One day, while peeking into the social media world to see what was going on, I was tickled when I saw a sistah post a brief exchange between her and her cat.
After I chuckled, it crossed my mind that while a lot of us do indeed rock wigs, we hadn't done an article on how to care for our natural hair while wearing one. Because whether you wear a wig like an accessory to your outfit, to grow your own hair out, or for any other reason, those fly looks are going to work against you if you're not making sure that your hair and scalp are handled with extreme care while you've got them on.
Now let me just give a heads up that, if you are a true wig connoisseur, then you already know that a topic like this really does deserve its own series. So, please just look at this as a CliffsNotes version; something that can, at least make you feel sure that, whenever you put a wig on, you can be confident that your hair is doing just fine until you take it back off again. And with that being said, let's get into the 10 tips that I've got, shall we?
Choose a Quality Wig
Before even getting how to take care of your natural hair, it's important that you put a quality wig on top of your head to begin with. As far as human hair wigs go, they do tend to look extremely natural however, they can also run you a few hundred dollars (at least). If money is tight, there are some synthetic ones that are much cheaper and are pretty impressive on the appearance tip too. If you opt for a monofilament wig, they really do look like the hair from your wig is literally growing from your scalp while a hand-tied is less dense and also look more natural than machine-wefted or stitched wigs. Just make sure to keep in mind that the less money you spend on a synthetic wig, the less likely you'll be able to use heat styling tools (because they will melt the hair). Also, please avoid wigs that have that crescent moon type of hairline; the more natural the hairline the better.
If you opt to go to an actual beauty supply store, the customer service agents there should be able to assist you with finding a wig that best fits your hair and personal style. But if you'd prefer to order a wig online, there are plenty of naturalista pros out in YouTube world who can totally help you out. Some videos worth checking out are located here, here, here, here and here.
Wash Your Hair and Scalp Regularly
What if you had a hat on, all day, every day, for days or weeks on end? Wouldn't that make you want to wash your hair on a consistent basis? This is the mindset you need to have when it comes to how to care for your hair and scalp when you're constantly wearing a wig. Because it's natural for your scalp to sweat when you're wearing a wig, not only can that lead to clogged hair follicles, but the dampness can also lead to your hair and wig not smelling very great. Plus, bacteria can start to form too. This is why, words cannot express enough, that it's super important to shampoo your hair and scalp, no less than every 10-14 days.
Also, while we're here, what's the point in keeping your hair and scalp clean if your wig is gonna be nasty? Isn't that a lot like putting dirty underwear on a clean body? Exactly. So, when it comes to how often your wig needs to be washed, every 30 wears or 4-6 weeks is a pretty steadfast rule.
You can wash a human hair wig with regular shampoo but a synthetic one? Eh. Either go with a synthetic shampoo or even a fabric softener like Downy. For tips on how to properly wash your wig, check out this video here.
Super Deep Condition Your Tresses
When I decided to get serious about length retention, it wasn't until I applied this particular tip that I started to make some real progress. So technically, this is a step that you should apply to your hair, no matter what. But when it comes to wig-wearing, you are going to REGRET IT (and yes, I am yelling that!) if you put yours on without deep conditioning your tresses first. Deep conditioning does everything from moisturize your hair and add some much-needed elasticity to it to smooth your cuticles and reduce your chances of getting split ends.
So, before you put your wig on, shampoo your hair, apply a deep conditioner, let it sit for no less than 30 minutes (a few hours is even better) and then rinse, dry and braid your hair before putting your wig on. It's a great way to keep extra moisture in your hair until your next wash day (which again, should be no less than 10 days later).
Oil Your Cornrows
If you want your wig to lay down as flat as possible and your hair is past the TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) stage, it's best that you put it into cornrows. Not only will that help your wig to fit really closely to your scalp, but it's also a great way to protect your ends too. Just make sure that before you braid your hair that you apply a carrier oil like avocado, sweet almond, grapeseed, coconut or jojoba to your hair to keep your braids extra protected and your scalp well moisturized. Also, you might want to apply a little bit onto your braids, every time you take off your wig as well. In fact, if you want to keep your natural hair and your wig smelling nice, you can even add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your carrier oil of choice. Lavender, orange and jasmine oil all smell amazing.
"Baby" Your Hairline
There are many people who end up with bald edges because they skipped this point. There's no way around the fact that your edges (and nape) are probably the most fragile parts of your hair. And when you've got a wig on, the pressure from the wig can start to weigh down on your edge's follicles, potentially causing irreversible damage. That's why it's best to pull out some of your "baby hairs" before putting your wig on. Not only that, but make sure to baby your hairline too by gently massaging them with Jamaican black castor oil (which is loaded with nutrients), not using alcohol-based edge control gel (that can dry your edges and nape out) and making sure that your old toothbrush is wet before applying product to it or brushing your edges down; otherwise, the roughness of the brush can wreak havoc on your baby hairs too. By the way, if you're looking for a good edge control, one that I enjoy is by Arcani Coil Care. It's a sistah-owned company and the product is long-lasting.
