Synthetic Vs Human Hair Extensions: Which Is The Best For You?

A breakdown of the differences between synthetic hair extensions and human hair extensions to aid your purchasing decision
beauty . 22 min read
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Hair extensions have been around for decades but have now become a staple amongst women. This article breaks down the main differences between synthetic hair extensions and human hair extensions so that you can make a better-informed decision when it comes to buying your first set of hair extensions.

Woman Portrait Model
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

What Are Synthetic Hair Extensions?

Synthetic hair extensions are man-made materials created to mimic the appearance of real hair. It is important to note that synthetic hair has come a long way since the overly shiny synthetic hair of the 80’s! With the development of technology manufacturers of synthetic hair extensions can now create fun fashion colours or more natural looks to match your ombre, balayage or highlighted extensions, therefore, creating a perfect blend with your own hair. 

What Are Human Hair Extensions?

Human hair extensions are… well you guessed it! Made from human hair! You will quite often see the word “Remy” attached to this type of extension. Put simply, this means the hair was donated by someone for the sole purpose of creating hair extensions. 

It is important to note, however, that scammers also use this word to try and persuade customers into buying what they think is authentic human hair extensions at a cheap price but more often than not these hair extensions are actually synthetic hair. Keep reading this article to find out more useful information on what to look for when buying human hair extensions as well as my trusted brands of hair extensions.

How Long Do Synthetic Hair Extensions Last?

Typically, synthetic hair extensions can last around 2-3 months, however, this can vary due to the nature of how they are cared for. Synthetic hair extensions are not designed to be worn every day. They are really meant to be used for special occasions or for when you can’t really be bothered to style your hair. The reason for this is because synthetic hair extensions are notorious for tangling and becoming ratty very quickly when worn. Another factor that reduces the lifespan of synthetic hair extensions is heat. Synthetic hair extensions are designed to be worn as is and should not be styled with heat. Now, yes… all brands of synthetic hair extensions state that heat of up to 180 degrees can be used on them but it is not ideal as it causes damage to the fibres as they start to melt with the heat which leads to a mess. Therefore, it is important to select the right style of synthetic hair extensions to avoid this. 

How Long Do Human Hair Extensions Last?

Compared to synthetic hair extensions, human hair extensions can last anywhere from 12 months plus due to being 100% human hair, however, this again depends on the care taken to look after them. A point to note here is that, unlike synthetic hair extensions, human hair extensions can be bleached (although not recommended) and dyed just like your own hair but please be aware that this can alter the lifespan of your extensions. Any damage caused by these methods will be irreversible so it is extremely important that you know what you are doing or if you are not confident enough to cut or dye them make sure you take your extensions to a hairdresser who knows how to cut and dye extensions. 

How To Care For Synthetic Hair Extensions

Caring for synthetic hair extensions is easy. Firstly, you want to make sure that you use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for synthetic hair. Secondly, you want to make sure that you wash your extensions in lukewarm or cold water. Lastly, make sure to use a special detangling brush for hair extensions and not just any hairbrush!

The video below posted by Wigs.Com shows you how to properly wash your synthetic hair extensions.

12 Steps To Follow For Washing Synthetic Hair Extensions

  1. Make sure you have your synthetic friendly shampoo and conditioner to hand along with a towel, a wide-tooth comb and a pant hanger.
  2. Close all the clips on your synthetic hair extensions and gently detangle them with the wide-tooth comb. Start combing from the ends to prevent shedding.
  3. Once detangled, rinse the hair extensions under lukewarm water starting from weft to ends.
  4. Once saturated, squeeze some shampoo into your hand and rub to loosen the product.
  5. Next, rub the shampoo from your hand into the synthetic hair extensions in a downward motion. 
  6. Then rub the shampoo into the wefting in circular motions. 
  7. Rinse your extensions under the lukewarm water from weft to ends.
  8. Once the shampoo has been completely removed squeeze the extensions to get rid of excess water. 
  9. Place your extensions on a towel and blot dry. 
  10. Once you have blot dried your extensions place them into the pant hanger. 
  11. Apply a leave-in conditioner to the extensions and allow them to air dry. 
  12. That's it! You're all done! Now you know how to wash your synthetic hair extensions!

