De-tangling Wigs: Pinoy Style

Monday, July 28, 2014

So you just came home from a convention. Probably you ran a lot , or had a shoot with lots of hair flipping and tossing action, or you hugged your friends and such. Those can really put stress on your wig and as a bonus get it tangled like there is no tomorrow. And we all know that wigs are our BIGGEST investments when it comes to cosplay. So as cosplayers we need to be able to take care of them and this includes the daunting task of DE-TANGLING *dun dun dun *

 Being cosplayers in the Philippines we don't have much access to the proper tools and what more, if they are available, they don't come in cheap.

So how can one, such as us, be able to take care and maintain our wigs in a cost effective way? 

Well I am here to share with you how I detangle my wigs.


  1. Wig(s)
  2. Wide tooth comb
  3. Flat Iron
  4. Fabric Conditioner
  5. Wig stand or Hanger
  6. Patience, lots and lots of it.


So first take out the wig or wigs you wish to detangle. In my case I had 3 long ones. A white straight one (Grand Young). My Pale blonde Lucaille wig that is slightly wavy and then my sister's curly pink Grand Young wig ( traded my Zorro "time skip" wig for this tangled long pink one). 

You can see the degrees of tangledness each of these wig is in. Lets observe each one. 
 My sister's pink wig is by far the one in the worst state. When it was in her possession, I'm very sad to say that it was very much mistreated. Middle schoolers wore it for fun and played around with it, and not once has this wig been properly combed through from the time she bought it until it was traded for one of mine. So I decided maybe I can save it.  

Next is my blonde wig I use for my Daenerys cosplay. As you can see, it is in a much better state than the pink one, because this wig has been combed at least once ever month, but because I've styled this with braids and I've used a lot of chemicals on it to make it Khaleesi-like every time I cosplay Dany, there are a lot of frays and frizz still. 

And of course, the cream of the crop, my 120cm long white wig that I use for my Moka Akashiya cosplay and other characters. This is the wig I have given the utmost care for. And it was very easy since it is a Grand Young wig. So the strands have very good quality, and the wig is thick and smooth and oh so silky and easy to maintain. 

The only reason why I was going to wash this was for my monthly routine of wig care. 

So first we tackle the tangled mess that is the pink wig. I always like to give my wigs a small comb through before giving them a bath, just like you would comb your own hair before bathing to minimize tangles and such. 

Use a wide tooth comb, preferably one that has rotating bristles to minimize wig damages. (see photo below) 

Always ALWAYS start from the ends of the wig and work your way up. This way you can effectively remove or loosen stubborn tangles and the likes. Sometimes it is also better to use your fingers and finger comb through the hair, specially for those curly and wavy wigs. Finger combing is much better than using actual combs so that the curls wont be too compromised. 

But as you can see with this pink wig, a small comb through didn't do much so it is time for the next step. Which is washing the wig. 
Now we all know know that here in the Philippines it is rather hard to find Wig shampoos and such, so I will let you in on something my dear friend Kai has taught me. 

Before I would use actual shampoo and conditioner on my wigs. They work well but not as well as the secret Im about to impart to you. But before that just one more thing. 
If your wig doesn't have any styling products on like hair spray, wax, or glue then you can go ahead and scroll to the next step, but if your wig has been style with such products then you should gently wash it off with mild shampoo, like the no tear formulas because you don't want heavy shampoo to ruin your investment. 

So what is the secret? The secret lies in FABRIC CONDITIONER. Yes! That is right. Fabric conditioner will be your wig's new best friend. You see, our cosplay wigs are not made of real hair, (unless you have tons of money to get real hair wiggies) but most of us buy the heat resistant synthetic ones. Since they are not made of hair, hair care products will not be too effective on them. Our cosplay wigs are made of heat resistant synthetic fibers. So what are good for fibers? Fabric conditioner. (Makes sense?) So think of our wigs as cloth ^_^ .

So you take one sachet of your preferred fabric conditioner and pour it into a basin that is large enough for your wigs to be submerged. I only had this smaller tub available at the time, but I highly recommend a bigger one because you're going to want to be able to finger comb through your wig again while it is in the basin. 

So fill the tub with the right ratio of water to Fabric conditioner. So this will really depend on you. Remember treat your wig as a piece of delicate clothing. Then place your wig and make sure that it is completely submerged.

I included my Daenerys wig since it needed a good washing and it needed to be softer than it was at the time. But I did not include my white wig because it was already just fine to begin with :) :) :) 

So, you let your wigs sit in for a few hours. I did mine over night to make sure that all the delicious fabric conditioner is soaked up by my poor pinkku wig. 

I do apologize, I wasn't able to take photos of the next steps. But this is what you do. 
Rinse your wig, or it depends on your fabric conditioner instructions (there are some FabCons that dont require rinsing) and then hang your wig up to dry. Remember just air dry your wig so that you don't put additional stress on it or further add tangles to it. Once it completely dries up you can start the next detangling process. 

Section your wig and clip up the parts you aren't going to comb through yet. 
Start from the bottom and work your way up. If you have really REALLY stubborn knots. Sometimes you don't have any choice but to cut them off. But you have to be careful because you might end up with a really ugly and uneven wig so cut with care. but hopefully you never let your wigs become such a mess as my pink one. 
Once you worked out the tangles, take your hot iron and iron through each untangled section. Be very careful with this because though wigs are heat resistant, they are not heat proof. Just go over it very quickly and don't linger for too long other wise you are going to melt it off. 

Just do this over and over again, making sure you work by sections. 

For my pink wig, I had a lot of hair that got pulled off, but thankfully it is a grand young brand so the fibers were thick. 

But in the end, the wig thinned out a bit and of course it was no longer curly but straight. But you can see the difference between the before and after right? 

All you need to do now is restyle it and use it for cosplay for another day. :) 
Here is me and my friend jammy using the same DETANGLED wig for our cosplay and costrips. 

I hope this "tutorial" helped you a bit. Remember all the items used for this tutorial is available in the Philippines and even in your home country. If you have any questions or clarifications, feel free to leave a comment below so I can answer them the best I can.

Thanks for tuning in! See you next time in Lara's Cosplay Misadventures!

Lara Krystle Novales
a.k.a. Khaleesi-Chan

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- Lara-chan