How I Wash, Detangle, & Curl My Wigs + Curly Clips

Wearing wigs always wrecks all sorts of havoc, and they always come away from a con in tangles and in need of a really good wash. Here’s how I handle my wigs for washing, detangling, and, if needed, curling:

(Disclaimer, five of six of these wigs are Arda wigs and can withstand heat, however the pink one you’ll see is of an unknown brand and handled the washing fine. I did not test heat on it.)


What You’ll Need:

♥ Wigs that are in need of care
♥ Fabric softener
♥ A bath tub or large basin of sorts
♥ A towel or drying rack
♥ Lukewarm water

First thing’s first, figure out which wigs will need a wash. I had six in total, but the ones that needed a wash and a detangling especially were these puppies. As you can see, the curly clip there (Arda, Classic Jeannie) needs it the most. They always seem to tangle 5x more than any wig I’ve ever owned, unless they’re set against a wig against your back. This one, being my Touko/Hilda clip, is just straight against fabric, which results in disaster.

Next you’re going to grab your fabric softener and figure out how much you’ll be needing. My tub is huge, and I’m washing six wigs, so I used three cups in a roughly half-filled basin. If you’re using a smaller tub, I’d say one to two cups, and one cup for anything smaller. Before choosing your fabric softener, however, make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction to it. There’s nothing as horrible as washing your wig in something you’re allergic to and then having to find a way to rinse it all out. It’s not easy.


Once your fabric softener is added in, fill the tub up with lukewarm water. Colder is better, but if you have junk in your wig, such as hair spray, warmer water will help break that up. Just don’t make it too warm, because you don’t want your wig fibers to lose shape.

I mean, unless that’s what you’re going for, then have at it. Just don’t melt the poor thing.


From there, submerge all your wigs in one by one, trying to keep them from touching one another. If your tub is deep enough, layering might be achievable, but you really don’t want them getting tangled up in each other if at all possible. That just makes the process twice as difficult.

From there, let them sit for an hour or two. Longer is better, but if you’re in a time-crunch, like I had been the night before my most recent con (I had TOTALLY forgotten the mess I’d left my curly clip in), then about 30 minutes is enough. Not fantastic, but enough. Drying these things just takes forever.


Once they’ve been in there for a while, take each one out and wring as much of the water out with your hands as you can, then set them to dry either on a drying rack like pictured or on a towel. Again, try not to let them intermingle, it’s just chaos waiting to happen.


What You’ll Need:

♥ Wig brush or wide-toothed comb
♥ Ze wigs

From here, it’s a decision on how you want to detangle them, if they’re tangled. If the wig is straight or you’re not worried about losing curl, you can go right ahead and start brushing them out. Remember that wet wig fibers will stretch, but they’ll be easier to work with than dry ones. For curly wigs, wait until they’re fully dry before you start combing them, and always, always work from the bottom to the top. If at all possible, use your fingers, because that’ll keep the curls in their most pristine condition. Sometimes, though, that’s just not possible, and you may have to sacrifice some curlage for those knots.

But, don’t worry, we can curl it again.

(Please read this whole post before you do anything, though, I don’t want to give any false expectations of what the curls will look like if you follow my methods.)


For wigs that are wet, you’ll want to section it off and start at the bottom to tackle the tangles, braiding each section after detangling but before starting on the next. This method is also recommended for very tangled dry wigs, but it might mess up the curl pattern some.


For the dried wigs, once they’re brushed out, they’re good to be stored and styled again.


Fluffy and smelling good!


What You’ll Need:

♥ A wig that is heat-resistant
♥ A flat-iron
♥ Hair curlers, preferably the spongy ones

Once your wig is detangled and fully dry, section it off if you haven’t already and clip/braid the parts. What you’ll need to do is heat up your flat iron and run it over a single section at a time until hot (be careful here, you want the locks hot but you don’t want to burn yourself), then quickly grab a hair curler and wrap the section of hair up.

Different sizes to show different curls.

You’ll do this for each section until all are wrapped up in curlers, then leave them for a few hours at minimum. This will also possibly work for a shorter time, since you only really need to wait for the wig fibers to cool down, but I wait as long as possible just to be safe.

Once set, unravel your curlers and voila! Curled wig.

That one in the center there is just a super tight curl, it’s not tangled.

And then … you start the process all over again after wearing it because this does not keep them from getting tangled, it only helps you get rid of the tangles that were created. I’m still trying to figure out a good method for keeping wigs from tangling in the first place, but I’m not having a good amount of luck.

Anyway, I hope this helped anyone! Good luck with your wig adventures! ♥

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