Machine-Wefted vs. Hand-Tied Hair

Dea Gbortoe

Posted on March 19 2019

Machine-Wefted vs. Hand-Tied Hair

Hair is sold in a two basic forms:  bulk and wefted.  Bulk means the hair is loose and untied; This type of hair is used for braiding almost exclusively.  Cornrows, individuals, twists, even extension locs are all created with hair that is available in ‘bulk’.

Wefted hair is commonly referred to as tracks and means that the hair has been sewn together on the ends with thread.  Wefted hair is used when doing a sew-in weave, clip in extensions or to create wigs.  To classify wefted hair even further, it is sewn together by one of two methods.  Either the hair is sewn into a track by a machine or a person sews it together by hand hence the names machine versus hand-tied hair.  There are pros and cons to both forms and understanding those will help you determine which form will best suit your needs.

Machine wefted hair is generally less expensive, sturdier and thicker.  Often the hair is double drawn meaning.  The tracks tend to be thicker on machine wefted hair but in return they usually shed less.  With high quality, well sewn machine wefts, some ladies report that sealing the hair is not even necessary to prevent shedding, although I would not recommend it.

Machine wefts are best used for wig making, sew in weaves where the leave out (the wearer’s real hair that is unbraided and left out to cover the tracks of the sew in) is not expected to lay extremely flat.  A few examples would be curly hair which provide enough volume to hide the bulk or sew-ins that utilize a closure rather than a person’s real hair to be left out.  Usually women with thicker hair have no problems blending over the tracks of machine wefted hair.

Hand-tied wefts are usually more expensive, ranging from about $20-40 more than it’s machine wefted counterpart because they are more time consuming to create.  These wefts are lighter, thinner and less rigid, making it more difficult to install when doing a sew in.  Those with limited experience working with hand-tied wefts may struggle when sewing them onto a client or themselves.  The trade off here is that hand-tied wefts lie extremely flat on the wearers head making blending a breeze.  Also if you have thinner hair there is less chance of having the peek-a-boo effect where your hair separates or moves and part of the track becomes visible.

Because the tracks lie flatter some would argue that sew-ins done with hand-tied wefts are more natural looking.  I think that is a matter of opinion and what your desired look is.  Because these wefts are a bit more delicate and do tend to shed more especially if you need to cut them. Sealing the hair is absolutely necessary and you should avoid cutting the tracks whenever it can be avoided to prevent excess shedding.

Again, neither machine-wefted nor hand-tied hair is superior; they have each have their advantages and disadvantages.  Understanding that will help you determine what is best for you.

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