Many times, customers will not be interested in purchasing a new wig.  It could be they have grown attached to the wig they have and enjoy the fit.  In this situation, convincing them to purchase new may not be your best course of action.  Instead, help them learn how to dye a wig correctly.

A word about synthetic hair wigs

Sourcing Nova is strongly against instructing customers how to dye synthetic hair.  Doing so may ruin the entire wig and cost you a valued customer.

The synthetic wig is made with man-made fibers like polyester, acrylic and polyvinyl.  All three of these fibers are very difficult to dye correctly as each lacks the natural pigment of real hair, so natural hair dyes will not work with a synthetic hair wig.

It is important to realize colored wigs of synthetic hair cannot be lightened in color – only darkened.  This means a customer looking to change the color of a wig must only use a light colored wig with the intention of going to a darker color.  The opposite is not possible with synthetic hair.

The advantage of synthetic hair is the myriad of colored wigs available.  This is why Sourcing Nova recommends sourcing a variety of colorful wigs and varieties for your business.  This keeps customers interested in you, your products and helps you turn a profit.


Why synthetic hair does not dye

Synthetic hair is not hair but is essentially a variety of plastic that has been colored at the factory with chemical dyes and processing.  This means color does not infuse into the hair.  The color  instead is placed onto the surface of the strand.  Customers interested in how to dye synthetic hair wigs is often a hit and miss process.

A customer serious about dyeing hair should stay with a human hair wig.

However, if you have a customer pressing you for information on how to dye synthetic hair wigs, do recommend they use a fabric dye.  Fabric dyes are recommended for synthetic materials like those used to make synthetic hair and make wonderfully colored wigs.  More on this later in the guide.


What wigs a customer can custom dye

Customers looking to dye a wig to a new, natural color should select a human hair wig for dyeing.  Standard hair dyes function perfectly on natural hair wigs.  Those interested should consider two things:


1. A blonde wig

Sourcing Nova recommends blonde or lightly colored wigs if a customer has plans on dyeing any wigs at some point. The blonde wig gives the customer an opportunity to work with a base that does not require advanced techniques and materials: bleach, developers and pigments.


2. Semi-permanent hair color

Semi-permanent hair color will wash out of wig and is an ideal way for a novice to learn how to dye a wig well and properly.


Box dyes on wig – the best suggestion

Box dye is a standard hair dye for human hair.  Customers who are not familiar with or are not willing to mix color and developer together for the dye should certainly use a box dye.  This will not achieve the same look as a professional’s work, however.  Customers wanting a specific shade or design should take their wigs to a professional colorist at their preferred salon.

Lightening the wig

It is always best for a customer to start with a blonde wig regardless of their intentions of dyeing. A customer interested in lightening a wig can do so by first stripping some of the shade from the wig with a combination of hot water and purple shampoo.  This will provide a more neutral base for the customer to begin the dyeing process.


Why purple shampoo

Sourcing Nova mentions purple shampoo to strip color from a blonde wig.  Purple shampoo tones lightly colored wigs and hair and removes ‘brassy tones’ – different shades and discoloration on the wig.  Purple is the color directly across from yellow on a color wheel.  The purple shampoo cancels out the brassy tones and leaves the hair a more even shade.


Bleaching hair

Make absolutely certain the customer understands lightening is not the same as bleaching.  Bleaching is the opposite of the goal.  Bleaching strips and removes color from hair.  Bleaching will also weaken hair and eventually can ruin a wig.

The amounts, time and process of bleaching is much more complex than a simple hair dye.  Any errors in the process can ruin the wig completely. Bleaching is a technique better left to a professional with proper training.


Before the dye – Getting prepared

It is important when dyeing a wig to start with everything needed.  Therefore, Sourcing Nova has a list of the items to have on hand for the workplace as well as the items for dyeing.

It is strong recommendation for the customer to have the following for the workplace:

·         Old apron or clothes to protect the skin and other clothes (dye can be messy)

·         Plenty of drop cloth, old newspaper, garbage bags and the like for the floor and workspace

·         The workspace should be a hard counter – the bathroom or kitchen is ideal

·         Uninterrupted time – This is a process that needs full attention


Here is the list of recommended items to have on hand:

•  Wig comb and brush

•  Disposable gloves (The dye box will have some.  We recommend extra.)

