Human hair

How To Soften Synthetic Hair

Published By: Kennedy

Fact Checked By: Janine Griffiths

Last Updated: November 8, 2022

Synthetic hair is very affordable and it can dramatically change your appearance and confidence. However, if it is starting to lose its glamor, there are several ways to soften your synthetic hair again, so that it retains its beauty.

What Is Synthetic Hair?

Synthetic hair is not human hair. It is composed of artificial hair strands of plastic – usually acrylic or nylon – that are made into ultra-thin fibers and chemically processed to mimic real hair. Synthetic hair comes in an assortment of different colors and textures. However, the color or texture cannot be changed as human hair can with products like dye and relaxers. 

Synthetic hair is relatively low maintenance because it is meant to be worn in one style, but it also has the tendency to matte severely over time – depending on the quality of the hair. It is less costly than human hair, costing as little as $10, which makes it popular among those that need an affordable option. 

However, it is worth noting that synthetic hair does not last as long as human hair and tangles more frequently due to what the strands are made of. The hair usually lasts up to 4 months with daily use, depending on the quality.

Read: How To Dye a Synthetic Wig (5 Steps)

How to Soften Synthetic Hair

The way that you soften and restore synthetic hair is very different from the way you modify human hair.  However, there are a variety of ways to return synthetic hair to its former glory. We discuss just a few of these below.

1. Fabric Softener 

To soften synthetic hair, you should use products used to soften synthetic fibers – which is where fabric softener comes in handy. Using fabric softener will help to detangle the hair, remove dirt and oils, as well as improve its softness. 

Once you use fabric softener on synthetic hair, it will become shinier and softer.

How to Use Fabric Softener on Synthetic Hair

Below, we outline exactly how you can achieve the desired results by using fabric softener on synthetic hair.

  1. Comb the Hair 

Before you wet your synthetic hair, you need to detangle it first. An easier way to detangle is by using a detangling brush. You will have to start at the ends of the hair and gently work your way up in order to ensure you are pulling out as little hair as possible. 

  1. Get Your Water Ready

Fill a sink or bowl with lukewarm water, and mix a little fabric softener into the water. If you also want to clean the hair, you can add a bit of detergent to the water as well.

  1. Let it Soak

Place the hair into the water and press it down to get it submerged in the mixture. You do not need to scrub or rub it together. Let the hair soak in the water for 30 minutes. 

  1. Rinse

Rinse the hair with cold water until the conditioner is completely washed off.

2. Hot Air Brush

One great styling tool for softening synthetic hair is a hot air brush, with metal prongs that blow warm air. To use a hot air brush, it is best to first comb out the hair with a regular brush. After the hair is detangled, spray it with a little water. 

Then, take the hot air brush and thoroughly brush through the hair until it is dry. Before using a hot air brush, make sure the hair is heat-resistant. By using the brush, the hair will come out sleeker and softer than before.

3. Conditioner

Conditioner will also soften synthetic fibers and tame frayed hairs. There are conditioners made especially for synthetic hair that you can buy. You can also use a regular conditioner, but you’ll need to make sure it does not contain sulfates. Sulfates dry the hair out and create even more of a tangled mess. 

How to Condition Synthetic Hair

Conditioning the hair is not always as intuitive as it may seem. Follow the simple steps below. Most of the steps are the same as the process outlined above.

  1. Comb the hair
  2. Get your water ready
  3. Let it soak
  4. Let it dry – the best way to dry synthetic hair is to hang it up and let it dry overnight. 

Check out this video on “How To Properly Wash & Maintain Synthetic Wigs”

Can You Use a Leave-In Conditioner on Synthetic Hair?

If you try to use a leave-in conditioner to moisturize or soften synthetic hair, you will not see much difference. It is best to use products that are made for synthetic hair.

There are products such as mousse and sprays that can help tame the frays. However, it is best to use products sparingly, because too much product buildup can cause the hair to become tangled and matted – which shortens its lifespan. 

The Final Word

You don’t need to get rid of your hair as soon as it gets a little rough. Once you try these tips and tricks, you can wear your unit even longer!


I have always had a love for writing and have been blogging for about 3 years now. I have a passion for teaching what I have learned over the years, especially about hair. I have had almost every hairstyle - typical of a cosmetologist’s daughter- including the big chop in 2015. With all the knowledge I have gained, I feel it is my duty to help others on their healthy hair journey. I believe education can be fun, and I strive to make it fun to learn about beautiful black hair.

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