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Tut: HOMEMADE WIG DETANGLER by Stealthos-Aurion Tut: HOMEMADE WIG DETANGLER by Stealthos-Aurion
So, you may have seen wig detanglers sold in real wig shops and online. Sure, they work on cosplay wigs as well, but shipping can also be a monster for your 1-item order. Or maybe you are at an event and your long wig is now a tangled mess. You retreat to your hotel room to try and salvage your wig, but what can you do?!

Here is a cheap and easy way to make your own wig detangler. An old beauty trick to calm fly-aways and detangle knotted hair is using lotion. This is one of those "if it works for real hair, it works on plastic hair" moments, so soak it in. These moments do not come often.

The tut is pretty straight forward, please check out my thoughts (below the materials box) if you have custom dyed your wig. Otherwise, have a field day. The solution not only detangles your wig but it helps keep new knots and tangles from forming, rather like using silicone spray sans strong chemical odors. My wigs all smell like Lucky 7 perfume now, lol. You also can't really "ruin" a wig doing this. If your wig feels greasy, have too much lotion on the fibers. Wash it out and either add more water to your current solution or do not apply as much to the wig.

EDIT: This does work on curly wigs too! See Tifaia's comment.

Questions/comments/suggestions always welcome. Thanks bros!
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:iconbloodsong13t:
Bloodsong13T Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2016
are you brushing/combing it while it's wet?  i was told NEVER EVER even LOOK AT IT with a comb while it is wet.   is it safe?  or is it supposed to be just 'damp'?  how wet is it?  or how dry?
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2016
The wig is not supposed to be sopping wet, you are just spritzing it with enough solution to help detangle the fibers - so the wig will be damp. All wigs need to be treated with care and working from the bottom of the wig toward the crown will be a lot gentler. If you hit a snag, carefully work it out with your fingers instead of pulling with the comb etc.

For the record, black and white rules like "NEVER EVER this or that" are rather one of those situations where mileage may vary. As you gain experience and knowledge working with any materials, you can bend the rules without harming anything to achieve the desired results. 
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:iconbloodsong13t:
Bloodsong13T Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2016
ahhh. 


i did spray it quite a bit, but of course, it never got to be dripping wet.  and i did dare to comb it VERY gently (paranoidly), while it was a little damp.

i had washed the wig and i couldn't do a thing with it.  the fibers had dried out just so dry... and they tended to try to loop up or kink up.  i was trying to comb it and wishing i could 'grease' the hairs somehow, but had no idea what to use on a synthetic wig.


well, another very happy customer!  because this worked WONDERS!  thank you so much, because i was really really lost!
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2016
Glad you were able to save the wig. :)
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:iconbloodsong13t:
Bloodsong13T Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2016
oh hey...!  if you don't mind, can i ask your advice...?

the wig... i had found a care tip from a wig diva online about using diluted fabric softener on synthetic wigs to keep down the static electricity.  i think i used that one too many times, or a bit too much, because the wig fibers got all sticky, and that's why i decided to wash it.

well... as you know, i washed it (and got it detangled!) but now that it is dry again...  the hairs are still a little sticky and not... soft and smooth like they used to be.  i'm guessing when i washed it, i didn't wash that all out?

so my QUESTION is... can i just wash it under a shower hose?  my friend told me no, and i tried washing it in a pot (i don't have any stoppers on my sinks), but of course i had to accordion fold it to get it to fit in there, and... well, wouldn't using a stream of water keep it from tangling so much?  or is that just an all-around bad idea?

what do you think?  thanks a bunch!
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016
Frankly, if you are careful, you can definitely wash it under a shower hose or sink sprayer hose. Just spray the water from the crown working down toward the ends of the hair. I generally wash all my wigs in the shower if they are long or in the kitchen sink if they're short.

