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Wig Care & Repairs:

February 6, 2013

Wig Care & Repairs:

If you know just a few key things, you can take better care of your wigs and make them last longer, or sometimes know that its time to give up and get a new one. 

All wigs need maintenance to care for the hair and for the cap. As a general rule, I tell my clients to expect to spend $100 per year, above the normal costs of wash and sets, on various repairs and maintenance. If you don’t have to spend it this year, then it may add up and you’ll spend it next year. If a 3 year old wig needs less than $300 worth of work, than you’re doing ok. 

Caring for the hair includes: proper washing, not too often and not too sparingly, deep conditioning and hot oil treatments, dying and color maintenance on time. Maintenance on your cap is dependent on wear and tear, the age of the wig and frequency of wear. Standard wear and tear can mean replacing clips, new elastics, and patching holes. More expensive, bigger jobs may mean adding hair when it gets too thin in certain spots or throughout the whole wig or repairing larger tears. These bigger jobs can usually be prevented with proper maintenance, but if the wig is worth saving, it may be worth it to invest to keep it alive. 

How often to wash:

As a general rule I give clients a “one-month, two-month, three-month” guide; wash it once a month for daily wear, once in three months for Shabbas-only sheitels, and two months for everything in between. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If your own hair is oily, that will build-up and add residue on your cap that should be washed a little more often than the average. People with dry, less oily hair may be able to go a little longer between washes. Also, there are different definitions of daily wear. For some, daily wear is only five days a week for six to eight hours while for others it can mean eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you store your wig in a box or out on your dresser, in a dusty closet, on the Styrofoam head, or rolled in a ball… All of these factors change the rules, so ask your personal stylist for her opinion too. 

The other general rule I give people is a little gross, but fairly accurate: you know that smell your hair gets when you need to shower? Well, your wig often smells like that at the end of the day, but after airing out overnight, it smells fresh again in the morning. Towards the end of the month, it will still smell like that in the morning, even after airing out. Then you know it needs a wash. 

If you wear your wig every day to work and work an eight hour day, five days a week, you probably have it on your head for ten to twelve hours a day. Add on a couple of hours on the weekend too, you’ve already racked up over sixty to seventy hours a week. At that rate, you should definitely wash your wig once every four weeks, or even more often. I have some customers who live in their wig up to eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. Those people can wash their wigs as often as often as once every week or two, depending on their own hair texture. Under any other circumstances once a week or two weeks is too often. 

No wig with natural hair should go unwashed for more than three months. If you’re wearing your “Shabbas” sheitel only once a week, or only to weddings and “Simchas”, you should have it washed at least every three months, and plan it properly: wash it fresh for January and June wedding seasons, and Rosh Hashana and Pesach Yom Tov time. 

Everyone in between daily wear and Shabbas-only wear has to judge their wigs individually. There is obviously the fear that you are washing them too often, and its a valid fear. Every wash it may lose a little more hair, but wigs in general are made with much more hair than people, so it can usually spare a few extra. It causes damage to the wig to NOT wash it too, so consult a professional for your individual wigs and their care.

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