December 9, 2021

How to Wash a Curly Wig

How to Wash a Curly Wig

Table of Contents

In this article, I’ll take about the detailed steps you need to take to wash a curly wig.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are the proud owner of a curly wig. Maybe this wig is made of synthetic hair, or it’s made of human hair. Perhaps it’s already been curled, or you curled it yourself. Now it’s time to wash it, and you’re at a loss of how to do that without compromising the curls.

I’m Lauren, a hairstylist, and I have taught thousands of clients to wash their wigs. Maintaining and caring for your faux hair is part of the responsibility of owning a wig. It’s pretty straightforward to wash when you have a straight-styled wig; you wash it and let it dry.

Washing a curly wig is a slightly more in-depth task as the post-wash steps are slightly more intensive, and it can be done at home in a sink or bathtub.

Keep reading to learn more.

Washing a Curly Wig – Preparation

Here is a list of things you’ll need to wash a curly wig properly.

  •   Towel
  •   Shampoo and Conditioner of choice
  •   Curl Cream or Mousse
  •   Wide Toothed Comb
  •   Toothbrush

How to Wash a Curly Wig – Detailed Steps

Below are the steps to wash a curly wig the right way.

Step 1: Wet the Wig with Cool Water

Place your wig in a bathtub or sink. Just make sure to use cooler temperature water. It doesn’t have to be ice cold, and you don’t want it to be too close to lukewarm; just a nice, even, cool temperature. This helps preserve the curls in both human hair wigs and synthetic wigs, and won’t damage it if the synthetic wig is not heat resistant.

Thoroughly rinse the wig till it’s sufficiently wet and ready for the next step. Once the wig is completely wet, you’re ready to move on to step 2. Take care to part the hair as you wash, so the roots are wet as well.

Step 2: Suds Up

Now that your wig is soaked in the sink, it’s time to add some shampoo. For human hair wigs, You can use whichever shampoo you like best. However, shampoo that is specifically designed for curls and is sulfate-free will be your best bet here. Any shampoo that boasts added moisture will work well here.

Use wig shampoo for synthetic wigs though, running out of wig shampoo? Check this article out for alternative options.

When dealing with a curly human hair wig it’s essential to look for a sulfate-free shampoo because sulfates can dry out strands, and make them appear more frizzy and brittle. Sulfate-free shampoos also tend to produce fewer bubbles making it easier and less messy to work the shampoo into the wig.

Lather up the wig and pay special attention to any areas that may have product build-up. If you’ve used gels or hair sprays to lock in curls or a certain style, make sure to scrub a little extra in those spots to remove any product that’s sitting on the wig.

Typically this will be around the front of the wig where you glue it down and on the outer layer if you’ve used hairspray or gel to preserve a certain style. With particularly stubborn build-up, you can go in with a toothbrush and gently scrub to remove excess product.

Rinse well, making sure water runs clear without any soap or bubbles in it, and we can move on to step 3.

Step 3: Condition Hair

You can use a regular ol’ conditioner here, something made specifically for curls, or a deep conditioner if your curly wig needs some extra TLC. Slather on that Conditioner, and don’t be shy! Work it in well till the wig is coated in Conditioner and let sit for at least 5 minutes so it can really soak into strands.

If the wig you’re washing needs that extra TLC and a good soaking in a deep conditioner, you can place the wig in a plastic bag once it’s coated in the Conditioner, let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing. This will really add some moisture and shine back to damaged curls!

Rinse well till the wig feels clean but not oily or greasy. It should feel soft to the touch but you shouldn’t be able to feel or see any residual conditioner hiding in the curls.

Step 4: After Care

Now that your wig is washed while it’s still wet, work in any hair styling products that you want to use to help make those curls pop. For human hair wigs, I suggest a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to help curls maintain a smooth, silky appearance and a curl cream or mouse to encourage them to keep their shape. Scrunch in the products to promote curls to take form.

When it comes to drying a curly wig, you can opt to lay it out on a flat towel, dry the hair naturally, or you can clip the wig upside down on a clothes hanger and let the hair fall in a downward motion. Drying a wig upside down, similar to drying natural curls upside down, will give them more volume and bounce.

Tips: Avoid brushing your wigs when it is wet!!!

This is a great video about how to wash a curly wig.


Here are some commonly asked questions about washing a curly wig and their quick answers.

How often should I wash my curly wig?

It depends on how often you use your wig and the conditions.

If you wear your wig every day and will style it with hair products, or you live in a hot and humid area, you should wash your wigs once every 7 to 10 days.

Or else, wash it every 5 to 10 wears should be fine. Please don’t wash your wig too often like our natural hair, and it will cause your wig to dry out.

Expect to wash your hair more often if you live in a hot, humid area.

How do you maintain a curly human hair wig?

  1. Make use of alcohol-free, Paraben, and Sulfate-Free hair products on your hair
  2. Wash and condition your wigs regularly
  3. Divide your curly wig into small sections and detangle it with your hand first, then with a wide-tooth brush when it’s wet and soaked with a conditioner or detangler
  4. Air-dry the human hair wig. When it’s dry, apply leave-in conditioner or hair oil on the hair
  5. If possible, always take off your wig before going to bed

Wrapping Up

While washing a curly wig does have a few extra steps than washing a straight wig, it’s worth the additional efforts to keep your curls looking cute. Most wigs don’t need to be washed as often as natural hair would, so you can repeat this process every 6-8 weeks or when you notice your curly wig could use a reset.

Gather your supplies, hit the refresh button on those curls, and get ready to wear your fresh and clean wig!


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