Choosing the wig that’s right for you can be confusing. There are lots of options when it comes to color, feel and comfort but there are 2 basic categories wigs fall into; synthetic wigs and human hair wigs. Breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of these 2 groupings can help narrow the playing field, making your decision a lot easier. But, before we take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages, the most important difference that simply cannot be stressed enough is in regards to heat. This one factor is so important that I’m going to outline it here, first and foremost, before we get into all the others.
It’s very simple really; synthetic wigs do not like heat. Any heat source will damage the fibers of a synthetic wig. Not only does this mean you cannot blow dry, or curl, or straighten your wig, it also means you must take great care to be aware of the non-obvious heat sources you come into contact with on a daily basis.
The most common heat sources that cause “surprise” damages happens right in your own kitchen. Opening the oven door to check on the cookies, or lifting up a cooking pan’s lid to taste test the sauce can release a burst of heat catching you off-guard. Other surprise sources of heat include the steam from opening a newer model dishwasher, backing up to a nice warm fireplace, or removing meat from the BBQ. If you are buying a synthetic wig, we recommend you buy two, so that you are prepared in case a “whoops” happens. With that said, synthetic wigs do have many advantages.
What are some of the advantages of a synthetic wig?
Synthetic wigs are the easiest wigs to wear and maintain. Often referred to as the “shake and go” wigs. Shorter wigs need only to be taken out of the box, given a quick shake and a fluff and they are ready to go. Longer synthetic wigs also need minimal care before wear with only a little bit of combing and finger-styling needed. The fibers in synthetic wig hairs have “memory,” retaining their out-of-the-box curl and volume even after they’ve been properly washed making them super easy to maintain on your own.
Thanks to technological advancements, synthetic wigs are almost indistinguishable from human hair and even have a bit of a leg up on human hair. Synthetic wigs have some of the most beautiful colorations and blends that never fade. They are light in weight and high in shine. A good quality synthetic wig will last 6-8 months. Most seasoned wearers would recommend having two or three wigs on hand to rotate through giving your wigs a break from constant stretching and allow them time to return to their former elastic shape. Less expensive catalog wigs last only 4-6 weeks before they show their quality. Their luster and life give up sooner, and they are far less comfortable; but sometimes a good choice for those wearers whose concerns are not comfort.
What are some of the advantages of human hair wigs?
Simply put, a human hair wig is like having your own hair. Human hair wigs take just as much work to maintain and style as a person’s own hair. Human hair will need to be shampooed, conditioned and restyled after every wash. Styling requires specialized care and tools only found through a wig professional (and not at a hair salon).
Unlike synthetic wigs, human hair wig coloring does fade over time. Many vendors will say that human hair wigs can be colored and permed but results can vary greatly between vendors. You’ll want to keep in mind that most human hair wigs have already been bleached and re-colored with a carbonized coloring technique that is not compatible with most grocery store coloring products. Meaning a coloring mistake could become a costly mistake if a coloring endeavor goes wrong.
While human hair does require more maintenance than synthetic hair, human is more durable, and a bit heavier, and the most natural looking option available. Human hair wigs are a great choice if you are wanting flexibility in styling options, the most natural look available, and a longer lasting wig (about 5 years depending upon the care and maintenance).