What makes synthetic and human hair different? Which is right for you?
Synthetic wigs hold their style even after washing. Human hair wigs look and feel real, but also have to be restyled after washing just like real hair. Both have advantages and limitations. Both are great choice depending on your budget, time, and needs. Here are the facts to help you decide which is right for you.
Synthetic wigs come in an endless array of styles and colors, are easy to maintain, have amazing style memory (shake and go), won’t frizz in the rain or humidity, and are much less expensive than human hair wigs. In fact, some of the higher quality synthetic wigs we carry are so realistic you would never know they were not natural hair.
Synthetic wigs can be worn right out of the box, no styling required. The fibers have memory so they retain their style even after washing but can’t be styled to change the curl pattern.
Heat-friendly synthetic wigs offer all the same benefits as regular synthetic wigs, but are less shiny and allow you to change the style by curling or straightening with a curling iron, flat iron, or hot rollers, using temps below 325 degrees. The new look is set until you restyle it with heat again, even after washing! The styling versatility and advantages of heat-friendly synthetic wigs can’t be beat, but beware… the more you heat style you wig, the more wear & tear on the fiber resulting in a shorter lifespan. Proper care can greatly extend the life of your wig.
Human hair wigs have the most natural look and feel, a healthy shine, and natural hair movement. Although they are more expensive than synthetic, they can last much longer. With proper care, human hair wigs can last 1-3 years and even longer.
Different hair types can be used including Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, European, and others. A large majority of human hair wigs are made with Chinese hair which has a thicker diameter (denier) and straight texture. This type of hair can be resistant to curl. Indonesian hair can have more texture, is readily available, and less costly. Indian hair has a thinner denier, has some natural wave, and holds curl more easily. Some wigs are made with a blend of hair from different origins to provide more styling versatility.
European human hair is the most prized for it fine denier and variety of natural colors. Cost can be considerably more expensive than other types of hair because of the high quality and limited availability. This hair type is the best choice for fine hair and lighter brown, blonde, and natural red color.
Hair used in wig production today are mostly of Indian and oriental origin. They are mainly dark hair that has been through a process of depigmentation before being colored and/or curled according to the requirements of the wig producer. Processing directly affects the quality of the end product. Chemicals used to strip, sanitize, curl or straighten, and color can be extremely damaging and have a direct impact on the quality and strength of the hair. Generally speaking, less processing is best, but it’s important to remember that ALL human hair goes through some form of processing before it can be sewn into a wig.
Remy human hair is highly recommended for all human hair wigs and top pieces. Hair cuticles are like invisible scales that run along the length of the hairs. Remy hair is collected and sewn into wigs & hairpieces with all the cuticles going in the same direction.
Higher quality remy hair has intact cuticles. The protective cells of the cuticle are responsible for the shininess of the hair and allow individual hairs to slide one over the other without getting tangled and knotted. When the protective cells of the cuticle are intact and healthy, hair appears soft, shiny and elastic. On the other hand when the cuticle is damaged, the hair can appear opaque, exhausted, dehydrated and lacks elasticity. Chemical treatments such as bleaching and dyeing, excessive use of heat, and use of strong products can all cause the cuticle scales to lift off, damaging the cuticle. If budget allows, it’s always best to purchase a wig with cuticles intact for longer styles. Short haired wigs don’t get the rubbing of hair on clothes and excessive stresses that effect the health of the hair that you get in a long haired wig so hair with the cuticle removed does not affect the quality of the end product.
Machine wefted wigs refer to products which have been sewn or “wefted” to create the bundle of hair sections. Part of the construction is a feature known as ‘permatease’ which is on the top of the wig and creates volume to the wig and also helps hide the construction of the wig from view.
Lace front wigs give the appearance of a natural hairline with a sheer lace material along the forehead which allows hair to be styled away from or off the face.
A monofilament cap offers the most realistic scalp appearance and natural hair movement possible. They’re made by tying or sewing the hair in sections into the monofilament portion of the cap. Hairs are hand-tied and knotted individually which allows the hair to be parted in different directions. Because of this time-intensive process, these wigs are more expensive than a standard wefted top.
Hand-tied wigs offer the most realistic look. Individually hand-knotted hair fibers are placed into the wig top cap, or if 100% hand-tied, even at the sides and back. This provides natural looking hair movement and appears that the hairs are growing out of your head.
With so many options available, selecting a wig can be overwhelming. Understanding the differences between synthetic wigs, heat-friendly synthetic wigs, and human hair wigs is a good place to start. What size cap do you need? Are you a petite, average, or large? Do you prefer open wefted construction or hand-tied? Is a lace-front right for you? Schedule a free consultation with one of our wig specialists to explore your options.