Simple Tests to Tell Real Fur from Faux
An Animal Rights Article from


Born Free USA
November 2014

wild baby mink
Wild and free baby mink...
Image from

Did you know that stores often sell garments made with real animal fur, but label it as faux? This fall, learn how to distinguish real fur from fake, so that you don’t accidentally purchase fur clothing or accessories!

Here's a quick 'cheat sheet' to teach you what to look for while shopping:

The Feel Test:

Feel the difference by rolling the hairs between the finger and thumb.

Genuine Fur: Feels smooth and soft, easily rolls between the fingers.

Fake Fur: Feels coarse.

The Look Test:

Blow on the hairs so that they divide, and look at the base.

Genuine Fur: Often made up of several layers of thin, almost curly hairs that form a dense under-wool through which the longer hairs stick out. The hairs remain attached to the leather (skin).

Fake Fur: Simpler in structure, individual hairs are often the same length and are even in color.

The Pin Test:

Drive a pin through the base where the fur is attached.

Genuine Fur: The leather resists; pin is hard to push through.

Fake Fur: Pin goes easily through the base.

The Burn Test:

Carefully pull a few hairs from the fur and hold them to a flame.

Genuine Fur: Singes and smells like human hair.

Fake Fur: Melts and smells like burnt plastic and forms small plastic balls at the ends that feel hard between the finger and thumb.

Adapted from the Fur Free Alliance, of which Born Free USA is a member. (NOTE: Born Free USA does not recommend conducting the pin or burn test in stores!

EEvery animal used for fur has suffered a violent death. Animals are either raised on crowded, filthy, barbaric fur farms, where they are killed through anal electrocution, gassing, neck breaking, drowning, clubbing, and/or strangulation—or are trapped in the wild by steel-jaw leghold traps or strangulation neck snares. Visit to find compassionate retailers, designers, celebrities, magazines, and other industry leaders who refuse to use or promote fur.

Born Free USA works to shine a spotlight on the cruelty of the fur trade, and to encourage consumers to avoid fur and fur-trimmed products. Click here to learn about Born Free USA's groundbreaking investigation of this horrific, highly unregulated industry - Victims of Vanity.

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