Have you ever wondered how to curl synthetic hair?
I absolutely love my wavy wigs and toppers, but over time (due to wear or to combing…or both), the curls and waves do droop a bit.
Sometimes, this is ok – who doesn’t love a beachy vibe?
But, other times, you might want to revive those curls.
Yes, it’s possible to curl synthetic hair – wigs, toppers, extensions, you name it!
Let’s demonstrate this on Top Wave, by Jon Renau, in color 10H16.
I made a video to go over the whole process, but be sure to check out the entire post with more pictures, below!
Materials Needed to Curl or Recurl Synthetic Hair
- The hair. Duh. 🙂
- Canvas Head (or another way to secure your hair)
- Foam Rollers
I’m using the Jon Renau steamer shown here. Any steamer will do to curl synthetic hair, but look for one that has a small spout. That way, the steam won’t go all over the place.
The size of your foam rollers will depend on the size of the curl or wave you are trying to add into your synthetic hair. I used this pack of foam rollers (affiliate link) because it’s dirt cheap and comes with a variety of sizes.
Step 1: Pin a Foam Roller to Your Wig Head
Use a T-Pin to pin an appropriately-sized foam roller to your wig head. I like to do one roller at a time, versus pinning a bunch on one pass.
You can see in the pic above, the hair on the left is quite straight. This is what we are trying to fix by curling our synthetic hair!
Step 2: Wrap Small Sections of Hair Around the Roller
Wrap smallish sections of hair around the roller. You don’t want to use too much hair, as the steam won’t be able to “get at” all the strands.
Also, wrap the hair in the direction that the curl is already trained to go in. It’s much easier not to fight the curl’s natural pattern.
Step 3: Secure the Ends with Paper
Once you roller the synthetic hair all the way down to curl it, you’ll need to secure them with…something.
I’m using paper towels here (because, well, I’m cheap. You might remember my “how to wash human hair guide” where I used a Target bag as a shower cap. #noshame.
If you have perm papers laying around from the 80s, you could use those, too.
The paper towels I used do two things: first, they help the hair underneath that lays on either side of the pin to lay smooth. Second, they prevent a little kink from forming under the pin.
You can see that kink here, on a spot that I didn’t use any paper:
Step 4: Apply Steam to Your Synthetic Hair to Curl It
I couldn’t quite get a pic of this since I was using both hands, but you can see me demonstrating this in the video above. 🙂
Apply steam to the hair on the left side, right side, and underneath the roller. Just do the best you can.
You’ll see the hair “react” to the steam and kind of cling to the roller. You can use your finger (carefully! Steam is hot) or a long comb to help guide/smooth the hair on the roller, too.
Step 5: Allow Synthetic Hair to Dry for at Least 12 Hours
Here’s where patience is a virtue! You’ll need to allow between 12-24 hours for the curl to dry and cool.
If you’re in a hurry, allow it to cool on its on for as long as possible, then take a blowdryer on the COOL setting and apply it to the synthetic hair.
Step 6: Release the Curl and Be Amazed
After you’ve waited between 12-24 hours, it’s time to see the curls you created. Woohoo, it’s like magic.
Carefully unpin the bottom of the hair (be careful, those T-pin suckers are sharp!) and pull the foam roller away from your synthetic hair.
If the curl took a little too well, no worries…we have another trick up our sleeves to relax the curl a bit.
Step 7: Adjust the Curl
If needed, you can easily take a little “oomph” out of the curl you’ve created. Once again, we’ll be using our trusty steamer with this step.
Use one hand to gently pull down on the curl, and use the other to lightly apply some steam to it.
You’ll see the curl immediately relax after you apply some steam.
Allow the curl to cool for another few hours, just hanging there (I know, I know…and you thought synthetic hair was supposed to save time! I promise the results are worth it).
Here’s what we end up with. The curl on the right is one I relaxed using a bit more steam. The curl on the left is without relaxing.
See how easy that is?
If you’ve spent several hundreds of dollar for a synthetic wig or topper you want those curls and waves to last! Sometime they need a little help.
What I’m wondering with this method is if it might help my friends who have true curly hair. It might be a process, but if you got tiny, tiny rods, I wonder if you could create a crop of spiral curls??
It’s nice to know you can take a straight wig or topper and add curls and waves to it.
What do you think of this method? Do you think you’ll try to curl your synthetic hair this way?
I’ve avoided it for years, but I was so happy to discover curling synthetic hair is not too bad at all!
P.S. I actually combined this synthetic topper with some human hair extensions for an incredibly voluminous look! Scroll down for the video.