The highest quality hair extensions are made from real human hair however just because the hair is real human hair does not automatically suggest that the extensions are of high quality.
The hair used for wigs and extensions can comprise a blend from that of various donors; therefore, unless the journey from donor, processing, manufacturer etc can be tracked, it is near impossible to be sure of the origins.
Hair is often labelled as Russian, Brazilian, Peruvian, Indian, European, Asian or Mongolian. These labels, however, are generally used as a marketing spiel to attract the consumer rather than a true indication of where the hair originated from.
In several developing and third world countries, growing and selling hair for wigs and extensions is the way of life for many women. While a lot of high-quality hair comes out of these countries, there is also a considerable amount of low-grade hair collected through comb waste or floor hair – the hair that is collected from a brush, comb or the floor of hair salons. This hair may be used to create wigs and hair extensions, but it is not cuticle correct and is sold for a lesser value.
This type of hair is generally stripped of the cuticle to make it useable, but this removes the outer protective layer. This hair is already not the best quality, but this strips it and by the time it is colored and processed it generally must then be coated in silicone to make it appear healthy and lustrous.
China is the main importer of fallen hair and comb waste hair. This is also known as non-Remy hair. Non-Remy hair is less desirable, but it is sometimes collected, cleaned and falsely labelled as Brazilian, Russian or Indian hair in order to sell at a much higher price. China is considered the largest exporter of hair extensions however the quality of the products coming from many processing factories can be inconsistent. That is not to say that the hair is not real human hair, because it is. However, there are many variants that make real human hair high quality or lower quality with a shorter lifespan.
In some countries such as Russia, adverts will be placed to invite donors to sell their hair for an agreed to price. These hair bundles and ponytails are highly sought after as they are of exceptional quality (extremely soft, silky and long lasting). This hair is extremely expensive, especially if it has never been chemically altered. Non chemically altered hair is classified as virgin hair and is the most valuable on the global market.
Real human hair extensions may be made from premium quality raw hair that has never been chemically processed and on the other hand, they may be made from floor swept or comb waste hair – hair that has fallen on the salon floor and been swept, collected, and processed into hair extensions. So although yes, the hair is real human hair, it is not of high quality and generally not what the consumer is wanting to purchase when they think of high quality hair extensions.
Clip in extensions may be made from real human hair which may suggest to the consumer that the hair is of high quality however occasional use hair pieces and clip in hair extensions are generally on the lower end of the scale of quality hair extensions. Some clip in and occasional wear extensions are made from synthetic hair as they are not created for daily use. If these types of extensions are made from synthetic or non-cuticle correct hair, the lifespan of them will be extremely short and the hair will not retain its silky and smooth texture for very long. The reason clip in hair extensions are generally made from lower quality hair is they are a non-permanent option. Occasional wear hair extensions will not endure the day-to-day heat styling, hair washing and stress that permanent hair extensions do, therefore, they are not generally required to be made from hair that is as high quality.
The longest lasting, high quality hair extensions are created from raw virgin hair that has not been chemically altered and is still cuticle intact. Floor and comb waste hair usually does not have its cuticle intact and even if it does, this hair is generally intertwined and mixed when it is collected, causing it to tangle, matt and become very hard to manage. Although this hair is real human hair, it is not the high-quality hair that we use at Carla Lawson Hair Extensions as its lifespan is much shorter than cuticle correct hair.
Quality aside, what is better ultimately comes down to what the reason is for adding hair extensions and what is going to be more beneficial for you.
Are you wanting to transform your look for a night out or an event? If so, perhaps clip in hair extensions are better suited to you. It is no secret that permanent hair extensions do require maintenance and the commitment is perhaps not worthwhile for everybody. Clip-in hair extensions will not however be suitable for those without enough length or volume within their own hair to conceal the clips and cover the bulkiness.
Weft hair extensions created from real human hair may be a better option for these clients as they are much thinner, and have a lower chance of knotting and matting, remaining smooth and being concealed. We have found that many clip in or occasional wear hair extensions are created from low grade, chemically processed, non-cuticle intact, or synthetic hair, meaning that the other issue you may face is that the hair texture and overall look may not match with the client’s natural hair. Generally, these lower grade hair extension pieces are not custom coloured to blend in with the client’s natural hair, they are created as quick fix. Quick fixes are great for adding instant length, volume and to transform your look, but may not look quite as natural as you may had hoped.
While real human hair is recommended when it comes to choosing high quality hair extensions, there are still things to look out for when searching for quality hair. Hair that has been collected in its raw form and is full cuticle correct is optimal as it is all facing the way hair naturally grows. Some hair is collected as floor waste hair which means hair that has been swept up from the salon floor, chemically processed and then made into hair extensions. This type of hair is generally not cuticle correct as there is no way of telling which way the hair naturally faces after it has been mixed. Raw hair cuticles can be quite abrasive and if hairs are captured and then made into hair extensions this way, hairs can tangle, matte and knot much easier. Adding a chemical process into the mix will only make the hair coarser and more likely to tangle. Because of this, hair in its rawest form is the highest quality as it has never been chemically processed, treated or covered in silicones to create a smooth protective layer. These silicone coatings wear off very quickly, leaving hair dry, brittle and prone to breakage.
Clients who are wanting a low maintenance, occasional option may opt for clip in hair extensions due to convenience. It is understandable that not everyone wants to spend a lot of time maintaining their hair extensions and may only want something for an event or as a temporary solution. In these instances, clip in hair extensions, provided the client has enough natural hair to cover them, can be a great, inexpensive option.
As you can see, not all real human hair extensions are created equal hence why it really depends on what you are wanting to achieve from your hair extensions to determine what is essentially better for you. Having said that, overall, the gold standard of hair extensions remains as virgin Russian hair. This hair is real human hair that has never been chemically altered or processed and comes in its most natural state. We always recommend having an in-dept consultation with your hair extension specialist before deciding which hair extensions will be most suitable for you.