•  Dye

•  Large plastic tub, sink or bathtub

•  Glass or ceramic bowl for mixing

•  Whisk

•  Long, plastic spoon

•  Several towels – one that can be stained up

•  Wig head stand

•  Wig

•  Timer

•  Brush for dye (The kit should contain one.)


Wig density and length of hair

Wig density is important to consider before dyeing.  Density refers to the amount of hair in the cap.  Most wigs have a human hair density of 120 percent. If the wig has a higher density than this, the wig will require more dye and time for the color to saturate the hair.

Longer hair wigs will require more dye, naturally.  Sourcing Nova recommends two or more packages of dye.  The customer should save the receipt and return unused boxes.


Test, test, test

Before the customer dyes the entire wig, strongly recommend a test.  This means have two of the same dyes available – one for the test and one for the actual dyeing.  Mix the dye by the instructions, and apply to a small test strand of hair from the back of the wig towards the interior.  This will give the customer a chance to see how well the dye will work and on a place that is not likely to be seen regularly.

This is a good idea even if the customer has used the purple shampoo to strip a portion of the blonde color from the wig.


Important tips on wig coloring

There is much more on how to dye a wig than customers may assume. Some believe the process is as simple as mixing dye and submerging the wig into the dye.  Others may assume just mix the dye and developer and brush onto the wig.

Here are the best tips Sourcing Nova has compiled for coloring standard and lace front wigs properly the first time and every time.

Tip one

It is vital the customer read all of the instructions on the wig dye carefully and fully.  Customers should take particular care when it comes to the health portion – the times when it is not recommended to dye a wig.  Any negative reactions including redness, hives and severe itching means seek medical attention.


Tip two

Hair dye is not meant for one extreme to another.  It is best to go with tones closer to the original wig color within one to two shades color numbers.  Any more could cause the color to appear unnatural and strange.


Tip three

Curly hair wigs take dye much more easily and rapidly than straight hair.  This also means curly hair can damage much more easily from too much dye.  Cut the amount of dye, use distilled water and mix.  Again, a small test area is strong recommended.  The customer can add more dye to the mixture, but diluting the dye will not be as effective.


Tip four

Sourcing Nova said this above, but it is worth repeating.  Have enough dye on hand.  We recommend several packages of the same dye – one package for a test and enough dye for the final job. Again, with receipt, returning unused product should not be an issue.


Wig preparation

This may seem overkill to you, but the more information the customer has before the actual dyeing process is better.  It is a goal of this guide to explain all the necessary steps correctly the first time.  Once done a time or two, the customer will not need such detailed instructions.

Now that everything is in order, tools collected and a suitable place chosen to dye is selected, it is time to prepare the wig.  Here are the steps:


Step one

Wash the wig completely, especially if the hair is not virgin.  Shampoo the wig only.  Do not use any conditioners.

The wig needs to dry completely.  It is best for the customer to wash the wig at least 24 hours in advance of dyeing so the wig has time to air dry completely. Blow-drying, while feasible, is not recommended for a first time attempt at creating colored wigs.


Step two

Mount the wig on a wig stand or head.  Secure completely.  Comb the wig out completely with a wig comb and brush using the brushing techniques from our other guides.  The hair should be free of knots and lay flat.  Sourcing Nova has an excellent guide on how to detangle a wig available.


Step three

Coat the wig hair net and lace with a styling gel or petroleum jelly.  The purpose behind this step is to protect the lace underneath the hair of the wig.  You will want to get the dye to cover the roots of the hair and the small knots used to tie the hair into the hair net.  The goal here is to keep the dye from staining your skin and scalp.  The dye can remain on bare skin for several weeks until the dye fades, or the skin naturally sheds.

You do not want to be sparing with the gel or petroleum jelly.  You will be washing the wig thoroughly at the conclusion of the dyeing process, so this will not be an issue.  The gel, if used, needs to dry completely.  Plan on at least a few hours; eight or more is ideal.  Once the gel is completely dry, spray a healthy amount of a heavy hairspray onto the net.  Allow to dry again.


The actual dyeing

It is now time for the customer to dye the wig.  What seems like a great deal of preparation to this point will not take long to do, especially if the wig was washed earlier.  Since there are two ways to dye a wig – watercolor immersion and brush on dye – Sourcing Nova will explain both in the initial steps.  The post dyeing steps are the same for both processes.  Be sure your customer understands and is comfortable with either process.


