Synthetic Hair 101: Introduction

For some, a synthetic hair system is an appealing and appropriate alternative to human hair. If you choose to, you can wear a synthetic system right out of the box; the color, curl pattern and style are preset, and won’t need to be styled again until you wash the system. Technology has come a long way, and synthetic hair manufactured today comes pretty close to the real thing.

It’s not for everyone. It can’t be exposed to high heat (such as hot water, or even a blast of heat when you open your oven) or recolored, and it doesn’t blend well with growing hair if you are wearing a partial hair system.

Review the qualities of synthetic hair, and if you are unsure if it is right for you or not, please contact us. Our hair techs are available to answer any further questions you may have.

What synthetic hair is

Synthetic hair is artificial hair that is machine-manufactured to look like human hair. There are various kinds of synthetic hair on the market, but most are made of fine, plastic fibers. Fundamentally, low-grade acrylic is heated and extruded into strands to make individual hair fibers. The strands are then tied into extensions and hair systems.

About synthetic hair

There are advantages to synthetic hair, like its ability to hold style well. It also keeps curl easily, is very smooth and doesn’t frizz as easily as human hair. That said, it will frizz over time (due to friction and sleeping) but can be smoothed or rewaved by a professional. It’s likely you’ll spend less time on styling, because synthetic dries faster than human hair. Additionally, hair color is preset and rarely fades.

There are some disadvantages to synthetic hair as well. A significant distinction from human hair is that synthetic can never be submerged in hot water or heat-styled in any way. Because it’s essentially a type of plastic, heat will ruin or melt the hair. As an example, if you flat iron curly synthetic hair, the curl will be permanently removed and the hair follicles will develop a kinky, frizzy texture due to melting.

Knots in a synthetic system can’t be bleached, and you’ll need a special shampoo and wig brush. Because of its shine, using synthetic hair in a partial system that will blend with your growing hair is not recommended; it’s difficult to inconspicuously blend the two types of hair. Synthetic hair works best with a full-cap wig, where no blending is necessary.

Why it’s used for gray

Gray hair in a system is often synthetic for many reasons. First, because human gray hair is weak, it can’t withstand the necessary processing, nor can it handle knot bleaching – the hair will easily break off – if the base color of the rest of the hair system is dark hair. Human gray hair can oxidize to yellow, whereas synthetic gray won’t. We also can’t match the color of human gray hair. If there’s a small percentage of gray in the system, you can still color the hair and the synthetic gray will not pick up the color.