How To Care For Human Hair Extensions

As mentioned before human hair extensions are made of real hair and so need to be treated with the utmost care. Make sure to stay clear of any shampoos that contain sulphates as these actually dry out the hair and fade your colour faster (fading only applies if your hair is dyed) Now you may be surprised or shocked to hear this but many of the shampoos that claim to “extend” or “protect” your hair colour actually do the opposite as they contain sulphates so always make sure to check the ingredients on the back of the bottle before buying. 

Another tip is to always use a heat protectant on your human hair extensions much as you do with your own hair before applying any heat to them as this will reduce heat damage and split ends and will help to keep your extensions in good condition.

Also, be sure to invest in a good quality detangling brush/comb specially made for hair extensions as you don't want to rip out hair from the wefts using just any brush/comb. To remove knots and tangles gently brush through the wefts holding them by the top folded over and slowly working your way from the bottom up. This ensures you don't put too much stress (therefore causing damage) on the hair extensions when you glide the brush/comb down the hair.

Keeping a good, lightweight hair oil is another important hair care tip! Unlike your real hair, human hair extensions do not produce natural oils. Using a hair oil not only helps keep your extensions healthy for longer but also helps to add shine back to the hair this is particularly important if you have been dying or styling your extensions as they will start to look dull, but a little bit of hair oil will make that dullness go away!

If you follow all of these tips you can be sure to keep your extensions for longer than a year.

The video below posted by Luxy Hair takes you through the steps of how to properly wash your human hair extensions so that you can keep wearing them for a long time to come!

21 Steps To Follow For Washing Human Hair Extensions

  1. Before washing, make sure you brush through your extensions to remove any knots or tangles. Work your way from the bottom to the top of the extensions. A wide-tooth comb or soft bristle brush works best for this.
  2. Carefully place the extensions in a bundle similar to how they arrived when you ordered them. This will help to prevent the extensions getting tangled in the clips. 
  3. Fill up the sink with lukewarm water (not too hot and not too cold) and squeeze some shampoo directly into the water. 
  4. Remember that human hair extensions won't get as oily as your own hair because they aren't connected to your scalp. Therefore you don't need to use that much shampoo. 
  5. It is recommended that you avoid using any products that contain sulfates or alcohol and use only products that are recommended for colour-treated hair and extensions. 
  6. You can either choose to tie the whole bundle up together and wash it in one go or you can split the extensions into more manageable sections for washing.
  7. Holding the extensions at the top slowly run your hand down them, gently rubbing the shampoo into them. Make sure to generously dunk them in the water to ensure the entire weft is covered. 
  8. Remember you don't want to tangle the hair so use light and gentle strokes to wash the hair thoroughly. 
  9. Once the shampoo has been washed out completely set the extensions aside on a towel to absorb excess water. 
  10. Some people like to give their extensions a second wash but this is only required where there is a lot of product and hairspray buildup. Instead focusing on the conditioning of the hair is more important. 
  11. Apply a generous amount of conditioner or deep treatment mask to the hair extensions starting from the top and working your way down to the ends. You can use the same conditioner or hair mask that you use in your own hair. 
  12. To help maintain the look and feel of soft, shiny, and healthy hair it is recommended that you use a deep treatment mask and leave this in the hair extensions for 1 hour or overnight, depending on how much time you have.
  13. If you choose to leave them overnight then be sure to wrap them up in a shower cap to keep the moisture locked in. 
  14. Once that time has passed you need to rinse out all of the deep treatment mask. Make sure to wash one weft at a time so that you can make sure that all the product has been removed from the extensions. If you aren't careful when doing this part then you may find that some wefts will retain a greasy residue on the hair the next day once they are dry which isn't what you want. 
  15. Once you are sure that all the deep treatment mask has been washed out, run the extensions under cold water in order to close the cuticle. This will allow the extensions to retain the moisture and will help them look even shinier. 
  16. Gently ring out the extensions to remove excess water. 
  17. It is recommended that you leave your extensions to air dry to avoid damage. However, if you wish to blow dry them then be sure to use a heat protectant spray on them first and then set the blow dryer to cool to avoid any heat damage. 
  18. If you choose to air dry your extensions, lay them out flat on a towel and apply a small amount of hair oil to them in order to reduce any frizz.
  19. Usually, it is not recommended to brush hair while it's wet as the hair has more elasticity to it and can break easily, however, if you want your extensions to dry straight then take a wide-tooth comb and gently comb through the wefts starting at the bottom and working your way up ensuring that any knots and tangles are removed.
  20. By using a heat protectant on your extensions before you apply any heat to them will help prolong their lifespan.
  21. There you go! You now know how to wash your human hair extensions!

