Many people feel that wigs made with human hair look, feel, and move more naturally than synthetic wigs, but they are more expensive than synthetic wigs and they require a bit more work to style. Whether you’ve bought a human hair wig for daily wear or just for special occasions, you should plan on styling it (even minimally) before each wear. With proper care, a human hair wig can last for up to a year with everyday wear.
Here’s how to properly style and maintain your human hair wig.
The following items will help you:
- a wide-toothed comb or paddle brush
- a round brush
- shampoo and conditioner (regular or for human hair wigs)
- a towel
- a blow dryer (with optional air concentrator attachment)
- a plastic wig stand for drying (or an appropriately shaped household item)
- a foam or canvas wig head for styling
- styling products, such as heat-protecting spray and hairspray
- styling tools, such as a hair straightener or curling wand
Step One: Wash and blow dry your human hair wig
First, detangle your human hair wig with a wide-toothed comb or paddle brush. Then, wash your wig with lukewarm water and wig shampoo, rubbing in a downward direction from roots to ends. Make sure to cleanse the inside of the cap as well. After washing, apply conditioner— avoiding the root area — and let the wig sit for a few minutes. Rinse the wig thoroughly, and blot it dry with a towel. Avoid wringing out your wig because this can cause the hair to tangle. If your wig has a monofilament part or top feature, part the hair with a wide-toothed comb after patting the wig dry. Then, apply your styling products, such as detangler, heat-protecting spray, or hair oil.
Human hair wigs need to be blow dried for the best results because they don’t retain their styling after being washed like synthetic wigs do. You can use your hand or a wig stand to prop up your wig while you’re blow drying it. Blow dry your wig until it’s about 50% dry — then it’s time to start styling.
Step Two: Use heat styling tools to style your human hair wig
You should not use heat styling tools on your wig while you are wearing it because you could injure yourself. To make styling your wig easier and safer, use T-pins to pin your wig to a foam or canvas block head. Using this type of wig stand keeps the wig secure during styling and also allows you to have a 360-degree view of the style.
After blow drying your wig until it is about half dried, continue blow drying while using a round brush. This type of brush will give you more styling control and will help to smooth the hair. You can use an air concentrator attachment on your blow dryer for even more control. Once the hair is 100% dry, you can move onto the next step.
To straighten your wig, use a flat iron starting about an inch from the root of your wig. This is easier if you separate the hair into more manageable sections using hair clips or ties. Make sure to focus on the front pieces since these will frame your face, but be sure not to leave heat on the hair for too long. Finish off the style with hairspray.
To curl your wig, first separate the hair into sections, then wrap a piece of the hair around your curling wand and leave it for 8–12 seconds. Be sure not to leave heat on the hair for too long. Let the curled hair down slowly into your hand and allow it to partially cool. This will ensure that your curls hold. Complete each section until all the hair is curled. Finish off the style with hairspray.
You can use these heat styling tips on your human hair wig every day, but make sure to apply a leave-in conditioner spray and heat-protecting spray before styling to keep the hair hydrated and protected. Remember to wash your human hair wig at least once a week after daily wear or every 8–10 wears.
Just like with synthetic wigs, consider carrying a wide-toothed comb with you so you can easily detangle and touch up your style on-the-go. Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions on how to style a human hair wig:
Carliz Sotelo Teague founded Wigs.com in 1999 and has been a wig wearer and passionate advocate of wigs since. Her passion and mission is to provide a convenient, supportive, and educational platform for those who are affected by hair loss and turn to alternative hair.