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Human Hair vs. Synthetic Hair - What Type of Wig Is the Best

By: Ann Koch

Posted on October 03 2019

Human Hair vs. Synthetic Hair - What Type of Wig Is the Best



If you are a first-time wig buyer, you may be confused while deciding whether to choose synthetic hair or natural hair wigs. So, which is better?

The truth is that both look natural and almost similar such that it can be hard to tell the difference. Understanding the differences between human hair and synthetic hair wigs will help you select the best option for your needs.

Figuring out what you need before you start shopping for your next hairstyle can help you choose what looks excellent and works for your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic hair vs human hair wigs to help you make a decision. Keep in mind that both are great choices depending on your budget, environment, time, and needs.

Let’s start with human hair wigs.

Human Hair Wigs

As the name suggests, these wigs are made up of real human hair. These wigs have the look and feel of the real human hair.

There are generally four types of human hair wigs, including Indonesian, Chinese, Caucasian (European), and Indian. The majority of these wigs are made of Asian hair.

When it comes to Indonesian human hair, you can easily spot it due to its low cost.

Chinese hair is characterized by a thicker denier which makes it extremely straight. This type is a bit curl resistant hence harder to style.

Indian hair has a thinner denier that is similar to that of European hair but with a little more texture.

The European hair is the hardest to find mainly because it’s the most sought after in the market thanks to its fine denier. For this reason, it is the most expensive human hair wig

Advantages of Human Hair Wigs

  1. Styling versatility - Regarding styling, human hair wig is just like natural hair. It allows you to style, color, and perm, just like real natural hair. When you need to color or recolor, it's wise to find a stylist who is experienced in dealing with human hair wigs.
  2. Texture – you can find human hair wigs in a variety of types. Therefore, you should look for a texture that resembles your real hair.
  3. Longevity – one of the main pluses of human wigs is that they can last long with proper care. Even with daily usage, human hair wigs can last for a year or more. For people who use and wash it less often, it can last even longer.
  4. Natural look – Human hair mimics the look and feels more natural.

Limitations of Human Hair Wigs

High maintenance – Just like normal human hair, this wig need to be washed and styled more frequently, which means that you may need to condition it once a week on top of regular application of shampoo and conditioner.

High cost – Because they are designed from real hair, human hair wigs tend to be more expensive. However, they justify their price since they last longer than synthetic hair.

Color variation – Considering that each human hair wig is made using hair from multiple people, it can be hard to replicate exact colors.

Reacts to weather – As with natural human hair, human hair wigs respond to weather. They can become fizzy and flat during extreme weather conditions.

Synthetic Hair Wigs

These wigs are usually designed from acrylic fibers or plastic to look like hair. The material is heated at a specific range of temperature to produce hairs that resemble hair fibers. The resultant strands of hairs are then woven into wefts, hairpieces, and extensions. Depending on different brands, the fibers may vary and will determine how realistic the wig looks.

When selecting a synthetic wig that looks like natural hair, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Obviously, you will want synthetic hair that resembles your real hair. Also, the curlier the hair, the shorter its lifespan. Therefore, if you are looking for synthetic hair wig that will serve you for several months, go for straighter hair. Many synthetic wigs with curly textures tend to become matted, entangled and unwearable after a few uses.

With technological advancement in manufacturing processes, synthetic hair wigs have come a long way in recent years. Today, some of them have texture and denier that feels almost like human hair itself. They get their style, look, texture, and color through chemicals.

The most desired aspect of synthetic hair wigs is that they can be worn right out of the box – no styling is needed.

Let’s look at some of the pros of synthetic hair wigs;

Advantages of Synthetic Hair Wigs

  1. Easy to maintain – Synthetic hair wigs tend to be easy to care for thanks to the handy style retention. Even after first wash, these wigs can go back to their initial style.
  2. It is weather-proof – Another major advantages of synthetic hair is its ability to retain its style, regardless of the weather. Whether you live in hot and humid, or damp and rainy weather, it does not frizz or become flat.
  3. Versatility – For people who like to change looks, synthetic wigs offer endless color options that range from natural to abstract. You can also find wild and beautiful colors alike.
  4. Low maintenance – With synthetic wigs, they are less expensive when compared to human hair. There is also another a good variety of synthetic wigs known as a heat-friendly wig that is more cost-effective and requires less maintenance.
  5. Natural look – A high-quality synthetic hair wig looks just as natural as human hair. If you need a more realistic synthetic wig, you can choose a heat-friendly wig that tends to be less shiny.

Limitations of Synthetic Hair Wigs

Shorter lifespan – compared to human hair wigs, synthetic wigs have a shorter lifespan. Therefore, you may need to replace your wig after a few months of use.

Shine – If you need real hair look, you may not get it in some synthetic wigs that can have unnatural shine.

Cannot change color – Most synthetic wigs do not work with recoloring, so you need to choose a color that you want to stick with.

Texture – with heat-friendly synthetic hair wigs, they may become fuzzy over time due to styling.

Limiting in terms of styling it offers – most synthetic wigs cannot be styled using heat styling tools. This means that it only retain the original style it already possesses.

Human Hair vs. Synthetic Hair: Which Is The Best?

Now that you have a basic know-how of the differences between both of them, you can go ahead and make the right decision about which one works best for your needs. We recommend that you ask yourself these questions first:

What’s my budget?

Budget is always a key factor when it comes to buying products. Synthetic wigs are budget-friendly compared to human hair wigs. However, if you need something to wear every day due to hair loss, human wigs can work better but at a higher cost. Synthetic wigs cost less but may not last long.

How often do I switch my look?

Considering styling, human wigs are more like natural hair. They give you the freedom to create any style you like. Additionally, most human hairs can be recolored as long as you look for an experienced stylist to do it for you.

On the other hand, synthetic wigs are limited when it comes to styling. Although they can be trimmed, their color and texture cannot change. Therefore, for people who likes to use the same hair every day, you can use a synthetic wig. If you like to change things up, a human wig will be the right choice for you.

How fast does my hair grow?

Well, will your hair grow back fast or not? If your hair is not likely to grow up soon, then you need to wear a wig every day. In this case, think about getting a human hair wig as it will last longer and offer a more natural finish.

If your hair will be growing back, then you won’t have to wear a wig for a long time. A synthetic wig could last for months and would be more economical and do the job.

Where will I wear my wig?

For people who live in extreme climates, a synthetic wig will be a good choice as it does not become flat or frizzy. They hold back their style no matter what. If you are an outdoor person and do more of manual work outside, wearing a human hair wig under the sun will fade the color over time. In case you find yourself outside when wearing a human wig, it's better to wear a scarf or hat to protect it.

How much upkeep do I need?

For busy people who have no time for upkeep or those with health issues such as chemotherapy, you need a synthetic wig as it requires less maintenance compared to human hair wigs.

Synthetic wigs also require less styling as it will bounce back to original style after washing. Besides, they come pre-styled, which means you don't need to spend any time styling them.

Another thing, human hair wigs may need conditioning every week in addition to conditioning regimen and shampoo. Synthetic wigs require to be washed less often and do not need a deep condition.

As you can see, every wig has its pros and cons and it is up to you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Ann Koch ann koch
Ann is the founder of Living with androgenic alopecia for over 20 years after the birth of her children, she aspires to provide solutions and an invaluable guide to anyone suffering from hairloss.

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