One of the most important things to realize if you are going to go into business selling wigs and hair products is your clients need to know the fundamentals of proper care for their purchase choices.  One of the most important is how to wash wigs properly.  Proper care of a wig is vital to its longevity and to maintain the wig’s look.  Giving this information to your clients and customers at the point of sale is vital.  Angry or upset customers will certainly let their anger and disappointment known via social media and other sources – this could spell bad news for you and your new business.

Your customers may wonder when they make their purchases –


Why is it important to wash a natural hair or synthetic wig?

There are two reasons:

1. Hygiene – cleaning the wig is for your health and the health of the wig;

2. Proper wig care keeps the wig keep its luster and like new appearance.  Keeping the wig clean also will help prevent knots and curls – two things that would change the look and feel of the wig.  It is vital your customer understand good handling techniques.

Proper handling and care keeps the wig from being elongated, damage to the cap and even losing hair.

It is important for your customers to realize the importance of gentle handling and proper wig care for the best possible lifespan of the wig.


How frequently do I wash my synthetic hair or natural human hair wig?

That answer depends on two factors: how often the customer wears the wig and in what places the customer wears their wig.

Both synthetic and natural hair wigs are not like standard human hair constantly producing oils.  Most people wash their hair daily because of the amount of oil created, but neither type of wig makes natural oils.  Washing a wig daily is not necessary.

Your customers still deserve to know how wash their wigs – synthetic and natural hair.

Customers who wear their wigs for work in an office environment obviously do not need to wash their wigs but once every month or between four to six weeks.  Customers who choose to style their wigs with hairspray, mousse or other products may need to wash more frequently – up to once a week.

Customers who will be wearing their wigs in different places may need more frequent cleaning.  Explain in detail to your customers that wigs easily absorb odors and smells including smoke, perfume and the like.  Areas that are exceptionally warm and/or humid can make the scalp sweat and stain the cap of the wig.  Synthetic hair and natrual hair wigs that are greasy, dry, heavy, not moving freely or have an unpleasant smell means it is time to clean the wig.

Washing and cleaning a wig is certainly more comfortable to wear, but there is something else to consider.  Each time the customer washes the wig the overall lifespan of the wig will be shortened.  Customers may question how to keep their natural hair and scalps healthy while minimizing damage to the wig.


One suggestion

Inform the customer to have a two part cleaning system: rinse the wig with clean, cool water daily or every other day, and do a deep clean when the wig is visibly dirty or has a bad smell.

Instructions on how to rinse wigs

It does not take any special tools or instructions to rinse wigs.

  • Remove the wig
  • Smooth any tangles
  • Rinse under cool, running water
  • Place on a wig stand to air dry
  • This will keep dust and the smell of tobacco smoke clear from the wig and minimize the damage to the wig.

There is a much more detailed process on how to wash the wig.  It is a strong recommendation to provide complete instructions and steps to the customer.  Sourcing Nova has spoken directly to the wig manufacturing company and its technical staff for the precise instructions to care for the wig.  Your customer will have instructions to clean their wigs directly from the manufacturer rather than from Internet searches with potentially outdated or wrong information.

Sourcing Nova has compiled that information from the manufacturer into a highly detailed, specific tutorial.  This is a comprehensive guide that explains how to clean a wig.  This guide is meant to be shared with your customers.  You are free and encouraged to share this with your customers, and they are sure to appreciate the extra steps you took for their purchases!


Tools for proper wig care

All customers need to understand there are certain products necessary for their wigs and wig care.

Wigs need combs, shampoo and conditioners designed for wigs.  It is highly unlikely your customers are familiar with any of these products.  You need to be educated and ready to share this information with your customers.  They need to know and understand the why behind the specific products as well the how.  This creates a strong bond with your customer, and you gain their trust through your knowledge and understanding of the products.  It is a very uncomfortable situation to be asked a valid question and not have an answer.  This is a huge red flag for customers, and they are likely to find another seller.