How To Blend Hair Extensions With Your Own Hair

The key to getting your extensions to look "natural" is to blend them with your hair. There are a number of tips and tricks and you can try to get them to blend better such as pinning or braiding the bottom layer of your hair up if you have a short blunt cut, curling the hair so that it hides shorter pieces of your hair, or getting your hairdresser to layer them into your current hairstyle. 

The following video by Madaline Pompeii shows you how to seamlessly clip in your hair extensions if you have very short and blunt-cut hair. 

What Is The Best Type of Synthetic Hair?

Kanekalon is regarded as the best type of synthetic hair. Why? because it produces less shine than other man-made fibres such as acrylic or polyester. As mentioned before most synthetic hair brands nowadays offer fibres that can be heat styled.

What Are The Best Brands of Synthetic Hair Extensions?

*All of the brands mentioned are brands that I have purchased from myself and have used and therefore trust. 

1. LullaBellz

LullaBellz Model: Wearing The Hollywood Wave Ponytail In Shade Jet Black

Founded in 2012 this Manchester-based brand is now the leading UK company for budget-friendly and realistic looking synthetic hair extensions. They have made synthetic hair glamourous by providing women with extensions that look like you just got your hair done in the salon! They also carry a wide array of easy to clip-in ponytails, plaits and buns for the girl who is always on the go.

LullaBellz Model: Wearing The 34

This is my favourite brand of synthetic hair extensions. They do sell human hair extensions but I have not personally purchased their human hair extensions only their synthetic hair. They have a wide range of shades and offer other types of hair extensions such as ponytails and buns for those of you who are not looking for a set of extensions. Their extension sets cater for all needs with straight, wavy and curly styles and sell sets with one piece wefts or five piece wefts. 

Price Range: £16.00 - £38.00

How Long Do LullaBellz Extensions Last?

The website states that their hair extensions last for up to 2-3 months providing care has been taken with them. I have generally found that I can use them for a bit longer depending on how often I wear them. It is important to remember that synthetic hair extensions are not designed to be worn every day. 

What If The Extensions Don't Match?

LullaBellz Model: Wearing The 26

If the extensions that you have purchased don't match your hair colour then you are able to return them provided you haven't broken the seal that covers the packet in which the extensions are kept. Most extensions come with a tester piece so that you can see if the extensions match your hair upon arrival without you having to break the seal and being unable to return them in the event that they don't match. One issue with LullaBellz is that they don't currently provide a tester piece with their extensions. Therefore they recommend that you either get colour matched by taking pictures of your hair in natural lighting and sending it to their colour matching team or by ordering a colour ring that contains all the shades that LullaBellz currently offers. 


LullaBellz uses Royal Mail as their courier service and I have to say that I have never had any issues with them. Their orders are always sent 48 hour tracked delivery so if you are desperately needing hair extensions then LullaBellz has got you covered!

2. Krystellie

Krystellie Model: Wearing Beach Waves

Another great UK brand that sells a nice range of shades and different sets of extensions as well as ponytails and fishtail braids. They cater for beginners when it comes to their hair extensions. One negative is that they lack the diverse shade range of LullaBellz. However, the quality is still nice. Their sets range from one piece to eight pieces.

Price Range: £16.49 - £27.49

How Do I Match My Hair Colour To Krystellie Extensions?

Easy. Just take some pictures of your hair in natural lighting (not in direct sunlight as it can be hard to see the true colour and undertones of the hair) and email their customer service team. No matter what time of the day or night Krystellie answers all emails within a 24 hour period, 7 days a week.

Can I Return Them?

