How to Test Hair Pieces to See If They Are Human Hair or Not

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Human hair wigs are softer, longer-lasting and more comfortable than synthetic wigs. They are also considerably more expensive, which might lead an unscrupulous wig-maker or wig seller to mix human and synthetic hair in a wig. Before buying a wig or hairpiece, you should test the hair to see what a wig is made of. Finding out if a wig is made of human or synthetic hair is easy and the test can be completed in a matter of seconds.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Strands of wig hair
  • Tweezers
  • Lighter

Snip a couple strands of hair from different parts of the wig or hairpiece. If synthetic and human hairs have been mixed, testing one part isn’t enough.

Hold a strand of hair in the tweezers. Put a lighter flame to the end of the hair to ignite it and then pull the flame away.

Pay attention to the smell and the way the hair burns. Human hair has a distinctive sulfuric odor. When it is lit, the flame will flicker out quickly unless you continue burning it and the ash will be powdery.

Watch how synthetic hairs burn. Synthetic fibers will continue to burn up quickly after you’ve taken the flame away. Polyester hair burns and melts at the same time, has a slightly sweet smell and leaves sticky beads on your fingers. Nylon hair smells like cooked vegetables and will burn up quickly with a sparkling flame, leaving hard beads behind.

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