Is Kanekalon Hair Toxic Or Dangerous? The Ugly Truth

A good friend of mine used to only wear Kanekalon hair, until recently. When I asked why she’d stopped wearing them she said that she’d heard that they were toxic! She always looked stunning with her Kanekalon hair, so I felt I had to get some answers. This is what I found!

Kanekalon hair is toxic as it is made from a combination of vinyl chloride and acrylonitrile. When these two monomers are exposed to heat, they release toxic and dangerous fumes that have been characterized as human carcinogens. This means that they promote the formation of cancer. They can also trigger asthma and drowsiness.

Imagine my shock at finding out this information! This made me want to dive deeper into exactly how these monomers can harm us. It’s important to know what we’re being exposed to. If you agree, keep reading to find out more.

How Dangerous Is Kanekalon Hair?

What is Kanekalon Hair Made Of? | Is Kanekalon Fiber Hair Toxic ?

As we know, Kanekalon hair is a modacrylic fiber that is made from combining two monomers together. They are Vinyl Chloride and Acrylonitrile.

Exposure to vinyl chloride is linked to an increased risk of an uncommon type of liver cancer (hepatic angiosarcoma). It is also linked to lung and brain cancers, leukemia, and lymphoma whilst Acrylonitrile has also been classified as a human cancer-causing agent and is linked to an increased risk of lung and prostate cancer.

These two monomers on their own can be hazardous, imagine how toxic they are when they’re combined. Just take a look:

How Dangerous Is Vinyl Chloride?

Vinyl chloride is a gas that is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) due to the fact that it burns easily. PVC is used to make plastic items such as wires, cable coatings, packaging materials, and wigs or hair extensions.

The CDC reports that vinyl chloride gas can actually pass through your skin and enter your body. They likewise warn that inhaling high levels of vinyl chloride will cause you to feel dizzy and drowsy

A recent study found that when heat or flames are used on Kanekalon hair, vinyl chloride emissions release toxins into the air. These toxins can trigger asthma and also become carcinogenic. This is why you should avoid using heat on your Kanekalon hair extensions or wigs.

How Dangerous Is Acrylonitrile?

Acrylonitrile is a volatile liquid that is often used to make things like rubber, plastic, resins, and also synthetic fibers. According to the NIH, when you are exposed to acrylonitrile it can cause irritation to your mucous membranes as well as other symptoms. These include headaches, dizziness, nausea, trouble breathing, impaired judgment, weak limbs, cyanosis, and convulsions that can cause you to collapse.

According to research studies, acrylonitrile has a toxicity score of 7 out of 10. It has also been linked to reproductive as well as developmental issues.

Seeing as applying heat to Kanekalon hair has been proven to be toxic and has negative effects on your health, women often wonder if it’s still possible and safe to wash their Kanekalon hair.

Keep reading to find out!

Can You Wash Kanekalon Hair?

The answer to that question is yes. If you’re going to be wearing Kanekalon hair extensions or wigs, I definitely recommend that you wash them. Just do not blow dry or heat style them.

To wash kanekalon hair, detangle with a wide-tooth comb, from the ends to the root, then wet the hair using cool water. Pour a quarter-sized amount of mild shampoo to your palms and spread it through the hair, from root to tip; wait 5 minutes before rinsing the hair several times. Follow the same steps using a conditioner and let the hair air dry.

Washing your Kanekalon hair will prevent oil and dirt from building up in your hair which can cause so many other problems for your hair’s health. Kanekalon hair does not need to be cleaned the same way that your natural hair does, it still needs to be cleaned though!

How to clean Kanekalon hair:

  1. Focus on your scalp when shampooing. The suds will be enough to clean the rest of the hair
  2. Apply a leave-in conditioner to help with detangling the hair as Kanekalon hair tangles easily
  3. If your Kanekalon hair is wavy or curly then you can gently comb through it with your fingers to detangle it

I also recommend investing in a braid spray to help with daily conditioning and moisturizing. You can use the spray every 2 to 3 days at most. 

Insider Tip: Do not leave your Kanekalon hair extensions in for extended periods of time. Depending on your style of extensions, hairstylists advise that you should only keep Kanekalon hair installed for 3 to 6 weeks at a time.

I bet you’re wondering if all synthetic fibers are toxic or if Kanekalon hair is the exception. Why don’t we find out!

The Difference Between Kanekalon and Synthetic Hair?

Kanekalon is a higher-quality engineered fiber in comparison to other synthetic hairs that are often less expensive and have a plastic-like texture. Kanekalon mimics natural hair better and also has a less shiny and wiry appearance.

Kanekalon fiber’s texture is nearest to that of normal hair due to the look, movement, and above all, the feel of it. Kanekalon hair can withstand low-temperature heat better than other synthetic hair fibers. In fact, it can withstand up to 250°F(120°C) of heat. Still, the downside is that it gets tangled and becomes matted easier.

Due to the repetitive movement of braiding, if the hair extensions are too plasticky or “hard,” the friction it makes will give your fingers a burning sensation, which is why most people tend to prefer braiding their hair with Kanekalon hair.

If you’re looking for alternatives to Kanekalon hair there are 3 other types of synthetic hair that are really popular on the market at the moment. Here’s how they compare:

  1. Kanekalon Hair
  2. Toyakalon Hair
  3. Monofiber Hair
Kanekalon Hair:Toyakalon Hair:Monofiber Hair:
LightSoftHighest quality
Long LastingTangles lessRealistic look and feel
Can withstand low temperature heatLacks natural/realistic lookBehaves more like natural hair
Tangles and becomes matted easilyFlame retardent Tangles Less
Table Showing The 3 Popular Types Of Synthetic Hair

Whilst these other synthetic hair fibers may be easier to style and tame than Kanekalon hair, they can be just as toxic when exposed to heat or fire.

If you’ve already purchased Kanekalon hair and don’t want to waste your money by throwing it away, I have just the solution to help you get rid of the harmful chemicals. Keep reading to find find out how.

How To Remove Chemicals From Kanekalon Hair

How to Clean Synthetic Braid Hair

If you’ve ever experienced an uncomfortable itching from your Kanekalon hair, that may be due to the chemicals from the hair. Whether you have a sensitive scalp or not, this can still affect you.

The safest way to remove chemicals from Kanekalon hair is to fill a bucket with warm water and ⅔ of a cup of apple cider vinegar(with The Mother), submerge your kanekalon hair in the mixture, and let it soak for 15 minutes. Afterward, rinse your hairpiece with cool water several times before washing and conditioning it, then let it air-dry.

Here’s how to get rid of the chemicals and itching:

Step 01: Fill a sink or bucket with warm, clean water

Step 02: Fill 2/3 of a cup with apple cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar with The Mother is best)

Step 03: Mix the apple cider vinegar with the warm water

Step 04: Fully submerge your hair into the water, make sure you swish it around a bit

Step 05: Let it soak for up to 15 minutes

Step 06: Rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water then follow up by washing your hair with shampoo and conditioning it.

Step 07: Hang your extensions to dry, if they are already installed then let them air dry.

Final Thoughts

Although synthetic hair is a lot more affordable than human hair, you really ought to think twice about what goes into making these hair extensions and wigs. Knowing what you’re putting on your head could make all the difference to not only your hair’s health but also your overall health, as we’ve seen from this article.

If you’ve found this article to be helpful and informative then you’ll love this next one, Synthetic Hair May Be Toxic: Here’s What You Should Know. It goes into detail about the dangers of synthetic hair and how to combat them as well as other helpful information!


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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