How to Wash Human Hair Wigs, Toppers and Extensions (VIDEO)

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You’ve done it.

You’ve plunked down a bit of cash (or a lot of cash!) for a beautiful human hair wig or topper and now you’re terrified about how to care for it.

You read this blog and you’re smart—you know that the life of your human hair pieces is directly tied to how you treat them.

Protecting your investment is crucial, because caring for it the right way can add months to its life. When you’ve paid a pretty penny for gorgeous hair, you want it to last as long as possible.


Today, we’re going to talk about the proper way to wash your human hair wigs and toppers, and the first wash should begin on day one.

I know what you’re thinking—day one??


If you purchased your human hair from a salon, chances are that salon has already washed, styles, and maybe even cut it in, just for you.

But, if you purchased a human hair wig or topper online, or if it’s being turned over to you directly out-of-the-box, then you MUST do this wash within a few days of getting her home.

It’s called a “check wash”.

This wash will help you uncover any processing inconsistencies that indicate poor quality.

And when you’re paid good money for good hair…you want it to be quality hair!

Even if she’s arrived to you perfectly waved and styled and is gorgeous…do yourself a favor. Take a few selfies (of course!), but then wash that beautiful human hair.

Hair that is poorly processed will respond to this first wash instantly—if it mats or tangles, you must address this issue with the seller.

Check out this video I made about washing human hair wigs and toppers (this would apply to washing human hair extensions, too!)…it also goes over what to look for during a check wash.

Brush out your hair

Brush through your human hair carefully with a paddle brush to remove any tangles or knots. Since even the most careful washing agitates the hair a bit, be careful when brushing through your hair (so that it’s primed perfectly for a wash!)

Use cool water and saturate your human hair wigs or toppers

Use cool water (as it’s more gentle) and run it through your human hair in the SAME DIRECTION as the hair.

Because we want the hair’s cuticle to stay as flat as possible, we never want to run the water in the opposite direction—this will “rough up” the cuticle and cause the hair to tangle and frizz.

When washing, allow yourself enough room between your water source and your tub/basin/whatever so that your hair isn’t “bouncing” on the bottom of it.

Doing so can cause stress and damage to your hair.

Plus, if there’s any water pooling at the bottom you’ll be constantly dunking your human hair in soapy and/or dirty water.


Work a gentle cleanser into your human hair

First, make sure you’re using a shampoo that’s specially formulated for human hair. I use Argan Smooth Luxury Shampoo.

It’s important to emulsify (squeeze the shampoo into your hands, then rub your hands together to create suds) and get your hands nice and sudsy before applying the cleanser to the piece.


Getting all that bubble action going really allows you to work and formula into the hair for a deeper clean.

This probably isn’t AS important for a first wash, but after you start wearing it the hair—the base/cap especially—will pick up your natural’s hairs oils, styling products, sweat, makeup…you name it.

Those suds are reeeeally important to cleanse effectively, and get into all those nooks and crannies of your piece.

Rinse thoroughly and check for tangles

Rinse out all that cleanser with cool water in the direction of the hair shaft. If you’re doing a check wash, use your fingers to comb through the hair.

Gently squeeze out the excess water, and run your fingers through the hair again (this finger-combing is important with a check wash).

If you notice matting and tangling during this comb-through, you may have a processing issue that needs to be addressed. Call the place you purchased the hair from right away and explain that you’ve uncovered some possible quality issues during your check wash.

They’ll likely have you return the hair for them to review.

Condition that gorgeous mane!

Apply your conditioner (I use Argan Smooth Luxury Conditioner) to your hands, rub together, and run the product through your hair starting at about mid-shaft.

IMPORTANT! Do not apply the conditioner near the knots of your hair.


Think about it.

Conditioner makes your hair soft and slippery, right?

We definitely don’t want our knots soft (weak!) or slippery (loose!) because the hair can being to fall out of the piece.

(We already have enough hair falling out of our own, am I right? #savethewig #savethetopper)

Work the conditioner through the hair for a few minutes, and really concentrate on those ends. Just like with our own hair, the ends of human hair toppers and wigs are the oldest areas of the piece and over time will dry out the fasteset. Someone grew out that gorgeous hair for a long time, so, those ends have been around awhile!

Treat the ends with extra TLC.


Allow to dry

Carefully brush through your human hair, then pat with a towel to remove excess water.

IMPORTANT! While block heads are great for styling, you never want to place a wet wig on there. Doing so will stretch out the cap and result in a poor fit, so definitely avoid this!

A better bet is to drape your wig (or topper) over a plastic wig drying stand. This doesn’t stretch out your piece and it allows the hair to dry faster due to the airflow – win!

Once the cap is dry, you can transfer to a block head to finish drying and styling. And with human hair, you WILL want to blowdry it after it air dries for a bit. It helps it look smooth and sleek versus air-drying completely.

Pro Tip: For toppers, never pin through your piece into the block head. You don’t want to create holes! Open the clips, and then pin through those.

For wigs, pin through the velvet-y ear tabs.

Make sure to check out the next part of this tutorial series: How to Blow Dry Human Hair Wigs and Toppers.


Caring for your human hair wigs and toppers is super important, and starts with the very first wash. Treat your investment gently, use good quality products, and follow these instructions to keep your BEAUTIFUL human hair looking like new!


Take 25% off your entire purchase at Wigs by Patti’s Pearls with code HOPEANDMANE. I don’t receive compensation for this, it’s just a special little something for my readers. 🙂

What are YOUR favorite products to use with your human hair piece? Let us know below!

14 thoughts on “How to Wash Human Hair Wigs, Toppers and Extensions (VIDEO)”

    • Keeping human hair smooth often starts during the wash & dry. You should check out Jon Renau’s Blow Dry Balm…smells great and makes a huge difference! Some Argan Oil might help, too. Of course, a quick past with the flat-iron works wonders.

  1. I just washed my topper for the first time following this video (thanks!) and now am wondering, once the hair is dry and needs to be styled, how do you hold the topper in place? I don’t want to style while it’s on my head because it will pull uncomfortably on the clips, but I need to “smooth” the hair with a blow dryer and that’s hard to do with one hand while holding the topper in the other. Do you style while it’s pinned onto a styrofoam head?

  2. Hey Lauren,

    Can you please clarify what you mean by open the clips and pin through them? Do we pin through the piece where the clips are or go under to the opening of the clip and weave the pin through the clip?

    Also, I was told by the salon where I purchased that they use a product to seal the knots and they have me using a spray about once per month on base for this purpose as well. Its called Aileens acrylic sealer. They say because of this extra step I dont need to be worried about getting conditioner near the knots. Thoughts?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Monika! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. That’s exactly how I mean- open the clips and weave the pin through. I’ll be doing a video on this soon, I think! For the knot sealer…it’s probably not 100% a necessary thing. Personally, I’d rather avoid the knots than apply an extra product. I’d check, too, if the sealer contains alcohol as that can actually weaken the knots over time.

  3. I wear human hair bonded toppers. I use It’s a 10 leave in conditioner after washing and conditioning. It really helps to prolong the life of my toppers.


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