Which Is Better: Human Hair or Synthetic for Braids

Dreaming of long braided hair is a pretty common thing but growing hair isn’t that much of an easy task. This is where hair extension takes place, a wonder of our time.

But even in the hair extension market, there is a rivalry going on. Human hair or synthetic hair, which one is a step ahead of braiding or for creative hairstyle in general?

In this article, we will be discussing both human and synthetic hair extensions in general and try to draw a clear picture of which one is better to go with. So, without further ado, let’s start the battle.

Types of Hair Extension for Styling Braids

Types of Hair Extension for Styling Braids

When it comes to categorizing, there are two kinds of hair extensions, one is human hair extensions and the other is artificial or synthetic hair extensions.

But apart from the basic categorization, there are various forms of hair extension for styling braids. For example, french braid, box braid, cornrows, crown braid, braid on braid, etc.

After going with your choice of braided hair extensions(human or synthetic), choose the style of braided extension based on your hair type, color, and the look that you want.

The Anatomy of Human Hair Extensions

Anatomy of Human Hair Extensions

Human hair is human hair, simple! This is one of our identical factors. And that is where human hair extensions come from. Yes, human hair extensions aren’t made, but rather collected from real humans

Usually, for making hair extensions, human hair is sourced from India and China. These are the two most common places that supply human hair as a commodity or tool. But China holds the number 1 position as the importer and exporter of human hair. Countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brazil also supply human hair.

There are two kinds of human hair extensions available in the market and these are Remy and non-Remy. The Remy hair extension is the most demanding. The extension in which the hair is sourced from a single source is called Remy. They are very much good in terms of quality and longevity.

What Are the Benefits of Using Human Hair for Braiding

Benefits of Using Human Hair for Braiding

Well, human hair always is a step ahead when it comes to people’s choices. As it has a special place among people, it’s obvious that it delivers more value. Let’s get to know some of those benefits.

1. It’s eco friendly

The most basic yet fundamental part of human hair extensions is that they are not harmful to the environment compared to synthetic hair extensions. As they come from humans, they are natural and after being used for a while, they don’t add any burden to the environmental cycle as well.

2. Gives a natural look

The very first thing that a human hair extension adds is that it provides a more natural look. It blends smoothly (if chosen and applied properly) with your existing hair. Moreover, the silkiness and softness give a lighter and better feel.

3. It lasts long

One of the best things about human hair extension is that it lasts longer than synthetic ones. Usually, a synthetic hair extension doesn’t last more than 3-4 months but human hair in this regard destroys the game as it lasts at least 1-3 years.

Yes, human hair extensions are expensive but they last longer. Moreover, they let you express yourself freely as there is no fear of hair damage. So it’s a win-win deal.

4. Flexibility to style

Human hair extensions can be styled according to your needs. It gives that room for a user and this is the versatile part of human hair extensions. Any styling is possible because human hair extension is more silky, flexible, and soft compared to synthetic ones.

In fact, the texture is also better and they are lighter as well. They are also better sheen for braids. That’s why any form of styling is possible with it.

5. Easy to dye

Another flexibility that human hair extensions provide is that they can be dyed easily. A lot of users prefer going with lighter color extensions so that they can dye them later.

6. Isn’t Allergenic

Usually, synthetic hair extensions cause allergies or trigger existing skin allergies. Human hair extensions don’t do that. As they are fully natural human hair, they don’t act as a triggering tool for allergies.

Things to Keep in Mind

Things to Keep in Mind

Despite all the good things, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind regarding human hair extensions.

The first thing is, though they normally last longer, they can be easily damaged due to heat-styling tools. Heat styling tools can be used but in a very lower setting. In fact, that is also not recommended but you can use that minimally.

Another thing is that, if the extension is not properly worn, it may affect the moisture level of your existing hair. Hair extension is an extra thing. So, it may act as a shield between your existing hair and natural elements (such as sunlight, air, etc.).

