Permanent extensions: Human hair or synthetic?

A common question regarding extensions is whether human hair or synthetic hair is better. From a quality standpoint, expensive, luxury human hair brands are the top-class option. However, like luxury vehicles, not everyone has a need for luxury hair, and — in fact — there are several instances where synthetic hair might be better suited for an individual. This is especially true if cost is a concern, and/or the client wants extensions longer than 22 inches in length. However, for clients that want to bleach/color their extensions, or would prefer extensions with silky, brushable tips, then human hair comes strongly recommended. Brambleroots offers both options for clients to choose from with free consultation to determine which material they may prefer.

Before proceeding to the pros and cons of each material, it’s important to address one popular myth many people have heard: “Synthetic hair can only be worn short term.” Some kinds of synthetic hair are lower-quality and can suffer from prolonged washing and wear. However, a quality brand/type of synthetic hair will be very durable — some people have been wearing their permanent synthetic lock extensions installed on the ends of their locks for more than seven years! So it really is a matter of using high-quality hair and how the wearer cares for it.

Likewise, this is also the case for human hair. Cheap brands of human hair may only last a year. But high-quality brands should last the wearer indefinitely, especially when cared for and kept moisturized. When it comes to human hair, you certainly get what you pay for. Cheap human hair can be scratchy to the touch and can be more irritating to wear than synthetic hair. So while people think that bargain hunting to ensure they get human hair will help them in the long run, it might be better to invest in synthetic hair if the cost of quality human hair is a concern.


Human hair
  • Can be bleached/colored
  • Can be curled (with any temperature of water)
  • High-quality brands are softer than synthetic hair
  • Lighter in weight than synthetic hair
  • Better than synthetic hair for locks with wispy, loose tips
  • Comes in a variety of curl patterns to match the client’s hair
  • Comes in shorter lengths than synthetic hair
  • Very expensive for quality/soft hair
  • Poses ethical concerns for human rights
  • Singes when exposed to flame
  • Dries slower than synthetic hair
  • Cheap hair can have a permanent “chemical” odor
  • Cheap human hair can be heavily treated before shipment to the point where it cannot be bleached or colored.
  • Taper dramatically in long lengths
  • Cheap brands are deceptively mixed with synthetic hair and cannot be bleached or colored
  • Sometimes loop and change shape over the first year
  • Come premade in fewer color variations than synthetic hair (but can be dyed to any possible color)
  • Factory treatment is potentially toxic to the environment
Synthetic Hair
  • Very inexpensive
  • Comes in very long lengths with minimal change in cost
  • Easier to make blunted extensions with
  • Does not pose risks for human rights violations
  • Can be curled (with boiling water)
  • Odorless
  • Certain brands/types are softer than cheap human hair
  • Dries faster than human hair
  • Do not loop
  • Come premade in more color variations than human hair (but cannot be dyed once purchased)
  • Stays vibrantly colored with no dye upkeep
  • Production is potentially toxic to the environment
  • Cannot be bleached/colored
  • Melts when exposed to flame
  • Looks and feels like human hair when you use a quality brand/line
  • Heavier in weight than human hair
  • Some brands lose pigmentation over time
  • Sometimes compress to get skinnier over the first year
  • Some people are allergic to the flame-retardant coating on the hair (but it can be stripped off)
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