In the beginning, I must mention that the wig hair we talking about in this article is 100% human hair, not synthetic hair.
You must be wondering, since is the human hair wigs are made from human hair, why the difference be? Yes, from the beginning source, they are the same, but when you know how wigs are made, you will surely understand the difference between them.
In the wig production process, 99% of the factory will do with the wig raw materials for acid treatment, that is, use a certain concentration of sulfuric acid solution soaked hair raw materials.
There are three purposes for the acid treatment. First of all, sterilization, during the collection, transportation, storage process, the hair has been touched by countless people, it must to be sterilized because of health concerns. Secondly, clean grease, dust and other impurities that remained on the hair surface. The last and the most important is to remover the cuticles. Aside from a tiny amount of high-quality hair (real virgin hair) which the hair scales are neat and straight in one direction, the rest of the hair, including what you know as remy hair, collected from a variety of sources can’t guarantee the fibre uniformity of hair root and tip. Messy hair, due to the rub of the cuticles, will tangle and knot and can not comb at all. Therefore, when the factory uses this kind of hair with mixed root and tip, it is necessary to pickling the hair. Pickling is the process of removing the cuticles, and after the cuticles are corroded by the acid, the hair becomes a smooth cylinder without tangling.
Here, you can see that there is a big difference between wigs and human hair. Hair on the wigs is damaged and cuticles peeled in different degrees due to the pickling process. And cuticles are the first line of defense against damage. Without these layers of protection, the core fiber would be far more vulnerable to simple things like every day combing heating, sun-shining or even normal shampooing. Healthy human hair consists of 5-10 layers of cuticles, but hair that has been processed for a wig only has 2-3 layers, and some low-quality wigs have no cuticles at all(that is why some low-quality wigs look good in beginning but tend to end up with knots after a week or of use and thus have a short lifespan).
In addition, the hair after being soaked in sulfuric acid solution must be soaked in ammonia water (a kind of alkaline solution) and undertake a neutralizing reaction, purifying the residual acidic solution, and this process can also cause big damage to the hair. It is known that the outermost surface of the healthy hair cuticle cells has been covered by a monolayer of covalently bound fatty acids, a major component of which is 18-methyleicosanoic acid (18-MEA).
18-MEA creates a hydrophobic surface and acts as a boundary lubricant to reduce friction resistance between hair fibers. 18-MEA is easily removed by alkaline treatments, the loss of 18-MEA is considered one of the reasons for the friction increase on the surface of the cuticle. It may have an influence on the sensory perception of hair, such as the dried out feeling and being hard to comb/ run fingers through.
Besides the injury of acid and alkali, there are some other processing process will be the challenge to the wig hair. Now you know the difference between your wig hair and human hair.