When it comes to wigs or hair extensions, we want the closest thing to natural as possible. So which is better? Human hair, virgin hair, or synthetic hair? They all have their advantages and limitations. Either can be great options depending on your needs and budget. Here is what you need to know about each in order to make your decision.
Obviously, human hair possesses the most natural look and feel. It’s difficult to duplicate the same shine and movement in synthetic hair. Human hair offers versatility because it can be cut and styled to suit your tastes. However, it is typically more expensive but with the proper care, it can be more durable and for last over a year.
When it comes to human hair, there are four basic types used in wigs: Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and European/Caucasian. Chinese hair has a thicker denier, giving it the extremely straight hair. Denier is the unit of fineness when it comes to hair. Thicker denier is more resistant to curl and style. The majority of wigs produced are from Chinese hair. Indonesian hair is less costly and found in greater supply, which makes it perfect for ethnic style wigs. Indian hair has thinner denier, very similar to European, but contains a little more texture. European hair is more expensive due to its limited supply, but it is the most sought after for its fine denier.
The processing technique also plays a factor in strength, quality, and cost. The chemicals used to sanitize, color strip, and produce different curl patterns are very potent and can affect the integrity of the hair. Higher quality chemicals produce higher quality products and thus higher prices.
When it comes to quality, the human hair is the superior choice. However, it does come with a higher price tag. Another drawback is the maintenance required. Just like with natural hair, it requires some effort and care. Be sure to hydrate and condition the hair weekly to prevent the buildup of naturally occurring oils from the scalp.
Virgin hair, also known as remy human hair, is considered a premium option – more money. This is hair that has not been altered by dyes, perms, bleaches, or harsh washes. In wigs and hairpieces, virgin hair is usually collected with follicles running in the same direction for a silkier, reduced tangle looking hair.
Because of technological advances, it can be difficult to tell the difference between synthetic hair and human hair. The denier and texture are very similar. In fact, with higher quality synthetic wigs and hairpieces, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Synthetic hair is easier and requires little effort. However, with little effort, comes lack of versatility. You cannot style synthetic hair and even “heat friendly” pieces don’t hold their shape as well. Synthetic hair is also less durable than the human hair and, even with proper care, will only last 4-6 months. That being said, it is more affordable and there are several style options to choose from.
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