Where Does Russian Hair Come From?

Cut Straight From The Head

Raw Russian Hair

Raw Russian Hair

There’s no doubt that Russian hair is amongst the most desirable hair types in the hair extension industry. The hair is lighter in colour, density and often comes in handmade attachments that can take a few days to produce. But where does this abundance of high quality hair come from? It seems to be almost as readily available as its Asian counterpart but at three or four times the price. The origins of the hair are very important in relation to what you pay at retail. The way that hair is collected and produced makes a huge difference to the quality of the hair you wear.

Mix It Up A Little

This is the hair extension industry’s dirty little secret about hair extension production. Most brands will tell you that what you’re buying is in fact human hair. What they won’t tell you is that most of it is mixed. With some of the cheapest products it is mixed with heat resistant fibres and animal hair. For the mid-range products, you’re looking at a broad mix of human donors from a variety of different hair structures. The reality is that mass production hair in Asia is not designed for quality. Mixed hair requires processing that takes away every natural element to the finished product. Mixed donor hair brings the price down significantly. It ensures faster and more effective factory production which is how most modern things are mass-produced.

Cut From The Head

Russian Hair Preperation 

Russian Hair Preperation 

If you’ve ever held a ponytail that has been cut directly from someone’s head, you’ll understand what raw hair looks like. The hair will not be mixed and contain everything it left the head with – split ends and all. This is what the hair collectors around Russia, Ukraine and Belarus will produce when they sell their product. The ponytail is tightly bound at the top to ensure the cuticles are aligned and sold to the various Russian hair suppliers or factories. What they do with it varies from supplier to supplier but generally speaking; they will cleanse the hair, remove the shorter / split hairs that can’t be used for the very high-quality batches and prepare the hair for attachment. In a similar fashion to how supermarkets sort their fruit to adhere to quality standards and get rid anything that doesn’t reach their aesthetic standards. 

And while you do need a good sorting standard when it comes to selling commercially; I do certainly have clients who want the hair at the hair collector stage, imperfections intact. After all, you could argue that this is the only way to ensure a truly natural product. At the other end of the scale, with Asian hair production, the hair is not sorted as thoroughly. The hair comes already mixed from a variety of different sources. Some cuticles aligned, some not. And while they will still sort hair for quality, this will more than likely come down to how much chemical processing the hair has had. And whether the hair is all human.

Where To Look

Although the production processes in Russia and the neighbouring Slavic countries are generally better than those in Asia, that’s not to say that you won’t find bad hair. Russian hair can be mixed just as much as Asian hair so it’s still important to find a trusted source. Reviews are sometimes unhelpful in this industry one girl’s hair heaven is another girl’s beehive. Always get samples where possible for both colour and quality. Ask about the origin of the hair, how it is collected and what their production process involves. Most genuine brands will be happy to share this with you if they stand by their quality. The key to great hair extensions is always to ask the right questions.