Quite a few good questions to start us off – this one sent through our Facebook page is the one we’re answering this week.
“Will you explain the difference between human hair and synthetic hair in wigs?” – Kelly S.
Great question, and an important one when considering how to use and work with wigs and hairpieces.
Human hair, as the name suggests, is hair that is cut from the head of a person, for the purposes of wig or hairpiece making. This practice of selling or donating one’s hair for wig or piece making is a very old one, and there have been many eras in history when wearing wigs or hairpieces was pretty standard practice, whether made from one’s own hair or someone else’s. These days the hair buying trade tends to be less localized – Jo March would probably have a harder time raising money for he family by popping into her neighborhood barber shop. Because it comes from real people, human hair tends to look and behave like, well, real hair. There are good and bad points to this, of course.
Synthetic hair is made by machines, using a plastic that is shaped into fine strands. There are various qualities and types of synethic fibers, some are quite lifelike and will withstand heat tools and styling – others are more artificial. The range of choices on the market is much broader than it was even a few years ago, so both wig makers and wearer’s alike have more choices.
Those are just a few of the key differences between human hair and synthetic hair. Not every point will hold true for every example, of course, and many of the drawbacks to either can be mitigated with proper care and handling. When we talk with a client, we try to determine how they’ll use their wig and what their expectations and needs are, so that we can suggest the best materials for their needs – in many cases, either fiber can be a good choice, and it will often come down to budget or maintenance concerns, as well as how the pieces will be styled, and what the desired aesthetic is
. If you purchase a wig or hairpiece, whether custom made or mass produced, always be sure to ask about the differences if you’re uncertain, and voice any concerns you may have about using the piece – that way, you’ll know you’re making the right choice.
Be ready next Friday with your questions – we’ll keep all the questions submitted on file, and will try to answer those in the future, as time allows!
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