My wife comes from a family where the married ladies brush their sheitels on Shabbos. However, in my family, my mother doesn’t brush her sheitel on Shabbos. On Shabbos sheva brachos, my wife brushed her sheitel. I asked her what are you doing. You can’t brush a sheitel on Shabbos. She responded, what do you mean, the hair is not growing? (Hopefully that should be the extent of our disagreements). I am wondering what is the nekudas hamachlokes is and what do the contemporary poskim say about it? (If it is possible, please provide a source.) Thanks!
On one hand your wife is correct, it isn’t gozez , since the hair is not growing from the shaitel, (that will hopefully satisfy the shalom bayis issue). However there are other potential melachos that might be done when combing the shaitel. Some say it might be matir or korayah, since it is ripping hairs that were tied or attached to the net of the shaitel. Others say that it doesn’t apply to hairs or strings. Others say it would be sosair kli, as it is slightly destroying the shaitel by pulling hairs out of it.
It is important to remember that the person doesn’t mean to pull out any hairs, however if hairs always get pulled out it will be a psik raisha ( inevitably caused act), however if it isn’t inevitable that hairs will be pulled out then it would be permitted. In fact many poskim say that if the shaitel is synthetic, it is permitted to brush since it isn’t a psik raisha. The same thing would be true if the hairs of this particular shaitel will not automatically get pulled out from brushing.
It is important to know that even according to those who allow brushing a shaitel, it is only with a brush, but not with a comb. The reason is because of Uvdin D’chol, as a comb is a kli that pulls out hairs. According to some poskim it is preferable to have a special brush for shabbos with soft hairs.
If the shaitel is messy that you wouldn’t wear it that way, then she may not even brush it, because then it is actually tikun mana, because it s fixing the shaitel and making it wearable.
Minchas Shabbos 80- 117, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 14-52, Kitzis Hashulchan 146 ftnt. 21, Zachor Vshomor, OHr L’tzion 2-27-(10), Shalmaei Yehudah 10 ftnt. 8 in the name of R’ S. Z. Auerbach and R’ Eilyashiv zt”l, The Shabbos Home pg. 164. Orchos Shabbos 11-19,