Friday, September 30, 2016

Fix Itchy Wigs! :: Tutorial

When it comes to cosplay, a great wig can make or break your entire outfit. I struggled in the past because no matter what synthetic wig I tried on, my head would start itching almost immediately. It was SO FRUSTRATING, and I couldn't wear them for more than an hour, max...and my head would be so irritated and red. There are few things worse than spending hours on a costume and then not being able to wear it because your hairpiece wants to KILL YOU by itching you to death. I resigned myself to the thought that I was simply allergic to synthetic wigs and looking for cosplays that didn't require special hair. Which is hard, let me tell you.

A few months ago I stumbled across a beauty forum where someone mentioned that most if not all synthetic wigs are sprayed with an alkaline coating to prevent mold from forming during the shipping process, and as most alkaline things (batteries, anyone?) are incredibly caustic to the skin, this can lead people (like mahself) to think they are allergic to the wig itself. The forum people suggested stripping off the coating with an acid, so I went and got my favorite acid out of the cabinet....vinegar! Apple Cider Vinegar, to be exact! I use this stuff for 19493 different things so I always have a giant bottle of it on hand. You can also use regular distilled white vinegar, if that is all you have in your pantry!

The first wig I wanted to try this on was the one I had purchased for a River Song cosplay for the upcoming MegaCon in Tampa Bay. I had spent 6 months tracking down the dress she wore in Day of The Moon, FINALLY found it in my size, only to shelf the whole thing because I wanted River's hair to be perfect, because its such a signature thing about her. I tried to make the wig work, but even with a wig cap on it was causing my head to get itchy bumps all over it and I just couldn't see myself spending a whole day at a convention wearing it.

What you need ::

- Offensively itchy wig
- Apple Cider Vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
- Sink or tub large enough to submerge your wig
- Water


To start off, I filled my kitchen sink halfway full with lukewarm water, and added 1 cup of ACV. I swished the water around a bit to mix it up, and plopped in my wig.

I let the wig soak for about 30 minutes, swishing and stirring it around occasionally. I tried not to agitate it too much, because I didn't want it to get super tangly and scary in the water., especially since its a curly wig that is apt to get tangly and scary anyway.

After 30 minutes or so, I carefully lifted the wig out of the sink, let it drip a little bit, then whisked it away to the bathroom where I threw it into the tub.

I rinsed it carefully with lukewarm water, and then shampooed it gently with baby shampoo. There are many different schools of thought on what shampoo you should or should not use on synthetic wigs, but I've always used baby shampoo on mine, rinsed it thoroughly, and never had any issues. But do what is best for you!

After I was completely done rinsing the hair, I hung it up to drop dry the rest of the way on my highly modern and super fancy wig drying stand....the doorknob.

After it had dried completely, I held my breath...tried it on...and HELLO SWEETIE NO MORE ITCHING. I was so excited! I have used this method on several of my other wigs and it has worked a treat for all of them!  Some of them I have noticed a much more obvious white film come off in the vinegar bath than others...thats the alkaline coating coming off, so that is a good sign! The vinegar water with this particular wig was pretty cloudy after I took it out, take that, nasty itchy coating!

Now, every time I get a new wig, I immediately vinegar soak it and shampoo it before even trying it on. Also, most wigs are going to itch a little bit regardless after you wear them a while, but they should NOT be causing your skin to break out or have irritation bumps. I always wear a wig cap underneath mine to provide a little extra barrier against the scratchy underside of the wig as well as hold my hair in place.

I hope this helps! Go forth and wear thine fake hair proudly!

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