A Beginner’s Guide to Faux Hair

Chances are that if you’ve ever scrolled social media for hair inspiration, you’ll already have seen the transformative magic of weaves, hair extensions and wigs at work, allowing celebrities and influencers to make seemingly sudden, chameleon-like changes to the appearance of their hair.

Products such as these can change your overall look in an instant, allowing you to change the color, texture or length of your hair without the commitment involved in bleaching, haircuts or permanent dye. If you’ve been longing to try a new look, this guide to wigs and weaves is for you.


Typically bought from outlets with a specialty in virgin hair (hair that is unprocessed and untreated, usually originating from Asia), premium hair bundles consist of bunches of wefts tied together. These are normally used for making weaves, which we’ll go into a little more details about next.


Contrary to what some might think, weaves are not the same as hair extensions. The primary difference is that weaves are sewn onto flat cornrows to create the new style. The time required for this process ranges between around two to six hours and lasts for up to ten weeks.


Hair extensions are normally sewn, clipped or glued onto existing hair using adhesives such as keratin bonds. While glued or sewn-in extensions require a little more commitment, clip-ins offer a more versatile alternative that you can remove and readjust to your liking.


Perhaps the most well-known of all faux-hair types, wigs are complete units made from either synthetic or human hair that can be worn or removed with ease. Some varieties of wig include:


  • U-Part: Known for its U-shaped opening, this style enables users to blend in the front of their own hairline for a more natural look.
  • Frontals: Similar in function to U-Parts but slightly different in design, frontal wigs feature a single piece that covers the front of their hairline to create different partings or bangs.
  • Lace-Front: Made using hair tied through a lace cap, this style of wig is well-known for its durability and realistic appearance.
  • Synthetic: While these cannot be dyed, heated or manipulated in the same way as other styles (with the exception of some heat-resistant fibers), they are typically cheaper, and many come in vibrant and fun fashion colors.

A good wig should fit securely to your head and have a natural sheen to it, while poorly made ones will often have fibers that are rough in appearance and (regardless of whether they are a fashion color) do not look like natural hair.

Hair Tips

Whether you are considering a wig, weave or another similar product,  remember that human and synthetic hair both have their pros and cons. While human hair tends to be more durable, styleable and natural looking, it’s also comparatively more expensive and higher maintenance.

By comparison, synthetics tend to be less durable, lasting between four to eight months or three to eight months for heat-resistant wigs. That said, they can be worn straight from the box and many are surprisingly realistic (top tip: a light mist of dry shampoo can help to mattify overly-shiny wigs).

The style you choose depends on the level of commitment you are happy making, but with proper upkeep and styling, a brand-new, natural-looking style can be yours.

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