Greetings, wig owners and prospective owners alike! I’m Brandon, your helpful wig blog poster extraordinaire, and for my first article with Custom Wig Company I’ll be talking about caring for your human hair wigs – specifically how to clean the lace front, wash them and prepare them for styling.
While this article is applicable to all wigs, we’ve used a custom Santa wig as our example piece It’s still applicable to any lace-fronted wig, so if you have any cleaning and care questions then this is the post for you!
Step One: Cleaning adhesive residue off of lace
90% Isopropyl Alcohol
Washcloth, a soft-bristled toothbrush or a felt shoe-polish dauber
The front of the lace can get pretty dirty after wearing, and your adhesive can build up an unsightly and damaging residue if not cleaned often.. This step should be performed as regular maintenance, after each wearing. Not maintaining the wig properly can damage it, and the lace front is one of the most fragile pieces of the wig – not to mention the most visible. Please note that it is always a good idea to check with the manufacturer’s instructions for the adhesive you are using – they will provide more specific information on using and removing their product from both skin and lace. This guide will cover adhesives like spirit gum or Pros-Aide 2.
Soak the washcloth in alcohol or dip the toothbrush into it until soaked.
Hold the washcloth on the inside of the lace wherever residue from glue and makeup has built up. Keep it pressed there for a few seconds
With your cloth (or the toothbrush) gently wipe off the glue, using care not to abrade the lace. You want to just barely loosen the glue, not scrub it off.
Repeat in other dirty areas.
If the residue is stubborn, you can fill a shallow dish with alcohol and carefully lay the stained area of the lace in the alcohol. Make sure the stained portion is the only part making contact with the alcohol, and leave it in the dish for a few seconds until the residue dissolves. Check it often and do not leave it unattended or soak the entire piece.
Use anything besides alcohol! Acetone and other strong cleaners can ruin the lace and hair
Let the wig sit in the alcohol for more than a few seconds at a time. Several brief dips are better than a longer soak
Use any oil-based products to clean the wig
Soak the entire piece
Step Two: Washing
A head form of the correct size (if you have questions, you can email us and we’ll help you find the right one for you)
A wide-toothed comb
Twill tape or similar
Shampoo and conditioner
A sink and warm water
First off, you’ll want to make sure any pins or styling props are removed – we just want hair and lace in this step. Also, these steps apply to head hair and beards alike.
Block the wig onto a head form.
If you’re not familiar with this process, it’s when you use a bit of twill tape or similar tightly-woven ribbon to pin down the front of the lace to the head form. This helps take the pressure off the lace (it needs to be perfect to disappear into your skin correctly!) See the video below for a demonstration of lace front blocking.
Using a wide-toothed comb, brush the wig out to remove knots and matting.
Remove the wig from the head form (put the twill tape and pins aside – you’ll need them later)
In the sink, run the wig under the water until it is wet. Take care not to plop it in the sink or soak it, as human hair wigs don’t take well to that. Just hold it under the running water.
With the wig in one hand, put a dollop of shampoo in your other – about the same amount you’d use on your head.
Still holding the wig, use your other hand to stroke the shampoo through. Don’t ruffle, scrub or go against the grain of the hair! Once you’ve worked the shampoo through significantly, rinse the wig. (As a rule of thumb, if you think it’s rinsed out, rinse it again for good measure).
You can repeat step six with conditioner, especially if you’re about to put the wig away for a long stretch
Blot the wig down with a towel – you can fold it over inside and sandwich it lightly between your hands to get water out, but never press too hard! Don’t ring or squeeze it either – you’ll risk damaging the wig!
Return the wig to the head form and re-block the front of it as we did in step one.
Gently detangle the wig with the comb you used earlier. Don’t work the wig too hard in this step! Just enough to get the tangles out. It’s very important to have the wig blocked here, as the lace will not only take the force of the combing, but also help support the heavy, wet wig on the head form. Don’t forget to have the wig on a properly sized head form! One that’s too small will create wrinkles and one that’s too large will stretch it out of shape.
Let the wig dry completely.
Soak the wig in water – human hair swells when wet and the knots can work loose
Work shampoo against the grain of the hair
Squeeze or ring water out of the wig
Use an improperly sized head form – it can ruin the wig
Forget to block – If you miss this critical step you can risk tearing holes in the front lace, inducing costly repairs.
As always, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or clarifications you need from this article.
If you’d prefer not to wash and re-style your wig, you can take advantage of our cleaning and maintenance service. At the end of the season you’ll mail your wig to us, along with an enrollment form. Once we get the wig we’ll clean it, make minor repairs (such as fixing a rip or replacing lost hair), and re-style it.
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