The Black Beauty Guide: How To Care For Wigs And Weaves
Everything you need to know for keeping your wig or weave in good nick.
Whether you like adding a few tracks for luscious length, or going from brunette to blonde overnight, experimenting with wigs and weaves gives you the freedom to instantly transform your tresses without any long-term commitment.
But if you aren’t a pro, the struggle to keep your strands in check once you’ve left the salon can be very real.
From washing to styling and taming those edges, here’s how to slay and lay your hair like a pro.
How To Protect Your Wig Or Weave While You Sleep
Sleeping with a silk scarf on at night is one of the most effective ways to keep your natural hair and weave protected from breakage – often caused by the friction – and looking at its best.
Wrapping your weave at night helps the hair lay flat for minimal frizz - while locking-in moisture and shine - which makes day-to-day maintenance a breeze.
Meanwhile, wigs can be stored in satin hair bags for a similar result.
Try… Silke London The Silke Hair Wrap - £45
How To Wash Wigs And Weaves
When it comes to washing weaves, it’s important that you're super gentle as each row of hair extensions has been sewn directly onto your natural braided base.
Whether you have a full or half weave installed, you need to ensure that you brush your hair thoroughly before diving into the cleansing process. 'I believe that we should treat weaves like our own hair and constantly groom the strands using a professional paddle brush,' says afro hairstylist and owner of Bella & Bello salon, Derek Clement.
'The hair-shaft on the weft tends to tangle easily so take some time to get rid of knots as you prepare to shampoo,' he adds.
With such a wide selection of shampoos and conditioners available on highstreet beauty shelves, choosing the right cleansers – that can work wonders on both a natural Afro texture and silky-straight hair extensions - can be quite the challenge.
'Go for products that are detangling and moisturising as this will keep your wig or weave hydrated and manageable in-between washes,' Derek explains. And as for the technique? 'Avoid massaging the shampoo into the hair, simply apply where necessary and allow lukewarm water to run through the strands as your rinse and follow-up with a conditioner,' he adds.
On the other hand, washing your wig can be made simple by allowing it to soak in a basin filled with hot water and a conditioning shampoo for up to 30-minutes.
Once the formula has penetrated into the hair and the wig is ready to be rinsed and conditioned. 'One of my all-time favourite beauty hacks for deep-conditioning wigs would be to massage the product all over the hair and then wrap it in cling-film, leaving the treatment to soak into the wig in a warm place for up to 3-hours,' advises Freelance Wig-Maker Leyone Banda
How To Dry Wigs And Weaves
As tempting as it may be to reach for the blow-dryer after washing your tresses, the key to keeping your wig feeling lustrous and healthy is to use minimal heat. 'I make sure that I’ve scheduled enough time to allow my client’s wigs to air-dry as I would much rather use only one source of heat to style the strands to preserve its moisture and movement,' says Leyone.
Lay the wig out flat on a towel and let it dry overnight or alternatively you can fit the hairpiece onto a mannequin head – which can also be a great option for styling the wig without having to wear it.
Unlike wigs, weaves are commonly blow-dried as the heat helps set the braided base in place and blend the natural and human hair fibres together with ease.
Next, moisture must be added to your wig or weave including a hard-working heat protector that will shield your strands from damage and a hydrating hair oil.
Start from the bottom of your weave, and using a wide-tooth comb, run the blow-drier from the top the tracks down the tips on a medium-heat. 'Take small half-inch pieces from the bottom of your wig and weave and with a wide-tooth comb to hand, glide your straighteners through the hair in a downward motion,' Derek explains.
'For a seamless finish, work serum into the straightened sections and using your fingertips mesh the natural and human hair parts together and hold for a few seconds,' he adds. 'Repeat this process until you get to the top of the crown.'
How To Lay The Edges Of Your Wig Or Weave
Whether they’re slicked-down with gel or swirled and set with glue for a lasting finish, styling your baby hairs is an essential step that can take your look to the next level.
Lace frontal and closure wigs are often made with pre-plucked baby-hairs which need to be secured with glue so that it remains in the correct position and mimics your natural hair-line. 'Apply glue to the perimeter of your hair-line, wait for it to dry and then position the lace where you have a applied the glue and press it down with a fine-tooth comb,' Leyone explains.
'Use your fingertips to pat down this area until it’s dry – re-apply if there’s an area that needs glue with the tail of the comb and press it down with the teeth,' she adds. Spritz Schwarzkoph got2bglued Blasting Freeze Spray onto the baby hair and using the same comb, neaten up your baby hairs by adding swooping waves as desired.