So, if it isn’t worn in the way it was supposed to, the basics will go wrong and it will affect the moisture level. That’s why wear your extension properly. Take expert help if needed.

A. Is Human Braiding Hair Extension Suitable for Everyone

Is Human Braiding Hair Extension Suitable for Everyone

Yes, human hair braided extension is suitable for everyone. For most people, there are no issues with that. But there are some things that you may need to keep in mind.

For example, if someone has scalp issues then going with hair extensions may cause trouble. So, if you are someone who has a sensitive scalp, should take the necessary precaution before making any move.

B. How to Maintain the Quality of Human Hair Extensions

How to Maintain the Quality of Human Hair Extensions

You need to take care of your expensive good quality extensions if you want them to last longer. That’s why now we will be talking about the ways in which you can maintain the quality of your extension.

1. Brush the extension

The most basic yet important thing regarding taking care of your extension is regularly brushing them properly will keep with away from matting and unwanted tangles. While brushing, start from the bottom and eventually move to the top.

2. Wash it

The second thing is washing your set of extensions. Use a good quality shampoo in this regard. Make sure you don’t scrub it or rub it unnecessarily.

3. Condition it

To maintain the quality, go with using a good quality conditioner. This will add more value in the maintenance journey.

4. Dry it

Make sure you dry your extension properly. Try to dry it naturally instead of using a hair dryer or things like that. Because extra heat may end up damaging the overall well-being of your hair extension.

If you are in a situation where using a hair dryer is a must, go with the lowest setting possible.

5. Moisture it

Moisture is one of those key things that keep hair extensions healthier. It also provides a shining look. Due to the environment, the moisturizing state of your extension may get damaged. That’s why use a good quality hair oil and oil extension once every single day.

C. Tips for Securing the Ends of Human Hair Extension

Tips for Securing the Ends of Human Hair Extension

If the ends of the extension aren’t secured enough, they are going to create a lot of trouble. Let’s get to know about a few steps in which you can make the ends more secure.

1. Keep sewing the weft normally.

2. When you are an inch away from the end of your weft start making a double knot every time you sew.

3. While sewing, take some hair and keep it straight so that there is enough tension on the weft and you can sew in a better way.

4. At the very end of the weft make multiple knots.

5. Now, from the end of the weft start sewing backward and for an inch of space.

6. Make three knots at the last position where you will finish sewing.

D. Price, Color, and Maintenance

Okay! Human hair extensions are expensive. Like they make you cry for your pocket in terms of pricing. That’s why before making any purchase it’s better to rethink your decision. Because it can be possible that the way you lead your life, spending on an extension won’t be something worth it.

The second thing that you should keep in mind is that if you end up making the decision of going with extensions, be aware of the toil of color matching. The whole point of extension buying will go in vain if you fail to match it up with the color of your existing hair. So, be well prepared for that.

E. Some Misconceptions About Hair Extensions

Misconceptions About Hair Extensions

As we have talked about a few things, let’s get to know about some of the misconceptions about human extensions. 

1. It’s difficult to maintain

Well, this statement isn’t entirely true. Yes, there will always be an extra burden or toil when dealing with extensions as it’s an external thing. But eventually, it gets a lot easier when you get used to installing it properly and taking care of it.

2. They damage your existing hair

This is yet another misconception regarding extensions. Modern-day hair extensions have gone too far. They have a more suitable and smooth design that doesn’t put extra pressure on your scalp. But to taste that advantage you need to attach them in the proper manner in the first place.

3. People will identify that you are wearing extensions

Back in the day hair extensions used to come with bulky clips and things like that which made it obvious for a normal person to identify easily if someone is wearing extensions or not. But now this problem is fading away as the newer generation extensions come with a design that enables a smoother attaching system.

This allows the extension to mix with the existing hair seamlessly and that’s why for a normal guy it won’t easy to identify an extension.

4. It will slow down hair growth

This is yet another common misconception. Usually, extensions are used to make a long hair look. Over time while using the extension, the hair keeps growing and they eventually get a longer hair look without the extension.

