yet more on cleaning wigs
- this is just some personal hair experience - I've been paid to clean and maintain wigs on a few occasions, but it is by no means my full-time profession.
For real human hair wigs, don't use anything you wouldn't use on your own hair. Which should exclude most drugstore shampoos. Read the ingredients, the key ones to avoid for human hair are Sodium/Ammonium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates. They strip the hair of all natural beneficial oils. If a human hair wig is caked with product I would try soaking it in lukewarm water with a gentle conditioning shampoo, a formula for dry/brittle/damaged/colored/mistreated hair. Pick it out gently with a large-tooth pick instead of a comb or brush.
For synthetic wigs, drug store shampoos should be fine, and may be better than gentler shampoos if the wig is particularly gunked-up. For tangles, try some of the de-frizzing serums on the market. Read the ingredients again; they often contain polymers (a kind of plastic). While I wouldn't put polymer on my own hair, it seems like the perfect choice for a synthetic wig.
I like the armor-all, idea, though. There are also silcone-based furniture polishes that may do the trick. Definitely cheaper than something marketed for hair. I'd be interested to see how silicone would work. I'm sure it would de-tangle, but you might want to shampoo it out before styling, it might make it too slick to hold a style.
For the future, keep in mind that a wig does not need to be sprayed to death to hold! Experiment with pins and hairnets. Spraying with water reactivates the spray already in there. Educate all stylists, performers, and volunteers!
Post your results, I'm interested to see what works! I have a few synthetics in my personal collection I may experiment with.
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