The difference between the 5 most commonly used synthetic braids

If you have ever braided your hair using addition hair to your own to achieve a hairstyle then you might not be unfamiliar with synthetic braids. Synthetic braids come in different textures, colors, lengths, and quality. They can be used to create a variety of hairstyles and can be used on any hair type. (read more about hair types here )

Synthetic braids consist of synthetic fibers which for some people can cause an allergic reaction when installed. The scalp gets itchy and irritated from reacting with the synthetic hair within days after getting braided. Ways of mitigating or eradicating this problem is by pre-treating the hair with diluted vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). By soaking the hair in a mixture of vinegar and hot water, the alkaline base on the synthetic hair is removed which normally is the cause to the allergic reaction. Let the synthetic hair sit in a vinegar mix for 15-20 minutes before removing it and let it air dry. The vinegar mix can also be used on synthetic hair that is already installed. You simply pour the mixture in a bottle and spray it onto the braids. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it out.

There is a wide range of companies that manufacture synthetic braids creating a range of quality, texture, and price depending on what you are looking for. Following brands can easily be found in local beauty supply stores in Scandinavia or ordered online.


Kanekolen is a synthetic hair type that has been in use since the 1980s.

It is light and although it’s the cheapest compared to other brands usually it requires more packages to achieve a hairstyle.

A single pack can be bought for 30-40 SEK.

Suitable styles for this hair: Cornrows, Box braids, Senegalese twists.

Synthetic braids
Box Braids-Source: Unknown


X-pressions is the name behind the synthetic hair X-pression. It is a company based in Africa and has been in operation since 1997.

X-pression is technically 100 % Kanekalon. The difference is that X-pression is smoother and softer.

X-pression is slightly more expensive than Kanekalon. A single pack will cost you around 60-80 SEK.

Suitable styles for this hair: Cornrows, Box braids, Senegalese twists.


Impression is similar to X-pression but slightly lighter. The price range is the same.  

Suitable styles for this hair: Cornrows, Box braids, Senegalese twists.

Havana hair

Havana hair is hair fiber that is soft, yet highly textured. The synthetic hair can be reused if maintained well. It should be washed and treated in the same manner as natural hair. It benefits from co-washing, natural oils, and water-spritzing.

Havana hair can be used for a variety of hairstyles but it is mostly used to create the popular hairstyle, Havana Twists.

There are not many local beauty stores that carry Havana Hair in their supply. Ordering it from internet might be the only solution. You should expect to pay above 100-150 SEK per pack, that’s excluding shipping.

Synthetic braids
Havana Twists-Source: Unknown

Marley hair

Marley hair shares the same synthetic properties as Kanekalon hair, what differentiates the two is the texture as Marley hair is coarser. It is also light, has a natural look and is ideal for twists.

Compared to Havana hair, Marley hair is easier to find in beauty supply stores and range from 100-120 SEK per pack.

Suitable styles for Marley hair are Marley twists, Box braids and Crochet hairstyles.

Synthetic braids
Marley Hair-Source: Unknown

What is your favorite hair/brand to use when installing braids?