How to Put Highlights on a Synthetic Wig

by David Lipscomb

Synthetic wigs can quickly and temporarily change your style, augment your natural hair or simply add to a fun costume. However, sometimes synthetic wigs have a, well, synthetic look about them. Adding highlights using acrylic paint solves the problem of not being able to dye the fiber, while adding a considerable amount of natural-looking realism in the process.

Items you will need

  • Wig form
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair clips
  • Acrylic paint
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Thin paintbrush
  • Fine-tooth comb
Step 1

Place the wig atop a wig form. Brush the wig thoroughly, separating the fibers.

Step 2

Apply incremental amounts of acrylic paint in the color of your choice to the bowl of warm water. Stop adding paint once you achieve a consistency similar to melted ice cream or slightly thickened gravy.

Step 3

Clip small sections you wish to highlight away from the rest of the wig. Brush thin streaks into the wig to create highlights, using a thin paintbrush. Continuously run a comb through these sections to keep the individual strands from caking up with paint, while evenly distributing the color.

Step 4

Wait a few hours for the paint to dry. Consult the paint label for specific dry times.

Step 5

Rinse your wig thoroughly in cold water. Refrain from using shampoo, as this may remove color or make it run.


  • Use paint colors that complement the color of the wig. For example, a slightly lighter shade of brown or gold on a brunette wig would make for a reasonably natural look. Alternatively, use bold colors for a cosplay or costume wig, such as a light blue against a purple piece.

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.