Watch the Straps and the Combs
Two of the most underrated reasons why natural hair ends up being damaged, especially around the nape and edges, once we take our wigs off, is we don't adjust our wig straps or pay attention to how our combs fit on our head. While your wig straps need to be secure, make sure they aren't so tight that they cause friction on the most fragile parts of your hair (your hairline). As far as your wig combs go, make sure they have rounded ends and that you place them into your hair gently. It's also important to not put them exactly in the same place every time (that can result in breakage and, eventually balding). Oh, and it's a good idea to massage the areas where your straps and combs were when you take your wig off. It will bring blood to your scalp and nourish your hair follicles, so that those vulnerable areas won't cause your hair to become extremely vulnerable and damaged.
Take Your Wig Cap Off at Night
Whether or not you go with a wig cap that you choose yourself, you cut up an old pair of stockings or you opt to use the wig cap that came with your wig installation (because more and more wig companies are including those), it's imperative that you take off your wig cap every night. Remember that the reason why you wear them at all is so 1) your natural hair can get as flat as possible; 2) your natural hair can be protected from the potential snagging that could come from your wig and 3) so your wig looks as natural as it possibly can (which is why it's a good idea to go with a wig cap that is nude rather than black).
Sleeping with a wig cap on keeps your scalp from getting an opportunity to breathe and that is another way for bacteria to form and for our hair follicles to weaken over time.
Detox Your Scalp Once a Month
Earlier this year, I wrote an article for the site entitled, "Treat Your Scalp To A Little Bit Of Detoxing This Weekend". The reason why it's so important to detox your scalp is because it removes build-up and it can also rebalance the pH level of your scalp too. Your scalp is really going to need this if you're someone who wears a wig on a consistent basis, so make sure that a thorough scalp detox is a part of your monthly hair care routine.
Too much of a good thing can easily turn into a bad thing when there is no balance and moderation. Wigs aren't exempt from this fact. So, definitely make sure to take a break from your wigs from time to time. If you wear the kind that you can take off every day, consider going a weekend without one. If you opt for the kind that you can keep on for 4-6 weeks easily, give your natural hair at least a couple of weeks before installing a new one. Air, Vitamin D (from the sun) and the lack of stress and pressure that can come from wigs is necessary if you want your hair to be healthy and to thrive.
If It's a Lace Front...
Wash the Wig Right When You Take It Out of the Package
To tell you the truth, this particular tip should apply to any wig that you buy. The reason why you should wash your wig(s) before applying it/them is because you have no idea who handled the wig before you got it. Plus, not all wigs are packaged equally, and it would suck if there was dirt, debris or…whatever in the wig; especially since you probably plan on wearing your wig for at least a couple of weeks at a time.
As far as how to properly wash a lace front, put a mild shampoo (remember that it needs to be synthetic or some type of fabric softener if it's made out of synthetic hair) into your sink or a basin of water. Put the wig into the water and allow it to soak for about 10 minutes. Use your hands to gently massage the wig (do not use a comb or brush). Then rinse the wig in lukewarm water, lightly dry it with a T-shirt and then apply a spray that's made of half distilled water and half hair conditioner. Let that sit for about five minutes and thoroughly rinse it again with lukewarm water. Use a T-shirt to gently wring the excess water from your wig and allow your wig to air dry on a wig stand with the weft of the wig exposed to the air. Once your wig is completely dry, you can then gently comb or use a wig brush.
Use a Good Adhesive Brand
A bad lace front adhesive can be the absolute devil when it comes to damaging your natural hair. It's kind of a science class, trying to figure out which brand is best (especially if you're looking for a brand that is gentle on your hair but is also super long-lasting at the same time), but Oprah's site did an article on the best wig glues for lace fronts (you can check it out here) and this is another topic where the YouTube queens can definitely hold you do. Check out this video, this video and this video from some cool recommendations.
Give Lace Fronts No More Than 5-6 Weeks
I'll be the first one to say that some of these lace front wigs out here are absolutely mind-blowing when it comes to how real they look! But no matter how close to the real thing they might appear to be or how securely you're able to install yours, even the best of the best have an expiration date in the sense of how long you should wear them before it's time to take them off and take a break.
The standard? Somewhere around 5-6 weeks is when you need to remove it so that you can do all of the things that I just shared to your own hair and so that you can properly clean and condition your lace front too.