Yes, you can. You will need to fill out a returns form before sending your extensions back to them for a refund. Again make sure that the extensions are still contained within the net otherwise you may have voided your return.


Krystellie ships worldwide and offers next day delivery for all UK orders. Their courier is Royal Mail and they aim to deliver your order within 1-3 days. Their website also states that they have standard and premium delivery options for any orders that are based inside and outside the EU. 

3. Koko Couture

A fashion and hair extension retailer that sells its products through its online website and its Amazon store. They offer lots of different shades and sets of extensions and ponytails. They offer a lot of dip dye hair extension pieces for those with an ombre or for those who fancy a change to their hair but without the commitment. One difference is that most of their sets are made up of three wefts. Again, this brand does offer human hair extensions on their main website but I have never purchased them so I cannot comment on how good or bad they are. I have, however, purchased their dip-dye ponytails and really loved those.

Price Range: £4.59 - £20.99

How To Match My Hair?

Krystellie offers a free colour matching service and sells a colour ring if you would like to attempt to match your hair yourself. One interesting feature that they offer unlike other hair extensions companies is that they will provide you with a picture of any requested shade all you have to do is email them. 


Krystellie ships within the UK and also ships to the EU and certain international countries. For UK orders they offer flat rate shipping at £1.50 which takes 2-5 days and is not tracked. They offer standard shipping at £2.50 which takes between 2-4 days and they also offer next working day delivery at £4.50 but they explain the restricted areas of the UK to which this delivery service does not apply. For EU and international countries, their website also lists the exact pricing which goes by weight. They also provide some information about any taxes and fees that you may face if you purchase from there.

What Are The Best Brands of Human Hair Extensions?

*All of the brands mentioned are brands that I have purchased from myself and have used and therefore trust. 

I might consider doing separate articles on both of these brands as there is a lot of information worth sharing that would make this article too long if I included it all.

  1. Foxy Locks

    Foxy Locks Model: Wearing Luxurious 24
    My favourite brand of human hair extensions. They sell a great range of lengths starting from 14 inches all the way to 26 inches with ends being wispy. They have different levels of thickness for all different types of hair and they offer a great range of shades although my one complaint here is that they do not offer a lot of red shades.

    They currently only offer two red shades: Cinnamon Ginger and Mahogany. One of the pros to this brand is that they use “multi-tonal technology” (their wefts contain a mix of light and dark hair strands to blend into hair) to ensure that your extensions will match your hair even if it is slightly off by one shade lighter or darker. This is great for those of you ladies who have highlighted hair and find it hard to match extensions.

    I always recommend asking them to colour match you if you are unsure of the exact match for you. One of the best pros of Foxy Locks is their seamless wefts. They were the first or one of the first brands that started creating their wefts differently from the traditional type of a sewn weft. The new bands that hold the clips and wefts together look more like tape-in extensions and feel more comfortable in the hair and lie flatter to the scalp so for those of you with thin hair you can say goodbye to bulky extensions!

   The price range is amazing and the cheapest of human hair extension brands    - £105.00 - £290.00

Foxy Locks Model: Wearing Superior 22

2. Zala

Zala Model: Wearing 26

This Australian brand was founded in and is unique in that their extensions are double drawn meaning that the thickness of the extensions is the same from the top to the bottom with the ends being a thick blunt cut.

The Ends Of Zala Hair Extensions

Zala’s extensions range from 12 inches all the way up to 30 inches! They also have five piece, nine piece and quad weft sets depending on the type of thickness of your hair. They have the longest hair extensions in the market! Their shade range is great but again the only criticism I have is that they need more red shades. Now Zala doesn’t just sell clip in hair extensions they also sell tape-ins and halo extensions so their price range is quite different from Foxy Locks. 

Price Range: £59.99-£389.99 (for clip-ins)

Price Range: £59.99-£499.99 (for tape-ins)

Price Range: £59.99-£249.99 (for halo)

Advantages of Synthetic Hair Extensions

  • They are affordable
  • They come already styled so it’s just a case of clipping them in
  •  They come in different styles, lengths and shades

Disadvantages of Synthetic Hair Extensions 

  • They can appear too shiny (can be rectified with dry shampoo)
  • They don’t last long
  • They tangle and matt very easily
  • They can’t be dyed or bleached
  • They can’t be styled 

Advantages of Human Hair Extensions 

  • They can be dyed, cut and styled
  • They last longer
  • They look and feel just like your own hair
  • They come in different lengths and thicknesses

Disadvantages of Human Hair Extensions

  • They are expensive
  • They require a lot of TLC
  • They can drop curls like your own hair
  • Damage is irreversible 

Which One Should You Choose?