Wig comb

The wig comb is the first thing the customer should have with their wig.  The customer is almost certainly going to ask – Why do I need a special comb for my wig?  Can’t I use my regular comb or brush?

Your answer: Wig combs are different from your ordinary comb because the teeth on a wig comb are spaced much more widely apart and are anti-static in nature.

Chances are you will need to explain further.  In that case:

The material and production of wigs is the reason.  Most wigs are made from human hair that has been treated.  This treatment changes the hair’s scaling, toughness and structure often destroying it completely.  Using a standard comb or brush could break the hair because of the spacing of the comb’s teeth.

The purpose behind an anti-static comb is a wig will dry much more rapidly than your natural hair.  Static electricity produced when combed and brushed attracts hair together.  This will tangle the hair in the wig.

There are several anti-static combs based on the manufacturing process, but all come down to one of two factors: produce less static electricity or allow the static electricity to discharge more rapidly.


Wig shampoo and conditioners

After, or perhaps before, inquiring about combs, expect to be asked: Why do I need special shampoo and conditioner?  My wig is made of human hair.  Won’t the regular stuff I use work just as well?

It is important to remind your customer of the wig manufacturing process.  The steps and chemicals used to treat hair mean some of the cuticle, strength and durability of the hair is weakened considerable from human hair growing from the head.  Natural hair has oils and moisture already in the hair, and that is enough to keep the hair soft and silky looking.

Standard shampoos contain parabens and sulfates – chemicals that are simply too harsh for a wig.  The regular shampoo can also degrade, dry and tangle the wig hair leading to irreversible damage.  Wig shampoos are much milder and keep the wig from drying out or being damaged.  The wig shampoo should certainly be effective enough to clean and deodorize the wig as well.

There are several articles available that point to using fabric softeners when learning how to soften synthetic wig hair.  Sourcing Nova strongly recommends against using fabric softeners of any sorts.  Fabric softener may work on certain synthetic wig types and could damage other synthetic wig types.  Keep your customers happy and their purchases in the best condition possible by recommending to follow the wig manufacturer’s instructions on the proper shampoo and conditioner.


Wig heads and wig stands

Anytime the wig is not worn, it should be put onto a wig head or wig stand.  This will keep the wig’s natural shape and keep tangles from forming.  The wig stand, not the wig head, is also a perfect stand for air drying the wig after washing.


Clean towel that absorbs water well

It is important the customer understand to have one or more towels on hand when learning how to wash a wig correctly and well.

Your customers should have all of these items laid out and ready before the actual washing process.  Stress the importance.

Please remind your customers that they can proceed to the next step only after preparing the above tools.  The next bit is equally important, so be sure to share this with them as well.

It is vital to be sure the wig is completely free of tangles and knots.

Washing the wig without first clearing the tangles and knots will only worsen them during the washing process.  It is important the customer work slowly, gently and carefully to keep the wig from losing hair.  Additional information on how to remove tangles will be introduced in a separate article as this is a very important and involved portion of proper wig care.


7 steps on how to wash a wig thoroughly

These steps are appropriate on how to wash a human hair or synthetic hair wig.


Step One: Soak

A bathtub is the ideal location to wash a wig.  The large surface area allows for ample room for the wig to spread and decreases the possibility of knots forming.  Customers who lack a bathroom can use a large sink or washbasin.

Fill the basin with cold or lukewarm water, about an inch in depth.  Do not use hot water.  Hot water damages wig fibers, makes the wig cap lose elasticity and color may fade.


Cold water or lukewarm?

The customer will need to decide how dirty their wig is.  The more dirty the wig, the more lukewarm water is better as this will allow the detergent quality of the shampoo to work more effectively.  Cold water will do the least amount of damage to the wig, but cold water will not clean the wig as efficiently.  Recommend to clean the wig once and a while with warm water, but as a general rule, use cold water for regular cleaning.

Once your bathtub or sink has approximately one inch of water, add wig shampoo according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Remove any accessories on the wig, and put the wig into the water.  Allow to soak three to five minutes.  Be sure the customer knows not to rub, twist or wring the wig out.  Allow the wig to rest still in the water, and soak.

