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How to Wash a Human Hair Wig (Beginner Friendly)


It’s no secret that wigs have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Nowadays, you don’t have to spend an arm or leg to get a quality lace closure or frontal human hair wig. The one thing that hasn’t changed, though, is that to protect the integrity of your wig (and your investment), you have to maintain it, which includes proper washing. 

In this blog, I walk you through my go-to routine for washing my human hair wigs—a wig bath. My qualifications? I’m a wig enthusiast who has been wearing wigs for a decade now. Through personal experience and chatting with professional stylists over the years (primarily for editorial purposes), I’ve crafted a routine that has helped my wigs last.

What You Need:

How to Wash a Wig: Step-by-Step

Detangling and Prep

how to wash human hair wig

Step 1: Before washing your human hair wig, you need to take the time to detangle it. Using a wide tooth comb or a detangling hair brush, gently work your way through the hair from the ends to the wefts, aka the roots of the wig. 

Depending on the quality of the hair or hair texture, you may want to approach this differently.

Severely Tangled or Textured Human Hair Wigs—Lightly mist with water before detangling to help loosen knots or tangles. If detangling curly wigs, knots at the nape, etc., it may be worth using a small amount of hair conditioner during the detangling process as well.

Once you can run your comb or brush through the hair with little to no trouble, your wig is fully detangled. 


Thoroughly Washing Your Wig

how to wash human hair wig shampoo

Step 2: After the hair is detangled, fill up your sink or bucket with lukewarm water. Put enough water to where the hair is fully submerged and covered (no need to overfill).

Step 3: Add a bit of shampoo to the water, gently swirling the wig in the water to fully mix the shampoo into the water. Remember, you’re essentially giving your wig a bubble bath, so apply the same principles.

I prefer using a gentle yet effective clarifying shampoo to ensure that all the dirt, oil, makeup, etc, is removed from my wig, 

Step 4: Wash your wig by continuously dipping it into the shampoo water while gently massaging the hair in the direction that it naturally falls.  Avoid rough handling the wig or maneuvering in a way that causes tangles (especially in the frontal or closure area, which is already more prone to tangling), 

Rinse the wig of shampoo, drain your sink and repeat until your fresh batch of water in the filled sink comes back clear after “bathing” the wig.

Step 5: If you have makeup or adhesive built up in the lace, apply shampoo to the area and gentle massage to cleanse. Remember, this area of the wig is very prone to knotting and shedding, so take your time.

Step 6: Give your wig one final rinse to make sure all the shampoo is fully removed.

Properly Conditioning Your Wig

how to wash human hair wig silicon mix

Step 7: Fill up your sink with cold water (again, just enough to fully submerge the wig in the water). Add conditioner directly into the water and a little directly onto the wig (the latter is to ensure there is more than enough present to coat the wig when submerged).

Let the wig sit for at least 10-15 minutes so the cool conditioner water can penetrate it and soften it. My recommendation for conditioner is Silicone Mix—it does an amazing job detangling and softening the hair while also leaving it with a healthy luster. 

Pro Tip—Alternatively, you can apply conditioner directly to the wig instead of bathing it with conditioner water.  However, this method will require more product. 

Boosting Shine & Pre Styling

Step 8: For shine, you can add ice to the water to make it as cold as possible. I’ve recently added this step to my wig maintenance, and my 6+ month-old wigs end up with impeccable shine, body, and smoothness.

After 10-15 minutes, rinse your wig under running water until it runs clear and you no longer feel the slip of conditioner on your fingers. 

How to Dry a Human Hair Wig

Air dry your wig by sitting on a wig head/stand or hanging on a hanger (preferably a pants hanger with clips or wig hanger)

Alternatively, you can blow dry. I recommend using a heat protectant as you would with your natural hair.

How Can I Wash My Wig Between Washes (Without Shampoo)?

If your wig has fallen flat and you need to refresh it without shampoo/ a full wash day, try dry shampoo.

Dry shampoo uses powder-like substances (like tapioca starch) to absorb oils and excess products that may be weighing down the hair. These between-washday shampoos also have different fragrances, which can also refresh the scent of your wig if needed.

Best Dry Shampoos for Wigs

Below are some of my favorite dry shampoos to use on my wigs 

Dove Beauty Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo

Saltair Moisture Bound Dry Shampoo

Not Your Mother’s Plump For Joy Dry Shampoo

How Often Should I Wash My Wig?

Once your hair looks oily or stiff, lacks volume and body, and just no longer behaves or styles like it once did, it’s time to give your wig wash. Typically, I wash my wigs a couple of times a month depending on how often I’m wearing them and adding product to style them.

Is It Okay to Use Regular Shampoo on a Human Hair Wig?

While things can get a bit tricky with synthetic wigs, washing human hair wigs with regular mild shampoos is perfectly fine. Furthermore, the bubble bath method dilutes the shampoo tremendously, allowing you to thoroughly cleanse the hair without stripping or damaging it. 

how to wash a human lace hair wig

Found this blog helpful? Don’t forget to share this with a wig-loving friend. And share your own tips in the comments if you have some!

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