Hair Extension 101 - What the Actual Fact?

The hair extension industry, much like Donald Trump’s campaign for the US presidency, is at best, vague about its values, lacks any real substance and often fails to deliver what it so boldly promises.

In fact, when we are continuously told something so convincingly, we tend to start to believe it despite the obvious flaws in the design. And you know what they say folks, if it sounds too good to be true…it usually is. Here are some home truths so that you can determine…What the Actual Fact?

“100% human hair”

Most hair extension brands will label non-synthetic hair as 100% human hair…but is it really? With price points ranging from under £20 to £500+, surely not all packets are created equal? It’s a bit like McDonalds referring to their establishments as restaurants, it’s technically true but you might be more than a little disappointed if your significant other took you to one for an anniversary dinner.

What the Actual Fact? The truth is the term ‘human hair’ is extremely ambiguous and offers no explanation about how the hair is sourced. Quite often the hair is ‘fallen hair’ also referred to as non-remy hair from India (one of the world’s largest exporters of hair). Meaning the hair is collected from salon floors and even hairbrushes from multiple different sources and treated with acid to remove the cuticles.

“Virgin Hair”

It’s very common online to see bundles of ‘virgin hair’ being advertised, claiming to be the best Indian / Brazilian / Malaysian hair around.  And the price is often very appealing at around £60-80, claiming to have been directly sourced from the country of origin. A bargain surely?

What the Actual Fact? Well let's first look at the very definition of virgin hair. It must not have been permed, dyed, coloured, bleached or chemically processed in any way. It also means it comes from a single donor and all the cuticles are intact and running in the same direction. For those who are unsure about the hair cuticle, it is formed by tightly packed scales in an overlapping structure on the outer most layer of the hair shaft. These must run in the same direction, root to tip.

And I kid you not, I have seen ‘virgin hair’ from India, in light browns and blondes and permed curly. Also beware Brazilian and Malaysian hair as the likelihood of these not being Chinese reproductions is up there with Kanye West loving anything other than himself.

For those of you embarking on your hair extension journey for the first time, it’s important to ask the right questions to save you the heartache of a bad hairstyle later. Think of it like any other shopping experience; sure you can save loads of cash buying your new summer wardrobe in Primark but one wash later the material will deteriorate, the colour will wash out and the only thing it’ll be good for is a new rag for cleaning your windows. Mass hair extension production is nothing but a cheap product designed for throwaway use.

For a more couture experience, look for a more in-depth explanation of where your hair actually comes from rather than lose statements. Here are a few key questions you may want to ask before you buy;

·         What is the country of origin of the hair?

·         Is the hair cuticle correct?

·         Has the hair been coloured?

·         Has the hair been naturally dried?

·         Has the hair been treated with any acids or silicon?

If the answers are sketchy, you should probably shop elsewhere.

That’s all for now but watch this space for more hair extension 101 from Studioseven50.