A braided wig is a perfect alternative to braiding your own hair, especially when you’re looking to try out the latest hairstyles without damaging your natural hair. Braided wigs, also known as cornrows, can give you pretty much any look you want, from updos to ponytails to all-out boho braids that take over your head. This guide will provide you with all the tips and tricks on styling your own braided wig with step-by-step instructions and pictures of every process stage.
Step 1: Wash and condition
Taking care of your new wig before styling will give you healthier, silkier, and more manageable hair. The frst step is to wash and condition it properly before applying any product. To do so, use a shampoo specifcally designed for wigs or regular baby shampoo. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and add about 2 tsp of a good quality conditioner (like Herbal Essence or Herbal Essences Bio:Renewal). Soak your wig in it for 10-15 minutes, then gently pat dry with a towel. While wet, comb through your wig starting from the ends towards the roots using a wide-tooth comb. This will help get rid of tangles as well as some frizz if you have curly hair.
Step 2: Heat the length
Begin styling your natural hairline by working a small amount of warm water through your braids. Wrap sections around a large-barrel curling iron and gently squeeze as you go. The steam from the warmth will give them added volume. Make sure you hold each section for about 30 seconds—long enough to heat up and stretch slightly, but not so long that it gets drippy wet (that’ll just weigh down your curls). Try not to get any water on your scalp, though; if your braids are still damp, you can spritz some water onto a fine-toothed comb and gently brush out any loose hairs before placing them into neat rows on top of your head.
Step 3: Spritz with setting spray
It’s a common misconception that you can’t use hairspray on your synthetic hair —you definitely can! Just spray a light coating of hairspray onto your brush or comb, and gently brush out any tangles before styling. The second step is also crucial for getting a polished look. Take one or two extra minutes to spritz with setting spray and go back over each section of your wig, letting it dry between sprays. The setting spray adds just enough tackiness to give synthetic tresses volume and definition without being sticky or crunchy (which would make it harder for you to style). By adding a little layer of realness to each section, you’ll be able to smooth and shape with ease while laying down your edges.
Step 4: Style it in your favorite way
You can wear a braid wig with a center parting or side parting, or whatever else takes your fancy. The great thing about them is they don’t have to be quite as precise as natural hair, so you can play around with different ways of styling it. For example, use some bobby pins and make an intentionally messy bun on top. Add in some colorful pieces from other parts of your outfit for extra style points!