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With Christmas fast approaching again, we have many new Santas asking how they make heads or tails of wig and beard choices, as well as how to wear and care for their signature locks.  Santa’s favorite helpers come to Arlene's from near and far.  Now you don't have to be in the Rochester area to benefit from the expertise and energy that Arlene and her staff have shown professional Santas for more than 60 years.


Selection of your wig and beard set can be just as important as wearing and caring for it properly. Wearing a cheap wig and beard set or one that does not fit well can give a bad first impression.  Professional Santas are judged by potential employers, the public and especially children on the condition of their well-known whiskers.

Better quality wigs are made of real hair or high quality synthetic hair. They usually have very sturdy nylon stretch bases with elastic straps to help in securing the wig and beard to a snug fit on the face and head.

Example of a better quality wig & beard set

Better quality wigs & beards can be hand washed - we use Wig & Beard Shampoo and Conditioner (available at Arlene's Costumes for $5.99 each). Make sure to dry it thoroughly. Then tap through the wig and beard starting at the ends and working your way up using a hard bristle brush. A dog brush works well.

Example of a mid-range quality wig & beard set

Economy quality wigs are typically made of nylon throughout.  The straps are usually less secure.  Most of these wigs should not be washed and can get very dirty with sweat and makeup stains.

Example of an economy quality wig & beard set


A comfortable but snug fit is essential as any number of circumstances can happen to a wig and beard up to and including being yanked off by an excited child. The elastic straps and cotton chin positioning piece sewn into the beard will be the best defense again a poorly placed poorly fitting beard.

The diagrams below show the correct and incorrect placement of the elastic straps to keep a Santa beard on better.

This picture shows the correct placement for elastic bands on the head to keep Santa beards in place.

This picture shows the incorrect placement for elastic bands on the head to keep Santa beards in place.

Spirit gum, a skin adhesive used in theatrical makeup, can also be used to help lay a wig or beard flatter and tighter to the face.


As mentioned, better wigs and beards can be hand washed then dried flat. Then brush lightly or tap out the wig and beard with a hard bristle brush like a dog brush.

Keeping your wig and beard on a Styrofoam head can hold its shape and prevent issues with dirt and snagging.

Keep us in mind for your next Santa Wig & Beard set as well as your other accessories and beautiful suits. Rentals are also available.
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