Wig Craft Tutorials
Tips and tricks from my wig book!
Relaxing Curls and Straightening Wigs.

First off, let me nip the most popular myth right in the bud by saying...

You should not use any sort of "iron" to straighten wigs.

Steam irons, curling irons, crimping irons, and straightening irons all have one thing in common: They use HOT METAL to change the shape of whatever material they're designed for.

None of these tools are designed to work with Kanekalon fiber, since the one hot metal tool that is designed to work with wig fiber is called a "Heat Sealer" (or braid sealer) and is designed specifically to turn the fiber into hot plastic slag. Pretty much any of those other irons will produce the exact same effect.

I don't care what your friend said, or how they figured out some neat technique using an ironing board and a wet towel. If they managed to use an iron to straighten their wig without damaging it, then maybe they should go buy a lotto ticket, coz they're apparently quite lucky. I've also heard of people using a curling iron to straighten wigs, and no matter what type you use, even temperature controled irons are going to cause kinks and crimping in the wig fiber even at the lowest setting.

I can not stress this enough: Wigs are not hair. If you have any questions about the differences between the two, please go back to the "Basic Wig Facts" tutorial before proceeding.

If you want to safely straighten your wig, then follow the simple instructions below.




This is a heat sealer. Note the bits of melted plastic stuck to the metal.



Note: This is a tutorial, not a magic spell. If your wig is very curly, or the fiber is thick, it may not be able to be straightened completely with this method. I've personally straightened hundreds of Kanekalon and Toyokalon wigs and extensions using this method, but I can not guarantee that you will get the same results I do since I do not know what types of wigs you are starting with.
Step 1: Pin the wig to a wigform.
One pin at each temple, one in the top, and one in the bottom of the back seam. You can put in more if you like, but this is the bare minimum.

In the example, we are using a Femme Fatale style wig from Amphigory, which comes with a natural curl at the bottom. I placed the wigform on a pole to hold it up while I work, but you can also use a 2 liter bottle filled with water as a makeshift wigstand.

You must put the wig on some sort of stand so the hair can hang straight. This method will not work if you are merely dunking the wig in a sinkful of hot water, it needs to be able to hang straight to dry.

Once you have the wig pinned in place, set it up in the bathtub.


Step 2: Hot Water.
The trick to changing the shape wig fiber is sustained, controlled heat. That's why blowdryer/round brushing won't work, coz it can't be sustained, and irons don't work coz' they're way too hot.

The temperature of water I use is between 180-184°F. Don't worry, this will not damage your wig. (Kanekalon is melt resistant to around 200°F.) Put a large pot of water on the stove on high. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature while it gets closer to boiling. If it gets too hot, just take it off the burner, and allow it to cool back down to the right temperature.

Once you get the right temperature of water, slowly pour it over the wig, until the wig is completely soaked. It should feel the same temperature to the touch as the water. If parts of thw wig are not hanging stright down, use a wide toothed comb while pouring the water on, to gently pull it straight.

Tip: If you squirt a ring of hair conditioner (the kind you use on your own hair will work for this) on the wig before you pour, it will make it easier to comb through while straightening. ^_^


Step 3: Let it cool and dry completely.
Do not comb or brush the wig when it's wet. Allow it to drip dry completey before going to the next step.

This will take over an hour, sometimes as long as four for very long wigs, so go do something else for a while. (Don't you have a costume to work on?)


Step 4: Comb and brush.
Once the wig is completely dry, first finger comb it, then use a wide-toothed comb, and slowly work your way up to a parallel bristled brush. (Try to avoid large paddle brushes or brushes where the bristles stick out in a radiating pattern when brushing a wig.)

If you wish to straighten the wig more than it is, just repeat the steps as many times as necessary. The curlier the wig starts, the longer it will take to acheive a perfectly straight wig. But for removing kinks or waves, usually only one treatment will do the trick.


For Straightening Extensions:
Kanekalon extensions can be straightened using a similar method, but you'll need a very tall stand to be able to keep them hanging straight while you work.

If you are looking for styling tips, try asking the helpful folks in the Forums!
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