I wanted to take this part of the article to highlight an issue that I almost never see talked about anywhere online. That issue is with regard to a bad/faulty batch of extensions. 

Now, you may have done some research prior to finding my article or you may have already heard of the brands mentioned from negative reviews on YouTube or on other online sites. I want to try and alleviate the negative thoughts that exist surrounding any brand of extensions by explaining how this issue may be the reason for so many of these negative reviews. 

First let's consider this: There is no one brand that hasn't had a faulty batch of products go out to its customers at one point in time, no matter how successful they may be. When taking this into account I think it is naïve and unrealistic to believe that this will never happen with hair extensions particularly as quality control is done by people and if there’s anything we know about people it’s that people make mistakes. So, to expect that you will always receive perfect extensions (no matter how much a brand promises this to us) is not realistic as there are many factors that go into the process of creating them.

Now, first impressions matter a lot but something that I think we as customers need to remember and should consider when presented with this situation is that there is always a possibility of a bad/faulty batch of extensions being sent to us. Of course, this is incredibly frustrating especially if you have paid a lot of money to have the extensions arrive and they turn out to be faulty, however, it does happen, unfortunately.

Rather than writing off the brand straight away, the better solution is to reach out and alert the brand to this. Now, how a brand responds to this issue is of course a determining factor that will contribute to whether we as customers continue to purchase from them.

However, I think it is important that we do not write off brands too soon without giving them a chance to rectify the problem. Bringing this to the brand's attention will help them to investigate whether it was a one-off or if the entire batch needs to be recalled. Now without this important information, the brand can’t do that.

Negative reviews can certainly highlight an issue but if the problem isn't raised directly with the brand itself via email with the order number and other vital information how can we expect the brand to make the necessary changes? We may think that a negative review will do the trick but it very rarely works as the brand is sort of left scratching its head wondering how it can rectify the issue with little information to go on.

I see this issue a lot where people are unhappy with a brand of extensions and form the opinion that the brand is a scammer but I have to wonder if they even took the time to consider that perhaps they just received a faulty batch?

My point here is that people don't realise the power that leaving a negative review can have not just on others' purchasing decisions but that leaving a negative review and forming the opinion that a brand is a "scammer" without considering the fact that the bad quality is perhaps down to a faulty/bad batch that wasn't checked properly when undergoing quality control, is quite misleading.

To put it simply, negative reviews can be unhelpful and misleading and therefore should not form the sole basis of your judgment when purchasing. Try to find a mix of reviews to reach a more balanced view before making your final decision. Of course, if every single review is negative then avoid the brand but I think a lot of the negative reviews I have seen seem to be as a result of what I think was a bad batch being sent to the customer. It's important to know that you will never find an extension brand without at least one negative review. 

Speaking for myself, I have never had any issue with any of the brands that I have listed in this article, however, I have seen negative reviews for just about every brand of hair extensions that exist and I have come to the conclusion that this is something that cannot be avoided. 

I hope this article has been helpful in not only breaking down the differences between synthetic hair and human hair extensions but in guiding you in the right direction so that you can make the best well-informed decision when it comes to purchasing your first set of extensions. 


LullaBellz (2021), LullaBellz [Online]. Available at (Accessed 29th June 2021)

Krystellie (2021), Krystellie Fashion [Online]. Available at (Accessed 29th June 2021)

Koko Couture (2021), Koko Couture Amazon [Online]. Available at (Accessed 14th August 2021)

Foxy Locks (2021), Foxy Locks [Online]. Available at (Accessed 29th June 2021)

Zala (2009-2020), Zala [Online]. Available at (Accessed 29th June 2021)

beauty . 22 min read
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DMI Certified Digital Marketing Associate studying a BA (Honours) Business Management (Marketing) Degree with The Open University

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