If you are trying to remove more residue, I would suggest using Dawn dish soap or similar as it is known to cut through grease. If it is gentle enough to use on wildlife after oil spills, it is fine on a synthetic wig. Also, for what it is worth, fabric softener tends to be a lot "heavier" than lotion. Fabric softener is a great solution if your long wig is horribly tangled, like you're about to throw the wig out because it is THAT bad but this is a last ditch effort. The recipe above with lotion is a lot lighter and as a result tends not to be as greasy or sticky unless you really build up a TON of it. The lotion solution works better for wigs you can conceivably detangle with some work. 
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:iconinnocentinako:
InnocentInako Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2016  New Deviant
my god thank you so much * ^ * -bows-
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:iconpie-likes-me:
Pie-Likes-Me Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This works on synthetic wigs, right?
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2016
Yes.
For wigs made of human hair, you would use something recommended for that.
Reply
:iconthegammageek:
TheGammaGeek Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This sounds pretty awesome, I'll have to try it on my GF's wigs. Those things are a disaster and this sounds like a good solution (hehe, get it?... never mind).
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2016
LOL I love a good pun. :D
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:icont-e-a-r:
T-e-a-r Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2015
Thank you so much for this! I can't wait to try this out on my longer wigs. Would body moisturizer work as a lotion?
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2015
Yes - That is the same product, I suppose it is called different terms by region. 
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:icont-e-a-r:
T-e-a-r Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015
Thank you very much!
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:iconanniies:
anniies Featured By Owner Edited Sep 10, 2015  Student General Artist
i'm going to re-style one of my wigs this weekend for a con next week, this will be VERY helpful.
thank you so much!
Reply
:iconanimehorses4eva:
Animehorses4eva Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm so happy I came across this!  It's amazing! And my wigs smell so nice too! <3  The only problem I had, and it's no fault of yours, but it left my floor kind of slick where the spray landed, so just make sure to cover the floor where you intend to spray, or go outside. :XD:  Still very happy with this, I need to make more though. :D
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:iconmyidolisation:
MyIdolisation Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I can run a brush through my wig again?! It's a miracle!!

 Taiga and Minori (I miss you hug) [V1] THANK YOU! 
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2015
Glad that you were able to save your wig. :)
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:iconmercytwilight:
MercyTwilight Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  Student Writer
I thought I would never get the tangles out of my Cheshire cat wig and my Marceline wig, but this stuff worked like a charm. Thank you sooooo much!!!
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015
Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback about your experience. I am glad you were able to rescue your 2 wigs!
Reply
:iconkaixiniee:
kaixiniee Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
May I know if normal conditioners work?
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2015
Lightweight conditioners will work but even these are designed to be rinsed out of the hair so you might find that they leave the wig a bit greasy or weighed down. You can also use a leave-in conditioner or hair detangler sprays too. It is all a matter of personal preference and what tools/items you have available to you. Just like everything in cosplay, experiment and see what works best for you because anything is possible.

However, the point of my tutorial using lotion was also because lotion tends to be cheaper and many people have some lying around their house or can use the small bottle when they stay at a hotel. Since most cosplayers are using synthetic wigs, there is not really a need to spend more on products/use your "good stuff" designed to condition human hair because synthetic wig hair is long, extruded, strands of plastic. Hope this helps!  :)
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:iconkaixiniee:
kaixiniee Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Aahhh.. I see! Thank you so much for your reply! I really appreciate it. Thanks for your tutorial, too, it's very helpful!
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:iconsakuranights:
SakuraNights Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Extremely useful!! Thank you!!
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:iconmagickryuu:
MagickRyuu Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I used it on a long, pink wig, and it managed to get the tangles out, but now the wig is really frizzy. Do you know why, or have any solutions to that?
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015
Sometimes it happens when brushing the wig a bit too much. It's a simple fix though. You can use hot water to straighten the fibers again or if you have a garment steamer, that works well without making the wig wet. If your wig happens to be heat resistant, you can also test out a straightener (on low settings first).
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:iconmagickryuu:
MagickRyuu Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! :D I'll try it out
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:iconrel-coeli:
ReL-Coeli Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you for this tutorial! It worked wonders on my long red wig! :D
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:iconmiketheelephantbrony:
MiketheElephantBrony Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2015
Can it work on Build-A-Bear pony manes?
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2015
I am not sure what pony manes are made of from Build-A-Bear but if it is like wig fiber, it might.

