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Dying Wigs with Sharpies – A Test

Arda Wigs has been doing an Iron Wig Competition that I have been avidly watching. Mostly because I enjoy styling wigs and love to see what other people do.

In round 2, the theme was dying the wig. One of the competitors took some in progress shots showing them use straight up sharpies to color their wig. This surprised me, and confused me for one very important reason:

Tutorial after tutorial after tutorial states that you need a carrier for the dye. Normally isopropyl alcohol is used after breaking the sharpie and using the ink casing for the color. Not once have I been told I can use to just the sharpie alone to dye a wig.

Which, got me very curious. Lucky me, I had a defective wig (Read: Wig I screwed up on and therefore planned to trash anyway) that I could test this on.

Insert me, asking my husband to color the bangs of a wig for me with sharpies. I want to test a variety of colors out and see what happens with them. So, off he went, coloring sections of the wig.

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(Rather fun looking, eh?)

After letting it dry, I asked him to wash the wig with regular shampoo until the water ran clear. Then shake out the loose water and see how the colors looked.

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Surprisingly enough, the colors still looked vibrant, so I tested the wig out with a piece of a paper towel. I lightly blotted the colors and checked what I got:

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Yep, some of the colors still bled through. Even after a washing and shampoo run. So, even if the colors look great, a small amount of sweat could leave your skin/costume colored a bit. Not really a good thing when it comes to costumes.

The wig after drying:

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It lost some of the color but wasn’t staining my hands while it was dry. However, I wasn’t done with this test. There was still one more thing I wanted to check on. After letting the wig dry completely, I did the “ultimate test.”

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Hairspray! Just a light mist across the fibers followed by a gentle pat from a paper towel.

The results:

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More dye was lost from using hairspray than after a wash! Something that isn’t too good if you’re interested in styling a colored wig after. So dying with just sharpies alone is a huge “No” in my books. Hopefully people can learn from this and not damage a wig in the process of testing something themselves.

More fun pictures:

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I ran my fingers across the still wet hairsprayed fibers and ended up with colored tipped fingers. Imagine if that was your face or a costume that this happened to!

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