Human vs. Synthetic Wigs & Hair Toppers

human vs, synthetic wigs and hair toppers

I am often asked what are the differences between human and synthetic hair toppers, aka hair systems, and wigs. When it comes to hair toppers, the main reason we use them is to integrate them into natural hair. A topper is best used for someone who has their own hair but experiences hair loss at the top, crown, and sides of the hair. In this case, it is best to use human hair since synthetic hair will not blend well.

Synthetic Hair

Synthetic hair is made of plastic, what happens when heat comes into contact with plastic? It will melt. Although there are different grades of synthetic hair, most do not withstand heat. Even heat-resistant synthetic hair should not come in contact with heat over 300 degrees because it will singe the hair. Also, be careful with an open flame.

The beauty of synthetic hair is that is keeps its shape, it is best for those who are all thumbs when it comes to styling. Synthetic hair has memory, therefore it will keep the intended style, but do not attempt to change the style! Washing a synthetic wig can also present some difficulties, it is best to use a sulfate-free shampoo, or wig shampoo, and allow it to air dry. In many situations, I create a soak bath with the below product, and just dip the wig and rinse with lukewarm water. The Awesome Synthetic Wig Shampoo is tried and true.

In between shampooing, I recommend a wig spray to refresh the wig. I would not rely solely on spraying a wig to clean, but it is helpful. Below is a link to purchase on Amazon.

Keep in mind, most synthetic wigs/toppers are only intended to last 3 to 6 months, after that, the wig may start to fray or look unhealthy.  

When working out your own body heat may cause the wig to frizz, it is just par for the course. I find synthetic wigs to feel uncomfortable on my neck, therefore, a human wig is better suited for sensitive people.

Human Hair Wigs & Toppers

As with synthetic hair, human hair comes in many grades. Virgin (unprocessed), Virgin one-donor, Remy hair, and mixed variety. An unprocessed wig will last the longest, but will most likely be available in dark shades, virgin, one-donor, hair comes from one person, and although it is processed, the hair is resilient and consistent. Inferior hair is collected from brushes, the hair cuticle does not flow in one direction, and can matte easily.

When working work a wig, or hair topper, a high-quality hair texture, and strong cap construction will lead to the wig/topper lasting a long time. Most human hair wigs last one to four years based on at-home care, how often it is worn, and quality. 

Human hair looks and feels natural, it is comfortable to wear and can be undetectable. A human hair wig should be washed at least one time per month, but you will need to style the wig. The less heat applied, the better, it is best to allow the wig to air dry, and curl with rollers or hot rollers. Use thermal heat, flat and curling iron, sparingly. Invest in sulfate-free shampoo, humectant conditioners that promote moisture, and leave-in conditioners.

The downside of a human hair piece is that you will need to take time to care for it, synthetic is easier in that regard. But, you can always have your salon take care of it for you!

Short Hair

I find that synthetic wigs work well for those with short hairstyles, they can be changed out affordably, and are easy to style. Longer hair synthetic wigs tend to be more difficult to deal with, they are very shiny and unnatural looking.

A human hair topper for short hair must be made of high density to achieve a natural look. The average hair topper density ranges from 100% to 120% density, a shorter hair topper should be at least 150% and up hair density. If you cut a low-density hair topper, the base may be visible and the hair will look flat. Pictured is a high-density hair topper on a client with alopecia, she has hair loss at the top of the head, as you can see the look is perfectly natural. We attached the hair topper without glue, tape, or sewing. She can simply wash the topper, use some mousse or gel, and it will fall back into place. Check out the video of this hair topper.

Sensitive Scalps

A synthetic wig is lighter in weight, therefore it can be more comfortable to wear if your scalp is sensitive. Many of our clients who have undergone chemotherapy find their scalp uncomfortable, therefore, we recommend a lightweight synthetic wig.

At Noelle Salon, we are human hair specialists, but we can certainly help with a synthetic wig. We offer free consultations for hair extensions, hair toppers, and wigs. All of our hair toppers are in stock for same-day service. We are experts at application, cutting, and styling.

Hair Extensions Background

At Noelle Salon, they evaluate your natural hair, and listen to the client's wishes on styling, color match, and look. They use human hair extensions like 100% Remy human hair, or Virgin Hair (unlike Bellami hair). Hair extensions can be used for short hair or 24 inches of a full head of hair, and they have worked with different methods like tape-in extensions, clip-in hair extensions, Keratin and enjoy using the Veila Pull-thru method with the Veila Hair Extensions for ease of hair care. Styling can vary from flat iron, natural curl, or curly hair. Whether you are looking for a change of style or look for a day such as a Clip-in ponytail, having a high-quality ponytail extension can mix it up for you. Your natural hair journey with your hair growth can be enhanced with Hair extensions when protective styling is applied, and regular maintenance is used. You can change your hair in one day - feel free to reach out and explore the possibilities.


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