So, it’s not true that an extension will harm hair growth. But yes, it has to be applied properly. Otherwise, it may damage the overall well-being of your hair.

F. Does Braided Human hair Extension Cause Itching

Well, technically, it does. Okay, let me explain. The thing is, as you are going with something new, your head and skin need to adapt to it and for that reason, it will need time.

Initially, after attaching the extension, it will itch for a few days because for your skin it’s an unusual experience. But after a few days, it will cope with the extension and the itching will soon go away.

G. Can Human Hair Extensions Be Reused

Yes, human air extension can be used again. Usually, they can be reused at least 3-4 times. But you need to take care of them in the first place. If the quality isn’t maintained, there is no point in reusing it.

In this section, we will talk about how you can reuse different types of human hair extensions. So, come along!

Reusing tape-in human hair extension

1. Get yourself a good-quality tape remover. Apply the remover on the tape and keep it like that for a couple of minutes.

2. After some time gently start rubbing the tape and the tape will come off.

3. To remove the leftover gunk from the tape, apply a liquid bond dissolver.

4. Go with using a dish detergent to remove the leftover oily substance.

5. After getting done with all these things, wash the extension with good quality shampoo and conditioner and then air dry it.

6. Now, apply a new set of bonding tape over the old tape and you’re done. 

Reusing clip-in human hair extension

Reusing the clip-in hair extension is the easiest. The required work is to open the extension before going to sleep. That’s it.

Reusing glue-in human hair extension

In order to reuse the glue-in human hair extension you need to remove the extension properly in the first place. After 4-8 weeks it’s necessary to remove the glue-in extension as it has to be repositioned due to natural hair growth.

H. Disadvantages of Human Hair Extension

Disadvantages of Human Hair Extension

We all know about the good sides of human hair extensions. But despite all the cherry on top kinds of things, there are some drawbacks to using them. Let’s get to know about them.

1. Finding the right color

Human hair extensions bring is the toil of finding the right color. Look, there is no point in using a hair extension if, at the end of the day, it doesn’t match the color of your existing hair.

That’s why finding the right set of extensions that matches your hair is a must. But in a lot of cases, it can be a matter of headache. Because finding the right color extension isn’t that easy. It can often become very hectic but you have to be patient at this point in time.

2. Installing it the right way

Using an extension is amazing only if you can install it properly. Attaching it sometimes can be a painful job. You may need to go to a stylist in the first place for doing that. But going to a stylist to attach an extension may not be an amusing thing for a lot of people.

It’s a must to install an extension in the right way. Otherwise, you won’t get the benefit you were looking for. The look won’t be up to the mark. It may even end up damaging your existing. That’s why prepare yourself and know the basics of installing an extension properly before making any move.

How to Braid with Human Hair Extension

How to Braid with Human Hair Extension

Making a braid with human hair extension isn’t that much of a big deal. It’s pretty simple. You just need to keep a few things in mind and the job will be easily done. Let’s get to know about that.

1. First, install the extension properly.

2. After installing the extension, comb your hair to detangle the hair and blend the extension with your real hair.

3. Now that you are done with detangling and blending, take a portion of your hair and start braiding the usual way.

4. While braiding, make sure you don’t pull your hair too much as it can bring damage to the health of your hair.

The Anatomy of Synthetic Hair

Anatomy of Synthetic Hair

So! We have discussed a lot about human hair extensions. Now it’s time to move to the next page and learn a few things about the alternative, which is synthetic hair.

Synthetic hair is an artificial form of hair extension. It is made of synthetic fibers, usually nylon or acrylic. It’s rougher and more rigid compared to human hair. Human hair on the other hand is softer.

Is Kanekalon Braiding Hair a Good Option for Protective Styles

Kanekalon Braiding Hair a Good Option for Protective Styles

Kanekalon is a kind of artificial braiding hair that is high in quality. It’s a lot smoother, softer, and less plasticky compared to the synthetic hair available in the market.

