These days wigs look natural, can have a long lifespan and, if used correctly, wigs can be used to grow your hair, protecting it from over manipulation, breakage and weather conditions.

Wearing a wig can be part of an effective protective haircare routine, helping you grow thick, long and healthy hair. But, taking care of your hair under your wig is still very important. Here’s how to grow your natural hair under a wig.

Don’t forget to moisturise

Even when it’s hidden under a wig, if your hair is dry, it will break. Using a conditioner and moisturiser seals in moisture, strengthening your hair and encouraging growth. Dilute any virgin oil in water, add some conditioner in a spray or applicator bottle and use it on your hair daily. This will keep your hair and scalp moisturised with minimal greasy residue.

If you don’t want to go the DIY route, you can also try light moisturising hairsprays that are formulated specifically to keep hair moisturised while you have a protective style. This is one of the most important steps when learning how to grow your natural hair under a wig.

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Choose a primary protective style

Wigs can be used to create countless looks almost instantly. While this means you don’t have to worry about how your natural hair looks, it doesn’t mean you can neglect your hair and still expect it to stay healthy.

Deciding what to do with your hair while you ‘wig-out’ is important; when making this decision, think about your hair type, the protective style that best complements your wig and how you will maintain your hair while it’s in the protective style.

Read more: Protective style inspiration

Wash your natural hair regularly

A protective style is low-maintenance, however, you still need to wash your hair regularly. How often you wash your hair and whether you need to take the protective style down every time you do will depend on the condition of your hair and scalp. Oily scalps or heavy moisturisers can leave a sticky residue on your scalp, making your scalp itchy, smelly and susceptible to infection and dandruff.

Wearing a wig also increases the probability that your scalp will sweat, and the sweat and dirt will be trapped in your hair. So basically, regular hair washing is non-negotiable.

Keep your wig clean too

While you don’t have to wash your wig as often as you wash your natural hair, you do need to wash it. Washing your wig increases its lifespan, but must be done exactly as instructed by the manufacturer. Wigs are made of different types of hair that have been treated and bound to caps in different ways. This means they are not cared for in the same way, what works for one wig can damage another wig beyond repair.

Protect your hair from your wig

Like every other protective style, if used incorrectly, a wig can damage your hair instead of protecting it. When wearing a wig always remember:

  • Contact between your hair and your wig should be avoided. Always wrap your hair when wearing a wig.
  • You may need to control your edges but make sure your wig is not constantly rubbing up against them which may cause hairline loss.
  • Give your wigs a break. It is never advisable to sleep with a wig on, take it off when you sleep and try to give your hair a break at least one day a week.

Read more: Hairstyles to try when you aren’t wearing your wig