Human Hair Wig Care Do’s & Don’ts

Click to subscribe to the CysterWigs blog in your favorite reader app

Originally Posted on June 22, 2014 by Heather Hershey


Human Hair wigs can last a lot longer than synthetics, but that’s only If you take proper care of them. View them as a long term investment and caring for them will become part of your routine.

EDIT #1: A lot of folks have been asking what kind of shampoo & conditioner to use on their human hair wigs. I really like Jon Reanu’s Argan Luxury line of products. The shampoo & conditioner can both be found on CysterWigs, in addition to supplementary products if you feel you need more moisturizing power!

EDIT #2: While you can use your synthetic safe shampoo on your human hair wigs without it causing any issues, you should definitely use a conditioning treatment (or two) that is made specifically for human hair wigs. They need much more intensive moisturizing than a synthetic wig.

EDIT #3: We recommend using synthetic-safe washing & styling products on your human hair / heat-friendly synthetic blend wigs since the synthetic fiber is generally about 66% (or more) of the overall composition of the blend.

Now on with the show! 🙂


DO: Wash your new human hair wig before your wear it.

Do NOT: Plop it on your head and wear it for weeks before washing. These wigs have had a lot of chemical processing and most of those chemicals can be absorbed through the scalp. Please wash them first!


DO: Purchase with the knowledge that these wigs will need to be professionally styled before they can be worn. They do not come pre-styled like synthetics do, even though most are pre-permed to attain a specific hair texture.

Do NOT: Become discouraged by how it looks out of the box. Again, it will need to be styled before it is ready to wear.


DO: Understand that moisture (IE: OIL) retention is the #1 goal of long-term human hair wig care.

Do NOT: Assume human hair can be treated like your biohair or synthetic hair. Biohair is not dyed with industrial textile chemicals and has generally not been treated to look like European hair. It also gets the benefit of natural oils when brushed, whereas wigs don’t. Synthetics, on the other hand, are made of Modacrylic and have much more in common with the carpet in your house than your natural hair.


DO: Try to buy a shade darker than what you’re looking for if you are unsure about a color. The colors on human hair wigs tend to be slightly lighter than their synthetic counterparts.

Do NOT: Buy a light shade assuming you can dye it if you don’t like it. Most human hair wigs CANNOT be re-dyed due to the heavy processing that goes into making Asian hair look Caucasian. (Sounds brutal when you say it that way, but that’s what the process is for non-European hair wigs, folks.) However, for those brands and product lines that CAN be re-dyed, it is easier to take them a little lighter than to try to make them darker. Dark dyed colors on wigs just fade too darn fast.


DO: Use ceramic plated heat tools to curl and straighten your hair.

Do NOT: Try to perm or relax the hair. In most cases, it has already been permed to give it it’s texture. Further chemical processing could ruin the wig.


DO: Remember that non-Remy human hair is the lowest quality. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means that the hair might have a coarser texture and be more prone to early signs of friction damage. They aren’t as durable, so they’re generally much less expensive. Remy hair is smooth and has cuticles that are in tact and all facing the same direction. This cuts down on friction so the wig feels smoother and lasts longer. Most Remy hair is from Asia or India and can come from multiple people per wig due to the homogeneity of those hair types. European hair wigs are also Remy, but the hair shafts are narrower, making them more lustrous and silky. European hair wigs also come from a single head of hair and are seldom dyed, so the variation of pigments and highlights is the most natural money can buy. Any of these types of hair can make a nice wig. Just know what you’re getting before you buy it.

Do NOT: Forget that with human hair, if the price seems too good to be true it usually is.


DO: Read the manufacturer’s recommendations about hair care.

Do NOT: Just assume it will be as easy as taking care of your bio hair – because it’s not.


DO: Try to own more than one wig in a similar style and color to alternate. Human hair wigs take longer to dry & style than synthetics, and you don’t want to be caught in a situation where you need hair and can’t wear the only wig you have for some reason. 

