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Synthetic Wigs vs. Human Hair Wigs: What’s The Difference?

Wigs are a great item for any woman to have in her beauty arsenal. They’re great for protecting your natural hair and allowing it to grow out, and they’re a lifesaver for women who suffer from any number of hair and health issues. If you’re new to purchasing wigs, you may realize that there are countless options to choose from. With so many choices to make, it may be confusing or intimidating.

The most pressing decision for you to make is probably the most important one: synthetic hair wig or human hair wig. Either choice is a great one, depending on your particular lifestyle and circumstances, but how do you know which one is best? Here’s what you need to know about the key differences between synthetic hair wigs vs. human hair wigs. 

Synthetic Wig Benefits

You may have heard that there are no benefits to purchasing a synthetic hair wig, but this is not completely true. Wig-making has seriously improved over the years, with more and more high quality hair wigs appearing on the market. There are actually a number of benefits to purchasing a synthetic wig:

  • Requires less maintenance – Human hair wigs have to be styled and re-styled, but synthetic wigs maintain their style – simply wash, dry and let the wig do its thing. Style retention is a major benefit for those who want a consistent hairstyle without having to get it done. 
  • Offers wide range of options – Wigs are offered in an almost endless range of styles, colors, and comfort features, so with a bit of shopping around, you can find something that’s just perfect for you. 
  • Pre-styled for convenience – Because wigs come pre-styled, you can quickly try on hairstyles and easily reject them if they don’t work for you. 
  • Keeps its style in the heat – Synthetic wig fibers are resistant to heat, so they won’t frizz on hot and humid days like natural human hair does. 
  • Inexpensive – Synthetic wigs tend to be cheaper than human ones, so if you’re trying to save on cash, a synthetic wig is probably your best bet. 

Synthetic Wig Drawbacks

  • Prone to heat damage – Human hair wigs can withstand blow dryers and curling irons, but a lot of synthetic wigs cannot. Any source of direct heat with damage your synthetic wig, unless it’s a heat-friendly wig.
  • Can’t be restyled – The style you buy is the style you’ll keep, so if you’re looking to change your hairstyle more frequently, you’ll probably want to try a heat-friendly or human hair wig.
  • Can’t be recolored – Hair dye won’t adhere well to synthetic hair fibers, so if you’re a color junkie, try a human hair wig.
  • Can look unnatural – Some synthetic wigs have an unnatural-looking shine, making it obvious that you’re wearing one. If you want the most realistic look, find a high quality synthetic wig or opt for a human hair wig instead.
  • Shorter shelf life – Synthetic wigs don’t last as long as human hair wigs when faced with everyday wear and tear. With daily wear, your synthetic hair wig will last about 4-6 months. 

Human Hair Wig Benefits

  • Looks more natural – Human hair wigs look, move and feel like human hair should, making it harder to tell that it’s a wig.
  • Can be styled using heat – Human hair wigs can withstand heating tools like curling irons and flat irons, as long as they are used properly and sparingly. 
  • Available in a variety of textures – This is especially beneficial if you’re looking for a wig that looks similar to your own natural hair.
  • Long-lasting – Can last a year or even longer with proper care and maintenance.

Human Hair Wig Drawbacks

  • Requires more effort – Human hair requires more maintenance in order to last long, so if you don’t want to put a lot of time and energy into maintaining your hair – meaning washing, conditioning, and restyling – a synthetic wig may be more appropriate.
  • Requires styling – Human hair wigs come in a number of textures but they don’t come pre-styled the way a synthetic wig would. Either you or a stylist will have to restyle the human hair wig when necessary. 
  • Tends to be more expensive – Because the strands are harvested from human heads, they’re less readily available and therefore more expensive than a synthetic hair wig.
  • Susceptible to weather –  Human hair wigs can get frizzy in hot and humid weather, so if you need to maintain a perfect style in a humid climate, human hair wigs may not work for you.