So I've seen this posted many a time, and I think it's about time I help you guys out a bit. I've been working with wigs for only two years, but I've finally made a method for detangling the worst of mess, and even a 50 inch wig can be detangled in under two hours (usually takes about one hour). This is simple, and makes sure that your wigs can last more than just one con. I will say the products I used, and provide other suggestions that I have had the same results with.
MaTeRiAlS! (and where to find them)
Suave Detangling Spray
: CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, RiteAid
: CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, RiteAid, Sally's
Sewing Pins: Any fabric store
Pay attention to the position of these combs as I will refer to them as combs 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively.
So your wig is a trash heap. You bounced around at the con, you ran with a yaoi train, you glomped someone. It happens. But now you gotta fix it.
First, take the wig and pin it to the wig form. If you haven't done this before, put the wig on the wig form as you would your own head. Take the sewing needles and pin straight through a weft into the foam wig form. You will want to use 5 pins. One pin on the forehead, one on either side of the head (more so near the top), one on top of the head, and one in the back of the head. This will make the wig secure. If you tug on the wig and it falls off, re-pin.
Now this is a slow and steady process. Take the detangling spray and make sure YOU SHAKE IT UP! The chemicals don't process correctly and might make your wig oily. Anyway, take the detangling spray and spray down one clump of hair. To judge one clump of hair, divide the wig hair into 5 parts. Each part is a clump. Make sure you're not using too much hair at once. For longer wigs, divide the wig into 6-7 parts. You don't actually need to divide it, but know where you need to grab and spray. Anyway, take a clump and spray heavily with the detangling spray. This is not to say to drench is, but it does need to be wet. Be a bit liberal, it won't hurt the wig. First, take wig three with the 5 prong side, and carefully work through the clump. You will want to start at the bottom and slowly edge up. After you feel that a majority of the clump is detangled, continue with comb 1. Then take comb 2 with the larger prongs, and glide through until the clump is detangled. Continue with all sections.
Once done with all sections, you will want to comb through the entire wig. Take the upper part of comb 3 or use comb 4 to stroke through the entire wig gently. It will loosen any tangles that might have been caught in the cross section of your clumps. Be gentle, I can't re-iterate this enough, because wefts can come un-sewn. Should this happen, you can either sew the weft back on in anchor points, or hot glue it back onto where it was supposed to be.
Now your wig is ready for another go! The detangling spray also helps to keep your wig from tangling so easy on the next go. After many uses, you might need to wash the wig. You can do this two ways.
One way: Put a huge pot of water on to boil. After the water begins to boil, take it off and let it sit for a second until the bubbles stop. After they do, dip the wig in the water and leave it for about 1.5-2 minutes. Remove the wig and place on wig form, letting the wig dry naturally. Afterwards, style again, and apply detangling spray if necessary.
Other way: Turn on your bath tub water, and let it heat up real nice to where it steams. Hold the wig under the water (to where you don't burn yourself!) for a minute or so, remove and place on wig form to let dry. Again, style and apply detangling spray if necessary. Then plug up the tub drain and pour in some bubbles, and have a super nice bubble bath while your wig dries (Hiryuu approved!).
Other products that can be used for detangling:
Johnson and Johnson Detangling/ No More Tears Bedhead spray
Herbal Essences Citrus Lift Let Loose Detangling Spray (no picture available)
Sunsilk ThermaShine Detangling Shine Spray (if your wig has lost shine) (no picture available)
Conair styling combs (no picture available)
Revlon styling combs (no picture available) [Note on combs: They come in packs of three and are for styling and detangling. Found at above listed stores in the materials section]
Last note: Katie Bair has detangling combs that work very well. If you'd like to support her and her awesome wigs, go buyone of her's
If there are any more questions about detangling please post them here so that I can add onto this and further assist the cosplay community!