We've known for many years of the awful trade in dog and cat pelts that are used in lieu of acrylic and polyester 'fur' (presumably because these animal skins are even cheaper than their man-made counterparts), but we'd never known how to reliably test our faux pieces to confirm their in/authenticity. Recently, however, we came across a good how-to guide from the Humane Society that usefully elaborates three key tests and/or features to look for when trying to separate actual faux from faux faux. While it's totally ridiculous that a loophole in the Fur Products Labeling Act makes this type of testing necessary in the first place, we're happy to report that the questionable fur-lined hood on our winter jacket is indeed fake. Thank you, Kitchen Orange.
1. Check the tips of the hair for tapering:
2. Check the base of the fur for skin or fabric: Push apart the fur and look at the material at the base of the hairs. If the base material is not visible or unclear, break the stitching and look at the non-hair side of the fur base.
3. Burn Test: Remove a few hairs and, holding them with a tweezer over a non-flammable surface, ignite them with a lighter. Burning animal hair smells like burning human hair, while man-made textiles like polyester and acrylic tend to smell a bit sweeter. What's more, natural fibers will burn and crumble upon touch; synthetic fibers simultaneously burn and melt, usually into a hard, molten ball.