July 23, 2024

My braided wig has been part of my hair routine for over a year now, and it’s become a must-have. Sleek braids are perfect for any occasion, from casual days to glamorous evenings. But braided wigs take work to maintain its shine, softness, and beautiful texture. If not properly cared for over time, tangles, lint, and dullness can occur due to sweat, product build-up, and environmental factors. While I love the hassle-free style this wig offers, I am aware that it requires cleaning, conditioning, and regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. This is a complete breakdown of the steps I take to maintain and extend the life of my braided wigs.

To wash

The most important aspect of wig care is routine cleaning. To get rid of oil and other impurities that build up with wear, I try to wash mine every seven to 10 days. I start by running a few drops of a mild, sulfate-free shampoo designed specifically for synthetic fibers in my sink of lukewarm water. I avoid using shampoos that contain strong cleansers because they can eventually damage the synthetic material. I gently massage the ends under water to create a nice lather while the wig is submerged. I massage each section thoroughly, being careful not to tug or pull too hard, to remove product build-up and dirt from the roots.

Once the entire wig is sudsy, I drink a handful of water and slowly wash it section by section through the ends, making sure to remove all shampoo residue. A thorough rinse is essential so no residue is left behind that can later attract more dirt or cause tangles. I find that gently pulling the water with my hands is more effective than rinsing under the faucet where too much pressure can damage the texture of the braids. Once the water is clear, I twist each braid between my fingers to reshape it, before setting the freshly washed wig aside to dry completely.

Depending on the volume and density of the hair, it takes several hours to dry. I let my wig dry naturally on a round styrofoam head instead of wrapping it in a towel, which causes tangling. Allowing it to hold its shape also speeds up drying time. The hanging method also prevents straight styles like mine from limping at the roots as they dry horizontally. Patience is key during this stage – I resist the urge to wear it prematurely whenever it’s damp inside. Going back with the dryer on its cooler settings can speed things up if needed without the risk of heat damage.

Dry shampoo magic

My go-to product for a quick refresh between washes is dry shampoo. This has become my go-to trick for keeping my tresses clean and shiny for longer. I spray a small amount on my palms and gently massage it into the roots using my fingers. Shake well before each use to ensure the active ingredients are evenly distributed. Formulations that leave no residue are my favorite for dark hair. Dry shampoo’s absorbent powders collect excess oil and product without the need for water. It absorbs everything within minutes, leaving my scalp spotless and my tresses full of fresh volume and texture.

For bonus deodorizing effects, I occasionally apply a small amount of cornstarch to the roots with a soft brush. The fine powder absorbs sweat and odor-causing bacteria. I don’t apply too much, as it can get too dusty. A light dusting does the trick and blends well with the medium brown color of my ends. Between washes, dry shampoo prevents the build-up of any unpleasant odors that are common with synthetic fibers. It’s a quick fix that keeps my wig smelling fresh all week with minimal effort.

Conditioning treatment

While washing removes dirt and oil, conditioning is just as important to maintain long-term softness and shine. I deep condition my braided wigs every 2-4 washes using a thick, creamy mask designed for synthetic or heat styled hair. Starting with freshly brushed braids, I work generously from root to tip, making sure each braid is coated. Paying special attention to the ends will prevent the fibers from splitting.

To increase penetration, I like to let it soak for 30 minutes with a plastic cap on before washing it off. The cap stays warm so conditioners can fully hydrate each strand. After that, I gently wring out the excess water from the bottom to avoid kinks. As with washing, I feel each section roll between my fingers as it air-drys to help maintain its smooth, defined shape. The hydration left behind keeps my tresses silky and tangle-free for longer. It’s a simple extra step that yields major softening benefits over time with continued use.

Styling and protective care

Although a braided wig saves time and effort when styling, I still like to switch things up occasionally. I use a diffuser attachment on medium heat to rough dry to lift new volume and roots. Applying mousse before heat helps to increase the bounce of my braids.

I spray my tops with a heat protectant before heading out in the winter to protect them from damaging drying winds and humidity. This guarantees that they contain less frizz, while keeping them clear and sleek. Dry shampoo alone won’t prevent oil slicks from forming on hot summer days. In these cases, baby powder or a dry conditioner spray refreshes the area quickly.

Protective styles such as scarves or hats further prevent lint and environmental pollution during strenuous activities. I gently fluff each strand with my hands before bed to maintain overnight volume. Come morning they’re ready to rock without needing to redo. Taking care of the finer details keeps my braided wig looking its best around the clock with minimal frizz on my ends.

Proper storage and display

Perhaps the most important habit I’ve developed for my wigs is careful storage when not worn. Leaving it piled up in your purse or drawer will inevitably cause confusion over time. Instead, I keep it exposed over a round velvet headband for ventilation and to maintain its shape between wears. My go-to spot is on my bedroom vanity so it can shine in all its glory. Seeing it clean also ensures that I handle it with care vs. throwing it away carelessly.

I also learn to be gentle with my braided wig out of habit now that I always put it on a properly fitting head after wearing it. Additionally, the head prevents the fibers from compressing when left flat after washing, allowing it to air dry completely. Integrating display and storage into my daily routine protects the luxury look stability and financial investment I’ve come to rely on.

With careful care and styling techniques, my beloved braid wig has grown to represent me. The remarkable shine and bounce, even after more than a year, shows that well-maintained synthetic hairstyles can withstand multiple seasons. For years to come, I will cherish it as my go-to rock.