What’s the most frustrating part of owning a wig? If you answered tangles, you’re not alone. Many people–including those with biological locks–have experienced the dreaded sailor’s knot, the rat’s nest, the snarls of doom, or any other nicknames for this unfortunate and commonplace annoyance. But why do wigs tangle like crazy? And what are the tips of the trade to prevent knots and remove tangles from a wig? Let’s set sail and find out!
Why Wigs Tangle
(Because Knowing is Half the Battle)
There are a several reasons why wigs tend to tangle and knot a lot compared to natural hair—and wigs do tend to tangle more than natural hair.
One reason our biological locks do not see the same amount of tangles is due to natural oils produced by our scalp–these oils keep the strands from drying out and knotting. Hair on a wig, whether human or synthetic, does not benefit from the scalp's natural oil, making the fibers dryer and prone to tangling.
#2. Materials, Processing, and Quality
In synthetic wigs, the fibers are made from materials such as polymer, acrylic, and plastics which can be predisposed to tangling. You may also experience tangling in human hair wigs due to the chemicals used to treat and dye the hair. Lower quality wigs, regardless of whether they are human hair or synthetic hair, are much more prone to tangling, knotting, and frizzing than higher quality wigs.
#3. Rubbing and Sweat
Another common complaint is tangling at the nape of the neck. You may notice more tangles in this area due to perspiration, and the wig rubbing against the neck. Certain fabrics such as wool or other thick materials rubbing against the wig may result in increased tangling.
Wigs can be damaged from heat and improper wig care techniques. Once the fibers of a wig are damaged, they become much more prone to tangling.
#5. Age and Wear
Even with perfect wig care, no wig lasts forever. Like any other article of clothing, the fibers of your wig will become frayed and strained with wear. Once the fibers of a wig are worn out, they will begin to tangle and mat very frequently.
Working Out the Kinks:
How to Detangle a Wig
Time for the nitty-gritty: How do you work those stubborn knots out? With a better idea of how tangles form, you’re now ready to both tackle the ones you have, and to prevent new ones. Below are the Do’s and Don’ts for de-tangling your wig.
1. Do Invest in the Right Products
Take the time to research wig care products. Make sure you purchase shampoo, conditioner, and styling products specifically meant for your wig type (synthetic or human hair). Whether you have a human hair or synthetic wig, there are two detangling hair tools that you’ll need:
- A wig comb -This type of comb is specifically-designed to comb out your wig’s tangles gently without damaging hair.
- A wig brush -This type of brush will remove your tangles without getting “caught” in your wig. It’s ideal for synthetic wigs because it usually contains bobbles that will protect the fibers of your wig.
2. Do Brush or Comb Prior to Washing
Before washing/conditioning your wig, take the time to gently work out the tangles with a wig brush or wide-tooth comb.
3. Do Wash You Wig Properly
Proper wig care is the first step to preventing tangle. Sometimes, all your wig needs to look perfect and stop tangling is a good washing. With everyday wear, your wig should be washed once a week at most in cool water with products specifically designed for wigs. Learn more about how to wash your synthetic wig here, and how to wash your human hair wig here.
4. Do Store Your Wig on a Wig Stand
Putting your wig in its original packaging after you wear it is another way to keep it in tangles. When you don’t have your wig on, we recommend keeping it on a wig stand.
5. Do Use a Spray Conditioner
Spritz your wig with a leave-in conditioner to help prevent tangles and smooth out any frizzy locks. This will also work to bring moisture back into the wig.
1. Don't Force Your Tangles Out
Putting some oomph into removing your tangles is never a good move. Trying to yank your way through knots will only lead to issues such as fraying/damaging the hair strands, pulling hair from the wig cap, damaging the wig cap, and causing overall heartache (yours).
2. Don't Wear Your Wig to Bed
Sleeping in your wig is an almost certain way to wind up with tangles. Be sure to remove your wig prior to lying down for a quick nap or crawling into bed at night.
3. Don't Comb When Wet
Do not try to brush or comb out your wig when wet – this can permanently damage or stretch out the hair fibers, making them more prone to future tangles.
4. Don't Use Products Not Meant for Wigs
Many online resources recommend using non-wig products on your hair, such as fabric softener. We would advise against using this method, as there are no guarantees these products will not damage your wig.
Tangles Be Gone!
Let’s toast to no more tangles! Follow these tips for silky, smooth locks. Have some tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below! If you are having a hard time detangling your wig and preventing tangles, read about How to Revive a Wig here! To shop our full selection of wigs, click here.