There are several different ways how to straighten a wig – some work better on human hair wigs, others on synthetic wigs. In both cases, however, the key factor for which method you should choose is how heat-resistant the wig is, not necessarily what it’s made out of. Both synthetic wigs and human hair wigs can be heat-resistant or susceptible to heat. Human hair wigs are typically more heat-resistant but you need to be careful with them as well since they too can be damaged.
To test how heat-resistant your wig is, simply take a tiny strand of hair – no more than 1/8 inches or 0.32 cm from an inconspicuous area of the wig such as the back of the head and just above the neckline. Then, just subject this one strand of hair to whichever wig straightening method you’re contemplating and see how it takes it – if the strand survives the procedure, you can continue with the rest of the wig.
So, how to straighten a synthetic wig and how to straighten a human hair wig? Can you flat iron synthetic hair? Let’s go over the 3 main methods:
Use a flat iron for heat-resistant wigs
Once you’re sure that your wig can take the heat, place it on a wig stand and spray it with a wig protectant. This is vital since a good wig protectant will create a protective barrier around the hairs of your wig. Still, it’s vital that it’s heat-resistant enough.
After you’ve sprayed the wig, heat up your flat iron to about 230–250 °F (110–121 °C) and not more than that. Clip the different sections of hair on the wig and start working slowly and carefully with one section after another. Only do this after you’ve tested the flat iron on a separate tiny strand of the wig!
It’s also important to comb the hair of the wig to detangle it before you start ironing it. Using heat-resistant gloves is strongly advisable as well.
Use a hairdryer or a steamer for less resistant synthetic wigs
This middle-of-the-road method is ideal for more fragile wigs that you don’t want to risk damaging. You should still do a heat test on a separate strand of hair, of course. After that, just place the wig on a wig stand and pin it at the top.
To start, simply separate a section of about 2 inches (5 cm) and comb it. They, while holding the section straight by the end of it, start using the hairdryer or steamer on it. Don’t set the device above medium and keep it at a distance from the hair. The warm heat from the dryer or the humidity from the steamer should both be sufficient to eventually straighten the hair of your wig although you’ll need to be patient as this process takes time.
Use hot water for cheaper synthetic wigs
Another way how to straighten a curly wig is by using hot water. Like the flat-ironing method, this is only recommended for cheaper wigs you won’t feel too bad about if you accidentally ruin them. The way this method works is by simply putting the wig on a styrofoam wig head and pinning it at the top. Then, put the wig in the bathroom and comb it to detangle the individual hairs.
Next, heat a pot of water to about 180–185 °F (82–85 °C) and take it to the bathroom. Again – heat test a small section of the wig first to see if it can take the abuse. Once you’re confident that it can survive this method, start dipping the ends of the wig in the water. After you’ve done this for all the ends of the wig, pour the pot over the rest of the wig. Do this slowly so that it doesn’t splash around and waste the water. Also, be careful not to burn yourself.
Lastly, comb through the wig with your fingers. Use heat-resistant gloves if the wig is too hot but DO NOT brush or comb it while it’s wet or you’ll risk damaging and pulling away entire strands of hair.
And that’s about it. Each of these methods is suitable for different types of wigs with heat-resistance being the key factor here, not so much whether the wig is synthetic or natural. As long as you test the heat-resistance of the wig first and you’re careful, everything should go smoothly.