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Synthetic or Human Hair Wig - How to Make the Right Choice

Aug 17, 2007
There are two types of wig material - synthetic fiber and real human hair. Most people naturally assume that a human hair wig is necessarily better than a synthetic one, when in fact it is not that simple. The correct choice depends on what you expect from your wig, how you are going to wear it, and how much time can you can devote to caring for it.

Human hair wigs

The majority of human hair wigs on the market are made from Asian hair. Most of it comes from China, although higher quality Asian hair comes from women who live in India or Pakistan. Asian hair by its nature is thick, straight and usually very dark in color. Obviously this hair is great for making straight black wigs, but to make a blond curly wig it has to go through several bleaching steps and other chemical treatments. As a result, the hair gets damaged and a wig that looks great, when new, might become dull in a few months.

The best quality hair for European-looking wigs comes from Eastern European countries, like Poland and Russia. This hair costs more than Asian hair, because in these countries not so many women are willing to sell their locks. Wigs that are made from European hair last longer and feel softer to the touch.

When buying a human hair wig, be sure to find out from where the hair originates. If you are prepared to spend several hundred dollars on a wig, it is best to find one made from European hair. If the wig label says "human hair wig" without specifying the origin of the hair, it is most likely made from Asian hair.

Advantages of human hair wigs:

A human hair wig lasts longer than a synthetic one
A human hair wig is soft and feels natural, to the touch
A human hair wig can styled and dyed, just like your own hair
A human hair wig "breathes", so your scalp won't perspire as much under one

Disadvantages:

A human hair wig needs to be styled after every wash
A human hair wig is expensive

Synthetic wigs

Although you can find hundreds of synthetic wigs styles, not all synthetic fibers are created equally. For example, costume wigs for Halloween are usually made from lower quality fibers - they are cheap and look obviously like a wig. For a Halloween party this is just fine, but for every day use you want a wig that will look like it has grown on your head. Luckily for you, the modern synthetic materials, which are used in top quality designer wigs, can look very realistic.

Go for well known wig brands, like Aspen, Revlon, Norico or Beverly Johnson, and you will get a natural look for an affordable price.

A synthetic wig also has several advantages:

ease of care - the wig keeps its style after being washed
lower price

Disadvantages:

You can't style a synthetic wig with iron - it will burn
A synthetic wig will last only a few months, if you wear it every day

I personally prefer synthetic wigs because I don't wear them every day - only when I want to look different. Also, ease of care is a very important factor for me. So if you want a wig as a fashion accessory or a way to express yourself, then I would definitely recommend getting several synthetic wigs in different colors and styles, rather than just one human hair wig for the same price. But be careful - only go for top quality, more expensive synthetic tresses, otherwise you could be disappointed with your new look.

Synthetic vs. human hair wigs - cost issues

Even a medium-quality human hair wig is going to be more expensive than a synthetic one. This comes down to the availability of material. While synthetic fibers can be manufactured as required, long women's hair, of good quality, is in a limited supply. The best quality human hair, from Eastern Europe, is very rare.

The best quality synthetic wigs usually cost one or two hundred dollars. For a human hair wig the price is much higher - typically over five hundred dollars, depending on the length. However, you can get both types of wig at discount prices from online shops that specialize in discounted wigs. Discount wigs are not at all inferior in quality - they simply aren't the latest models. If cost is an issue, it's always better to buy a best-quality synthetic wig than a mediocre human-hair wig.

If you are still unsure about which wig to choose, though, our advice is to go for a top-quality human hair wig, if you intend it to become your new style and wear it every day. Real hair wigs are definitely the better option for people who need a wig because of hair loss. On the other hand, choose a synthetic wig, if your intention is to have fun with your look and change your image, once in awhile.
About the Author
Tatyana Turner is wig and hair extensions expert and a founder of http://www.WigsGuide.info, an online wig magazine, where you can find unbiased information and pictures of popular wig styles
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