Synthetic fibers melt under the high heat of curling irons and dryers.

How to Recurl a Synthetic Wig

by Melissa J. Bell

Although no substitute can match the natural look of a human hair wig, synthetic alternatives do offer some bonuses. In addition to a lower, more manageable price range, synthetic wigs come in longer lengths and a wider variety of colors, including the bold, bright and unnatural hues required for impressive costumes. Synthetic wigs also hold their styles longer than human hair wigs, which can lose curls as quickly as your own hair might. When curls eventually loosen on a synthetic wig, a low heat steam setting can restore them to their original beauty.

Synthetic Pin Curls

Dampen the wig with cool water and place it onto a wig block or mannequin head for styling.

Separate a 1-inch section of hair with a tail comb. Fold a piece of end paper over the tip of the section.

Press a wooden dowel or other cylindrical object that matches the desired curl size against the end paper. Wind the hair section around the dowel.

Slide the curl off the dowel. Slip a T-pin into each side of the curl to attach it to the wig.

Continue curling 1-inch sections of hair all over the wig in the desired curl pattern.

Turn the steamer to a low setting. Hold the nozzle close to each curl, and let the steam soak the curls for 30 seconds each.

Let the wig dry completely. This may take several hours. Remove every T-pin.

Smooth out the curls with your fingers and the tail comb. Spritz the final style with hairspray.

Synthetic Roller Curls

Dampen the wig fibers with cool water. Set the wig onto a wig block or mannequin head.

Separate a 1- to 2-inch-wide section of hair with a tail comb. Fold an end paper over the tip of the section.

Wind the hair section onto a hair roller. Secure the roller to the wig with two T-pins.

Create rolled curls all over the wig. Steam each curl for 30 seconds with the hand steamer, then let the wig dry completely for several hours.

Unroll each roller and remove the T-pins. Comb out the curls or style them as desired. Add hairspray for extra hold.

Items you will need

  • Wig block or mannequin head
  • Tail comb
  • End papers
  • Wooden dowel or cylindrical object
  • T-pins
  • Hand steamer or wig steamer
  • Hairspray


  • Slide end papers behind each hair section and fold them over the front of each section. Spritz them lightly with water and slide them down to the section ends for an effective hold.
  • Ringlets and coils can be achieved in synthetic hair with the same method.


  • If the wig care instructions do not specifically state that hot styling tools are appropriate, never use them. Several varieties of synthetic wigs cannot handle high heat.


  • Historical Wig Styling; Allison Lowery
  • "Wig Making and Styling; A Complete Guide for Theatre & Film"; Martha Ruskai and Allison Lowery; 2010

About the Author

A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images