Do NOT: Wait until the last minute to wash or style your hair, especially if you can only afford one wig. Having wet bio hair is one thing. A wet wig will feel like a heavy hot basket, regardless of what it’s made of. 😉


DO: Use wig-safe shampoos and conditioners that are alcohol & paraben free. Avoid anything containing Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. These chemicals make soap lather – but they are also very drying and will make the hair brittle. (They’re not that great for your bio hair, either, for the record.)

Do NOT: Use drug store products on your hair without looking at the labels. We recommend avoiding name brands such as Herbal Essences, Pantene, Dove, Organix, or anything else you can buy at Target or Walgreens. You don’t have to wash it very often, so invest in the good stuff so your hair will last longer!


DO: Wash your wig every 8 – 14 days, or as needed. Using a dry shampoo can help you go longer between washings when sprayed on the interior of the cap. (We don’t recommend spraying dry shampoo on the outside of human hair wigs.)

Do NOT: Wash every night.


DO: Brush out tangles prior to washing. (Or if it’s a curly wig, just finger comb to avoid creating more tangles and frizz.)

Do NOT: Brush out tangles while hair is wet.


DO: Wash wig in still water. Fill a small basin with cool water. Add small amount of shampoo to water and disperse. Only apply shampoo directly to areas in need of more intense washing, avoiding the tips of the hair. Submerge wig. Gently swirl and let soak for 5 minutes. Rinse by submerging in basin of cool water and gently swirling it around. Remove from basin, fill it back up with clean cool water, and repeat this rinse one more time. 

Do NOT: Wash your wig in the shower by directly applying shampoo, lathering (remember: a wig friendly shampoo has minimal lather), and rinsing with high-pressure running water.


DO: Condition your wig carefully. Once you rinse out the shampoo, apply a wig-safe conditioner directly to the hair. We recommend putting most of it on the longer parts of the strand and the ends, and not so much neat the roots to avoid having super flat hair. Let the conditioner sit on the hair for a minimum of 2 minutes. (You can leave it on overnight for more intense conditioning.) Rinse twice by submerging in a basin with cool water. Wrap gently with a towel to get out excess water.

Do Not: Condition your wig in the shower by directly applying a WalMart conditioner full of parabens or other waxy products that promote build up and rinse with high-pressure running water.


DO: Gently wrap damp wig in a towel and pat to remove excess water.

Do NOT: Wring and shake hair to remove excess water.


DO: Condition again while damp with a leave-on spray product to lock in moisture. (We recommend light-weight conditioning Argan oil for this latter step, but there are others that work equally well.) Work through with hands.

Do NOT: Forget your leave-in conditioner! Skipping this step accelerates hair dry-out.


DO: Place on a wig stand and allow to hair dry thoroughly before combing again. You may apply more leave-in conditioner once dry, if needed.

Do NOT: Place wig in direct sunlight to dry. This will make the color fade faster.


Hopefully this is an eye-opener!


I know it sounds INTENSE. No worries, though. Wigs get washed so infrequently that it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds. Plus, add to this the fact that the hair will look and feel more natural AND last up to a year or more…and well, let’s just say it becomes a little easier why some people are willing to trade in the convenience of synthetics to go the human hair route.


To each their own. We’ll be there to help either way. 🙂


  1. Dean Phillips
    April 16, 2019 / 11:20 pm

    I’m really glad that you said to not place a wig on your head before you wash it because chemicals can be absorbed into your scalp. My mother has breast cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy, which is causing her to lose her hair. She is self-conscious about not having hair. It might be nice for her to find a shop where she can buy a wig to wear.

    • April 17, 2019 / 4:49 pm

      Yes, there’s definitely a lot of chemicals that’s involved in both human and synthetic wigs. The only thing to remember is that once a wig has been washed, it goes against the return guidelines. So try it on quickly to decide if she is a keeper. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: