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Can You Wash & Shampoo Synthetic Hair Wigs?

Just like real hair, wigs need shampooing, too.
Marili Forastieri/Photodisc/Getty Images

Synthetic wigs get dirty and, like real hair, they need regular shampooing to look their best. Washing knocks out oil and dirt that, if left alone, may shorten the life of your wigs. Synthetic wigs aren't as delicate as the human-hair variety, but cleaning yours carefully will help you avoid breakage.

Brush Up on Brushing

Brush your wig before washing it so the hairs don't get tangled in the water. If the wig hair is knotted, spritz it with wig spray to lubricate the fibers. Using your fingers, tease apart any large knots. Start brushing the wig at the ends and work your way the roots until you've removed all of the tangles. For best results, use a brush that has rubber-tipped bristles to protect the wig fibers from breakage.

Time for Suds

Aim to shampoo your wig after every 10 to 12 wearings, and use only products designed for synthetic wigs. If you use styling products with the wig, such as hairspray or mousse, you may need to wash it more often. Fill a sink or tub with approximately 2 quarts of cool water. Add two capfuls -- or about 1 tablespoon -- of synthetic wig shampoo. Submerge the wig fully in the soapy water, then swish it around for a minute. If the wig is very dirty, let it soak for as long as five minutes, then swish it around again.

Rinse and Dry

After you've cleaned the wig, you're ready to rinse and dry it. Remove the wig from the soapy water, then rinse it under cool, running water until you see no more suds. Pat the wig with a towel to absorb as much water as possible. Don't squeeze the wig between the towel or wring it out, because these actions may damage it. Spritz your wig with a small amount of conditioning spray, then use your fingers to spread the spray through the hair. Place the piece on a wig stand to dry, or stand the wig up on a shampoo bottle or hairspray can. This helps the wig keep its shape as it dries. Don't brush the wig until it's fully dry.

What to Avoid

Never use any electric styling device on your synthetic wig after you're done washing it. This includes hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons and hot rollers. Synthetic wigs are made of fibers that can frizz or even melt when subjected to too much heat. Once this happens, you can't repair the damage.

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