The Wonders of Fabric Softener
Fabric softener is a very useful, easy to find, and inexpensive “quick fix” for the care of your wig. Here are some simple tips to more enjoyment and longer life of your wigs.
Remember to use a wig brush (found at beauty supply stores) for best results. I recommend using a wig brush with plastic bristles.
Conditioning and Detangling
The Magic Mixture: In a spray bottle, mix 1 part of any fabric softener with 4 parts water for the perfect detangling, conditioning, and styling formula. You can use the same formula and substitute the fabric softener with an inexpensive hair conditioner, especially if you have a human-hair wig.
Note: It is wise to spray over the tub or a mat so that a film does not dry on the floor. Sometimes, fabric softener (and hair-conditioner) mist can leave a slippery build-up on hard surfaces, so be sure to wipe up afterwards.
Conditioner: Place your hand with fingertips spread into the crown of your wig. Spray into the air three to four times and gently wave your wig through the mist. Gently brush, comb, or finger style. Set your wig aside to dry before wearing or storing.
Detangling Technique #1: For best results, place your wig on a wig head.
Depending upon how badly tangled your wig is, holding The Magic Mixture spray bottle approximately 6 to 8 inches from the wig, spray 1 to 2 times directly onto the tangled area. For tougher tangles, you may need to repeat this process and use more sprays.
1. Gently use a small, wig brush or fine-tooth comb to begin detangling, starting with small strokes from the bottom edge and working your way upwards in small increments towards the crown.
2. Brush or comb the hair on top of your fingers (usually, your forefinger and middle finger are perfect for this process). This prevents breakage and loss of the wig’s hair and gives you more control over the detangling process.
3. It is best to work on areas that are 1 to 1.5 inches wide at a time. Although this may sound like a time consuming technique, this is the fastest and safest approach to detangling a wig.
4. When finished detangling, set your wig on rollers and allow to air-dry.
5. When ready to style, remove rollers, hold The Magic Mixture approximately 8 to 10 inches from the wig, spray 1 to 2 times and shake gently to loosen curls.
6. Using a wig brush (not an ordinary brush or plastic-bristle brush), gently brush all of the curls over your fingers to break the set and then style as usual.
7. You can use a light misting of The Magic Mixture to hold your style before wearing your wig. Be sure to let your wig completely dry before wearing.
Detangling Technique #2: This is for the wig that is so tangled, you wouldn’t even want to offer it to a child for a costume to wear on Halloween.
This may take a while, so put on some nice music and get a cup of tea and a chair to sit.
1. Fill a small sink basin (bathroom sink size) with cool water and add 1 capful of fabric softener.
2. Submerge the wig completely and using the fingers of both hands, gently swish the wig and let it soak for approximately 5 minutes.
3. Using your fingers, gently attempt to separate clumps of hair, beginning at the ends and working towards the crown. Do NOT try to comb or brush the wig while it is soaking because you can destroy the style and you will make a mess!
Note: If your fingers begin to get cold, you can add a little warm water. Cool water works best.
4. Separate as many of the clumps as you can. Let the wig soak for another 5 minutes and repeat the separation steps.
5. When you’ve done as much as you can, empty the water from the basin and refill with clean water. Rinse by gently swishing the wig and repeat, if your wig is dirty.
6. Hang the wig on a hanging clothes dryer (the best are the circular hangers with at least 2 rows of clips) or on the bottoms of three regular clothes hangers using clothespins in this manner:
- Grasp the center sides of the wig where the crown would align over your ears. Let the hair hang downwards as you pin the wig to the dryer (or hanger #1). Your goal is to clip the wig so that the crown hangs in the most circular shape possible.
- Pin the wig again at the center of the back of the crown where the wig would rest on your neck (on the middle of hanger #3).
- Pin the wig on both sides between the center of the back and where you clipped the sides (on hanger #3 on either side of the clip in the previous step).
- Pin again between the center sides where clipped and where the wig would rest at both of your temples (on hanger #2).
- Do NOT clip the front of the wig because that can ruin the shape along your forehead – a crucial error!
7. Let the wig dry completely.
8. When ready to style (or attempt to … ), hold The Magic Mixture approximately 8 to 10 inches from the wig, spray 1 to 2 times and shake gently to loosen the set.
9. Using a wig brush (not an ordinary brush or plastic-bristle brush), gently brush hair as much as you can over your fingers to style.
10. Assess whether you think the wig is salvageable and repeat this process as many times as you feel is worth it.
Note: I have saved many wigs with this process and gotten a lot more life out of them before I gave them away.
NEVER throw out a wig or clothing. Do your best to save them. There are far too many people in need of things we never imagine are salvageable. It is better to donate your items and let the professionals in charge of donations make decisions about what to do with them. Quite often, donations can be “recreated” and become wonderful things for people in need. AND donations save the Earth. We throw far too many useful things away and overload landfills. Remember, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. Community centers and theater companies, artists, and youth centers among others can find so many creative ways to recycle “good stuff” that you may think is trash.
Good luck, enjoy, and be the beauty!