Whether it’s for securing your original hair from damage or helping you achieve that feminine look fast, wigs are some of the essential tools for us crossdressers. They protect our hair from styling, hairdo, coloring, and heat, apart from being actual methods of changing our appearance. However, to achieve the perfect feminine look, we need to take good care of them. A poorly maintained wig looks fizzy—because of the tangles and knots—and sometimes dry. Rather than enhancing your femininity, it can make you look less attractive.
Want to learn the best way of getting the most out of your synthetic and human hair wigs? Always invest time in adequately shampooing, conditioning, and storing them when you’re not wearing them. Yup, picking the right conditioner or shampoo can make the difference between a dull and lustrous wig.
My goal is to educate you on crossdresser wig care to get you closer to your femininity goals. And so, below are eight essential tips to consider.
1. The Difference Between a Human Hair Wig & Synthetic Hair Wig
Most first-time wig buyers assume that synthetic wigs look fake—that is, human hair wigs are more realistic.
What if I told you that is not true? There are high-quality synthetic wigs that look just like human hair wigs and come at a lower price.
In general, there’re a lot of differences between synthetic and human hair wigs. You need to understand which type suits you before you start shopping. So let’s get started!
● Human Hair Wigs
These types feel and look more natural—they’re made from real human hair; therefore, they offer the most styling flexibility. If you like shifting from one hairdo to the next, these are the best choice.
They also require more styling after washing and may break your bank. I found out that premium human hair can cost thousands of dollars. But they compensate for that by being durable and having less tangling.
● Synthetic Wigs
Although high-quality synthetic hair, as previously stated, look and feel like human hair, they present limited style flexibility. You cannot use hot tools on them. However, some heat-friendly ones can allow styling, but not as much as human hair wigs do.
The downside of synthetic hair is that they require special care to prevent tangling. They’re also quite challenging to style and are typically less durable. Even so, they are substantially cheaper than human hair wigs.
2. Use Special Shampoo, Conditioner, and a Wig Comb
In essence, nothing refreshes a wig like a good wash using wig shampoo and conditioner. This means buying the appropriate products for synthetic and human hair wigs.
For instance, for a synthetic wig, you can always use special or classic mild shampoos—though the latter made one of my wigs appear dull. With human hair wigs, always follow the seller’s instructions. As with natural hair, you need to wash, deep-condition, and restyle your human hair wig regularly to preserve its natural shine.
Besides choosing the best shampoo and conditioner, you need to know when to wash your wig. Some guidelines recommend after approximately ten times of wearing it; others say around five. From my experience, this doesn’t work. Always use sensible judgment. You want to walk around with your hair feeling and looking good!
When it comes to brushing it, please do it with care. Never use a regular human hairbrush for wigs since it can be too harsh on your wig fibers or cause undue strain when styling. Instead, use a wig brush.
This type of brush uses metal prongs instead of stiff bristles, which are better for removing tangles and gliding through wigs. They have little bobbles on the wire prongs to minimize dragging and protect the wig’s strands. And so, they are ideal for gently styling your wig while being gentle on it.
3. Take It to A Professional
From my experience, I would advise anyone starting on wigs to take it to the professionals for maintenance and care, here’s why:
Wig professionals have a wide range of products suitable for every wig type. Like me, I know you’ll eventually buy several human hair and synthetic wigs—for the sassy look. Rather than spend time researching suitable products for each of them, save your time by taking them to a professional. Of course, you’ll spend a few bucks. But it’s better than making the mistake of using the wrong product.
Also, wig professionals know how to brush and style your wig. It might be tempting to style it yourself. But remember, unlike your natural hair, wig hair doesn’t grow back. One wrong cut can cost you.
Lastly, wig experts know how much product to use on your wig. I remember using extra conditioner on my human hair wigs because conditioners are ‘good.’ Little did I know that I was causing damage. Avoid such instances by taking your wig to an expert.
4. Keep Your Wig in A Safe and Covered
The best way to keep your wig safe is to keep it on a wig cap. In general, depending on the level of space available, wig heads are an excellent storage option—they’ll help keep your wig’s shape and style in-between wears. There are a variety of wig heads to choose from, so pick one that meets your needs and is easy to use. Some alternatives include portable wig heads, cork and canvas wig heads, and classic Styrofoam mannequins.
