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Unread 07-19-2009, 11:45 PM   #1
ChilmarkGryphon
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detangling discovery: silicone spray lubricant

So. Since finishing my Rider cosplay I've had a bedraggled waist-length wig hanging out in my room. It became hopelessly tangled the first time I wore it, and I never managed to get it untangled or defrizzed to a point where I could comb it; not with fabric softener, hair conditioner, or any other product lauded for its synthetic wig conditioning powers. But at long last, I have tamed the monster, using a product you can probably find at your local hardware store for under $5!

3 IN 1 Silicone Spray Lubricant

It's basically silicone + petroleum distilates, a concentrated version of the two ingredients in human hair conditioner that serve any purpose on synthetic fiber. The petroleum products evaporate away, leaving an invisible film of silicone molecules.
Other brands people have used successfully include
- Motomaster Silicone Lube (post #29) (Canada)
- Super Power Silicon (Roxicle's gallery) (Finland)

Before you decide to go mad science on your wigs, a few words of caution.
- Try not to breathe it. It's not particularly volatile, but be careful. Either work outside or establish ventilation.
- It's flammable. Just like wig dye, hairspray, and 99% of things that come out of pressurized metal cans.
- Avoid getting it on anything you don't want to be slippery. Especially floors. It can be removed with rubbing alcohol.
- It eats latex gloves. Wearing gloves might have seemed like a good idea to some of you, but apparently it's not. Thanks for the heads up, Fechan!
- When using another brand, check the ingredients. I've only used 3-in-1 and cannot vouch for any other brands. Some brands contain acetone, which will melt the wig hair. Other brands (Liquid Wrench) contain naphthenic oil instead of naphthene, and will stay oily unless stripped with alcohol.
- If you're using a different spray lubricant, or using it on a wig that's been dyed, Oil Sheen'd, hairsprayed, etc, DO A TEST PATCH FIRST.

Okay, on to procedure! I've altered the process somewhat 10 or 15 wigs down the line...

1) Affix your wig into something secure, ie a clamped wig head. If your wig is ridiculously long, you can pad the top of a door and put the wig on that, which will put the ends (usually the most tangled part) at a good working height. Spray whatever combs you're going to be using with silicone.

2) Spray the ends of your wig with silicone: the ends of your wig are the mostly likely to frizz from being stretched and tugged on, so you want them to be slippery to prevent this. If you hate the smell you can leave it for a while until the petroleum distillates evaporate. If not, just start combing the ends out, working from the bottom to the top.

EDIT: I realize now that spray may have been an ambiguous term. YOU'RE TRYING TO MIST THE HAIR, NOT MAKE IT DRIPPING WET. Apologies to anyone who ended up with a greasy-looking wig because of my bad directions ;____;

3) Once your ends are freed up enough for you to part off sections of it, start working on small hanks. Be gentle; if you can't get a knot out give it an extra shot of spray and try again.

4) After you've got all the tangles out, your wig might be frizzy at the ends, especially if it was badly matted to begin with. There's no product you can use to get these out: instead, you'll have to carefully heat and comb the fiber to relax them out. The hot water method will work for this, but I find it's easier to use a garment steamer. Be careful; steam is hotter than boiling water.

Before and After
- Demonstration on a Godiva XL, with notes. I *tried* to make a video of the process on this one, but iMovie 08 doesn't feel like making clip speed adjustable and I don't feel like posting an hour-long video of me brushing hair.
- After image of a Rider wig. I neglected to take a before, but it was a wreck. This is before I figured out the steaming trick.
- Roxicle's Nia Teppelin Wig. It works on curly wigs, but it relaxes the curls.

