Many people are afraid to wash their synthetic cosplay wigs because they are afraid that they will ruin them. You may look at a wet wig and freak out, thinking it is ruined forever. But please, calm down: wet wigs always look like a disaster. There’s nothing to worry about! Washing a wig is actually quite simple.
It is important to wash wigs between styling to get all of the hairspray and styling product out before you start your next styling. Leaving hairspray in a wig for long periods of time can also cause little white flecks to appear in the wig as the hairspray deteriorates. This can cause your wig to loose quality as well, and become coarse or lose it’s shine. That’s why, if you are not going to be wearing your wig for a long time, it’s a good idea to wash it before you store it. But don’t worry, it takes many many month before product will start to deteriorate high-quality wigs. I have yet to lose a wig to styling products being left in too long. Most wigs can be revived anyway with a good comb and conditioning.
Anyway, to wash your wig, first clean your sink, and rinse the sink to get all the cleaning products off. Then fill your sink with room-temperature water. You don’t want to use hot water because you don’t want to make the fibers pliable, just clean them. So room temperature, to slightly warm should do it. Use a cap full or about a quarter size squeeze of gentle shampoo. Baby shampoo is ideal, but anything that says “gentle” on the bottle should work, just don’t use too much. You can also buy special wig shampoos on the internet. I have not found need of them.
Swish around the water with your hand to distribute the shampoo. Remove the wig from your wig head and make sure there are no pins, wig caps, or accessories still in it. place the wig in the sink and gentle move it side to side. Do not swirl, scrunch, or knead the wig. Wig fibers become very weak when wet, so you need to slosh the wig back and forth in the water gently. Let the wig sit for only five minutes to let the shampoo do its job. Then, lift the wig out of the sink carefully. Drain the sink, refill the sink with room temperature water, and put a cap full of conditioner in the water and slosh it around. There are wig conditioners available online, but I find that my own conditioner for real hair is fine.
The conditioner may clump up in the water. With you wig off to the side, break up any clumps of conditioner before putting your wig in the water. This can be a challenge, but you don’t want any little conditioner clumps getting stuck in your wig because they’re not that easy to wash out. You want to break up and dissolve the conditioner.
Once you have minimized conditioner lumps, gently place the wig back in the sink and once again slosh it side to side gently. Let sit for five minutes. Now, once again, remove the wig from the sink and place it off to the side. Drain and refill the sink, but this time, don’t put any product in the water. Place the wig in the sink and slosh it from side to side gently for about five minutes to get all the conditioner out. If there are any clumps stuck in it, carefully remove them while the wig is submerged in water.
Once you think you’ve got all the conditioner out, remove your wig from the sink, and stretch it over a wig head to dry. You’ll need lots of pins to hold it in place because the water-weight will make it very heavy. Your wig head will probably fall over if not secured. DO NOT BRUSH, COMB, OR REPOSITION THE FIBERS OF YOUR WIG UNTIL IT IS COMPLETELY DRY. Touch it only enough to get it on the wig head. If you sloshed it around gently enough, you should not have trouble accessing the opening for the wig head.
While wet, your wig will look like a terrible mess. But do not fret. As it dries, it will look more like hair again, and less like a slimy, malformed critter. Do not attempt to detangle your wig until it is completely dry. This will take at least 8 hours, and for long wigs, it make take more than 24 hours. Be patient, and don’t wait until the last second to wash out and restyle your wig. You’ll regret it. Your wig may be a little tangled after washing, but with patience you’ll be able to get all the knots out pretty easily. Tangling is just what wigs do, and there isn’t all that much you can do to stop it.
I hope that you found this tutorial helpful and feel better about that sopping fur ball in the sink.