Posted by Mona T. on 11/10/2019 to Hair Tips
If well taken care of, a synthetic wig can last a long time. Just like human hair wigs, synthetic wigs come in a variety of colors, textures and lengths. They are mainly available as lace front wigs or no lace wigs. Maintaining and restoring a synthetic wig is not as complicated as it may seem and can be done in just a few easy steps.
What is a Synthetic Wig?
Before we dive into synthetic wig restoration, let's first discuss what a synthetic wig is. This wig type is made from quality synthetic fibers which are manipulated to mimic real human hair. Fibers which are commonly used include chinese hair fibers, kanekalon hair fibers and toyokalon hair fibers. These fibers all have their unique characteristics and react differently.
Synthetic Wigs: The Difference Between Fibers
All synthetic wigs come in a variety of colors, textures and styles. Chinese fiber, Kanekalon fiber and Toyokalon fiber all can take heat. This means that they can be curled and heat styled with a flat iron, curling iron or curling wand. These hair types are also referred to as high heat fibers or high temperature fibers. Chinese fibers and Toyokalon fibers will hold the curl, but will not hold it as well as Kanekalon Hair fibers. Toyokalon hair also has more of a sheen and will appear more shiny, while Chinese fiber is not as shiny as Toyokalon fibers. Kanekalon Fibers can be placed in hot water to set the curl or tame frizz, but it is not advised to do so with the other two fiber types. Kanekalon hair fibers are more robust and mimic blow dried natural hair the best of the three fibers.
Common Types of Synthetic Wigs
Lace Front Synthetic Wigs:
This wig type is becoming very popular now and is a cheaper alternative to human hair lace front wigs. These wigs can be bought in any color and in many different textures. Solid colors and ombre color variations are available in this wig type and the lace is usually 13x3 inch, 13x3.5 inch or 13x4 inch. The lace runs from ear to ear to allow for a natural hairline look and some of these wigs come with baby hair. You can make your own baby hair with a razor comb if the wig does not have any already. This can be done by selecting a very small amount of hair from the front area of the hairline then sliding the razor on a 45 degree angle down the hair shaft of the strands. The razor should be sharp so that the hair fibers are not damaged and for a smooth cut. If you are not comfortable creating your own baby hair, it is advised that you take the wig to a salon professional who would be able to do this for you.
Synthetic lace front wigs are usually made on a solid fabric cap or a lace fabric cap with lace attached to the front of the fabric. The hair is attached to the fabric area of the cap using hair weave tracks which are sewn on using an industrial machine. Individual strands of hair are intricately hand woven at the front of the wig on the lace mesh, and this is the area that allows for the natural hairline look. The process is lengthy, but once completed, the result is realistic.
These wigs also usually have security combs sewn on to keep the wig in place. Normal placement is one at the top where the front lace ends and the sewn cap begins, one on each side close to the ears and one at the back. For additional security, adjustable straps are placed at the back of the wig cap in order to ensure a snug fit.
Machine Made No Lace Synthetic Wigs
The base of these wigs is usually made from solid fabric, lace fabric or mesh fabric caps. The entire wig is made of hair bundle tracks which are sewn onto the cap using an industrial machine. These wigs take less time to make and are cheaper then their lace front counterparts. These usually come with adjustable straps at the back for security, and sometimes security combs are added as well.
How Synthetic Wigs Get Dry and Tangled
Synthetic wigs can become very dry and tangled if not properly maintained. Modern fiber synthetic wigs usually will tangle less and are more manageable than synthetic wigs of the past. Product buildup and a lack of daily detangling after each wear can lead to a mangled, dry and dull wig. In order to avoid this, the wig should be gently detangled after every wear. A light silicone spray is good for synthetic hair because it coats the strands, allows for a comb or brush to slide freely and reduces or eliminates snagging which can occur from rubbing on clothes or handling the hair during the day. Avoid using oils or oil based products as these will weigh the hair down and cause tangling. Apply the silicone based spray before wearing the wig and after wearing. A good detangling spray is also a good idea to use after every wear so that there is no need to tug the hair fibers and cause damage. It is also advised that the wig be washed at least once a week to remove buildup, dirt and sweat which can cause tangling.
How to Restore and Detangle a Synthetic Wig
The way in which you detangle a synthetic wig is determined by the wig's texture. Straight and wavy wigs are easier to detangle, but curly wigs can be a bit more challenging. In any case, preventing tangling in the first place is always best for any wig. Some things you will need are detangling spray, a conditioning shampoo, a detangling conditioner, fabric softener (yes....Fabric Softener), a wide tooth comb, a leave in conditioning spray and a light silicone hair spray or oil free hair glosser.
Step 1: Prepare wig for washing by sectioning the wig into four parts. Two at the top and two at the back of the head.
Note*: If hair is curly, detangle with fingers only. Do not comb as this will destroy the wig. If hair is straight or wavy, the comb method mentioned above can be used. Never wer a tangled wig as this will make it more difficult or even impossible to detangle.
Step 2: Take one section down and saturate with detangling spray. Finger comb to detangle, starting from the ends, working your way towards the roots. Once the section is for the most part detangled, proceed to gently comb with wide tooth comb without pulling the fibers as this will damage the hair. Spray more detangling spray as is needed to fully untangle section.
*** I love to use L'oreal Detangling Spray on both synthetic hair and human hair. It is the best detangling spray I have come across so far, and it works! ***
Step 3: Repeat on each section until all four sections are detangled.
Step 4: In a sink or tub, fill with lukewarm water and make a mixture of fabric softener, shampoo and water.
Step 5: Gently submerge the wig in the shampoo/fabric softener/water solution and move the wig through the solution making sure that all movements are in the direction from roots to ends. Smooth fingers through the wig using the same movement, from roots to ends. *Make a fresh shampoo/fabric softener/water mixture and repeat if needed without rinsing the wig. ** Never wring or rub wig as this will create permanent tangles.
Step 6: Use plain lukewarm water to rinse and repeat as needed until water is clear.
Step 7: If wig still has some tangles which are stubborn to remove, fill tub or sink with lukewarm water again and add some fabric softener until the mixture makes your hands feel moisturized when tested.
Step 8: Leave for about one hour or so.
Step 9: Rinse wig with lukewarm water and place on a clean towel. Gently pat until wig is no longer dripping.
Step 8: The wig should now be damp. Leave on towel and spray entire wig with detangling spray and leave in conditioner and let air dry. **Do not comb wet wig and do not blow dry. **
Step 9: Once the wig is completely dry (usually overnight), spray with a light silicone based oil free hair glosser. This will coat the strands for smooth combing without weighing the hair down.
Step 10: Start from the ends. Gently comb with wide tooth comb in small sections. You can then graduate to a smaller comb or use a brush to style the hair. Style as usual.
Once you follow these steps. You will be able to revive your synthetic wig like new. The key to keeping your wig detangled however, is to detangle it after every use. Also, stay away from oil based products as these will cause product buildup and encourage synthetic hair to tangle.