What Is Synthetic Hair? Pros & Cons, Caring Tips

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Synthetic Hair

Synthetic hair is a fake hair strand used to create hair extensions, wigs, and hairpieces.

People find the topic of synthetic hair to be challenging. For instance, the advances in synthetic hair vs human hair can make the matter even more complex.

Below is a post to help you understand all there is to know on this subject.

Let’s get started!

What Is Synthetic Hair?

Synthetic hair is produced through the synthesis of artificial materials. They do not occur naturally and thus are often referred to as fake hair. It is a product of artificial fibers such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, or cellulose.

Synthetic fibers undergo various chemical processes. They are then heated and molded into fine strands. The resulting hair varies in length, color and style as human hair.

The best quality of synthetic hair resembles actual human hair, and you can have a challenge telling them apart.

synthetic hair

The Advantages of Synthetic Hair

There are several benefits to investing in synthetic hair.

Natural Looking

The recent advancements in technology make synthetic hair feel and look remarkably realistic. It is nearly impossible to tell apart synthetic hair from human hair unless you check carefully.

Low Cost

Synthetic hair is cheaper than human hair, thus giving you the convenience you need. 

You can get high-quality synthetic hair wigs for under $50. While a human hair wig can cost you between $200 and $500, but can go high up to $1000.


Less Maintenance

Many synthetic hairs are pre-styled, and you can wear them right out of the box. The fibers have style retention capability/memory, allowing the hair to bounce back to its original pattern.

Their ability to keep a style makes it easy to wash without drooping or frizzing. Furthermore, you will only need a brush or comb to take care of synthetic hair.

Various Options

Synthetic hair comes in various colors, including highlighted hairpieces and vibrant tones. 

Also, the styles are available in a range of lengths and textures. You can choose from wavy, straight, curly hair, depending on the style that works for you.

synthetic hair guide

The Disadvantages of Synthetic Hair

There are several good things about synthetic hair, but it also has drawbacks. Here are the cons of synthetic hair.

Hard to Style

Synthetic hair can be so effective at retaining shape. But, altering the shape for restyling can be very difficult. It is best to avoid using heated tools for styling.

Heat-friendly synthetic hair allows you to use heat for restyling, but it can still be hard to style. It would be best to apply low heat when styling since high temperatures can cause burns.

Related article: How To Style Synthetic Wigs?

Hair Salon

Low Dye Response

Synthetic hair has limited options for coloring. It does not respond to dying like human hair.

In fact, there are some ways to dye synthetic hair, only that the fibers take time to retain the color.

dye synthetic hair

Less Longevity

Synthetic hair lasts a shorter period than human hair. 

When worn daily, synthetic hair lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Heat-friendly synthetic hair takes about 2 to 3 months. This is a short time compared to human hair, which often lasts between 1 and 3 years.

Note: Synthetic hair longevity will also depend on your maintenance routine.

Unnatural Look

Despite various advancements, synthetic hair can still appear unnatural. They are not as soft as human hair and will appear shinier under direct light. 

These differences are more pronounced for lower-grade synthetic hair than those with high quality.

Related article: 12 Tips To Make Synthetic Wigs Look Real

capless wig-5

Tips on Caring for Synthetic Hair

Maintaining any quality of synthetic hair is pretty easy. Here are ways to care for synthetic hair.

1. Brush

You need to prevent your wig from tangling using a wig brush or comb. The brushes meant for synthetic hair do not stretch, tear, or damage the fibers. 

When brushing, work through the strands from the bottom as you go upwards. Also, do not brush the synthetic hair when it is still wet since the hair will frizz.

brush hair extensions before washing

2. Wash

Wash well with a synthetic hair-friendly shampoo. You need to use cold water, as hot water will damage the synthetic hair fibers.

It is also better to use synthetic hair shampoo and not human hair shampoo. The synthetic hair shampoo is specifically made for synthetic fibers to avoid damage.

Generally, wash after using about 6 to 8 times or every two to three weeks. You should not wash the wig too much to avoid reducing its durability.

Related article: How to Wash Synthetic Wigs – 4 Simple Steps

Wash Synthetic Hair

3. Air Dry

After washing or wetting synthetic hair, allow it to air dry. Ensure you put it away from direct sunlight. This will prevent the strands from frizzing and make the hair more durable.

Note: Avoid using a heat source to dry the synthetic hair that is not heat-friendly because you can melt the delicate fibers.

air dry hair extensions

4. Avoid Hot Tools

Applying hot tools to synthetic hair can stretch and melt the fibers. Be careful around heated places like open grills, stoves, and ovens. 

If you prefer using hot tools for styling, ensure you choose a heat-friendly synthetic hair. However, you should better limit the heat to under 350 degrees Fahrenheit

women hair beauty

5. Wig Stand

Store your wig properly on a wig stand to maintain its shape. Using a stand will also prevent your wig from knotting or tangling, which as a result, can make the wig very frizzy.

Keep the stand under room temperature and away from humid areas to maintain hair longevity.

air dry synthetic hair

6. Wig Cap

The cap helps keep your hair in place under the wig when you wear a synthetic wig. Besides, they act as a protective barrier, especially for a sensitive scalp. 

Wig caps also keep your wig clean for a longer period. As the dead skin and oil will get into the wig cap, not your cap.

Wig Cap

Difference Between Synthetic Hair and Human Hair 

Synthetic hair consists of artificial fibers. The styling is present so that it does not change even after washing. You can not style synthetic hair using heat, color-treated or dyed. It lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months and is more affordable than human hair.

Whereas for human hair, you can collect it from actual human heads. They have a natural look, feel real, and often last between 1 and 3 years. You can also style and dye them. Moreover, human hair is more expensive than synthetic hair.

Learn more about synthetic hair vs. human hair.

FAQs about Synthetic Hair

How Can You Tell If the Hair Is Synthetic?

The best way of testing if the hair is synthetic is by using the flame test.

If igniting the hair makes it melt into a ball and smell like a burning plastic, then the hair is synthetic. Natural hair will singe/blaze and burn upwards with a unique burnt hair smell.

What Is the Highest Quality of Synthetic Hair?

Kanekalon is the highest quality of synthetic hair. Kanekalon has heat-tolerant hair fibers that allow you to use hot rollers, blow dryers, curling irons, and even a low heat flat iron. [1]

Likewise, another quality of synthetic hair is Toyokalon. It resembles and feels more like human hair. Toyokalon has a silky texture with more sheen and can hold curls for long.

How Do You Sleep With Synthetic Hair?

Wrap your head and sleep on a satin or silk or satin pillowcase. This will avoid friction between the hair fibers that could cause frizz and dryness. Also, brush your wig when you get up to prevent your hair from matting. Here are the tips on how to sleep in your wig.

Author: Charity Nasike


Charity Nasike is a passionate wig wearer and basically has diverse knowledge related to wigs' care and maintenance. When she's not writing, she's either in the kitchen trying out new recipes or on social media advising fellow ladies tricks to apply on their wigs.

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