How to care for your human hair or synthetic topper or wig

How to care for your human hair or synthetic topper or wig

While there are some similarities in the way you wash synthetic and human hair, you need completely different products to care for them. In this blog post, Georgina will outline how to wash both human hair and synthetic toppers and wigs, and offer advice on the different products you will need – plus things to avoid!

Human hair care

In general, you should treat human hair pieces the same as the hair on your head. However, I wash my human hair pieces as little as possible. In fact, I only really wash them if they get smelly or have a build-up on hair spray on them. Probably once every couple of months. If you wear the same piece every day, you might want to wash it a little more often.

The follicles that house the hair that grows out of our heads produce oils to keep the hair in good condition. Human hair toppers and wigs obviously do not have follicles and so there is not a regular supply of natural oil. When you wash a human hair piece, you are stripping away the oil on the hair and so it is important to use a gentle and hydrating shampoo and conditioner.

I only use sulphate-free, natural and gentle shampoo brands – some people like to use baby shampoo. We sell Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Pureology Hydrate Conditioner as they are great for adding hydration to the hair (the ends can dry out and we don't want this as is causes split ends). Plus, these products are lightweight and won't leave product residue on the hair.  

How to wash

When washing your human hair topper/wig, make sure any clips are closed before you begin and gently brush any knots out of the hair.  

Run the piece under a tap or shower to wet the hair. Lukewarm water is best.

Get a 2p size blob of shampoo and gently massage it into the hair. Don’t rub or scrub the hair as that will make it tangle. Don’t worry if you get shampoo on the cap/base, it won’t damage the knots.

Rinse well under running lukewarm water. This might take longer than you would normally rinse the hair on your head.

Next get a 1p size blob off conditioner and put it through the lengths and ends of the hair. The most important thing to note here is that you should only put conditioner on the lengths and ends of the hair – not on the roots. You must keep it away from the knots as it can make them come loose and hair might fall out of your topper/wig.

I like to leave the conditioner on the hair for about 10 minutes and then rinse it off under running water. The reason for rinsing this way is to prevent tangling. If you submerge the hair in water and try to wash off the shampoo or conditioner it is much more likely to get tangled.

Never try to dry your piece from soaking wet with a hairdryer. You can pat the hair dry with a towel, but again don’t rub it! I leave my pieces to air dry on a plastic stand. If you try to dry your piece on a closed wig head, e.g. polystyrene or canvas, it will take longer to dry and might make the cap and stand a bit smelly and soggy.

Do not brush the hair when it is wet, as it will damage the hair. You should be fine to brush it once it is 80-90% dry. Then you can also style it with a hairdryer. Make sure you use heat protection spray whenever you use a heat styling product on your piece.


Synthetic haircare

You have to buy special hair care products to use on synthetic hair, as the hair is essentially made of plastic. I use the T-Range shampoo for synthetic hair fibres and the T-Range Softening Conditioner for synthetic hair fibres. I choose to stock these products mainly because I like the smell of them! 

How to wash

Give the hair a gentle brush before you start.

Rinse the hair under running water.

Apply a 2p blob of shampoo and massage it into the hair.

Rinse off with running water. Although you don’t have to worry as much about the hair getting tangled.

Here is where things are different from human hair. You will need to fill a sink or bowl with lukewarm/cold water (make sure the water is not hot!). Add the conditioner to the water and mix it around. Then you soak the whole topper in the bowl of water.

I leave the hair to soak for a few minutes, but check the conditioner bottle and follow the time instructions on there.

Rinse the hair under running water and then leave the piece to air dry.

NOTE: you cannot use heat on synthetics unless they are heat-defiant fibres.

I also use the T-Range Soften 'n' Sheen Conditioning Spray for synthetic hair fibres, which I find useful for refreshing synthetic pieces and making the curls a bit bouncier on wavy/curly pieces.

For more tips and tricks on washing toppers, check out my video!