"Human Hair Wigs vs. Synthetic: What You Need to Know."

April 18, 2024


With modern advances in synthetic wig manufacturing, you now have more options than ever before when choosing a wig. Real human hair wigs come in as many varieties and styles as humans can grow.

Synthetic wigs now match that, and add a few more that are not found in nature. This sounds great but has made selecting the perfect wig more challenging. With this article, I hope I can make the challenge of selecting a new wig easier.

How long do real human hair wigs usually last before needing replacement?

How often you wear the human hair wig will determine how long you can expect one to last. To a lesser extent, the environment can also play a role. With daily wear seven days a week for eight to ten hours a day, a human hair wig should last twelve to eighteen months.

How long do synthetic hair wigs usually last before needing to be replaced?

When worn every day of the week for eight to ten hours a day, a synthetic wig will only last for four to eight months. This is with normal maintenance, use, and no abuse.

Notes on Longevity:

You get what you pay for, which is still truer today than not. You can buy a cheaper wig, which will not last as long as a higher quality one that costs more upfront. But with daily wear, human hair wigs simply last longer.

Styling a human hair wig:

One of the most appealing things real human hair wigs offer is the ability to style, wash, condition, and color it like you would regular human hair, which makes sense because it is real human hair. You can use heated styling tools, over-the-counter affordable shampoos, and conditioners. Buying expensive styling and shampoo products designed for wigs is unnecessary.

Styling a synthetic wig:

Most synthetic wigs can not be styled with heated tools. No crimpers, curlers, or straighteners that use heat. In fact, even blow dryers are not recommended to be turned up to high temperatures. All of these can damage most synthetic wigs.

The synthetic wigs rated for heat styling generally cost more than natural hair and still have some limitations.

Most synthetic wig manufacturers recommend special products for cleaning and styling. In my experience, these products cost more than the regular real hair options.

Does human hair still look real when made into a wig?

Anyone who has visited a hair salon or barbershop knows that the hair swept up on the floor after the cut has little resemblance to how it looked before the cut. The good news is that human hair is not harvested for wigs in the same manner as the hair that ends up on the salon floor.

The careful harvesting of human hair for wigs is done ethically and in a way that preserves its quality. Real human hair wigs that are well-made look like they did when they were still growing.

Do synthetic wigs look real?

The simple answer is sometimes. It depends on quality and brand. With some synthetic wigs, it is almost impossible to tell they are not real human hair by looking at them. But the texture of the synthetic hair when you touch it gives it away.

When you run your hand through human hair, it feels smooth and has a unique texture. Only the best synthetic wigs match that feeling, even though medium to high-quality synthetic wigs can look as real as human hair.

How often do you want a new look? Daily, weekly, or only once a year?

Real human hair can be styled every day. If you want one style on Monday and a new one on Wednesday, it's no problem. Real human hair wigs do not form a memory of the style they are in. Once shampooed and conditioned, they can be styled into whatever style you want.

With synthetic hair wigs, the synthetic fibers can form a memory or even crease, making them harder to restyle regularly. Even after washing and conditioning them, they will want to revert to the hairstyle they were in last.

This can be a good or bad trait in your synthetic wig. It all depends on how often you want to restyle it.

Coloring or highlights for your wig?

You can change the color with real human hair wigs when you desire a new look. Even simple highlights can breathe new life into a wig you have grown bored with.

This is not true for most synthetic wigs. Very few of them can be colored or bleached. Highlights are also not usually possible.

Money talks and wigs cost money!

Which wigs are cheaper, synthetic or human hair? We need to consider the initial and long-term costs to understand the price tag for each type of wig.

Up Front Cost:

This is the cost you pay to buy the wig.

Synthetic wigs are almost always cheaper upfront. A few synthetic wigs cost more than real human hair, but only a few. Synthetic hair wigs win this one.

Restyling and Maintenance Costs of the Wigs:

Most synthetic wigs cannot be restyled with heated styling tools, colored, or given highlights, and even those that often require a professional stylist specializing in wigs.

Real human hair wigs can be styled and colored! They also get renewed each time you shampoo and condition them, which means they cost less to own and style. Thus, real human hair wigs win this one.

Life expectancy cost:

This is also known as the replacement cost. It is the cost of replacing the wig.

Remember that synthetic wigs only last four to eight months with daily use. That means you buy a new one every few months, and even at the lower upfront cost, that can add up fast!

Real human hair wigs last twelve to eighteen months and are used daily. That means you will buy three synthetic wigs for the same amount of wear time as you would with one human hair wig.

Human hair wigs won this one.

Bottom Line:

Real human hair wigs are better for daily wear. They offer more styling and coloring options. But they cost more upfront.

Synthetic wigs are best for occasional wear and if you only want one style.

Want to see and feel what a real human hair wig feels like? Stop by a local showroom and see what makes a quality wig special. If possible, pick a reputable dealer with experience and local locations.

I like to swing by Private Label’s Atlanta Hair Store when I have time and check out the new HD Lace Glueless Wigs they have in stock. When I don't have time to stop by in person, the website also has a lot of new styles.


Urban Splatter

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