What are the best hair extensions?
Buying good quality hair extensions can be extremely confusing, difficult and time consuming, and buying the wrong type or overly processed or treated hair can prove to be a very costly mistake.
With more and more women around the world loving and sometimes needing the help of extensions, I felt it more important than ever to explain the fundamentals, of buying quality hair extensions, to help women be more informed and able to understand the hair extensions industry, in order to make informative choices and to stop losing money and time on sub-standard hair extensions and or application methods.
Having great Hair extensions is incredible and can even be life changing one who has struggled with fine or limp locks or which simply doesn’t grow long and luscious like they wish it would, hair extensions can offer the greatest solution to their hair woes.
I have first hand knowledge regarding all application methods, processing procedures and origins and after 14 years of being a senior extension artist and master trainer in all methods of attachment I would like to share with you the some in depth knowledge to help you purchase the extensions of your dreams, so you never have to worry about tangling, damage to your own hair or uncomfortable or even painful low quality hair extensions again!
So lets begin. I have broken this article into several key categories. Please read through the steps carefully. This will help to inform you and assist you with asking the correct questions when purchasing hair extensions from your dealer.
Learn about where your hair extensions REALLY come from!
CAN I VISIT THE SUPPLIER? Do you know much about your supplier/extension artist?
Are you really comfortable handing over hundreds of dollars to someone you “hope’ will sell you a good product?
Please don’t make the mistake of simply thinking that if you receive a sample of the hair it will mean you will be buying good hair in the future… many suppliers simply have a some good hair samples and then they send out bad hair after an order is made. You really need to see several packets first to ensure the hair will be high quality on a CONSISTENT basis… especially if you are going to buy it long term.
Can you visit the supplier?
Be sure your hair extensions provider/artist has an ‘open door’ policy. Even if they are too far away… to visit… do they allow the public to see the hair before they buy?
Can they show you the different type of hair before you buy it?
Do they have examples of non-remy and real remy hair to show you so you can be 100% sure the product they are selling is the real thing?
Yes I know all of this effort seems like a lot but it is important especially if you intend on purchasing or having hair extensions regularly.
If the provider hides behind a website… you can be pretty sure they also have something to hide
European and Russian grade hair
Growing hair for extensions is serious work. Some women and men who grow hair must follow a special diet to ensure that their hair will be healthy, well nourished and of the best quality.
What is the origin of the hair?
European and Russian grade hair can originate from any country where the desired hair structure can be collected. It is simply impossible for all of the European and Russian hair supplies to come from one or two regions for this reason the words European and Russian hair which may once upon a time have been more country exclusive is now a loose term for human hair that is compatible with the greater hair extensions industries consumers.
Most blond hair sold as extensions is extremely expensive and simply inaccessible due to rising demand in hair extensions in the resent years, therefore natural blonde hair extensions are very hard to come by, so one would have to assume that almost all hair sold in lighter shades will have some lightening and processing to reach the desired shade.
European hair comes in a host of textures, from straight, to wavy to curly. Because of the difference in texture, the hair is compatible with most people but may not work with other hair textures such as African or Asian.
European and Russian hair can come from almost any country where a finer cross section of hair is available for sale. Colours are generally medium brown to dark brown and will be dyes lighter if required. Human hair is far softer and healthier if it has not treated with aggressive acid bathes to shave back its cuticle.
Asian hairs are normally thick, straight, and coarse. Because it is quite strong and straight it can be quite difficult to manage and get it to hold a style for this reason Asian hair can be stripped in an acid bath to make the cuticle smaller so the hair is finer… this however greatly damages the hair structure, requiring the need for silicone to coat the exposed cuticle. However once the silicone washes off after a few short washes the damaged cuticle is exposed again and the hair tangles, matts and loses its shine, soon after becoming impossible to manage and therefore requiring removal of the hair additions. As synthetic hair fibres are often manufactured in Asia we are finding the rise in heat resistant synthetic fibres being mixed with human hair… this is becoming a far greater practice than ever before resulting in matting and tangling and problems when trying to straighten the hair.
Indian hair Pilgrims sacrifice their hair to the God Vishnu in a process called tonsuring. Their hair is then sorted, washed and dyed for marketing. Often times the people of India have no idea they have been tricked into donating their hair so it can be sold at a premium and then shipped off and sold to Western countries for the use of hair extensions. This has been the cause of some controversy, and many people now refuse to buy Indian hair based on ethical reasons.
Unfortunately due to the rising demand in human hair extensions Indian hair is often mixed with synthetic hair and/or animal hair during processing.
More and more often this is happening (as the documentary on “A current affair” ) outlined recently. Indian hair is becoming very difficult to buy with confidence as it often ends up tangling and matting due the hair being mixed with something else and or not being cuticle correct.
So where possible it is much better to buy 100% human European or Russian hair if you have a European texture.
If you are of Asian descent always choose 100% Asian hair which has not been processed – you will need to therefore ask for “virgin’ Asian hair. You will notice the cuticle is quite thick and this means it is intact and has not been acid stripped.
If you are of Indian decent, please choose “virgin” Indian 100% remy hair, this hair will have the same texture as your own hair. You will need to be sure it has not been mixed with any foreign materials before purchase.
Is the Hair Remy?
The next critical step in purchasing hair extensions is whether it is remy or not.
The first step in determining if Remy hair extensions are truly Remy, with cuticles and prepared root to tip, is to examine the roots, mid-shaft and ends of the hair fiber. It is fairly normal for cuticles to be missing or worn down near the ends of the hair strands, but thick and healthy near the roots.
You may be on a budget and think… well this hair is super cheap and probably isn’t remy… but it should be OK… you will just brush it a bit more… right?… wrong!
Non-remy hair is a girls worst nightmare and something you NEVER want to deal with.
Initially before the silicone coating has worn off… you may find it easy to manage… but after a few washes the real state of the hair reveals itself. It will tangle and matt terribly!
After the silicone coating comes off you will NEVER be able to make it look nice… well maybe if you don’t move an inch. As soon as there is any movement… it will catch like Velcro and become a knotty mess.
Now you understand you should never buy non-remy hair…
So it’s easy… just ask for remy hair… right? Well unfortunately most of the hair extension sellers today, simply have NO IDEA what they are selling and have not themselves been directly involved in the complex hair trade world.
The seller often have little or no experience in hair extension care, application and processing methods and little knowledge of the true origin of theair itself.
Often untrained and inexperienced companies believe selling human hair is like any other product.
This could not be further from the truth! extensions are not like any other manufactured product… every head of hair is different and with the array of processing methods, origins of the hair in and of itself, the textures, lengths, grades and coloring methods..Hair extensions are an incredibly complicated and complex subject.
One would require many years of understanding of the compounding structures of human hair and of the world’s hair trade itself to successfully ensure the human hair they sell is are soft, naturally shiny and ultimately provide a hassle free experience while installed within the recipients own hair.
For all the afore mentioned reasons, it is very important you find out how much experience your seller really has.
Unfortunately though, not very many companies sell 100% Remy hair extensions because it is not only expensive raw hair but very expensive to manufacture. Real remy hair extensions that are properly kept in the Remy state are also very expensive for the buyer and cannot be purchased cheaply. With the rise in competition within the industry, many sellers in their haste to offer the “cheapest” extensions, will secretly buy cheap, non-remy or mixed Indian or Chinese hair and forward it as a genuine high quality product on to the unknowing customer.