The Difference Between Real Hair And Synthetic Hair - Does It Actually Matter?

The world of hair extensions is only continuing to grow and with the growth comes a large variety of materials being used to create hair extensions as well as new styles hitting the market. What once felt like something only celebrity A-listers could get their hands on is now a global sensation available to everyone and anyone! The secret to thick, long healthy looking hair you see on your favourite celebrities and influencers is human hair extensions, we promise you! 

However, there's something in the hair extensions market you should look out for on your quest for hair that's going to blow your mind and last you a long time - synthetic hair extensions. Now, if you're after something you are only going to use once and don't need a heated tool to style, well than synthetic hair extensions are for you!

This blog is all about noting the difference between real human hair extensions from synthetic and does the difference really matter?  

Does the difference matter?

That's a firm, underline and bolded - yes!

When you see a set of hair extensions claiming that they are human you can assume they are either Asian, European or Indian hair. However, there are different grades of human hair extensions and this depends on how the hair has been collected, sorted and treated - Hey Stacey uses 100% remy human hair which we will further explain below as to what that actually means. It's good to note that remy human hair is the most common type of human hair used in hair extensions and other hair pieces available.

What exactly is remy human hair? Remy hair refers to when the hairs cuticle used in hair extensions remains intact, hasn't been stripped and in aligned in one direction. This process is what makes hair extensions remain smooth, shiny and tangle-free because it mimics your natural hair. The hair is safely chemically treated during manufacturing for its colour however apart from that the hairs integrity remains. Remy hair is the most sought after because it's the closest to your natural hair as it contains the one protein your hair is known for, keratin. 

What about synthetic hair?

Synthetic hair extensions are made from a large variety of artificial materials and contain absolutely no human hair at all - you shouldn't be surprised if you find synthetic hairs mixed with human to fill in gaps and have the set of hair extensions seem thicker. Common materials can be acrylic, polyesters and nylon which are heated and put through micro-tubes to mimic the look and feel of natural hair strands. Since synthetic hair is made from artificial materials, there is a high risk that the hair extensions may never really look or feel like human hair, instead it can feel really stuff and move as such - not to mention they smell heavily like plastic. Don't even get us started on the unnatural shine that makes it VERY noticeable when worn.

When purchasing hair extensions and you want to avoid purchasing synthetic hair extensions, look out for the three materials:

  • Vegan synthetic fibre 
  • NextGen faux fibre
  • 100% high heat synthetic fibres

The names may sound fancy but they're anything but fancy when it comes to hair extensions! If you're someone that uses heated tools, synthetic hair extensions will not work for you because you'll find the hair will melt. Always read the fine print and do your research when purchasing hair extensions.

You'll find the average lifespan for synthetic hair extensions is 1-3 months, some even less where in comparison human hair extensions can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months, even longer if well taken care of. 

What is the cost difference?

Probably the only pro of synthetic hair extensions is the lower price. Because of what synthetic hair extensions are made of such as plastics and other artificially processed man-made materials, grants for a lower cost to produce. BUT, don't be fooled by the lower price because synthetic hair extensions will need to be replaced way more frequently in comparison to human hair extensions. So even though human hair extensions have a heavier price tag, it will be more cost efficient in the long haul because they will last you longer without needing to be replaced as often. Quality over quantity as we like to say.

Can you use heated tools with synthetic hair extensions?

Nope. You most certainly cannot. When you purchase synthetic hair extensions, what you see and buy is what you get. Some synthetic hair extensions come to you pre-styled with curls or waves but apart from that you are very limited to styling with heated tools. Applying heat to synthetic hair will cause for them to melt and become damage even though there are some synthetic fibres that can handle higher temperatures. However, human hair extensions are made with human hair so that means you can style your hair with heated tools just as you would to your natural hair on your head. Don't forget your heat protectant, you want to protect your hair extensions from heat regardless if they are human or not.

Same rule applies when using styling products with synthetic hair extensions - build up will occur and it'll quickly turn into a nightmare. Styling products is one of the main reasons hair extensions become tangled and knotty and because you can't wash synthetic hair extensions, this makes it hard to remove if you do use styling products. Human hair extensions however, can be washed and be rid of any styling products from your last use and bounce back good as new. 

Can I dye synthetic hair extensions?

No. As we mentioned, the materials used in synthetic are made with plastics, polyesters and nylons or other artificial fibres that cannot be chemically treated. Don't be surprise if they practically fall apart in your hands. Human hair extensions on the other hand can be dyed darker to better match your hair if need be but we don't recommend trying to lift the colour using bleach because this will drastically dry out your hair extensions stripping it of vital nutrients. 

Same rule applies when washing - synthetic hair extensions will result in a tangled, knotty mess that cannot be saved however, human hair extensions will survive and continue to stand the test of time if washed correctly. We cover all the bases on how to wash your hair extensions in our blog

Last but not least, synthetic hair extensions don't look natural! From far away they can pass as human hair but after closer inspection you'll notice the Barbie like artificial fakeness - no one wants that. Not to mention, the more you wear synthetic hair extensions the more tangled they become which makes them look noticeably fake.

With all that being said, we hope we don't say bias when we say human hair extensions are worth the investment because you'll get more bang for your buck. It may seem like a hefty bill first up but you find yourself purchasing more synthetic hair extensions to replace your old ones much quicker than you would if purchasing human hair extensions. 


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