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How to Curl Synthetic Hair Safely

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Are you wondering, can you curl a wig with a curling iron? The answer is yes. See all of the ways to curl synthetic hair fiber with heat and without heat. Also how to revive a wig or topper with hot water or steam the professional way. For more wig care posts see my Wig Revival page.

How to Curl Synthetic Hair Safely, blonde wig beach waves

I wrote this post for all the newbies who think once a wig or topper has frizzed it goes in the trash or you have to cut it. That is not the case you can have your pieces for years if you take good care of them.

Wigs are an investment and if you are not great at styling, I encourage you to find a wig professional in your area and have them maintain them.

Being a professional hair technician, I have mastered the technique of curling synthetic hair with a curling iron and various other ways like hot water and steam.

The difference between curling synthetic hair and heat-defining hair with a curling iron, wand, or flat iron is you must keep synthetic hair wet at all times and the temperature setting on the appliance used needs to be as low as possible and cooled off.

Let me walk you through the steps to revive a wig or topper and get those out of the box waves and curls back!

Let’s start with the safest ways to re-curl a wig.

Reviving Damaged Synthetic fiber

How to Smooth the Frizzed Ends

If your synthetic wig has damaged frizzy ends. Wet the wig thoroughly with water. Part off 2-inch sections of the wig, apply steam from a clothing steamer while combing to smooth out the frayed ends.

*You can also smooth synthetic fiber with a flat iron if you do not have a steamer. See the tutorial below.

Curl Synthetic Hair with Rollers

There are a few ways to style your synthetic wig or topper. The absolute safest way to style regular synthetic hair is by rolling the hair with plastic curlers, flexible hair rods, or velcro rollers. The curls will be tighter like ringlets depending on the size of the rollers.

  • While the synthetic hair is soaking wet gently comb through it with a wide-tooth wig comb.
  • Roll the hair on a plastic roller and secure it with roller clips.
  • Go over each curl with steam from a fabric steamer.
  • Let the hair dry, remove the rollers, shake and wear.

How to Make Tight Curls in Synthetic Hair

For curlier styles, you can use perm rods rolled with perm paper end wraps to secure the ends.

  • Wash the wig and roll the entire wig like you were rolling a perm in human hair.
  • Spray the wig with water thoroughly again so it is soaking wet.
  • Go over each curl with steam from a fabric steamer. Do not miss a roller!
  • Let it cool and dry by itself or under a salon type hair dryer on low, remove the rollers, shake, style and wear.

You can apply the hot water method below for this too.

How to Curl a Wig with Hot Water

  • If you have a wig that has really tight curls. Roll the entire wig on perm rods as stated above.

*For tight kinky curls, we rolled the hair on bobby pins instead of perm rods.

  • Heat a saucepan full of water almost to a boil.

FIY: In the shop, we used an electric coffee pot and poured water through it to heat the water. Then we poured the hot water over the wig straight from the pot.

  • Pour the hot water over the perm rods and let them cool. Do not miss a rod.
  • Let it cool and dry by itself or under a salon type hair dryer on low, remove the rollers, shake, style and wear.

TIP: In the shop, if we were in a hurry, we would put the wig in the freezer to cool it off fast after pouring hot water over them.

How to Curl Synthetic Hair with a Hot Airbrush

hot tools airbrush for wigs

Hot Airbrushes are another safe way to smooth a wig with frizzy ends and recurl the curls. Turn it on and use the lowest setting, It is sort of like a warm blow dryer. You slowly pull the brush through the fiber to smooth the frizzy ends.

I have tried this method on a few wigs and it works pretty well. I prefer the more permanent way of using hotter heat. I found the airbrush does help with smoothing frizzing ends but does not make a very tight curl, it will be more of beach wave.

This is great for restyling a wig to train or move the hair into the direction of your style. It makes that nice downward curve to bangs too.

The hot airbrush is the best way to go if you are afraid to try these other methods.

Curl Synthetic Fiber With a Curling Iron

STOP! BEFORE YOU PROCEED A WORD OF CAUTION: Heat Defiant & Regular Synthetic fiber can be permanently damaged very easily with heat appliances while styling if not done correctly. If you do not feel comfortable attempting to try these methods, please seek a professional wig stylist to assist you in styling your wigs.

DISCLAIMER: Kim Purvis, Made in a Day, Wig Revival, and the Purvis Group LLC are in no way responsible for a damaged wig or hair topper using this advice.

Some say you can not heat style a synthetic wig. It can be done, but it needs to be done very, very carefully. I am a professional hair replacement stylist and this is the way we heat styled synthetic hairpieces and wigs in our shop.

In our wig shop, we used fabric steamers to smooth frayed frizzy ends and then a curling iron on very low heat to add curl back into the synthetic hair.

The trick to this method is keeping the hair soaking wet while using a curling iron on the fiber. If you put a curling iron on dry synthetic hair it will melt, burn, and stick to the iron.

I recommend trying this method on an old wig or a small piece on the underside of the wig until you get the hang of it.

Let’s start with smoothing the frizzed ends if you do not have a steamer.

How to Smooth a Wig with a Flat Iron

The smoothing of synthetic fiber described below can be extremely damaging to the fiber if not done correctly. See my disclaimer above.

frizzed synthetic wig hair



  • Wash the wig and use a spray bottle full of water to soak the hair so it is dripping wet. Remember you must constantly spray the fiber to keep the hair from drying out.