Other Observations
- Tonksie notes that it does not take the color out of hand-sharpied wigs. Link.
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Last edited by ChilmarkGryphon : 04-15-2011 at 09:49 AM. Reason: Added link; thanks Roxicle! Added info from Tonksie and Fechan. Added MSDS disclaimer. Added other brands that work.
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Unread 07-20-2009, 12:05 AM   #2
Ahja Reyn
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*_____* This sounds amazing. I will definitely try it out!
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Unread 07-20-2009, 02:31 AM   #3
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Do you have before and after photos?
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Unread 07-20-2009, 05:45 AM   #4
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Sounds like a saving grace for my Reno wig. ^.^ Reno's kinda mad at me for his frizzy hair problems right now. LoL.
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Unread 07-20-2009, 08:14 AM   #5
ChilmarkGryphon
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I don't have a before, but I have an after. It was a complete wreck before; I was going to throw it out.
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Unread 07-20-2009, 10:03 AM   #6
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Good stuff. I'm looking forward to hearing if this has any residual effects on how much it tangles while being worn afterward.
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Unread 07-20-2009, 11:01 AM   #7
chisainekocat
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This sounds great! Does it smell afterwards at all?
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Unread 07-20-2009, 11:28 AM   #8
ChilmarkGryphon
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@MangoChutney: The slipperyness pretty much stays put. I put it on this morning and wore it around for a while to see how it behaved. It started looking mussed up after the usual 15 minute period (at cons I tie the hair into tiny bundles to keep it neat), but fingercombing it neat again didn't result in the usual fistfuls of ratty kanekalon.

@Chisainekocat: It's got this sort of cloying sweet chemical smell when you put it on, but I think that's mostly the petroleum carrier, which evaporates away. There's still an odor but it's very faint, like hairspray.
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Unread 07-20-2009, 01:53 PM   #9
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It looks so smooth and perfect. Have the fibers been weighted down from the product at all, similar to greasy hair, or does it have relatively the same amount of volume?
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Unread 07-20-2009, 02:21 PM   #10
*mik0 muffin !
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wow, thanks so much for this!! def have to try this out. my friend and i have been having long wig detangling probs since forever and this looks like the answer!
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Unread 07-20-2009, 06:00 PM   #11
ChilmarkGryphon
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@Lucrezea: It didn't have much volume to begin with (oh long wigs *sigh*), but it's definitely not lank like greasy hair is.
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Unread 07-20-2009, 06:36 PM   #12
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This sounds utterly fantastical. I'll be sure to try it out on my Ivy wig (it got horribly tangled at Otakon 08 and has been hiding in the drawer every since). Are there are cons that you can see so far? Does it stain clothing? You said it doesn't look lank at all, but does it appear damp? Do you think it's still possible to style it? And would it work as a pre-treatment to long wigs?

(Sorry for the mass of questions, I just wanna know before I go out and buy it.)
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Unread 07-20-2009, 08:48 PM   #13
ChilmarkGryphon
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@Raikou: I haven't been able to see any real cons so far. The silicone doesn't rub off or stain once the petroleum carrier has evaporated (which happens pretty fast). It doesn't appear or feel damp. I doubt any styling products would stick to the coated fiber, and dyeing over it with alcohol-based dyes would remove the silicone with possible, but it SHOULD still be curlable with hot water (I haven't got any curlers or I'd test it for you now). I can't imagine any reason why you couldn't use it as a pretreatment; it certainly make it easier to untangle after wearing.
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Unread 07-21-2009, 02:18 AM   #14
phantomthief
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Nifty :3 Sounds like an industrial version of the Motions oil sheen X3
I know mane 'n tail is a silicone, not sure about Motions, and with both of them, the silicone and/or oil residue keeps the wigs detangled longer ^___^
Good show.

May I add this to the Motions Oil Sheen tutorial?

~Ari
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Unread 07-21-2009, 07:47 AM   #15
Ani_BEE
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Motions oil sheen is definitely an oil, I stopped using since it takes a week to stop having a greasy feeling on the wig fiber. I preferred Mane 'n Tail because it does have silicone in it.

I'll keep an eye out for this.
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