Below the line you will find my answer to a recently submitted email that came into the CCHD. This is a cautionary tale, to be sure! I wanted to share this just in case this info is helpful to others. (The clients questions are in purple.)
Let me break this down into individual components to make it easier to answer...
I bought a Blake from Jon Renau from a lady on Ebay for a great price.
Uh oh. This is usually a bad sign, from my perspective. Sometimes when it comes to eBay wigs, you get what you pay for and there is generally a reason why that hair is being so drastically discounted!
She said she had only wore it a few times and had washed it once.
I'd be willing to bet money that you are a fan of light colors. The lighter the color = the more damaged that hair will be. That isn't just limited to JR wigs. The same is true of most non-European hair. The hair starts out a 1B (black) and needs to be lightened A LOT to make it light brown or a blonde. This processing invariably damages the hair, Remy or not.
I bought a Carrie (just watched your video of how to de-frizz and save a fried wig, of which you were working on a Carrie) and I also have bought an Angie. After I washed those wigs the very first time the hair felt like horse hair, and I never knew why until I saw your video.
Am I right? Are you buying blondes or light browns?
The silicone layer on the top was then gone, and I was feeling what was left.
Now I have the Blake and like I said before, knowing it had been washed made me really nervous, but I took the leap and purchased anyway. I got it and the hair felt good, it was smooth and not frizzy with the exception of some of the bangs. The lady I purchased from didn't tell me she cut some side bangs into it and they are pretty thick.
That would make me kind of mad if I were you, because then how are you to know if she was telling the truth about the rest of this wig?
I washed every other day because I have to put a lot of oil and product into it daily to keep it from frizzing and looking like a helmet on my head.
You are washing it too much. I can tell you that right away!
You should only be washing this hair every 6-8 wears MAX.
Anyways... I am having a problem with the wig becoming dry up top. The hair up top seems to become coarse and dry much much faster then the hair at the bottom, and like I said I use Argan Oil and Revive Oil multiple times a day to keep it smooth and constantly run my fingers through it.
Avoid fully submerging the hand-tied parts too much. In rooted colors, the roots will dry out faster because they are stripped of their color and then a darker tone is added to the blonde (or light brown) to look like regrowth. In short -- the roots get color processed twice. They will dry out faster.
You should spot wash the inside of the cap instead. Also, you should be blow drying your human hair wig. (The Carrie tutorial was how to save a wig, not how to care for it every day.)
What you should be doing:
Blow dry this item straight with the Blown Away balm, using the Renau round brush to gently pull the hair straight. (You will also need a canvas block head, T-pins, a blow dryer, and a table clamp.)
If you want curls, you should do all of that FIRST and then add the curl.
Avoid spraying detanglers and silicates on the roots of your hand-knotted wigs. The knots will be loosened and hair will fall out if you do this.
Human hair wigs are A LOT more work than synthetic wigs!
I really could use some thinning of it at top because it's just too much hair for me but am too nervous to let just anyone cut it.
We do not do customizations in this store. We only sell the wigs. There's too much liability involved with customizations...plus we never see you in person, which makes it even more difficult to perform these services well.
I am just wondering how I can keep it smooth just like the bottom half each day.
First of all - stop washing your wig so much! It's too much.
Then, make sure you are not applying the shampoo directly to the hair. You should add it to water and swish the wig around instead.
You should only need to wash and style this hair every 6 - 8 wears. The longer you can go between washes, the better. Use dry shampoo in between to keep the inside and outside of the wig smelling fresh.
Make sure you follow Jon Renau's recommended care protocol, which it sounds like you haven't really been following. :(
This will make a HUGE difference!
I also have to be straight up with you: The products you are using right now ARE NOT made for wigs. This will also damage your hair! Make sure you're ONLY using care products made specifically for human hair wigs. We don't just say this so you buy the products. We say this because human hair that grows out of your head is not as chemically processed as this wig hair AND it benefits from natural scalp oils that a wig just won't ever get. You should never ever use biohair products on your human hair wigs. If you do so, you do it at your own risk. (Soap box moment over!)
I heard you say in your video you cant wash it every day with (example: Matrix) shampoos and conditioners and expect it to last, so my question is then, how can I make it last???
Start by treating it way more gently than you would treat your biohair. Handle it like a delicate piece of ultra-special lingerie. Only use products designed for use on human hair wigs. Stick to the recommended care and wash procedures. Only buy from authorized retailers so you can know for certain that the wig wasn't altered, washed, or handled roughly before you got it.
I also would like to get "white" blonde highlights put into it because its more of a gold blonde and my natural hair is white blonde... but I'm afraid it will ruin it as well.... any ideas on any of this?
I KNEW IT! I hadn't read this far down in the message yet. :)
Please, do not add highlights to this wig. That will destroy the hair. If the wig is in 613RN, you might be able to manipulate the color a little more, but just know that this hair started BLACK. Every time you lighten it, it will damage the hair. The lighter the color, the more brittle it will become.
Human hair has limitations.
The most expensive hair in the WORLD is 100% virgin Remy LIGHT BLONDE European hair. The reasons: 1) It's very rare, 2) Culturally it is very valuable, so women who grow that hair naturally are not willing to sell it for cheap, 3) It isn't damaged because it hasn't been lightened.
The vast majority of wigs sold in the world are Asian or Indian hair. (Jon Renau is a 50/50 blend of both.) To get it blonde, it needs to be lightened a lot, as I mentioned above.
Because of this, we recommend that our really light blonde and grey hair clients stick to synthetics. It's very hard to get a really light or really ashy blonde from Asian hair. The melanin in that hair always leaves it with a gold or brassy undertone and it will have some signs of color damage.
You can also opt for European hair instead, which generally has not been dyed. Another option is to switch to darker colors in the Asian hair that won't be so color processed.
How can I make it bounce back??
Follow the Jon Renau care protocol for their wigs. Wash less frequently. Blow dry it after washing. Avoid fully submerging the hand-tied parts too much. In rooted colors, the roots will dry out faster because they are stripped of their color and then a darker tone is added to the blonde (or light brown) to look like regrowth. In short -- the roots get color processed twice. They will dry out faster...and that is yet another reminder that this isn't like your biohair. You need to treat it very gently and with wig-specific products.
I also suggest using Simply Stylin silicone spray on the ends of the hair. Spray it when the hair is no longer damp.
That's about all we can do for you since this wasn't purchased in our store. I hope that this helps!