Francis also says that breakouts can occur when you keep your wig on for too long. “Friction and rubbing from the braids alone can increase acne on the face, which can be avoided by keeping hair out of the face.”
It’s also important to make sure you don’t braid your hair too tightly in the first place, and that the wig fits properly. “Make sure your wig is not too small or too big, so there is no excess rubbing along the hairline, which can cause traction alopecia.”
Caring for your scalp when the wig comes off
If you’re ready to get serious about scalp-care, Henry has some recommendations: “I love shampoos that contain ingredients like pyrithione zinc or selenium sulfide to help soothe inflamed scalps. If prescription treatments are necessary, I love shampoos that contain ketoconazole or ciclopirox to help treat seborrheic dermatitis.” Over-the-counter shampoos that contain these ingredients include Mizani Scalp Care Dry Scalp Shampoo, and Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.
To make sure his clients’ scalps are in tip-top shape, hairstylist Kendall Dorsey (who works with Lizzo, Solange, and Yara Shahidi) suggests using the Neutrogena Anti-Residue Gentle Clarifying Shampoo once a month, the Pantene Gold Series line, and the Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque. [“Use products that help soothe the scalp. Look for ingredients like peppermint, rosemary, or lavender that help the scalp feel refreshed,” Emmanuel suggests. Both she and Hill are big fans of the Design Essentials Peppermint and Aloe Soothing Scalp Tonic as a treatment.
While wigs can be fun, they need a time-out as much as your hair does. “Take breaks in between wearing the wigs so that your hair and scalp are not affected by traction alopecia,” Emmanuel recommends. She also says to be mindful of the clips and combs that come with the wigs, which can also cause hair loss. Make sure the hair isn’t dry or breaking off when you’re prepping it for braids. If you’re experiencing tingling, severe uncontrollable itchiness, excessive flaking, or a foul odor on your scalp or braids, tread lightly, as these could be warning signs that something’s amiss.
Caring for your edges
Your edges are important to consider when you’re wearing wigs, and every hairstylist we spoke to suggested the WiGrip comfort band to wear underneath your unit to protect your hairline. The velvet band attaches with Velcro allows you to do Beyoncé-level hairography and also protects your hairline from being overworked by your wig. Speaking from personal experience as a naturally-flamboyant person, my WiGrip has saved me from several embarrassing moments. Henry also recommends putting on a silk-lined stocking cap underneath your wig, like the Ebonnet by EboniCurls, which are pricier than your traditional 99-cent wig caps from the beauty store.
Now, go forth and wear your wigs while keeping the hair underneath looking (and feeling) fabulous, too.
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