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Ready to throw out your old wig? Not so fast. Devout wig-wearer Giselle La Pompe-Moore discovers The Wig Bar London’s at-home solution for giving your wigs a little more life.
Underneath most people’s beds, you’re likely to find some bobbly jumpers suffocating in vacuum packed bags. Under mine? Well, you’ll find a growing collection of all the wigs I’ve plucked, cut, dyed and boiled in my Le Creuset. The ones that have had a beautiful life resting in freezer bags filled with deep conditioner and left to swim in my bathtub. And the ones that regularly spend afternoons air drying in a sheen of argan oil on the back of my dining chairs or on my washing line. In the seven years that I’ve been wearing wigs, you name it, I’ve tried everything to look after them to the best of my ability.
Wigs were my last follicular resort, after a lifetime of hair relaxers, strand-tugging hair extensions and tightly sewn on weaves that threatened to bald my edges. But, my entrance into the wig game came with one prerequisite: I needed the wigs to look realistic. The kind of realistic that has people gushing that they “can’t believe that’s a wig”. And this kind of wig is easier to find than ever before, thanks to a stream of innovations and techniques such as lace frontals, customised hairlines and bleaching the knots of said frontal.
As I can style my wigs on a wig head, I don’t have to suffer through holding a curling wand over my head with all the strain of a bicep curl. When it needs washing, I don’t have to immerse my entire head in the shower or blow dry my hair into oblivion, I can simply leave it to dry and go about my day. You just can’t beat the convenience. With that said, wigs aren’t (or at least, shouldn’t be) included in the conveyor belt of disposable beauty products. They don’t sit alongside the once-used face serums left in crusty bathroom drawers or the gimmicky face tools that never lived up to their promise. Wigs need looking after. In fact, I’m never surprised to hear when people name their wigs, because they do deserve to be treated like a pet: not just for Christmas.
Because they are such an investment, before I consider getting a new wig, I need to trust that I’ve gotten every single ounce of use from my current wig. Especially as human hair takes such a long time to decompose, and I don’t fancy the guilt of getting rid of a wig that can be saved. As a result, I’ve always been very diligent with preserving my wigs. It makes a difference too, as extra care can extend the life span and change the daily appearance of your wig.
Firstly, getting a good quality wig with the cuticles on the wefts of hair running in the same direction is really important. Then with proper care, human hair wigs can last for a minimum of 1.5 years, but I’ve kept wigs for way longer than that. The scalp produces natural oils, which keeps our natural hair less tangled and more moisturised; the same can’t be said for a wig, so we need to work harder to keep it looking its best.
I’ve tried some pretty rogue DIY tips to care for my wig in the past, many of them resulting in hair worse than when I started or just taking too long to be worth it. Enter The Wig Bar London, whose professional revamp services have answered wig-wearers prayers everywhere. I tried the brand’s at-home kit in hopes that it would elevate my wig routine. The Complete Wig Care Kit, £130, is an all-in-one, don’t-have-to-hunt-for-a-million-products game changer.
The kit has absolutely everything you need to look after your wig. I started by using the Gentle Moisturising Shampoo, which ticked the boxes of being sulphate-free and including organic ingredients. With a silky, almost hyaluronic acid-esque feel to it, I knew that it would add some much-needed life back to my wig. I rinsed it out, using the Wet Brush to help me clean the inside of the wig, before applying the Repair Mask. The mask has a trio of macadamia, olive and argan oil which I noticed immediately as I drenched the wig in it; the dried-out strands practically gasped in relief. It smells like laundry day, which always convinces me that good things are occurring. I left it on for 10 minutes, while I massaged Summer Fridays Overtime Mask, £39, into my face (not included, but multitasking at its finest).
Next up, I rinsed the mask out and applied the Moisturising Conditioner, which has a Greek yoghurt kind of consistency but not so rich that it weighed down the wig with product. I then put it into my favourite part of the kit, the Thermal Conditioning Bag. A black, vanity-style bag that you plug into the mains, zip your wig inside and let it sleep in for 10 minutes. It’s a total revelation that beats all of my Youtube-inspired haphazard attempts at trying to achieve something similar by boiling my wig. Once the time was up, I rinsed the wig in cold water to lock in all of the goodness from the conditioner before using the Microfibre Towel, which reduces breakage, to pat it dry. By this point, my wig was smoother than a panna cotta and I left it overnight to air dry, with a smile plastered on my face.
The kit also includes a detangling brush, detangling comb and wig storage bag, and the entire routine only took 30 minutes. Before I had even styled it, my wig looked as good as new. The next day, I spritzed some Aveda Heat Relief Thermal Protector and Conditioning Mist, £26, onto the wig, which is a staple in my hair routine and curled it with the T3 Whirl Trio Styling Wand, £260, which keeps my curls in place for days. I added a tiny amount of serum and I was ready to go.
The results? Well, when I started, my wig was looking a bit dishevelled, wary from heat styling and feeling stiff. It had also lost some movement and was getting tangled. A few steps, some excellent products and a quick stay in a thermal bag later, and it’s basically a whole new wig. It’s lighter, bouncier and somehow looks better than when I first got the wig earlier this year. If this isn’t some kind of wig-refreshing magic, then I don’t know what is.
Images: Giselle La Pompe-Moore/ courtesy of brand.