So I've spent the last two days in Chatanuga, TN at a theatre conference called SETC. It's pretty much a convention for theater people: industry professionals showing off their wares, looking for new hires, giving panels on stuff, theater schools doing interviews, etc. I went for the costume design competition, and while I didn't win an award (I mean, it was 16th century Romeo and Juliet. I wasn't expecting to win anything), I did learn some serious cool stuff about costuming.
Which leads to the wig in the refrigerator. Best tip I received all weekend: if you buy a wig used, put it in the freezer. Particularly for cosplayers, buying used is common. I know a lot of people who sell old wigs and buy used ones. But people's heads are dirty. Like seriously, have you seen your scalp? It's super gross. Not to mention, things like outside performances/photoshoots, contact with other convention goers, and long storage periods can introduce nasty things to your wig, like-oh I don't know- SPIDER NESTS. Yeah. Gross. So instead of accidentally letting spiders live on your head, put your wig in the freezer for two weeks. It will kill EVERYTHING. The only thing you have to do is explain to your roommate why the ice cream carton has a toupe.
Second tip- the fancier your hairdo, the more likely your wig will look real. Synthetic fibers catch the light differently than real hair does. That's why it's more obvious to us when a naturally colored, straight wig is fake hair than a pink updo. The more ways you let your wig catch the light-by curls, braids, spikes, whatever-the more real it will look, because the light can bounce off of it in different ways. If you do want your hair down, there are other options. One is to remove wefts from the wig. Since a wig has thicker hair than you do, it can look obviously fake when that bulk isn't needed. Remove some of the wefts to thin the wig out, and it'll look much more natural. Also, use a razor to cut layers into the wig. This will allow the light to hit it differently, not as a single sheet of plastic hair, and it'll look/move more like real hair.
Third tip- don't bother with wig shampoo. It's expensive and stupid. Instead, you can clean your wig just as well with baby shampoo. Don't have that? You can use dawn soap. If it's good enough for a baby duck, it's good enough for your rats nests.