Is a Human Hair Wig Right For Me?
“When making a decision of importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons.” Sigmund Freud
The LA Wig Company would like to help guide you through some of the advantages and disadvantages of human hair wigs and how best to make an informed decision. Synthetic or Human Hair? Which is perfect for you? The answer may of course be both. Different every day situations lend themselves to different products as you build your wig wardrobe.
What are Human Hair Wigs?
Human hair has been used by wig makers around the world for centuries and today remains the material of choice for those wig buyers who are looking for the closest to a real head of hair. Human hair is sourced from around the world although it originated from India, China, Indonesia and Brazil. In India (the world’s largest exporter) the hair is mostly harvested during Hindu rituals. Women and men’s hair is voluntarily sacrificed and donated to temples by complete shaving of the head, a process known as tonsuring. The highest quality of hair has never been cut, bleached or colored, and has been carefully sorted to ensure the direction is correct.
Human Hair Options:
When considering the pros and cons of human hair wigs it is important to start with the fiber itself because not all human hair is the same. Human hair wigs today are often characterized by the source and untreated nature of the hair used to make the wigs.
- Virgin Remy Hair: Virgin Remy hair is the highest quality of human hair. Virgin hair is natural hair that has not been dyed, colored, bleached or chemically treated in any way. It comes from a single donor and there has been no damage to the cuticles or to the true structure of the hair, so the cuticles are intact, running in the same direction.
- Remy Hair: Remy is a term used to describe wigs or hair extensions where the hairs all point in one direction: roots at the top, ends at the bottom. It is the natural way that hairs flow on your head and, therefore, is much less likely to become matted or tangled. Remy hair can be colored or treated to achieve a certain style. Any hair type (European, Indian, Brazilian, etc.) can be Remy.
- Asian Hair: Asian hair is typically thick, strong, straight, black or very dark brown in color. It can withstand chemicals and heat better than other types of hair. It is ideal for straight wigs or extensions that don’t hold curls.
- Indian Hair: Indian hair is the most versatile and exceptional hair. The texture is shiny and silky soft with subtle wave. It can be easily waved and curled, but it is not as strong as Asian hair.
- Brazilian Hair: Brazilian hair is denser than Indian hair, and tends to be smoother, shinier, thicker and heavier. Some of the curly patterns have coarse textures. The hair tends to be less consistent in texture than Indian Remy hair.
European Hair: European hair is of a smaller diameter and comes in a variety of colors and textures. It’s often light, shiny and silky soft, with a very natural feel to the touch. European hair is in short supply therefore is higher in price than Indian or Asian hair.
Most manufacturers will not specify the exact origin of the hair in their human hair wigs. Generally most will be referred to as either “Remy Human Hair” or just “Human Hair”. Most are Asian or Indian hair which allows for better coloring and styling retention. One clear exception are the stunning Princessa and Contessa from Raquel Welch which are 100% European Hair.
Pros of Human Hair Wigs
Human hair wigs are still considered to be the most desirable. The differences are subtle but distinct for discerning consumers.
- Natural Look: Wigs made from human hair look the most natural and are the closest to bio hair. Human hair has a natural sheen and texture to it. It flows, settles and moves like real hair and this is something that synthetic designers have struggled to perfect. Remy hair, with the cuticles running in the same direction, is the closest alternative to bio hair and comes with the best natural look.
- Natural Feel: Only a human hair wig feels like natural hair… again because it is. There are, of course, variations of natural feel with Remy Human Hair again proving to be the closest to the real thing.
- Styling: Human hair can be cut, colored, heated and styled just like bio hair. Curl it, perm it, part it, twist it or texturize it with curling irons, straightening irons and blow dryers. Add color or highlights! The styling options are endless and the human hair will mimic real hair to support limitless creations. Cutting a wig can be done but be reminded that it will never grow back and color-treatment by a professional colorist is doable but comes with similar perils.
- Heat Resistance: Human hair is very strong and can tolerate heat well. Wigdom is rife with horror stories of synthetic wig accidents and melted hair. Human hair will stand up better.
- Longevity: Human hair is more durable than its synthetic counterparts and as a result will last longer. It is estimated that human hair wigs will last 3 times longer and with the right care and maintenance can be worn up to 8 years. Good care and maintenance is the determining factor here. If you plan on wearing a wig every day, a human hair wig is likely the best choice.
- Comfort: Although this is largely a determinant of the wig cap, it is often felt that human hair reflects light naturally and “breath” better than synthetic alternatives. The result is a cooler fit and less perspiration.
Cons of Human Hair Wigs
As with anything, there are drawbacks. However few here are some things to consider about human hair wigs:
- Price: Human hair wigs are higher priced without a doubt. Prices for Human hair wigs at the LA Wig Company start at around $600. Sometimes the factor is 3-5 times versus a moderate priced synthetic wig. If lace fronts and monofilament caps are requirements then this factor will be more like 2-4 times. The reason for the price difference is that the fiber sourcing, sorting, preparation and manufacturing of human hair products is more involved. It is often wise to consider the extended life of the human hair wig versus the synthetic wig (3 times) when calculating the true cost difference. At the end of the day the cost difference over time may not be as big as imagined.
- Care: Like regular hair, human hair wigs require daily styling which can be time consuming. The hours in front of the mirror, while pleasurable for some, may not be always possible. For those with fatigue as a result of chemotherapy, the practicality of a ‘shake and wear’ synthetic wig far outweighs the pleasure of styling. There is something to be said for a wig that holds its shape and styling and for many ‘convenience’ is the important factor when purchasing a wig.
- Long-Term Damage: Like anyone’s own natural hair, a wig made of human hair can become damaged and split over time from repeated brushing, heat styling, and color processing. This is why it is best not to color a wig very often, if ever. Unlike real hair, which can grow out and replenish itself, damaged hair on a wig is permanently damaged.
There are pros and cons of human hair wigs. The decision to purchase a human hair wig is often determined by the circumstances of the client. If convenience is the primary decision factor then perhaps a human hair wig is not the right solution. A shake and wear synthetic wig is ready to wear in seconds and will keep its styling from wear to wear. If the look, feel and the styling versatility of the piece are primary then certainly the human hair wig becomes the right solution. Most importantly, don’t mistake price from cost when it comes to your decision. If a human hair wig costs 3 times that of a synthetic alternative and has a life expectancy of 3 times then the cost of the two purchases is exactly the same. Above all… explore your options. It could be human hair and it could be synthetic… it could be both. Enjoy the exploration.
Where to Buy Human Hair Wigs:
The LA Wig Company is an online wig boutique that specializes in the best quality products from the most respected manufacturers at the best prices. We carry an inventory of dozens of human hair wigs from Jon Renau, Noriko and Raquel WelchShop Human Hair Wigs at LA Wig Company