How to care, wash and revamp your synthetic wig

how to wash synthetic wigs
source: mimiejay

Yes, your should know how to wash synthetic wigs, and here’s how to do it without it looking like a drowned mop of hair.


 Protective styles are a must for every naturalist interested in the growth and healthiness of their hair. However, the sad thing is that some of these protective styles can take hours to install. They could also become less of a protective style if installed incorrectly. Plus, they lack the versatility of changing up your look weekly (should you choose that), unlike with wigs. Bless thee, oh maker of wigs, for thou hast given to us the opportunity to slay without you having to sit in the salon for hours.

With wigs, you can go from rocking a fro to a bob cut to even braids by swapping out your wigs, and if you get a good one, no one will be the wiser. There isn’t anything wrong with people knowing you’re wearing a wig. If it sits right and looks fab, who cares? You shouldn’t.

Nevertheless, wigs aren’t just for naturalists who want to swap their fros for a protective hairstyle. If you ever want to lead the double life, a wig and wardrobe change are all you need—cue in the chorus of Hannah Montana’s theme song. But not just that, since wigs come in various colors and styles, you needn’t worry about damaging your hair, especially if you’re thinking of making a dramatic color change.

Celebrities have relied on wigs to help them portray their characters or change their looks. Wigs allow them not to worry about wreaking havoc on their hair by dying it constantly—Ariana Grande has something to say about this bit—or cutting it. The fun part? I’ll bet you had no idea they were wearing wigs. 

What is a synthetic wig?

8 Mistakes To Avoid The Next Time You Wash Your Wig
source: mayvenn

If you’re into beauty or have spoken to people who are, you’d have heard or seen the age-old battle between human hair wigs and synthetic wigs.

Whereas long ago, synthetic wigs couldn’t hold a torch to their human hair counterpart in the stone age, it’s getting more difficult to tell them apart. The stone age phrase there is a hyperbole, of course. The people then were more concerned with fighting fever than changing their hairstyles. Synthetic wigs are pretty much as their name goes: artificial wigs, manufactured wigs, fake wigs, whichever floats your boat.

They are made from artificial fibers like acrylic, nylon, polyester, or similar threads. They are put through various chemical processes to make them look and feel as close to human hair wigs as possible. High-end materials used to make synthetic hair make them a very close mimic to human hair, making the wig similar to human hair.

What about human hair wigs?

Human hair wig
Source: Pinterest

Human hair wigs are eponymous with their literal term. They are made from real, natural human hair. Hence, they look, feel, move, and act like your hair.

If synthetic hair is fake and human hair is natural, why go for synthetic wigs?

Hold your horses, don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Sure, a human hair wig gets made from natural hair, but it doesn’t always mean better because it’s genuine. Fake or synthetic can, in some cases, do well in their spaces—exhibit faux leather pants. Seeing as synthetic wigs became made to be a more cost-effective version of human hair, the high-grade ones do an outstanding job mimicking it—but at a lesser price.

That said, synthetic wigs have a grab-and-go easiness to them. They don’t require additional everyday styling. Their style pattern got permanently set due to the chemical processes used to make them which is a great thing because they won’t lose their styles when you wash them. This also means that your synthetic won’t go flat or frizz regardless of the weather conditions.

But this great asset of theirs also has a flip side. Since synthetic wigs are style-fixed, you can’t change up their look. If they come in tight curls, you can’t straighten them or make the curls looser. You’re stuck with whatever style you bought them in. They also don’t do well with heat styling unless you plan to meet them.

Nevertheless, there are some memorable heat-friendly synthetic wigs. You can change the curl pattern of these wigs with heat, but that proves to be a lot more complicated than with human hair as the synthetic fibers are resistant to change. However, they are much cheaper than their human hair counterpart and come in various rich colors, though you cannot color them yourself.

Like every kind of hair (weaves, clip-on, hair extensions, the real fur on your scalp), there are times when they’re due for a bit of shampoo loving. Synthetic wigs aren’t an exemption to this.

Synthetic wig
Source: Pinterest

When should you wash synthetic wigs?

Contrary to popular belief, you can wash synthetic wigs without ruining them completely; you just need to know-how. When to wash depends on how often you wear the wig, your environment (is it dusty? Smoky? Other forms of air pollution?), and other factors. A general guide is to wash it after 15-20 years, but you can adjust to how you deem fit. If your wig looks dull and lifeless, it’s time for a dunk in shampoo water.

Product build-ups, oil, dirt and grime, and free metal ions in hard water can make our hair limp, lifeless, and lackluster. This is when you bring out the big guns: Clarifying shampoos. But unlike natural hair, these shampoos are much too powerful for synthetic hairs, ergo synthetic wigs. So, there are a few steps to keep your synthetic wig’s integrity (fancy speech for preventing it from looking like a drowned rat). And you’re in luck because this article touches on these steps and more.

How to wash synthetic wigs—the right way

Now that we’ve agreed we don’t want your synthetic wigs looking like a step away from disaster, there are two ways you can wash synthetic wigs:

• With wig shampoo

• Without wig shampoo

With wig shampoo

Supplies needed for this:

A step-by-step guide on washing your synthetic wig with wig shampoo.

Step 1: Prep the hair for washing by brushing it with a wig brush. A wig brush is less harsh on your wigs than your regular everyday brush, which can strain the wig fibers, pulling out hair with each stroke. Brush with gentle strokes from the bottom up, not pulling with force. This will help detangle the hair and prevent you from ripping off parts of the wig cap when you get close to there.

