What Are Hair Extensions Made Of?

by Hope Donaldson
Do Hair Extensions Damage Hair?

What Are Hair Extensions Made Of?

Well we know they look good, but what exactly are hair extensions? Down to the nitty gritty, what are they made of? Keep reading to learn more…

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Everyone is talking about hair extensions. Your best friend wears a clip-in on a night out, your boss just got tapes installed at the salon everyone is on the waitlist for… and you? Well, you want to know the facts before making the perfect purchase.

At Stranded, we know that hair extensions aren’t just a financial investment - they’re an investment in your self-confidence. And whilst we may just seem like a clip-in extension brand, we are committed to building our customers’ confidence and helping educate them on all things hair- that's why we make blogs like this!

So, what are hair extensions made of? In this article, you are going to learn about the different materials that make hair extensions, which looks more natural and the differences between them. By the end, you will feel much more assured in your hair extension decision, and maybe even ready to purchase!

  • Are hair extensions made using human hair?
  • Are hair extensions made of plastic?
  • Are hair extensions made using animal hair?
  • What type of extension hair looks the most natural?
  • What is the difference between synthetic hair extensions and human hair extensions?

Are hair extensions made using human hair?

Yes, some hair extensions are made of human hair. In fact, human hair is one of the most popular and considered the most luxurious of material options, when it comes to hair extensions.

Generally speaking, human hair is optionable with all different types of hair extension methods, including both temporary and semi-permanent extensions. Whilst human hair is often seen as an upgrade from synthetic hair with temporary extensions, semi-permanent extensions are often exclusively made of human hair.

To learn more about human hair extensions, including where it comes from, the different hair grades and why it is more expensive than synthetic hair, read our in-depth ‘Human Hair Extensions: Explained’ article.

Are hair extensions made of plastic?

If hair extensions aren’t made with human hair, they are broadly referred to as synthetic hair extensions. Synthetic just means that the material is man-made, and therefore not natural. Synthetic extensions are often cheaper than human hair, as they can be mass-produced and come from an unlimited source.

Synthetic extensions are typically made of extremely thin plastics, referred to as synthetic fibres or fibre hair. The types of plastics used to make this type of hair often include ‘Acrylonitrile, Acrylic, Polyethylene-terephthalate, PVC, Silicone, Single-filament polyester, Silk and Vinyl’.

As the hair industry develops, synthetic hair doesn’t have as many options as human hair when it comes to the wide range of extension methods. Generally, synthetic hair is only really available for temporary extension methods, such as clip-in extensions and halo extensions. You would rarely find synthetic hair in semi-permanent extensions.

To learn more about synthetic hair extensions, including what they’re made of and the best type of synthetic hair, read Hair Gee’s ‘What Are Synthetic Extensions Made Of?’ article.

Are hair extensions made using animal hair?

This is a tricky question. On paper, hair extensions are not made of animal hair.

Historically, (talking Egyptians to Victorians) animal hair would be used or combined with human hair for wigs and hair pieces, though it isn’t common practice today. There was a trend in the last decade surrounding Yak hair, which is structurally very similar to human hair, though many people were allergic to the fibres and it quickly died off.

However, there have been reports over the last 20 years of companies bulking out human hair extensions with animal hair. More recently, this issue hasn’t been reported and we can hope that this is no longer practice.

We strongly suggest researching your hair extension company and working with reputable retailers when purchasing human hair extensions.

Stranded’s 100% Human Hair, whilst non-remy, DOES NOT CONTAIN ANIMAL HAIR.

What type of extension hair looks the most natural?

In terms of looking natural, the hair industry has grown astronomically, especially when it comes to hair extension materials. These days, you do not have to invest in human hair for your extensions to look natural. Synthetic hair extensions are getting better by the day, with new technology arising to make them look incredibly realistic.

At Stranded, we are proud to have developed our ‘Stranded’s Clever Fibre’; a unique treatment for the fibre of our heat-resistant hair, which has resulted in a product that is almost indistinguishable from human hair.

But that said, if you want extensions that can be treated and styled exactly like your own hair, human hair is the best material to use.

What is the difference between synthetic hair extensions and human hair extensions? 

If you are torn between purchasing human hair and synthetic hair extensions, then I get it! I’ve given you a lot of conflicting information here.

To help you decide, look no further than our handy differences table below:

Human HairSynthetic Hair
More expensiveCheaper alternative
Available in all extension methods, both temporary and semi-permanentGenerally only available for temporary extensions
Looks and behaves naturallyLooks natural, but behaves differently
Prone to styling and heat damageOften heat resistant
Styling can drop naturallyPre-styled with smart fibres to hold a look
Can easily be cutNot recommended to cut

Remember, don’t purchase a product because it’s considered the best. Purchase products that are the best for you!

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What now?

You came to this article because you’re a little like me - you want to know everything you can about a product before spending your hard-earned money on it. But it’s not just your money that you’re investing when you purchase hair extensions - you’re investing in your style and self-confidence!

You wanted to know what hair extensions are made of, and since reading this article, you have learnt all about the different materials that can make hair extensions, which looks more natural and a comparison of the differences between them.

But what now?

Stranded Hair Group is committed to helping our customers feel like their best selves, and the best way we can help you do that (without making you buy our clip-in extensions) is to help educate you on everything you need to know about your hair and the hair extension market.

Our Stranded Blog is full of informational and educational articles like this, including ‘How to Choose Your Ideal Extension Length’, ‘How Much Extensions Do I Need?’, ‘How Long Do Hair Extensions Last?’ and many more!

Ready to take the plunge?

Whichever material you choose, you have options at Stranded. Shop our 100% Human Hair Extension collection and Synthetic Clip-in Extensions collection, for a wide range of clip-in extensions to meet any budget and match any style!