Although they’re not real, hair extensions have grown increasingly popular among women of all ethnicities. These pieces of synthetic or human hair allow women to experiment with new looks and longer (or shorter) hairstyles. Don’t know what type of hair to choose, or how to care for synthetic or human hair extensions? Read these tips from the before you decide which of these add-on tresses to buy.

Synthetic hair doesn’t grow on someone’s head. The hair strands are sewn together with thread that forms a base that’s called a “track.” While synthetic hair is cheaper than human hair extensions, it has limitations. Usually, the faux stuff doesn’t feel or look like human hair, and it can’t be heat-styled.

To maintain added-on synthetic hair, gently and carefully massage shampoo into your scalp. Take care not to pull out the tracks (This can happen if you have the tracks bonded onto your real hair with glue instead of sewn on). Wash out shampoo, condition thoroughly, rinse and the let the hair air dry.

Human hair extensions are often imported from Asian countries where women with extra long hair cut and then sell their tresses. Human hair is versatile because it can be styled with heated tools such as flatirons and curling appliances, just like your natural hair. Because this kind of hair is the “real deal,” these tresses can also be washed, conditioned and dyed. Budget conscious? Then know that human hair extensions cost more, but they also last longer.

Click here for celebrity stylists’ hair extension tips.