Detangling a Curly Wig
Tutorial by reptoJane (repto on the Arda Wigs Forums!)
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|I don't wear wigs very often, but will occasionally for a Steampunk outfit. As I often wear funky jewelry with this outfit, there are times when the chains and cogs snag something fierce on my Claudia. I wear this wig with a pith helmet, and that seems to sort of "felt" the hair in the back if I wear it all day. Additionally, my kids do cosplay on a fairly regular basis. My 12 y.o. is brutal on wigs--yet she LOVES to wear them--so I've become pretty adept at detangling them.
This takes a chunk of time. It's a great task for when you are watching tv, listening to the radio, talking over the day with your kids, etc. It doesn't need to be done in one sitting, so you can set it down and come back to it a day or two later with no trouble.
Here are the tricks that seem to work best for me when it comes to desnarling and reclaiming curls from the frizz monster!
You need a couple of items to start this process:
1. Detangler spray. You can buy these in the baby section of just about any pharmacy or big box store. You can use water in a spray bottle, but the detangler works so much better that it is worth a couple of bucks to have on hand. Water works great with short wigs, but those rarely need to be unsnarled. (As seen on right)
2. Your fingers.
3. A wig brush (for very snarly wigs--and only used sparingly!)
4. A pair of sharp scissors (for evening up ratty ends and removing impossible knots).
5. Optional but handy: a wig stand/wig head with pins to hold the wig on it. Mine is stuck on an old broomstick handle which is held in place by a cheap suction vise that I got at Aldi for about $8. Many people use a Christmas tree stand to hold the wig head + broomstick, but ours is ginormous and I don't want that taking up floor space in my already compact kitchen!
If you don't have a wig stand, you can just lay the wig on your lap and work on one piece at a time. This gets trickier the longer the wig is.
|Here's a shot of the full wig before I started working on it. You can see how it's gotten frizzy looking around the edges. While I *could* wear it like this (and would if I wanted it to look like totally natural hair), I prefer the super coiffed look for Steampunk. Underneath is a real rat's nest.
I've found that over time, smaller curls start to aggregate into a few bigger curls. You can leave the wig this way, or you can work to separate the curls. In this case, I made lots of smaller curls.
Once you get all your stuff set up, you might want to put an old towel under the wig. I use voluminous amounts of detangler and I've found that my vinyl kitchen floor can get slick under the wig. It cleans right up, but putting down a towel or some newspaper avoids the issue altogether.
|Start at one side of the wig. I start usually on the right side as you look at the wig; personal preference. Take a small chunk of wig. I start with one distinct curl (even if it's a bigger curl that will need to be dissected into smaller ones). Spray the entire length of hair until it is wet and slightly slippery feeling. Use your fingers to gently work the curls around your forefinger STARTING AT THE BOTTOM about 1 inch up and working toward the end. Now move up about 2 inches and do the same thing. Repeat this process all the way up the strand until you have a perfect curl. Keep the strand nice and moist with the detangler spray. On a wig as long as the Claudia, I often need to spray a strand 2 or 3 times before I'm done. Once it's smoothed out, you can carefully separate it into smaller curls if that's what you desire.
Once a strand is smooth and even, I wrap it tightly around my forefinger, all the way to the tip. By pushing up a bit on the end, you can get the top part by your knuckle to loosen up enough that the whole thing slips off into one giant banana curl.
|If the strand is really ratty, wet it down *super* well, top side and bottom. Take the wig brush and start at the bottom of the strand. Work out the bottom inch of curl. Be careful not to tug too hard as you can stretch the fibers out, or worse, yank them out of the wig! Move up 2 inches; repeat. Keep this up until you reach the ratty bits. Once past, put the brush down and finish with your fingers.
Keep going, slowly rotating the wig head to get to new sections.
If the curls are still really wet when you release them from your finger, you can pin them up or loop them over the top of the wig until they dry off enough that the curl won't pull out (just a few minutes).
If you get stuck, and no matter how much detangler and patience you apply to the task you just can't get a knot out, you may choose to either leave it in or cut it out. If you decide to cut, remove as little hair as possible! You can often get it down to 3 or 4 hairs that hold up the knot.
Now, look how nice that turned out!
Reposted from reptoJane's Forum Post: Here
If you have any questions regarding this tutorial, please ask reptoJane!