Judy’s jaw clipped question: I bought long layered Scunci brunette jaw clipped faux hair. Although in the store, under their lighting, it looked like a match, when I went to wear it, the color was about 2 shades lighter than my natural hair. Are there any products that I can use to darken it? Would regular hair dye work on synthetic hair?
The Right Brain’s response:
We certainly get interesting questions from the Beauty Brains community! We’ve blogged about the dangers of hair extensions before, but we’ve never stopped to think about what synthetic hair is made of. So, we did some research and put together this list of interesting fake hair facts.
1. Better living through chemistry
One of the most common types of synthetic hair is made from fibers known as modacrylics. These consist of a long chain synthetic polymers composed of less than 85% but at least 35% by weight of acrylonitrile units. (-CH2CH[CN]-)x. (I’m sorry, but the Left Brain made me put in the chemical structure. I apologize in advance for the geekiness.) Modacrylics can also include mixtures of acrylonitrile and other materials, such as vinyl chloride, vinylidene chloride or vinyl bromide. (Yawn, enough organic chemistry already!)
2. Spinning wheel
Modacrylic fibers are made by a spinning extrusion process and can be either dry spun or wet spun. FYI, of all the Beauty Brains, Sarah Bellum has been “wet spun” the most times. If you know what I mean.
3. National Modacrylic Day
The first commercial production of modacrylic fibers in the US was in 1949, by the Union Carbide Corporation. Remind me to mark that date on my calendar.
4. Is it real or is it Modacrylic?
Modacrylic fibers feels and looks like real human hair. The material is nontoxic and nonflammable. It can be shampooed, blow-dried and styled with curling irons. It is also durable, washable and anti-static.
5. Moth proof!
Hair made with this fiber has outstanding resistance to chemicals and solvents, is not attacked by moths or mildew, and is non-allergenic.
6. Fake fur
The same kind of fiber used in hair extensions is also used to make fake fur for bedspreads, cushion covers and other interior goods because of its realistic appearance and soft texture. Fake fur reminds me of “That 70′s Show.”
7. The modern wig era
In the 1970s, an Encino, California company sold modacrylic wigs what were actually sutured to your scalp for a mere $2,350. Oddly enough, that company is no longer in business today.
8. Dueling fibers
There are several types of modacylic fibers, two of the most popular used in synthetic hair are Kanekalon and Toyokalon. Kanekalon hair looks more realistic in regards to color and texture but it tends to tangle and mat very easily. Toyokalon hair, on the other hand, is a softer synthetic hair that does not tangle as much as Kanekalon, but the hair color and texture does not look as natural.
9. Faux hair shortage
According to some sources, there’s an impending shortage of synthetic hair. But never fear, the Kaneka company has developed a new type of fake hair known as ULTIMATM that’s made from collagen.
10. Don’t dye
Finally, to answer your question Judy, regular oxidative dyes that you use on your own hair will not work on synthetic hair extensions. According to Kanecaron, fake hair is dyed using industrial processes that require extreme temperature (about 200F) and/or solvent delivery (usually from acetone). In either case, these are not conditions that you can safely duplicate at home. (Although for the price of a cheap bottle of wine, you could probably bribe Left Brain into coming to your house and running the chemical reaction for you).
Do YOU use hair extensions like the ones made by Scunci? My favorite is HairDo’s Jessica Simpson extension. Leave a comment and share your fave faux hair stories with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.