Human Hair vs. Synthetic Hair Extensions: What's the Difference?

If you have been considering getting hair extensions, but unsure what to choose, you are not alone. According to research, the global hair extension industry is worth over 10 billion dollars.

Hair extensions improve more than how you look, they can completely shift how you feel. Whether it is synthetic hair extensions or human hair extensions, they can all improve your image and your well-being.

The only question is, what are the differences between synthetic hair extensions and human hair extensions?

It all comes down to which type is the best hair extension choice for you. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, yet only one will best suit your lifestyle.

Thankfully, we know how important this decision is for you so we created this guide with the answers. Keep on reading to learn about how to find the best hair extensions for you, whether it be synthetic or real human hair!

Know Your Lifestyle Preferences First

Before we cover which type of hair extension is best for you, we suggest that you have clarity on what exactly you want from your hair extensions. This includes cost, need, time, usability, lifestyle, activity level, and more.

For example, let's say you have a busy life, yet want to have your hair looking polished. You need to consider this when you are searching for hair extensions. In this case, synthetic extensions that are already styled will add more convenience to your life, as you do not have to spend the time styling your hair.

On the contrary, if you love taking the time to style your hair, then you may want to choose human hair extensions. This is because you cannot apply styling tools to synthetic hair, or else it will melt. This explains why most synthetic hair extensions come with a permanent pre-style.

What Are Synthetic Hair Extensions?

Synthetic hair extensions have come a long way since the old days when it was obvious that someone's wig was not real. Nowadays, it is very difficult to tell the difference between synthetic hair extensions and real hair.

Perhaps the best benefit of synthetic extensions is that you can wear the hair right away without even needing to style it. The synthetic option usually comes either straight, curly, or wavy. It also comes in many different colours, with many different lengths.

The waves and curls are designed to stay curly, unlike human hair extensions which need to be restyled often. This is because the fibres are created with a "memory" like technology that permanently holds the curls.

This is why synthetic extensions are ideal for situations like movie sets where there is bad weather or the chance of the hair getting wet. There is no frizzing, no sloppy drooping, and no need to "touch up" the hair.

The Downside of Synthetic Hair Extensions

The downsides of synthetic hair extensions are that you have very little versatility to work with. Let's say that you want your hair to be curly one day and then straightened the next, then you would have to purchase two sets of hair extensions.

There are types of synthetic hair extensions that can be styled, however, they are still difficult to maintain the style. Synthetic fibres are difficult to hold.

Additionally, synthetic hair is much more fragile than human hair, therefore, it will not last as long. Regular synthetic extensions can last up to five or six months if you are lucky, and heat-stylable ones will only last two to three months. The better care you take of the hair, the longer it will last.

What Are Human Hair Extensions?

Human hair extensions are the most natural-looking option, so if you want to pretend that the hair is yours, you may prefer this option. For many, human hair is ideal even if it has a higher price point.

There are four main types of human hair extensions:

  • Chinese
  • Indian
  • Indonesian
  • Latin
  • European/Caucasian

Most human hair extensions are made from Asian hair, as it has the thickest strands with the most volume. The same goes for wigs, hairpieces, and other options. The Chinese hair is the hardest to style because of its denseness and is best used with straight hairstyles.

Indian hair is a bit less dense, yet it has a lot of strength with more texture. Indonesian hair is the most affordable type, as it is the most accessible, and has great quality. Lastly, European/Caucasian hair is the most expensive because it is much harder to find.

Contrary to popular belief, the origin of the hair is not the most important factor when purchasing extensions. The most important part is what the company does with the hair once it is cut.

While creating human hair extensions, the cuticles must grow in the same direction. This prevents damage to the hair and is easier to style.

Remy human hair is the highest quality hair on the market, because of the alignment of hair follicles and the low processing they do to the hair.

Downsides of Real Human Hair

The only downsides of real human hair are the cost of the hair extensions. They are significantly higher, but you can style them in any way you want to.

The other downside is that you have to be careful with your choice of styling products that you use. You can only use "extension safe" products on your hair.

Length Of Usage

Another huge determining factor when deciding between synthetic hair extensions and the human hair option is how much use you will get out of them.

As a general rule, synthetic extensions only last around three months, while real human hair can last over one year. While this may sound like an obvious answer, human hair is also much more expensive.

Keep in mind that if you are only using them for the odd night out, the synthetic clip-in extensions will last longer than if you are using them every day.

Learn More About Hair Extensions

Now that you know the differences between synthetic hair extensions and real human hair extensions, it is time to start shopping!

Riri Hair Extensions has the highest quality options for hair, whether you choose synthetic or real human hair.

To learn more about our options, check out our colour matcher to find your perfect match of extensions!


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