A few days ago a lovely lady Gemma came to me to get her hair put up for a black tie event. Now it's no secret that I love put-ups so I assured her she was in good hands. Gemma has a LOT of her own hair but brought in a clip-on hairpiece for an extra-polished finish, and these were the results:

However, a couple of days later Gemma revisited the salon while I was away because her hairpiece had become a bit tangled and frizzy and left it for me to revive, which I was more than happy to do. Hairpieces are notorious for this and seem impossible to fix because as soon as you brush them the curls drop and it only seem to make it worse.

So I decided, being the kind soul that I am, to bring you on my journey and give you a step my step on how to gently and effectively get your curly hairpiece back into shape. Enjoy!


- Heated rollers
- A wide tooth comb
- Hair scissors
- A backcomb brush (if you only use one brush for this, make it this one)

This brush has a handle that tapers to a point, and good, stiff bristles with a flat surface that give you really precise control. You'll see why all this is so important later.

Also used - three products. I've used Redken, which are wonderful quality, but close alternatives are fine.

Glass Look 01 - a glossing serum
Iron Shape 11 - a thermal protection mist
Quick Dry 18 - a light-hold hairspray

So, here's what we're dealing with:

Looking a little fluffy! Cheeky tip - don't sleep in your hairpiece... ;)

Here's what to do.

STEP ONE - Detangling and separating the hair

Switch on your heated rollers so they're nice and hot for when you need them.

Now turn to the hairpiece and look for the pre-separated pieces. The way these hairpieces are arranged is what gives them their 'perfect' look - they consist of a lot of big 'bunches' of hair strands curled to the same shape. Try and isolate these as best as you can. Look for hair strands that seem almost naturally grouped together and are all the same shape.

(Ignore the roller for now, we're getting to that in a moment!)

Use the tail end of the brush to unpick any major tangles at the very ends of the isolated section, then use the bristle end to brush them through. They will separate and most likely start lying in different directions, but that's okay - it's really important that the ends aren't locking together or it'll make your job really difficult.

Next, lay the section on a flat, clear surface. Turn the brush 90 degrees in your fingers so the bristles are pointing outwards, and use the corner of the bristles to slowly drag the brush backwards along the hair, starting with the ends and working towards the base, slowly detangling it. Don't dig the bristles in as this will pull the hair too hard and cause it to lie unevenly toward the base. You want to be pulling all the hair gently to the same position. If any loose hairs come through, gently pull them out and discard them - they're useless to you. When done correctly, the section will now look like this:

Notice how the crests and ridges of the curls are now all in the same position.

STEP TWO - Putting in the rollers

Give the hair a light mist of Iron Shape 11 thermal protection spray, and using the same backwards motion lightly brush it through the section to disperse evenly. Do the same with an even lighter mist of Quick Dry 18 hairspray. Now look for the existing curve at the end of the hair and hook it around a heated roller. Roll up it up the hair one turn, then using the tail end of the brush so you don't burn your fingers, gently pull the ends in tidy to prevent fish-hooking. Then, getting as much natural tension as you can, move the roller all the way up to the base.

The hair should sit on the roller smoothly and evenly.

STEP THREE - "Repeat as needed".

Repeat this for all the pre-existing curled sections in the hairpiece. If you have excessive tangling, gently work it out with the tail end of your brush. It will take time and patience, but by the time you're finished, the hairpiece should look something like this:

You'll notice a lot of the hair toward the base is left out of the rollers. This is because the hair wasn't tangled that far up. You only need to go as far as needed, leave anything that looks tidy already completely undisturbed or you risk letting the original shape drop out.

Once the rollers are all completely cool, move on...

STEP FOUR - Removing the rollers

Pull the rollers out so that the outer hair comes off first in a sideways motion:

This will keep the new curl tidy and in the shape its going to stay in. You want to work from this point as though the hair is basically 'finished' and disturb the shape as little as possible, so avoid pulling, brushing or undoing anything you've done to this point. There's just a couple of things to polish it off.

STEP FIVE - Perfecting & setting

Comb through the ends again very gently using a wide tooth comb. From this point the ends are the only thing we're going to be doing extra work on? Why? Hairpieces are designed to look healthy and natural, and fluffy ends are a dead giveaway, so they need to look perfect.

Using a wide-tooth comb will remove any remaining tangles really easily without undoing the curl you've just put in.

You then want to look for any really frazzled-looking ends and remove them. If you're not a hairdresser, this part won't be easy. Make sure you use hair scissors for comfort of cutting and precision and cut diagonally along the ends, removing any really noticeable splayed bits. This angle ensures a natural look so it doesn't fall to a heavy, chunky end. You should be taking only minimal amounts off.

Almost done! Now just take a small amount of Glass Look 01 (just a drop, really) and smooth it through the ends, twisting with your fingers to seal it off to a point. Make sure you twist in the direction of the curl - again, this will prevent disturbing it. Any excess on your fingers can then be gently smoothed through the remainder of the lock, just to give it a gentle protective shine. Repeat for all the locks.

(Seriously, it's not even a fingertip's worth).

Finally, one more spritz of Quick Dry 18 will help to lock that serum in place and the curls with it. Leave it lying on this flat surface for a good 5 minutes before hanging it up. Ideally, after this time put it back in the packaging it came in. Despite the fact that we've let it cool on rollers and set it with hairspray, hair will always gain stronger memory when left in a position for an extended period of time, so putting it a box for a couple of days will ensure those curls won't drop - gravity can be a cruel mistress!

I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial. And if there's any other ideas you have I'd be happy to have the suggestions, so please do ask!

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