Human hair, Weaves

What is the Difference Between Kanekalon and Synthetic Hair?

Published By: Janine Griffiths

Fact Checked By: Team AfroLovely

Last Updated: November 11, 2022

Trying to decide what kind of synthetic hair is right for you can be a bit confusing at first. However, this article will go into detail about the differences between high-quality and low-quality synthetic hair, so you know exactly what you’re getting!

Difference Between Kanekalon And Synthetic Hair?

Synthetic hair is artificial hair made of unnatural fibers such as nylon and acrylic. It is usually worn for temporary use because it does not have the longevity of natural hair. Kanekalon hair is the highest quality of synthetic hair. Below we have outlined some key differences between Kanekalon synthetic hair and regular synthetic hair.

Regular Synthetic  

Synthetic hair is composed of artificial strands of plastic – usually acrylic or nylon – that are made into ultra-thin fibers and chemically processed to mimic real hair. 

It comes in many different assortments of colors and textures. However, the color or texture of synthetic hair cannot be changed as human hair can with products like dye and relaxers. It also cannot be straightened with heating tools because it will melt. 

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

However, it does not last as long as human hair and tangles more frequently due to what the strands are made of. This hair usually lasts a couple of weeks, because it tangles and mats much easier than Kanekalon hair.  It is also not as soft as human hair, making it appear unnaturally shiny. 

Read more: What are Synthetic Extensions Made Of?

Kanekalon Hair

The best quality synthetic hair on the market right now is made of Kanekalon fiber. Kanekalon is heat resistant and it can be straightened. It is also more expensive than regular synthetic hair, due to its additional features, but it is less expensive than a human hair.

Kanekalon has a texture similar to that of human hair because it is softer and flows like natural hair. Kanekalon fiber has less shine than regular synthetic hair because it is of higher quality. It also has a texture that is most comparable to human texture, because it is not super straight.

Similarities Between all Types of Synthetic Hair

There are several ways to tell if the hair is synthetic because its make-up is very different from human hair. When synthetic hair burns, the smoke is black. Human hair burns white. There is also a rubbery scent associated with synthetic hair and it melts slowly into a ball instead of quickly like human hair.

Human hair is not the same length or texture all around and some strands are going to be shorter or longer than others. This means that curls and waves are not going to all look the same. If the hair looks the same length throughout, with the same pattern, it is most likely synthetic.

Synthetic hair also tangles excessively, especially if it is longer. The place where it happens the most is the hair behind your neck. No matter how high quality the hair is, it will still tangle a lot more easily than a human hair. You also cannot use human hair products on synthetic hair, because the fibers do not respond well to those products.

Summary: Regular Synthetic Hair vs Kanekalon

Regular Synthetic

  • Not heat resistant
  • Low-cost
  • Matts easily
  • Shiny

Kanekalon Synthetic

  • Heat resistant
  • More costly
  • Matts less
  • Natural luster
  • Soft


  • Both types of hair have a shorter lifespan than human hair
  • Cannot be bleached or relaxed
  • Matts overtime
  • Cheaper than human hair

Is Kanekalon Braiding Hair Good?

Kanekalon is the highest quality of synthetic hair. It is smoother than other kinds of synthetic hair and is softer, and less irritating than the other types. In terms of braiding, Kanekalon hair is one of the best options, although it is not the only option.

Kanekalon is great for “feed-in” braids. Feed-in braids are the most common method in which Kanekalon hair is used for braiding styles because it looks like natural hair.

How Long Does Kanekalon Hair Last?

Like any kind of synthetic hair, it will not last forever. The time may vary for many reasons based on how well it is maintained. However, Kanekalon hair can last for up to eight weeks. After the 8-week period, the hair should be changed.

Kanekalon hair is versatile, especially for braiding. For all braiding styles, sleeping with a headscarf will help it to remain neat and clean. The better the hair is taken care of, the longer it will last. 

Read more 5 Wig Care Tips for Beginners

Should You Wash Synthetic Hair Before Braiding?

Washing synthetic hair before braiding is becoming a more common practice. Most people are allergic to synthetic fibers, which cause itching and irritation on the scalp. Not everyone is going to have the exact same steps as it relates to washing.

Here are some common steps used for washing synthetic before installing/styling:

  • Shampooing and conditioning the hair/ soaking the hair before using it;
  • Rinsing with clean water and hanging the hair on a towel to dry;
  • Rinsing the hair with apple cider vinegar.

Can Synthetic Hair Damage Your Hair?

Synthetic hair has the tendency to irritate the scalp, which can cause scratching. The scratching can lead to scarring on the scalp, which can also cause breakage. Synthetic hair also does not allow for your hair and scalp to get much air circulation, which can lead to sweating and buildup. 

One way to avoid irritation on the scalp is to buy a higher quality of hair, which is softer against the skin. Another way to avoid damage is to wash the synthetic hair before using it, which will get rid of impurities that can cause irritation. 

The Final Word

It is always important to know how to take care of your scalp and your own hair when using any type of extension. Any type of synthetic hair can potentially work well for you if you know what you’re looking for and how to use it!

Janine Griffiths

Janine is a blogger/editor that edits and creates content for Afro Lovely.
She previously studied economics and journalism at college. After working for two major marketing agencies, she now uses her marketing prowess to create helpful advice, tips and blogs for our audience.
She currently lives in Leeds, in northern England.

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