When in doubt, try a small test area where it won't be seen if there's a problem. 
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:iconmiketheelephantbrony:
Okay
Reply
:iconranmacmh:
RanmaCMH Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
I just looked this up because I inherited a Build-A-Bear Twilight from a friend, but her hair had matted to the point where it was basically dredlocked.  She has four young kids and I think this toy went through the ringer.  Anyway, I just tried this on her tail, which was so bad I had no real hope of getting it untangled, and it worked.  I still have the rest of her mane to do, but I feel pretty confident about it!  I didn't have a wig brush so I used a large plastic comb, and the ends needed a little trim, but I'm very happy with how it's working.

Just thought I'd leave this here in case anyone was still wondering if it works on the MLP Build a Bear plushes!
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:iconnekozikasilver1:
nekozikasilver1 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2015
I'm trying this out on a wig of mine with waves, before using it on my good wig that has corkscrew curls in it.  I've been hesitant to wash my wig cause I don't want the curls to come out and I don't know how to style too well.  (The wig was bought styled)

I'm also looking forward to using this on a massive wig I have in storage, and then try to put some wave in it.   
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:icongigi62:
gigi62 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015
Does this work on human hair wigs?
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015
Yes.
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:icontoyon95:
Toyon95 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015
I' rather use this than fabric softener since fabric softener isn't really good for you if you antecedently inhale it or get it in your eyes. Thanks!
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015
You are most welcome. I'm glad this solution is workable for you. :D
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:icontisisyaoiish:
TisIsYaoiish Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2015  Student General Artist
This is amazing. My mom and I have been fighting with my Hatsune Miku wig's pigtails since October. This was the only thing that has worked and it works wonders.
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:iconblossomwebstergoo:
BlossomWebstergoo Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I'm doing mine for my miku wig as well, im so glad someone else understand the pain of her pigtails.
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2015
Ah, so glad you were able to rescue your wig! Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback. 
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:iconkrooked-genes:
Krooked-Genes Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Just used this on a long, ponytail clip and it worked wonderfully! Thank you for the tutorial. :)
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015
Thank you for leaving your feedback and I'm glad this worked well for you!
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:iconastianalouise:
AstianaLouise Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Where did you get that wig from? It's gorgeous.
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
Ah thank you. It was one I purchased at a local hair and beauty shoppe. It is a high-quality kanekalon wig which I have since sold. That said, there are many lovely high-temperature wigs, especially those made of hiperlon or futura fibers, on the market these days that have a real hair look and feel and are a bit easier to care for and style than kanekalon.
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:iconzombieowl:
ZombieOwl Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
After hearing all the good things about this tut, I'm totally going to try it out! I like the idea of using lotion instead of silicone spray >.<
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014
Good luck!

For me, my homemade recipe was much more convenient to use because you are not limited to working outside or areas with pristine ventilation. Silicone spray in the amount required to detangle and condition a wig creates so many fumes. I hope you will find it convenient as well!
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:iconsassykawaiimitch:
SassyKawaiiMitch Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This tutorial is everything i need right now!! Long wigs are such a pain >.> 
I have a question tho. What do you mean by lotion? Is it like soap or conditioner? I...really dont get it ^^U
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:iconstealthos-aurion:
Stealthos-Aurion Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2014
No trickery here :) You just use hand or body lotion, as in, the stuff you use to moisturize your skin!

As it is going onto a synthetic wig, note that you pretty much use ANY quality product. There are not going to be benefits of using a $50 product versus one you got at a dollar store or grabbed from your hotel bathroom, so use what you want or whatever smells best to you (if you opt to use the scented kind). Hope this helps! Feel free to ask questions if it didn't.
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:iconsassykawaiimitch:
SassyKawaiiMitch Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
aaah thank you so very very very much!!! :>

getting to it right away! cant wait to have my wig back the way it first was :3
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:iconchiisancullen:
ChiiSanCullen Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014
My Tauriel wig has been giving me so many problems. Like, ive tried everything and it always ends up a mess as soon as I put it on. This helped me get it looking nice and shiny for Medieval Faire tomorrow :D LIFEEEE SAVERRRRRRRR
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