The Secret To Making Synthetic Wigs Look Like New For Up To A Year
This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.
Hurricane Sandy took everything away from me when it hit New York in 2012. My house, for the most part, was OK, but being that I lived on the bottom floor, my entire room was submerged. My family lost our cars and appliances, and the boiler had to be replaced, among many other necessities. I lost clothing, shoes, furniture, my beloved piano, memories and photos from my childhood.
I don’t want to revisit that mess again, but thanks to FEMA, my family and I were put up in a hotel in the aftermath of Sandy for a few months. I was so grateful that I had someplace warm to lay my head at night and had a temporary home while extensive construction was being done to my home. But at the end of the day, I didn’t really have anything at the hotel because everything I have ever owned had to be disposed of.
So everything for day-to-day life had to be bought: clothes, glasses, contacts and, yes, beauty products. I still had to go to work and still had a personal life. Sandy wasn’t going to stop me from living my life, honey!
As a result, skimping on beauty products financially where I could was a must since my savings and earnings needed to be spent elsewhere on essentials.
One day, as I was sitting in my hotel room, my sister Sarah came to surprise me with a new wig she purchased for me that I had been talking about (she--my sister--is really is the BEST). As grateful as I was for this gesture, all I could think about was how was I going to make her last for as long as I possibly could, especially since I couldn’t ball out like a beauty addict buying hair and products like I did in the past.
Having her--the wig--was one thing, but maintaining her lifespan was another.
So I did some research and found that maintaining my synthetic wigs shouldn’t have cost me as much as I was spending pre-Sandy. Gone were the days of spending money at the beauty store, because the one thing I needed was in my possession all along: FABRIC SOFTENER.
While synthetic wigs are a financially friendly alternative to human hair wigs, they do have their downsides. One huge drawback is that they tend to lose shape and style when the synthetic fibers develop static electricity or cling. Basically, static cling is caused by negatively charged ions and occurs when these charges accumulate, especially in dry environments. Fabric softener contains chemicals that have a positive charge, creating a balance between the positive and negative charges, thus eliminating the static electricity. WHEW! BOOM! Science!
This is why we use fabric softener or sheets when drying clothes. But not only does it prevent static cling on our clothing in the dryer, it is equally as helpful in eliminating static cling on the synthetic fibers used in wigs.
Wigs don’t have real moisture like human hair, so they tend to be very dry. Fabric softener acts as a great conditioning agent, combating static electricity in synthetic wigs. Once the fibers in the wig are no longer dry, static cling is under control, frizz is prevented and those pesky fly-aways are kept at bay. Class dismissed!
There are many different ways you can use fabric softener, but I like this way because I can do it at night before I hit the sack and can also do it while getting ready in the morning heading out the door.
Here’s what you will need:
• a spray bottle
• fabric softener
• cold water
Take two parts liquid fabric softener and two parts water. You can use as much or as little of both as you choose, but make sure they are of equal parts.
Then mix the two into a spray bottle and mix well, making sure it is an even 50/50.
AND DONE! Easy!
I like to take my synthetic wigs off before bed in order to prevent the rubbing of the fibers against each other and avoid frizzled and frazzled hair. So at night, once I take it off, I douse the unit in the fabric softener/water mixture. Then I wrap the unit in a towel--but DO NOT rub the towel against the synthetic hair; simply dab. Then I sit the unit on a wig stand, letting the excess mixture air-dry overnight.
However, if I do this in the morning, I lightly spray the wig (think adding a little bit of hairspray to set a hair style before heading out the door), put that baby on my head and let it air-dry as I am on the go.
SIDE NOTE: Please do this over a tub or sink to avoid leaving a slippery mess on the floor.
This is the method I use for curly/wavy wigs since they are my usual go-to in-between hairstyles. However, it can also be done on straight synthetic wigs as well. The only difference is that you should first let the hair air-dry completely and then use a wig brush to remove the tangles.
Also, I do not like to wash out the mixture, using it as I see fit when wearing a unit. But it is your preference.
A few DOs and DON’Ts to remember for synthetic hair:
• DO always use cold water on a synthetic wig.
• DON’T use a blowdryer. Allow the wig to air-dry.
• DON’T apply heat, including curling irons, flat irons or any appliances of the sort.
• DON’T use a brush or a comb on curly wigs.
• DON’T use a brush or a comb on straight wigs when wet.
• DO NOT use human hair products on synthetic wigs. They are stifling to synthetic wigs.
• DO take off the wig when going to bed.