However, for long-term storage, you should store your wig in a silk or satin bag to keep it soft and moisturized while also preventing static and tangles.
Lastly, if your wig is entirely dried and detangled, you can store it flat in a shoebox. What if you don’t have access to a shoebox? It doesn’t matter what kind of container you use; anything will do.
5. Don’t Use Any Spray in Your Wig
Using too much hair spray on wigs can cause tangling and oil buildup while making the wig much more difficult to style.
Essentially, the compounds in the hair spray will build up with each application. This means that you’ll have to wash your wig more frequently. Frequent washings can shorten your wig’s lifespan, diminishing its quality and prompting more expensive maintenance or even a complete replacement.
Be sure to stick to one wig-approved spray/shine product and use a small amount if you must spritz your wig; otherwise, you risk damaging it. Also, talk to an expert about styling tips—especially on how to prevent your wig from sliding.
If you are unable to get an adequate wig hair spray, simply make your own. It is possible to get similar results using a spray bottle filled with cool, clean water.
Spritz your wig with water and then style it reduce static electricity and keep its style in place. You can use a homemade liquid wig mousse for more styling.
6. No heat
One of the most damaging factors to wig longevity is heat. For synthetic wigs, most experts advise avoiding heat altogether—even for heat-tolerant wigs.
When I’m talking about heat, this includes everything from blow drying, flat ironing to using hot water for wash. While wearing your synthetic wig, avoid opening oven doors, or grilling or roasting over a drill, as these will melt your wig fibers.
It might be tempting to use hot water for washing—because of its effectiveness in removing oil and dirt build-up. However, using appropriate shampoos can help you achieve the same results without causing damage.
It would help if you also avoided too much heat on your human hair wigs. The same high temperatures that harm your hair can ruin human-hair wigs. And so, if you straighten or curl your wig frequently, I suggest investing in a heat protection spray.
Even so, before exposing your wig to heat, contact your seller or any wig expert.
7. Never Sleep or Shower with It
While it might be tempting to sleep with your wig, especially after you’ve had a busy day, my advice is don’t.
I have to admit, I’ve slept with my wig a couple of times, mostly because I didn’t want my partner to see how my hair looked. Trust me; I wouldn’t want to relive any of those encounters.
First, you wake up with a head full of knots and tangles, giving you extra time in the bathroom while you should be enjoying your morning.
Also, it gets too hot at night, and the hairs keep ‘crawling’ to your face and neck.
And sometimes, you might wake up to pillows and sheets filled with hair products.
On the other hand, when it comes to showering, you’ll not only ruin your wig but the hair underneath. As now know, washing your wig is a rather complex procedure; any simple mistakes can ruin your wig. For instance, your hot shower can cause permanent damage to your synthetic wig.
Something as simple as putting aside your wig while you shower or go to sleep can save you a couple of bucks and time.
8. Your Own Hair Is Important Too!
Indeed, all wigs demand lots of time and energy for maintenance. As we strive to make them look good, let’s not forget about our natural hair.
While starting, I got so excited trying different colors and varieties of wigs. I could change from one persona to the next with a simple change in hairstyle. I spent as much as $10,000 on wigs alone during my first year—not counting the styling, cutting, and maintenance costs.
With time, my hair started thinning. At first, I thought it was my gender-affirming hormones because I read somewhere that they cause androgenetic alopecia in transgender men. However, after I started putting effort and time into taking care of my natural hair, it started growing back healthy.
So, be sure to take care of your hair underneath. For example, if you plan on growing it, try braiding it or pulling it back when you wear your wig. Also, be sure to keep it clean. It’s also advisable to wear a cap. Some caps facilitate moisture retention allowing your hair to maintain its natural luster.
There you have it! Eight essential tips for a lustrous wig look. Whether you go for a synthetic or human hair wig, these tips should help increase your wigs’ look and feel as well as their durability.
Bear in mind that they’re all imperatives, meaning that you have to follow all of them to get the desired results. Know any other tips and tricks? Kindly feel free to share with us below.