How to tell the difference between faux fur and the real thing

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By Jeff Rossen and Charlie McLravy

A Rossen Reports investigation found that some garments from major retailers billed as faux fur actually contained the fur of real animals, including rabbit, coyote and raccoon dog (a species of wild dog).

Here are some tips on how to tell faux fur from real animal fur without a microscope:

  • Don't go by feel and don't go by color. The new fake fur is actually softer than some real fur. And it can be dyed any color.
  • Look at the tips of the hairs. If the tips taper to a fine point like a cat's whisker or a sewing needle or a a sharpened pencil, it's animal fur. If not, it's probably faux fur (though not necessarily).
  • If you (carefully) burn a couple of hairs of a sample and it smells like human hair, it's real animal fur. Fake fur is made from plastics and will give off a distinct chemical smell when burned.