Plus, what a dermatologist says can happen to your skin if you don't wash it.

Audrey Noble
August 04, 2020
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For the non-committals out there, wigs are a great option for trying out a new a color, style, or cut without doing anything permanent to your hair. But this fun hair accessory isn't just something you throw on and off whenever you please; it requires special care to keep it in good condition. To get the lowdown, we turned to the experts to ask them exactly how to wash our synthetic wigs, how often to wash them, what kind of shampoo to use, and what not washing it could do to your skin.

How often should you wash your wig?

If you wear your wig every day, celebrity hairstylist Annagjid "Kee" Taylor recommends washing your wig every other week. If you sweat a lot, use styling products in your wig, or are regularly around things that smell (like smoke), you can wash it more frequently than that. Now, if you wear your wig less frequently, you can wash it every 10 wears or so.

What happens if you don't wash your wig?

Not washing your wig will lead to tangling and making it completely unmanageable. But there are also negative side effects for your skin. Dermatologist Morgan Rabach, M.D., says that a dirty wig will transfer oil, debris, and dirt to your skin. This will lead to breakouts under the wig and hairline—so wash that wig for its sake and yours. 

Here’s the ultimate guide to how to wash a wig. 

Step one: Detangle your wig.

Before reaching for the shampoo, Taylor recommends detangling the wig with a wide-tooth comb to streamline the washing process. To prevent breakage and shedding, you should start from ends and work towards the roots.

Step two: Find the right shampoo for your wig

“Washing a wig isn't too different from washing your own hair,” says Taylor. However, if you have a synthetic wig, you'll need to find a shampoo specifically formulated for wigs since traditional shampoos contain ingredients like parabens and sulfates that can quickly degrade the quality of the wig.

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Step three: Gently shampoo your wig.

Taylor says you’ll want to work the shampoo in your hand and then work gently through the hair on the wig, making sure you’re distributing the shampoo evenly. Once the product is in, use lukewarm water, and do not wring water out. Instead, squeeze and press the hair as you rinse it. Repeat when you condition it.

Step four: Blow-dry your wig.

To prevent over-drying your wig, Taylor recommends blow-drying it until it's about 75 percent dry. After that, you can let it air-dry.