Natural Hair Care: Protecting Natural Hair Under a Wig – 12 Fantastic Tips
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Wigs can be a wonderful way to experiment with different hairstyles or just to give yourself a break from styling your natural hair. However, wigs aren’t an excuse to neglect your real hair. As a matter of fact, there is actually plenty you can do in terms of natural hair care while wearing your gorgeous wigs!
Yes – it’s possible to have strong, healthy hair, experience real hair growth, and enjoy length retention while wearing wigs! Our 12 tips for caring for your natural hair under a wig will show you how. We’ve also added a really helpful haircare video at the end of this post (jump to video) to show how you can prepare your natural hair for wigs.
12 Tips for Natural Hair Care Under Wigs
Tips 1 – 4: Keep up your haircare routine.
Just because your hair is tucked away under a wig, it doesn’t mean you should be neglecting caring for it. In fact, regular wig-wearing is actually a very good reason to give your natural curls some extra TLC.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Practice scalp care. Get rid of product buildup, dead skin cells, and grime by using a scalp scrub. Also, nourish and lubricate your scalp with scalp oil. Use each of these as an opportunity to give yourself an invigorating scalp massage to improve blood flow in your scalp.
2. Keep your hair moisturized. Dry hair tends to be brittle, leading to excessive split ends and breakage – a real danger when your hair is constantly being rubbed by the wigs you wear. Deep conditioning and the use of a leave-in conditioner can help.
3. Continue with your regular weekly wash day. This is a must even if wear your hair in cornrows, braids, or twists under your wigs and you plan on keeping them in for a few weeks. Clean hair and a clean scalp help to ensure strong and healthy hair growth while preventing issues such as dry scalp and dandruff.
4. Get regular trims. Yes, protective styling (including using a wig as a protective style) does tuck away your ends to help avoid damage. But, there will still be the need to trim away split ends every six to eight weeks or so, to stop them from traveling up the shaft of the hair and causing further damage.
Tips 5 – 8: Minimize tension on your scalp and strands.
Traction alopecia is a kind of hair loss caused by chronic (long-term) tension on the hair and scalp. It is a very real issue for Black women, mostly because of the protective styles we often use in our hair. This points to the glaring fact that a protective style isn’t really protecting your hair if it’s not done right.
Here’s how to keep tugging and pulling to a minimum while wearing wigs:
5. Ensure the style under your wig is not too tight. Braiding your natural hair, with or without extensions, is a good way to keep it flat against your scalp. This helps your wigs to fit better and to look more natural. But, there is the danger of too-tight braids leading to excessive tension. You should opt for looser styles, including loose cornrows and flat twists, instead.
6. Wear a wig cap or wig band to protect your hairline. These are relatively inexpensive items that do wonders for protecting your natural hair under a wig. They greatly reduce the amount of rubbing the wig does against your hair and scalp. This reduced rubbing will result in less breakage and greater length retention – YAY!
7. Choose the correct size wig. Along with being uncomfortable and distracting, a wig that is either too big or too small will rub on your hairline and could lead to traction alopecia.
8. Oil your hairline to minimize friction. You can use hair oils or hair butters to protect those delicate baby hairs at your hairline from the rubbing of the wig.
Find out about caring for your hair with protective styling:
- Protective Styles for Natural Hair Growth – 7 Great Points to Keep in Mind
- 7 Tips For Growing Out Your Natural Hair While Rocking a Protective Hair Style
Tips 9 – 11: Keep these wig-wearing DON’Ts in mind.
These four DON’Ts for wearing a wig as a protective style may seem like real no-brainers. But, we still tend to fall prey to them from time to time.
9. Don’t wear a wig over damp hair. Your wet hair coupled with your body heat under a wig could provide the perfect conditions for excessive bacterial growth. Plus, ever heard of hygral fatigue? It can happen when hair stays wet for too long. It tends to weaken the strands and weak strands combined with the rubbing of your wig is a sure recipe for hair breakage.
10. Don’t wear a wig over dirty hair. Bluntly put – that’s poor hygiene. Not only can it lead to scalp issues but it could also cause your hair to become smelly thanks to your scalp being grimy, hot, and sweaty under your wig.
11. Don’t sleep in your wig. Even if you don’t sleep all crazy, there is a lot of rubbing that your natural hair gets exposed to while you’re catching your zzzs. Having a wig on while your sleep can amplify the damaging effects of all that friction on your natural hair. So, take your wig off, comb or brush it out, then place it on its wig stand for the night. As for your natural hair, protect it with a silk or satin bonnet or pillowcase to not only reduce friction but also to retain moisture.
Final Tip #12: Take a break from wigs every now and then.
This awesome piece of advice goes for any protective style or hairstyle you choose. Wearing the same style over and over again subjects the same regions of your hair to the same stresses from tension, rubbing, pulling, etc. In the case of wearing wigs, it may be the constant rubbing on your hairline or the tugging on your scalp from too-tight braids under your wig.
Natural Hair Care Routine for Wig Wearing
Do you wear wigs often and have any tips you would like to share? Tell us!