Wig brush

Brush with gentle strokes from the bottom up, not pulling with force. This will help detangle the hair and prevent you from ripping off parts of the wig cap when you get close to there.

Step 2: Mix tepid water with a synthetic wig shampoo like the All Day Synthetic Wig Shampoo in a sink or basin, not a washing machine. The lukewarm water and the synthetic wig shampoo will work together to dislodge all the hair’s dirt, grime, dust, and other build-ups.

Step 3: Soak your wig in the mix for 5 minutes or longer, depending on how dirty it is. Do not scrub, rub, twist, or wring it. If your wig is prone to tangling, then don’t soak it. Instead, simply hold it in your hand and pour the soapy mix from root to end.

Step 4: After 5 minutes (or more), gently dip it up and down in the soapy water mix. You can also swish it gently to get the dirt out. If the cap is still dirty or showing stains, clean it gently with a toothbrush you don’t use anymore.

Step 5: Rinse your wig gently but thoroughly with cool water. Rinse till all the shampoo is gone.

Step 6: Like the hair on your scalp, you need to condition it after washing. Conditioning your wig will keep it looking lovely and lasting longer; it’ll also restore its original style pattern from before the wash. And like the shampoo, you should also go for conditioners formulated for synthetic wigs. You can use Dove Amplified Textures Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner for curls, coils, and waves. It comes with the entire package:

A sulfate-free shampoo that deep cleans, coconut milk, super slip detangling curl conditioner that detangles hair, and Jojoba moisture lock leave-in conditioner, which helps add moisture to the curls. To condition your wig, fill your sink or basin with cool water. Add the conditioner following the product directions.

How to Wash a Synthetic Wig
source: The Wig Company

Step 7: Put your wig in the conditioner mix. Gently work the conditioner mix into the hair using your fingers.

Step 8: Rinse your wig gently but thoroughly and with cool water.

Step 9: Pat the excess water out of the wig with a clean towel as the weight of the water could stretch the wig fibers and ruin the style. Hang your wig on a wig stand or a spray can (I told you the wig stand wasn’t necessary) to allow it to air dry.

9 simple, follow-able, and well-detailed steps to wash synthetic wigs with wig shampoo.

Synthetic wigs have gone through many upgrades to the extent that some are heat friendly. You can use a blow dryer and a straighter even on these special heat-friendly synthetic wigs.

How to wash synthetic wigs without wig shampoo

While wig shampoos are ideal for your synthetic wig, they aren’t the only ideal ones. Say you’ve run out of wig shampoo and your wig needs a clean-up, or your favorite and trusted brand is out of stock, are there other options? Totally! Below is a list of other great alternatives to wig shampoos.

  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar solution
  • Baking soda
  • Baby shampoo

The steps in washing your synthetic wig without wig shampoo are the same as the steps in cleaning it with wig shampoo. However, there are some things to consider with each alternative product.

Washing synthetic wig with dish soap

Dish soap to wash synthetic wigs
Source: goodhousekeeping

Dish soap makes a great alternative to wig shampoo since it’s strong enough to remove oil, dirt, and makeup from your hair. Ensure that you use dish soap with a mild nature. It’d damage your synthetic wig or ruin the style if it’s too harsh.

Washing synthetic wig with Vinegar solution

Vinegar solution to wash synthetic wigs

When using Vinegar solution to wash synthetic wigs, skip the step that requires you to soak your hair. Vinegar is highly acidic, thus quite sharp, so always use a small amount and mix with cool water (not tepid). Also, never leave your hair in Vinegar solution for a long time.

Washing synthetic wig with baking soda

Baking soda is excellent at washing synthetic wigs and removing all forms of odor and grime. When using baking soda to wash your synthetic wig, soak your wig in the baking soda + water mixture for about 4 hours or more and when rinsing, rinse in lukewarm to cool water. Ensure you don’t leave any baking soda residue.

Washing synthetic wig with baby shampoo

Finally, the last alternative to a wig shampoo. Baby shampoo is way milder than regular shampoo and so is incredibly suited for use on your synthetic wig. Notwithstanding, an excessive amount of baby shampoo might be too harsh for your synthetic wig, so use it in small amounts. Now that you know all the dos when washing your synthetic wig let’s take a look at the don’ts

What to avoid when washing a synthetic wig

  • Never brush a wet wig. Hair is weakest when wet.
  • Don’t place a wet wig on a Styrofoam head or a mannequin head, as it can stretch the wig cap.
  • Don’t use a regular hair brush to brush your synthetic wig, and if you’re using a comb, use a wide-tooth one (unless your aim is to pull out hair strands).
  • Do not introduce any form of heat to it unless your wig is stated to be heat-friendly. Otherwise, you’d just melt it (it’s mostly made from plastic, after all).


Now that you know how to wash, and revamp your synthetic wig the right way, get your synthetic wigs washed and ready for wear. That said, always take good care of your wigs and avoid exposing them to conditions that’ll require you to clean them frequently. Excessive and frequent washes will do more harm to your wigs (synthetic or human hair) than good. So, here’s to caring, washing, and revamping your synthetic wig.

You may also like to read other articles on hair care:

How To Wash Box Braids: The Best Way To Clean Your Scalp  
15 best shampoos for afro and curly hair
10 best tea tree shampoo selections to show love to your hair