Again, while there is a lot more info that can be shared on wigs and wig maintenance, if you apply these suggestions, you can feel pretty confident that your own hair will thrive while you're out here being a baddie in your wig. And that truly is the best of both worlds when it comes to hairstyles—ain't it?
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Shutterstock
- This No-Tension, Low-Maintenence Hair Trend Is Taking Over The ... ›
- The Absolute Best Products For Natural Hair - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- My Struggle With Alopecia: How I Learned To Find the Beauty In My ... ›
- I Got To Wear The Same Wig As Normani & Here's The Tea ... ›
- Cardi B Hair Stylist Cliff Vmir Schools Us On Wigs - xoNecole ... ›
- How To Take Care Of Braids - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- How To Avoid Heat Damage - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Keke Palmer and Casandra “Cassie” Ventura are two of the most recent prominent Black women who have spoken out about their current and past abuse by intimate partners. These conversations seem to be happening more frequently today, but the truth is domestic violence and sexual abuse of Black women within the Black community is not new.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 45.1 percent of Black women will experience physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, in contrast to 30.2 percent of their white counterparts who experience similar abuse. Additionally, the Black Women’s Health Project also found Black women are three times more likely to be killed by a partner than white women.
As a result of these findings, it determined that domestic violence is the number one health issue facing Black women today.
Despite these stark statistics the prevalent misogynoir Black women face within their community further reinforce the stigma, victim-blaming, and culture of silence that prevent Black women from seeking help when experiencing abuse. Both Palmer and Ventura are examples of how Black women suffer in silence for years at the hands of an abusive partner. In Palmer’s court filings, she alleged Darius Jackson, her son’s father, abused her in multiple instances over two years. Yet, not until recently did she seek help from the courts to obtain a restraining order and sole custody of her son.
Likewise, Ventura’s lawsuit highlighted over a decade’s worth of alleged domestic violence, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. Though Ventura and Sean Combs’ relationship ended in 2018, she shared the importance of speaking out now instead of remaining silent. “After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships,” she shared in a statement.
Though many prominent Black women such as Rihanna, Tina Turner, Kelly Rowland, and Megan Thee Stallion have spoken out about their experiences with domestic violence, there is still a great stigma regarding the issue in the Black community.
This stigma and lack of protection for Black women manifests through people questioning the validity of Black women’s claims, which we saw on full display in the case against Tory Lanez on behalf of Megan.
We still see it in the way people make tasteless jokes about the late Tina Turner’s abuse from Ike Turner; and even in how people questioned “what Rihanna did” to Chris Brown for him to hurt her in such a way. Actions and behaviors such as these lead to the staggering reality that 91 percent of Black women are killed by someone they knew according to a study conducted by the University of Illinois Chicago.
This study also highlighted the fact that the leading cause of death for Black women between the ages of 15 and 45 is murder by an intimate partner.
As someone who has experienced physical violence in an intimate relationship, I can attest to the anxiety and doubt I felt in sharing my truth with others. Even though there was physical proof to corroborate my claims, all I could think of were the words my mother said when the news of Rihanna and Chris Brown came out, “She did something to that boy for him to do that to her.”
I share this story because even though the celebrities we see going through these experiences may never hear the conversations we have behind closed doors, there are women in our lives who are experiencing the same things and won’t speak up because of what we say.
I still remember the feeling of self-blame in my relationship with physical proof of abuse appearing on my body and the mindset that if I were only somehow a better partner and more “submissive” in my relationship these things wouldn’t continue to happen.
However, what I and all other abuse survivors know is that there is nothing you can do to appease your abuser, and the only true way to end the abuse is to leave the relationship in the safest manner possible.
Yet, what many abuse survivors also know is leaving is one of the most difficult challenges in an abusive relationship. On average it takes victims of abuse seven attempts to leave their abuser and stay separated for good according to RESPOND Inc., New England’s first domestic violence agency. Though physical and sexual abuse are often discussed the most in conversations of domestic violence and abuse we need to acknowledge that it often begins with mental and emotional gaslighting and manipulation.
According to the (NCADV) 53.8 percent of Black women will experience psychological aggression by a partner in their lifetimes. In Kelly Rowland’s 2013 song "Dirty Laundry," she showcases how psychological abuse appears in relationships with lyrics, “he said, ‘Don't nobody love you but me Not your mama, not your daddy and especially not Bey.’”
As Black women continue to speak out about their violence and challenge their abusers, it is also important for the Black community to create a safe space for them to do so. If a friend or family member confides in you about experiencing abuse be supportive and listen, avoid casting blame on them, and most importantly ask them what they want to do in terms of the next steps or leaving the relationship.
Lastly, if you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner abuse and wants help reach out to National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) for support and resources.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image via Getty Images