For protective styles, Kanekalon braiding hair can be a very good option. Because it’s a kind of synthetic hair that is widely available in the market. The best part is, it’s available in different colors and sizes. So, there is more room for variation when it comes to styling.

Does the Weight of Synthetic Hair Affect the Overall Look of Braids

Synthetic fiber hair extension is a bit heavier compared to human hair extension. So, it does leave an impact on your braid.

How the braid is going to lay depends a lot on the weight of the extension. If the extension is too heavy, it may hamper the overall look. It also makes extra tension on the scalp which may end up causing hair fall or discomfort.

Does Synthetic Hair Itch

Synthetic hair may cause itching problems sometimes. It happens because synthetic hair may have some sort of ingredients that may trigger the state of itching when it contacts the skin.

So, yes, it does cause itching. If you are allergenic, keep this in mind.

How to Detangle Synthetic Hair

How to Detangle Synthetic Hair

Synthetic hair may get tangled over time. Don’t worry. We will talk about how you can detangle them in this section.

1. Comb with the right tool

The tools are different for human hair extensions and synthetic hair extensions. That’s why going with the right kind of comb is a must.

Get yourself a good quality comb and gently start combing your hair with it. Don’t put extra pressure while combing as it may hamper the overall health of your hair.

2. Steam your synthetic hair

Another easy way of detangling your synthetic hair extension is to simply steam it with a steaming tool. Though steaming is not that good for the overall well-being of the extension. But it makes the job easier. So, if you prefer steaming, don’t overdo it and keep it in the lowest setting possible.

3. Washing with shampoo

Washing your synthetic extension with a good-quality shampoo is yet another easy way of detangling it. You can wash it once a week with cold water.

When it comes to washing with shampoo, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First of all, it’s a must that you use a shampoo that is recommended for extensions. If it’s not recommended for extensions, it will be damaged.

Another thing is, you need to comb your hair before shampooing it. Because if the knots aren’t properly gone, your hair will be more tangled.

How to Dry Synthetic Hair

Synthetic hair extensions need to be dried after every time you wash it. Blot with a towel after washing it and keep it that way for a few minutes. This will soak in the water from the extension. After that, remove the towel and let the extension air dry naturally.

Can Synthetic Hair Be Styled with Styling Products

Synthetic hair can be styled with styling products. But there is a condition. There are styling products that are made for using with extensions. You can use these kinds of styling products. Regular styling products aren’t compatible with synthetic extensions.

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair

Can You Dye Synthetic Hair

Yes, technically you can dye your set of synthetic hair extensions but it’s not recommended. Dyin synthetic hair extensions isn’t recommended because it may damage their condition of it. You can simply buy a new set that has a different color as they are available at a cheaper rate.

Can You Use Curling Iron and Hot Rollers on Synthetic Hair Extensions

Yes, both curling iron and hot roller can be used. But when it comes to synthetic hair extensions, it’s not fully recommended to use both these tools.

In terms of curling iron, before making any move, make sure you if your set of extension can consume heat or not.

On the other hand, while using hot rollers to style your synthetic hair, make sure you use it in the lowest setting. If you go with a higher setting it may damage your hair. So, keep that in mind.

Types of Braiding Hair

Types of Braiding Hair

There are mainly five types of braiding hair and these are Kanekalon, Synthtehic, Toyokalon, Spectra, and Afrelle. In this section, we will get to know about them one by one.

1. Kanekalon

Kanekalon is a different kind of briaidng hair. It’s artificial but it fits a lot more into the ‘premium’ section. It is also a lot more soft and smooth compared to other extensions that are available in the market.

2. Synthetic

The name speaks for it. Synthetic braiding hair is a kind of braidng hair that is made of synthetic fibers. These fibers are designed such a way that their appearance and texture completely look like natural hair.