Tip: Synthetic hair wigs do not stain easily and can be cleaned without soaking.  Synthetic wigs often tangle in water, so Sourcing Nova recommends against letting synthetic wig soak.


Step Two: The cleaning

Cleaning is actually two different steps: Cleaning the cap and cleaning the hair.  Here are the steps for both.


1. Clean the wig cap – Invert the wig so the cap is turned up, and visible.  Scrub the lace cap gently and carefully as this is where the majority of dirt and sweat will accumulate.  A used soft bristle toothbrush is often a good idea as well, especially if the lace cap is stained.

2. Clean the hair – Gently press the hair with a hand to submerge each portion of the wig.  Once done, lift the wig out of the water by putting the hand under the cap.  This will keep the hair facing down and ready to rinse.


Step Three: Rinse the wig

Drain the sink or bathtub completely.  Turn on the cold water to a steady but gentle run.  Start rinsing the wig under the running water.  Allow the water to do its thing.  Do not move the wig hairs or otherwise touch the hairs while rinsing.  The wig is clean when the water runs clear.


Step Four: Conditioner

Conditioner restores the wig’s luster, smooth appearance and soften synthetic hair.  Leave the conditioner in the hair according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  The hair should be wet and saturated with conditioner at this time.  Make absolutely certain the customer does not spray the roots as conditioner can loosen the hair knots. Comb the wig starting about an inch above the tips until all tangles are removed.  Move the comb up another inch or so, and repeat.

Rinse out the conditoner with cold water, or if the manufacturer recommends, warm water.


Step Five: Rinse a second time

Run cold water over the wig hair until the water runs clear.  Sourcing Nova recommends doubling the time from the conditioner sat in the hair.  This means if the manufacturer recommends leaving the conditioner in the hair for two minutes, then rinse the hair for four minutes.


Step Six: Dry

The customer should have had a towel laid out close by.  Allow the wig to drain into the sink or tub before transferring to the towel.  Place the wig on the towel, fold the towel over and onto the wig and pat the wig dry.  Use gentle pressing motions so the wig will not frizz.

Place the wig onto the wig stand, and allow to air dry.  Do not put the wig into direct sunlight.  Should the wig have static electricity, apply more spray in conditioner.  This will return moisture into the wig’s hair.

The back of the neck where the hair touches the collar is a common place for the body to generate heat.  Add extra conditioning spray to this area.

Customers who need their wigs in a hurry can use a hair dryer, but set the hair dryer at the lowest possible temperature.

The customer should understand never to stretch the wig’s cap over the styrofoam head wig stand.  This could stretch the cap.  Use a wig stand or can of hair spray to hold the wig.  The underside of the wig need to dry as well.  Resting the wig on a styrofoam head wig stand will not allow the moisture close to the cap to dry.  Do not do anything to the wig at this point.  Wet hair can tangle and break.  Let the wig sit for several hours – overnight is ideal.


Step Seven: Styling

The wig should be 100 percent dry at this point.  Use the wig comb or hairbrush only because any other comb or wig will stretch, increase shedding and damage the wig cap.

As before, start about an inch above the tips.  Comb until there are no tangles.  Move up an inch or so, and continue the same process until the entire wig is brushed out.

Customers who wish to style their hair with heat need to be certain their wig is human hair or heat-resistant synthetic hair.  Sourcing Nova can help you choose either one you would like for your customer base.

Synthetic fibers are not shaped at the manufacturer and have memory.  Instead the wigs are shaped and sprayed before shipping.  The dried wig will return to its basic shape when fully dry.

Customers who wish to style their hair should only use products designed for synthetic hair – hairsprays, mousses and gels.


Final thoughts

This represents all of the information you need to share with your customers for the best care for their wig purchases.  Sourcing Nova did mention many complimentary products that go with wigs.  Are there any complimentary products you would like to have available for your customers and their wig purchases?  Let us know what you would like to have in a comment below.