Real vs. synthetic hair extensions: does the difference matter?


Hair extensions have come a long way, from spotting obvious faux hair on red carpets in the 2000s to high-end fashion extensions that blend flawlessly with natural hair.

Nowadays, it is uncommon to see celebrities, influencers, and TikTok stars without hair extensions as part of their everyday style. We don’t blame them.

Hair extensions are the most obvious and quickest way to get from ‘Nah’ to ‘yah.’ While most women favor natural hair extensions, some swear by synthetic clip-in hair extensions. Both types of hair extensions have advantages and disadvantages.

Does the difference matter?

The short answer is a big yes. See, real hair extensions are made of human hair and manufactured from various human hair types, including Indian and Vietnamese hair.

Although there are several grades of a human hair according to how the hair has obtained, handled, and sorted. But for the sake of this blog, we will focus on real Remy human hair because it is the most affordable and widely used form of human hair for hair extensions, wigs, and other hair items.

What exactly is Remy’s human hair?

Remy’s hair is hair with the cuticle (outermost layer) intact, not stripped, and aligned in one direction. This process ensures that the hair remains smooth, lustrous, and tangle-free for the duration of its life.

The integrity of real human hair extensions is preserved from the collection process until it has sold to customers. This not only results in the most natural finish, but also offers a slew of additional benefits, including styling versatility and longevity.

What exactly is synthetic hair?

Synthetic hair curly extensions are created from a variety of synthetic materials and do not contain any human hair. They have constructed of acrylic, nylon, or polyesters that are heated and sent through small microtubes to replicate the look and feel of hair strands.

Since synthetic hair comprises artificial material, it will never look exactly like human hair, may be stiff or move differently, have an unnatural gloss, and be more conspicuous as a hair item.

How do I tell if I’m buying synthetic hair from a different company?

While there are many popular methods like burning the ends of the hair to detect the smell of burning plastic. It is already too late because you might have unknowingly purchased synthetic hair. So, to help you make a well-informed purchase, you can follow this tip that has often overlooked.

Okay, synthetic hair extensions are also known as:

  1. Japan’s vegan synthetic fiber
  2. 100% high-temperature synthetic fibers
  3. The faux fiber of the future

All of them are fancy ways of saying “artificial fibers.” Some businesses may also advertise their synthetic clip-in hair extensions as heat resistant. However, synthetic hair extensions cannot heat styled unless you are using very low heat since they will quickly deteriorate. Make sure to read the small print to avoid being duped.

What are the costs of synthetic hair extensions?

The biggest benefit of synthetic hair extensions is their inexpensive cost. Since these extensions are made of plastics and other artificially processed materials, they are inexpensive to manufacture.

However, buyers beware!

Although synthetic hair extensions are less expensive, they must replace more frequently than real hair extensions and may cost you more in the long run.

For example, say you have bought real hair extensions for $100 and synthetic hair extensions for $50. With real hair extensions, you can easily get 8 washes in a year, and the hair quality will still be better than 2 washes of synthetic hair extensions.

Unlike real hair extensions, which can easily last up to 12 to 24 months, you will have to spend more on replacing synthetic hair extensions every couple of months. Isn’t the investment in superior quality extensions that stay longer and look better worth it?

What is the lifespan of synthetic hair extensions?

Synthetic hair extensions have an average lifespan of 1-3 months. On the other hand, real hair extensions can last up to a year or longer, depending on how they are used and cared for.

Can I use heat-style on synthetic hair extensions?

The short answer is no. What you see is what you get with synthetic clip-in curly hair extensions.

Some hair extensions are pre-styled with curls or waves, and you are restricted to this look. Adding heat-styling into the mix will result in melted and damaged synthetic clips in hair extensions. While certain synthetic fibers can endure higher temperatures. They are still no comparison to natural fibers in real human hair extensions.

Since real hair extensions are constructed of human hair. They can be fashioned just like natural hair using heat-styling tools and other hair devices.

How versatile are synthetic hair extensions?

The answer is not at all. As mentioned above, you can’t heat style synthetic hair extensions; you’ll have to wear them as they come. So you have limited to one hairstyle until you replace it.

Is it okay if I use styling products on synthetic hair extensions?

The answer is a big fat no. One of the primary causes of matted and tangled hair extensions is product accumulation. Synthetic hair cannot washed to eliminate this buildup; however, real hair extensions can.

Using styling products on synthetic hair extensions will substantially reduce their lifespan and is not recommended.

Is it safe to color synthetic hair extensions?

Again the answer is, you guessed it, no. Plastics, nylons, polyesters, and other synthetic fibers cannot chemically treat. If you color them, they will most certainly come apart in your hands.

On the other hand, real hair extensions can color darker to match any changes in the color of your natural hair. They can also dye in balayage, ombre, or other trendy hues like pink pastels!

Do they look realistic?

This is soft, not really. While technology has advanced to the point where certain synthetic hair extensions can appear to be close to the real thing, upon closer scrutiny. They will appear to be different than your actual hair. Plus, as the extensions begin to wear out after a few wears, they will become even more obvious to be false.

Can I wash them?

Nope. This will merely result in a tangled mess of synthetic clip-in hair extensions.


It is tricky to know where to begin when shopping for hair extensions. With so many styles, colors, brands, and hair extension types, purchasing one for the first time might be daunting. Understanding the distinctions between real hair extensions and synthetic is a fantastic start when looking for the perfect extension.

In a nutshell, investing in human hair extensions is by far the best option rather than replacing synthetic hair extensions every couple of months.

Look no further than Indique Hair if you are ready to get yourself the finest human hair extensions. Indique is the go-to hair brand for hand-crafted virgin Remy hair extensions at unbeatable prices.