Where do synthetic hair come from?

Beauty and Fashion

Synthetic hair has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people opting for it as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to natural hair. But have you ever wondered where these synthetic strands actually come from? In this article, we will explore the origins of synthetic hair and delve into the fascinating process of its production.

The history of synthetic hair

Before we dive into the manufacturing process, let’s take a brief look at the history of synthetic hair. The use of synthetic fibers to imitate human hair dates back to the early 20th century. The first synthetic hair, known as Kanekalon, was developed in Japan in the 1950s. Since then, advancements in technology have led to the creation of various synthetic hair materials that closely resemble natural hair.

The manufacturing process

The production of synthetic hair involves a complex manufacturing process that combines science and technology. Here’s a detailed overview of the steps involved:

1. Fiber production

The first step in creating synthetic hair is fiber production. The raw materials used can vary, but the most common material is a type of plastic called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This plastic is melted down and extruded through small holes to form long, thin strands.

2. Coloring

Once the fibers are produced, they are often dyed to achieve different colors. This is done by immersing the fibers in a dye solution, which penetrates the material and imparts color. The dyeing process can be performed using various techniques, such as immersion dyeing or spray dyeing.

3. Texture and curling

To mimic the texture and curl pattern of natural hair, the synthetic fibers undergo additional processing. This may involve heat treatment, where the fibers are exposed to high temperatures to create curls or waves. Some manufacturers also use chemical treatments to achieve specific textures.

4. Cutting and sorting

After the fibers have been processed, they are cut into desired lengths and sorted according to their size. This ensures that the synthetic hair is uniform and can be easily used for various applications, such as wigs, extensions, or braids.

5. Packaging

Once the synthetic hair strands are sorted, they are packaged and prepared for distribution. This includes labeling, quality control checks, and packaging them in appropriate containers or bags for retail sale.

Applications of synthetic hair

Synthetic hair is widely used in the beauty and fashion industry for various purposes. Here are some of the most common applications:

1. Wigs and hairpieces

Synthetic hair wigs and hairpieces are popular among those looking for a quick and affordable way to change their hairstyle. These products come in a wide range of styles, colors, and lengths, allowing individuals to experiment with different looks without committing to permanent changes.

2. Hair extensions

Synthetic hair extensions are often used to add length or volume to natural hair. They can be clipped, glued, or sewn into the existing hair, providing instant transformation. Synthetic extensions are more affordable than human hair extensions and require less maintenance.

3. Braids

Synthetic hair is commonly used for braiding styles, such as box braids, cornrows, or dreadlocks. The durability and versatility of synthetic hair make it an ideal choice for these intricate hairstyles.

4. Cosplay and costume designs

Synthetic hair is a popular choice for cosplayers and costume designers due to its vibrant colors and ability to hold intricate styles. It allows individuals to recreate the hairstyles of their favorite characters or add a touch of fantasy to their costumes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are synthetic hair products safe to use?

Yes, synthetic hair products are generally safe to use. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid exposing the hair to excessive heat, as it can melt or become damaged.

2. How long does synthetic hair last?

The lifespan of synthetic hair depends on various factors, such as the quality of the fibers and how well they are cared for. On average, synthetic hair can last for several months with proper maintenance.

3. Can I style synthetic hair with heat tools?

Most synthetic hair products are not heat resistant and should not be styled with heat tools, as they can cause the fibers to melt or become damaged. However, some manufacturers offer heat-friendly synthetic hair that can withstand low heat settings.

4. How do I care for synthetic hair?

To care for synthetic hair, it’s important to avoid washing it too frequently and use specialized synthetic hair care products. Gently comb or brush the hair to prevent tangling and store it properly when not in use.

5. Can synthetic hair be colored or dyed?

Synthetic hair is not recommended for coloring or dyeing, as the fibers are not porous like natural hair. Attempting to color synthetic hair can result in uneven or unpredictable results.

6. Are synthetic hair products environmentally friendly?

Synthetic hair products are made from non-biodegradable materials, such as plastic. While efforts are being made to develop more sustainable alternatives, it’s important to dispose of synthetic hair responsibly and consider eco-friendly options when available.


Synthetic hair has come a long way since its inception, offering a wide range of styles and options for those seeking a quick and affordable way to change their hairstyle. Understanding the manufacturing process and applications of synthetic hair can help individuals make informed decisions when it comes to choosing and caring for these products.

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