well, or you’re tired, or you’re just lazy. So without further speculation into my neuroses, here is my guide to minimalist wig care.
1. Purchase Synthetic Wigs
I do not own any heat-friendly wigs. They’re beautiful and adaptable. You can play with all the tools and straighten them or curl them or whatever your heart desires. Heat-defiant fibers, however, require heat treatment to keep them looking nice. Plus, if you wash the wig, you have to restyle it. It sounded like fun to me too, and I bought the hot air brush, the curling iron, the straightener, the bamboo silicone stuff…and it’s all sitting there like new. I did have one HF wig but I didn’t treat it like one and now it looks like a scouring pad (which I still wear when I’m gardening). I’m not trying to scare you away from HF fibers. They say it takes a few minutes every other week. I’m just being realistic. I know I am not going to bother so I buy what works best for me. Synthetics are easy. I can go swimming and the style will pop back. Yes!
2. Rotate Your Wigs
Okay, I should hang my head in shame but I’m not because I’m done with that. I used to only have about 2 or 3 wigs and I’d only wear one of them, every day, until it died. Even though all 3 wigs were the same color and close in style, I didn’t want anyone asking questions so I wore one wig. Every day. I’d wash it, condition it, I’d spritz it with water, until it looked like a Tribble. A dead Tribble. Until it looked so bad, even I was embarrassed to be seen in it. Then I’d wear it another week or two, trimming frizzy ends and wearing in a ponytail. Finally, I had to admit it was gone. So I’d move in to the next wig, and so on, and so on. And I’d always keep one dead Tribble for sleeping or cooking. It’s a good idea to rotate your wigs. Even if you wear sister colors and styles, giving your wigs a break every other day or so will help them last longer.
3. Store Wigs Properly
Since I only wore one wig at a time, the other unused ones stayed in their boxes. The one I wore every day was either on my head, or flung on a closet shelf, or sitting on a dresser. Yes, I had a styrofoam wig head in my closet. No, I didn’t use it. I kept my wig close to me, at arm’s length. I know, don’t judge me; it gets worse. It’s important to store wigs properly so they stay clean and keep their shape. It can be on a wig head, or on a hook, or in their boxes, whatever you like. But they should be protected from dust, heat and cats who think your new wig is a chew toy. I'm proud to say that I now have a system in my small closet where my wigs are kept in resealable bags in boxes, labeled by name and color. There’s still a dead Tribble or two around but hey, I garden a lot.
4. Detangle Every Wear
So remember when I said that I’d fling my wig into the closet on a shelf? Well, that was right off my head. And if it was in a ponytail, it stayed that way. I know, lazy. No surprise that my wigs got very tangled, very quickly, especially at the nape. Now, when I get ready for bed and I’m about to just put my wig into her drawer, I stop myself and take the whole two minutes it takes to spritz the wig with water or detangler and comb her with a wide-tooth comb. Then I tuck her in for the night. I also carry a comb with me and hopefully, remember to comb the wig through a few times during the day. Even with just my fingers. My wigs last longer and they don’t have frizzy napes!!
5. No Sleeping in Wigs
This one can be tough due to different social situations but if you can, avoid sleeping or napping in your wig. The fibers will rub against the pillow, causing friction, breakage and frizz. Like I said, this one could depend on where you’re sleeping, who’s there, or other issues. Maybe you just want a nap. This may be the hardest habit I work on, but that’s when my Tribbles come in handy. If I feel I need something on my head, for whatever reason, I’ll wear an older wig (not the deadest looking one) that I don’t mind messing up further. Otherwise, I wear a bandana. This is extremely personal so you have to do what’s best for you but avoid sleeping in wigs as much as you can.
6. Don’t Overdo Products
Yes, I have them all - the waxes, the sprays, the sea salt, the revitalizer, etc. using too many products will weigh the fibers down and make them feel sticky. You want to keep that soft, silky, first-day feeling as long as you can. I wear a wig grip cap so there’s a layer of sweat protection between my hair and my wig. But that’s me. You don’t have to wash your wig every day. Maybe a couple times a month. In between, you can spritz the cap to freshen it or any part that needs it without submerging the whole wig. In the past, I used whatever products were available, whether they were for wigs or not. Now I make sure to use shampoo, conditioner and detangler specifically made for wigs.
Sure, there are a lot more ways you can play with and care for your wigs but these 6 steps are simple and speedy. Even for a lazy girl, like me.!---->