Watercolor immersion dyeing initial steps

Step one

Fill the plastic tub, basin or tub with exceptionally hot water (not boiling) .  There should be enough to submerge the wig completely.  Add the dye to the water, and mix thoroughly with a spoon or whisk.


Step two

Put on the gloves either from the package or ones on hand.  Submerge the wig into the dye completely.  Move the hair around gently until all of the hair has made contact with the dye.


Step three

Set the timer for the manufacturer’s recommended time.  This way the customer will know an exact time to remove the wig from the dye.

Check the color saturation after the timer goes off.  If the color is not the desired look and/or not complete, repeat, but cut the soaking time in half.


Step four

Lift the wig out of the dye.  Let the dye drip off until no more drips down.

Move to Step five of the guide.


Applying hair dye with a brush initial steps

Step one

Clear an area for the wig to lie flat.  To prevent staining, do the following: 1. Put down several garbage bags; 2. Tape them down so the bags will not shift; 3. Layer several pieces of newspaper on top of the garbage bags.


Step two

The wig should be brushed out completely and free of tangles.  Lie the wig flat on the newspaper.  Brush a second time to ensure there are no tangles.


Step three

Put on the disposable gloves that come with the mix. Mix the hair dye in a bowl with the developer.  The manufacturer will provide detailed instructions on this step.


Step four

Brush the dye into the hair, coating all strands in the process.  Allow the dye to sit according to the manufacturer’s instructions – use the timer.

Move to step five.


Step five

Move the wig to a deep sink or the bathtub.  Run the wig under gently flowing lukewarm water until the water runs clear.

Apply the manufacturer’s conditioner to the wig.  Let sit for the recommended time, and rinse the wig again.


Step six

Using a towel the customer does not mind will stain, place the wig onto the towel, and spread the wig.  Blot sections of the wig.  If the towel becomes saturated with water, change to a new towel.  Repeat until dry.


Step seven

Place the wig onto the wig head.  Comb gently, and allow to air dry for several hours – overnight is ideal.


Coloring the lace front wig lace

Lace front wigs are designed to match the natural color of the skin.  Coloring the lace on a lace front wig is not recommended as this will cause an obvious tone difference between the wig and skin.  Follow the steps above on protecting the lace and wig net.


Frequently asked questions

There are likely to be customers who will want to know more information on colorful wigs and wig options.  Sourcing Nova has tried to answer the most obvious ones.  If the customer asks a question we have not covered or you cannot correctly answer, be forthright and honest.  It is best to admit not knowing than to give the customer bad information.


1. What hair holds color the best?

Virgin hair, hair that is not previously dyed, is always the best.  Virgin hair is porous and will take the colors well.


2. What is the difference between home and professional wig dyeing?

Those who color at home often will use a commercially available box dye.  A professional colorist will have a “color system,” different dyes of a commercial grade that result in a much different and often more defined look.


3. What is the difference between coloring a wig and coloring the customer’s own hair?

Wigs can be colored and changed with relative ease.  This makes experimentation and styling much more simple.  Customers who dye their own hair often must wait until the hair grows out before attempting a new color look.


4. What is the biggest misunderstanding about creating a colored wig?

Most people think dyeing a wig will damage the hair.  This is not true.  If the customer is careful, follows the directions and uses the information in this guide, the wig will turn out nice and colorful.


5. What is the best wig colour for the customer?

There are some places on the web the customer can find advice on what wig colours are the best, but Sourcing Nova strongly recommends visiting a professional hair products and styling brick and mortar store, getting help from the associates and researching the colors.  It is a strong recommendation the customer wear their wig to a store as well.  Here the customer will find a huge line of brands and colors to select from as well as sample human hair color that has been dyed the specific shade.

The customer can then hold the sample hair to the wig and decide if the color is right for them or not.


Final thoughts

Sourcing Nova is always keen to hear from you.  What wigs have your customers purchased, dyed and have had success with?  Do you have any stories to share, dyes to recommend or wig shades/styles for learning how to dye a wig?  Do you have any tips on how to dye synthetic hair?  Share your information with us in the comment section below.