I use a straightening iron on low heat 130°F. The heating temperature is different for every brand of appliance. Use the lowest setting possible for your appliance. To be safe buy on with a digital setting you can adjust.

  • Place the hot end of the curling wand or iron onto a damp hand towel to keep them cool.
mist water on a flat iron
  • Open the flat iron and spray water on the top and bottom metal heat elements. You will hear a sizzle and see steam. That cools the element off.
smooth synthetic hair with a flat iron
  • Without hesitation after misting, immediately place the flat iron on the hair fiber and move it down over the hair really fast to smooth and frizzy fiber. Do not leave the flat iron too long on the fiber.

The rule is if you set the flat iron down to grab another section, spray water on the heating elements to cool them off again.

To be safe only straighten the fizzed ends, not the whole wig. If a section looks ok skip it.

smooth synthetic blonde hair

How to Curl Synthetic Hair with a Curling Iron



  • Wash the wig and use a spray bottle full of water to soak the hair so it is dripping wet. You must constantly spray the fiber to keep the hair from drying out.
mist a curling wand with water to cool it down
  • Heat a curling iron or wand on the lowest setting. Open the curling iron (or wand) and spray water inside the two heating elements, you will hear a sizzle, and this cools those surfaces down. Place the curling iron or wand on a damp hand towel to keep it cool.

In this tutorial, I used a curling wand at 140°F. You absolutely can use a curling iron instead. The wand is just easier for me.

The heating temperature is different for every brand of appliance. Use the lowest setting possible for your appliance.

curl synthetic wig hair with a curling iron or wand
  • Wrap the wet hair around the wand and hold for 5-7 seconds.
Cup curls in your hand to make them tighter
  • Release the curl by cupping it in one hand.
use duckbill clips to hold synthetic curls while cooling

Clip the curl to the base while it cools so the curl will hold its shape. For looser waves do not use a clip. This is the same method I used in my How to curl & style HD Fiber hair post.

The rule is if you set the curling iron or wand down to grab another section, spray water on the heating elements to cool them off again before touching the hair.

YOU MUST WORK QUICKLY and DO NOT let the hair dry out or let the appliances get too hot or it will burn the fiber.

For extra tight curls, after pulling the curling wand out, quickly roll the curl on a plastic roller and pin it up or hit the pinned up curls with a fabric steamer after curling. This wig has long curls so I did loose waves.

revived blonde synthetic wig with curls

Let the wig dry completely, release the curls, shake, and style as usual.


I hope I have made you feel a little more comfortable learning how to style your wigs on your own.

My advice is to try some of these methods on an old wig or topper before ruining a new one. Practice makes perfect.

One thing I do realize is that everyone has their own way of maintaining their wigs and hair toppers.

There are a lot of YouTube videos out there that show some variations of these methods. Do what is most comfortable for you.

If you are not comfortable attempting to curl synthetic hair with heat or styling your wig yourself please, please, please take it to a wig shop and have them do it for you.

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complete guide to curling synthetic  wigs with heat appliances,
Kim xoxo BS


  1. DIANA WILSON says:

    I bought a product called sexy hair which is a wax hold spray. Is this product safe for a synthetic wig?

    1. Hi Diana, I love Sexy hair, but haven’t seen this wax spray until now. It sounds like it will build up and weigh down your wig pretty quickly. You may have to wash it more often. Not sure it would hold very well. I would try a hairspray made for wigs. Brandywine Wig Spray seems to be a popular one.

  2. Debbie Mayer says:

    I was hoping that maybe you can help me I purchased my 1st wig from the hair mama it was supposed to have curtain bangs but one side is cut correctly the other side is choppy and to short . I have contacted them but it’s to late to return . But I don’t know how to make it work ,any suggestions? Hope to hear from you .Thank you Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie,
      If you ordered it custom they should fix it and make it right, but, I do not know her policies on returns. The only other thing to do is sell it in FB wig buy-sell groups. You can join my Wig Revival Buy Sell Trade group.

  3. This post was so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share it. My autoimmune disease lent a lot of my hair to fall out. I’ve been trying out different types of extensions & wigs – & at different price points. I have some synthetic clip-ins that are so well-made, but after many washes, the curls have lost their volume. I have been searching for a way to restore the volume. I have read so many different methods to go about it & your instructions were the most comprehensive. Also, the methods you suggested were so effective. I really appreciate that you took the time to share you expertise, as your insights have opened up a whole new world for me, in terms of being able to use my hair pieces for a longer period of time. It means a lot to me. Losing hair from an illness has been a hard road & I have using trial & error & spending a lot of money. I feel like I have been spinning my wheels. Reading your post gave me back some hope & I feel excited to revive more hair extensions using your method. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.

  4. MichelePearl says:

    This was super helpful never tried the hot water but i am gonna try it in a old wig. I use curlformers or mesh rollers with long 3” hat pins I got from Bobbie Pinz in NYC. This was a fantastic educational post. Thank you.

  5. What an in depth tutorial about curling and styling wigs. I have made mistakes in trying to curl or remove frizz on my wigs which ended up with my throwing them into the trash. I think that I will try again (on a wig I am ready to throw away anyway) and use your tips and techniques for help Thank you so much for your kindness in sharing your knowledge.

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