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How to Wash and Care for Costume Wigs

Updated on March 23, 2014

Caring for Costume Wigs

Not everyone knows that if you wash and properly care for your costume wig, it can be used many times. Some of the costume wigs you purchase for Halloween do not wash well (usually if it costs less than $10, it's a one-time use wig), but many of the wigs that are even of a bargain quality CAN be washed and used many times!

Whether you have a wig you purchased for a special party, personal or daily use or if you work with theatrical wigs for a high school or community theatre, you should find some helpful tips in this article on washing wigs. If you want to wash your costume wigs, here's a short tutorial. If you invest in costume wigs, it is a good idea to care for them and store them properly so that they can be used again and again.

Here's a step-by-step list of how to wash a synthetic costume wig. If your wig says "do not wash", don't wash it. Really. If your wig came with instructions that are different, please follow those.

  1. Place your wig in a sink or large bowl of cold water.
  2. Add some hair shampoo to the water, a small amount.
  3. Swish your wig around gently in the water.
  4. Drain out the excess water and then rinse the wig in running cold water until the soap is all out.
  5. Hang your wig to air dry and finger style it.

Wig Shampoos - Shampoos You can Use (on wigs!)

Depending on your desired results, you can use hair shampoo or choose to go with a synthetic hair shampoo. These can remove static electricity and remove some of the oils and shine from the wigs, giving them a more natural look.

Recommended Costume Wigs - Lacey Wigs from NYC

Lacey wigs are my personal recommendation for quality costume wigs. They offer a variety of quality options from "bargain" (single use), better bargain (several uses, including theatre productions) to some of the highest quality wigs that can be used again and again. Great for community theatres to use in productions.

How to Put On Your Wig

Wig Stands - Put your wig on a pedestal

If you plan to style your costume wig, you'll definitely want to invest in a wig stand or a Styrofoam wig head. A collapsible stand is fine for storing a wig, but not great for styling on. If you plan to style your wig, you'll want a Styrofoam or canvas wig head or stand.

Want to Try Out Lots of Hair Styles?

Try a style before purchasing your wig!

I've used this subscription service several times prior to getting a new hair style. It's inexpensive for a three month subscription, and it's so worth the time you spend to try out hair dos before you make the hair cut or wig purchase leap! The best thing is that you can try so many styles and colors, you can really learn what will look the best for your face shape and coloring.

Use the Right Brush to Style your Costume Wig

Using a wide toothed comb to style your wig is important. Using brushes with the wrong bristles or with too many bristles can pull the hairs from your wig and lessen its longevity. These brushes and combs are designed to be easy on your wigs.

Remember! Wait until your wig is completely DRY to brush it.

Costume Wig Poll

Be honest! Have you experience with washing costume wigs, or do you assume wigs are a single-use item?

Have you washed your costume wigs before?

See results

Styling Tools!

Yes! You can style a wig. Even $20-30 wigs can hold up really well to some basic styling. Here are some tips:

-- NO HEAT. Ever. Unless you know your wig is a high-quality human hair wig, don't even think about taking heat to your wig.

-- Use wide-toothed combs or brushes. The simpler in design the better.

-- As a general rule, the cheaper the hair spray the better it'll work on a costume wig! Note: Never use regular hairspray on more expensive synthetic wigs. If you've invested in a nicer wig, use only alcohol-free hair spray.

-- Use a styro head. It's a lot easier than styling in place.

Lacey Wigs on eBay

eBay is a great place to find Lacey wigs! Here are some auctions that are going right now on the site.

Hair-raising comments can be left here - Or regular comments, I just like to know you stopped by...

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    • profile image

      beverlyjohnson1 4 years ago

      Awesome !!!! Thanks for sharing ...:)

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      I have one costume wig but I've rarely worn it...oops, and never washed it. Thanks for these tips!

    • hlehnerer profile image

      hlehnerer 6 years ago

      Interesting and well done lens!