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Wig Care: How To Keep Your Wig Looking As Good As Real Hair

heads with wigs on them
Wigs are taking over the world. As women experiment with their haircut, color, and style more than ever before, wigs have become a favorite way to switch up your look without committing to actually cutting, coloring, or styling your hair. Whether you're interested in dark brown hair or something more vibrant, there's a wig to suit every kind of taste.

We love to encourage people to play around with their look, but it’s important to know how to care for wigs if you’re going to wear them. If you’re not sure what synthetic and human hair wig care requires, you’ve come to the right place. We tapped Stephanie Nolan, CEO and founder of XOXO Virgin Hair, to tell us everything we need to know about how to care for any wig.

How do you care for a synthetic wig?

The best thing about wigs being more popular than ever is that almost everyone has access to quality hair. Whether you’re looking for a $20 synthetic wig for a wild night out on the town or planning to spend a few hundred dollars on a custom unit, wigs last longer and look more realistic than ever before. Plus, they come in a wide variety of prices.

If you were introduced to wigs through your favorite beauty bloggers, chances are good you’ve seen elaborate vanities and wig stands they tend to own. While wig stands are an excellent way to put your hair on display, Nolan says your room doesn’t have to look like a beauty supply store to properly store your wigs.

“The best way to store a wig is in its original packaging, to avoid contact with external elements like dust,” she says. “If you don’t have the wig's original packaging, a large zipped bag works well.”

Before placing your wig either in its original packaging or a bag, it's essential to detangle your hair and set it in a few twists or braids to ensure it does not become tangled while packed away.

How often should you wash a synthetic wig?

How often you should wash your wig really depends on how often you’re wearing it. Whether your wig is made of human hair or synthetic fibers, it can collect dirt, dust, and product buildup—just like the hair on your head.

If you plan on wearing your wig every day, you should wash it as often as your real hair. Only wearing your wig a few days a week? A weekly wash should be more than enough to keep it clean. If you only wear your hair for special occasions, be sure it wash it before you pack it back away.

Just like your hair care routine, washing your wig will do much more than making it look clean—it will make it feel beautiful.

“Washing your wig will ensure that the quality is preserved and can also help maintain moisture levels and minimize the occurrence of split ends from the dryness that can occur from lack of routine maintenance,” Nolan explains.

Xoxo virgin hair Wigs

How do you take care of a human hair wig?

In addition to shampoo and conditioner, there is one product Nolan says everyone with a human hair wig should have on hand: a heat protectant. Just like the strands that grow out of your head, human hair wigs are susceptible to heat damage. Help keep your wig from becoming singed and frayed by using a heat protectant product every time you heat style your wig. From the L'Oréal portfolio of products, Nolan recommends Kérastase L’Incroyable Blowdry Lotion.

As far as tools, you probably already have most of what you need to care for your wigs.

“The best essential tools to have for wig ownership are a good brush and comb suited for your wig. Looped bristle brushes are a favorite among wig wearers,” Nolan says. “A chin strap is also great for wigs, to hold it down so it can be held in place for styling. A wig block or styrofoam mannequin head is also great to keep when air drying a wig as well.”

Jackie Aina wig

Can you use regular shampoo to wash a wig?

While you can find both quality synthetic and human hair wigs, you shouldn't care for them the same way.

Synthetic wigs are made from fibers instead of real hair strands, so Nolan recommends using products formulated to care just for them. When properly maintained, synthetic wigs can last anywhere from six to eight weeks. If you want to get the most out of your synthetic hair, you’ll need to take a trip to the beauty supply store to stock up on supplies.

Human hair wigs need a bit more work to maintain, but they don’t require a trip to the beauty supply store as you can use the hair products you already have in your house. Human hair wigs are made from actual human hair, which means the shampoo, conditioner, and styling products you use on your strands should work for your wig.

Unlike extensions, which are used to make your natural hair appear longer or fuller, wigs completely conceal your natural hair and allow you to try out a completely different hair type. If you have naturally curly hair and your human hair wig is straight, you’ll need to stock up on products formulated for straight hair or vice versa. Not sure where to start? We recommend Kérastase Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire Shampoo and Soin Fondamental Conditioner.

Now you know everything you need to know to keep your wigs in tiptop shape for as long as possible.

Interested in personalized advice about wigs? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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