3. Toyokalon

Toyokalon is also a special kind of synthetic braiding hair. It’s made from a fiber which flame-retardant. Usually, it’s quite soft and lightweight, and more natural in terms of look.

4. Spectra

Spectra braiding hair is yet another kind of synthetic hair. It’s more on the heat-resistant and tangle-free side. One of its key qualities is that it lasts longer compared to other synthetic hair. It also requires less maintenance.

5. Afrelle

Afrelle is a well-known form of synthetic hair. It’s more lightweight and comfortable. That’s why it doesn’t put extra tension on the scalp which is a pretty good thing. Another benefit of Afrelle braiding hair is that it is resistant to heat. So, you can easily use any sort of heating tools to style it.

Characteristics of Kanekalon Braiding Hair

Characteristics of Kanekalon Braiding Hair

We have talked about Kanekalon a few times above. Let’s get to know about some of its key characteristics.

Usually, it’s pretty lightweight and soft. This makes it more comfortable to wear as an extension.

It’s resistant to heat and hot water. So, both heating tools and hot water can be used to do curls or any other form of styling.

However, there is a pretty alarming limitation with Kanekalon braiding hair. Though it’s resistant to heat, when coming in contact with heat, it releases fume that is very much toxic. It may cause drowsiness and even cancer. So, don’t use heating tools too much with Kanekalon hair.

Can You Use Human Hair and Synthetic Hair Together?

Can we use both human and synthetic hair while styling- this is one of the most commonly asked questions. And the answer is, yes, you can. In fact, there is a special kind of extension available in the market that has both human hair and synthetic hair blended with it.

Potential Drawbacks of Synthetic Hair Extension for Braids

Though synthetic hair extensions are quite cheap and a more flexible option to go with, they have some drawbacks that we need to be mindful of. Let’s dive in to know about some of these.

1. Synthetic hair extension has chemicals

One of the alarming things about synthetic hair extensions is that they have chemicals. These chemicals release toxic fumes when they are heated. These toxic chemicals can actually cause you harm in various ways.

Also, those who have allergies, these chemicals can trigger that when getting in contact with your skin which is surely an uncomfortable state to be in.

2. They Don’t Last Long

Another potential drawback of synthetic hair extensions is that they don’t last long. Though they are quite cheap when it comes to price but if you have to buy a new set frequently then this cheaper rate opportunity won’t mean anything in the long run.

3. They aren’t enough soft

When we compare synthetic hair extensions with human hair, we find that they aren’t as soft as them. This may become an uncomfortable side for someone.

Also, they aren’t light enough in terms of weight. Which may cause issues in maintaining the desired look.

Advantages of Synthetic Hair Extensions

1. The Price

The very first advantage of synthetic extension is its price. These extra extensions are very cheap which makes it very easier for a user to buy. That’s why you can easily go with replacement.

2. Variety of Color

Another good part of these extensions is that they come in a variety of colors. For this reason, you don’t have to worry about dyeing your hair as you can easily get a colored set of extensions.

3. Ability to Style

Synthetic hair extensions can be easily styled with a lot of styling products. But in this case, you can only use the ones that are designed for extensions.

How to Take Care and Maintain Braids Made with Human Hair or Kanekalon hair

Taking care of braids is a must if you want them to sustain. It doesn’t matter whether you use human hair or Kanekalon hair, you have to look after it. To maintain the quality of your braids-

  • Moisture it regularly
  • Wash it with good-quality shampoo
  • Condition it
  • Wrap it with a scarf before going to sleep

When it comes to using shampoo, moisturizer, and conditioner, make sure they are compatible with extensions.


What are some other braided styles that human hair extension can be used for?

Answer: There are a lot of braided styles that human hair extensions can be used for such as cornrows, box braid, braided streaks, bantu knots etc.

Let’s Wrap It Up

So! We are done with our discussion. That was our take on synthetic vs human hair extension.

We hope you can easily make a decision on buying human hair extensions or synthetic hair extensions.

Thank you very much for being with us. Wishing you all the very best.

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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