Fur, Wigs & Brushes (Natural and Synthetic)
Numerous commercial products including fur garments, wigs, and brushes are made from hairs and fibers. Generally, the first step of our analysis is to determine whether the material in question is natural or synthetic. In some cases this information is sufficient, but many clients require an identification of the submitted hairs or fibers. In other cases, we have worked with manufacturers of synthetic products to characterize components of these materials and assist with problem solving during their development or production. Microtrace has vast experience in examining such materials, and our reference collections are second to none when it comes to confirming the identification of these components.
For decades manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and insurers have contacted us to confirm they received what they have paid for. Generally speaking, natural materials command higher prices and there has always been the temptation for less-than-scrupulous actors to substitute inferior products with the expectation that “no one will ever know the difference.” In addition, regulatory, environmental, and animal-welfare considerations often factor into these projects.
Our analyses have proven that garments constructed with animal hair have been incorrectly labeled as containing “faux fur.” In other cases, the wrong animal was listed on the tag. Similarly, synthetic materials have been substituted into wigs and brushes sold as containing “100% natural hair.” In less obvious cases, cheaper materials make-up only a portion of the total product in an effort to make the deception more difficult to recognize. However, careful microscopic examinations can identify these counterfeit materials if they are indeed present.
Development, Marketing and Quality Control
The microscopical characterization of synthetic materials and their components and comparisons to their intended natural analog, can assist manufacturers in product development, exploiting properties of products for marketing campaigns, and to help troubleshoot quality issues. We have also worked with importers of natural bristle products, such as a hog bristle importer, to identify a cause for premature brush failure.