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Washing your wig

December 21, 2012

Washing your wig.

Before I get into details of how to wash, I usually give the following warnings to remember throughout the process:

A. Water temperature is crucial to proper washing; not too hot, and not too cold. About body temperature is fine, even a drop cooler. (Hotter can compromise dyed colors, but too cold will not get your wigs clean.

B. I always dilute shampoo and conditioner before pouring over the wig. Undiluted, it may seep into the knots holding the hair into place, causing them to slip open and your wig to lose hair faster than it should.

C. Always make sure to rinse everything out completely, to squeaky clean! Any shampoo and conditioner left in the knots of the wig can cause them to slip open as mentioned above, but residue left in the hair may cause the hair to get sticky and knotty. Also excess shampoo and conditioner creates a layer that can act as a magnet for dirt and cause your wig to need a wash sooner rather than extend the life of your wash.

The following are step by step instructions to follow to wash your wig. They are difficult to follow if you’ve never watched a professional in action, but if you’ve seen it only once, its a breakdown of what you saw happen rather quickly. Read it through completely before you get started to anticipate your needs and set yourself up properly.

1. Holding the wig by the top center of the cap (usually marked by the center comb), first brush it out completely and thoroughly. If you hit a knot, stop, and try to loosen it up from the bottom and work your way up through the knots. 

2. Run the wig under water for a bit to dampen it and pour the shampoo into the bottom of a washing cup just like you use for “netilas yadayim”. (About twice the shampoo you would normally use on your own hair, almost enough to cover the bottom of the cup). Dilute the shampoo all the way to the top of the cup, then pour it over the wig. 

3. Using a gentle, plastic bristled brush, brush the wig in a downward direction (following the direction the hair is sewn into the wig). Use the brush to lather up the shampoo, and don’t rub with your fingers as you would on your own head, making sure to rub the cap as you brush through and get all the way through to the nape. You can turn it to each side and hold it against the side of the sink to make sure the brush is lathering all the way through to the net. 

4. Rinse the shampoo out completely. You can repeat the shampooing just to be sure you got it clean, but make sure you rinse the second shampooing as completely as you rinsed the first. 

5. Conditioning your wig is a little more complicated than shampooing, but potentially more dangerous, so please be very careful to follow directions. Use a little less than you used for shampoo: more than you use on your hair, but not enough to cover the bottom of the cup. Dilute it all the way to the top of the cup, and dip in just the ends of the fall. Brush through that section of the wig completely, as this is usually the spot that can get the most knotty and then rinse that part of the wig a bit. Re-dilute the conditioner in the cup all the way to the top again. This time pour it around the wig from the ear pieces and down, and the middle of the back of the wig too, using only half of the cup-full. Once the cup is half empty again, you can re-dilute the water again, and now you can pour this (three times diluted) over the top of the wig (the knots on the top of the wig are the most sensitive to slipping open from too much conditioner). Now brush out the fall from the top down, once or twice throughout, and then begin to rinse. Rinse the conditioner out COMPLETELY. Take as long as you need, but get the hair as close to squeaky clean as possible. There is usually no need to condition twice.

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