Synthetic hair , human hair, Virgin hair, Raw remy hair. What on earth does this all really mean? Or how about virgin hair grades 6A , 7A ,8A? You have an explanation yet? Don't worry I'll wait...
It's no secret the hair industry can be extremely confusing at times making buying hair a pain. As customers, we are exposed to all these different extensions. As if things weren’t confusing enough, we now add grades to the hair. It's normal to assume that as the grades get higher, so to does the quality of hair. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Misleading, or untruthful are 2 ways you could describe the whole concept of the hair industry.
Story time (Let me paint a little picture for you)
Let me paint a little picture for you. You're a strong beautiful woman in search of that good good virgin hair. You decide to turn to youtube for some help. You watch the many beauty influencers on youtube talk about how beautiful and affordable this 8A grade “Brazilian” hair from aliexpress is. Seeing how beautiful the hair is on these ladies, what do you do? You buy it of course! I mean duh, who are you to turn down some cheap flawless hair. Not to mention how beautiful it looks on these ladies.
You order the hair, receive the package, open it up and low and behold, it’s the silky, soft shiny hair you were hoping for. Your first thought? “Ugh this hair is life” or maybe a “Yaaasss hunny!” Fast forward a month and a couple of washes later, and well that hair that you once thought you loved has turned into a disaster. Your thought now? Well I'll let you answer that, I mean it is your story right. At this point the hair is shedding, matting, and looks likes a hot mess. To add to your frusteration, the hair is accompanied by a smell. And I’m sure you know the smell I'm talking about. Yup, that corn chip smell. The one you tried ignoring when you first received the package. The one that got worse when you decided to apply heat to it. Yea that one.
There is a reason your hair's doing this and it's not because you happened to get a bad batch. To help you understand it is important we break down the different types of hair extensions on the market today.
In today’s hair industry as we know it, there are four different hair categories;
Synthetic hair is deemed to be the lowest quality of hair on the market. It is created from different synthetic fibers such as acrylic and/or plastic to name a few. This hair is completely man made and does not come from the heads of humans or animals. You can't straighten, curl, or color synthetic hair. As a matter of fact, if you attempt to apply a large amount of heat to synthetic hair, it will MELT because as science will tell you, when you apply heat to plastic, it melts. Essentially, if you want to keep your hair from damaging, the style you receive your hair in is most likely the style you have to keep!!
This is by no means to put down synthetic hair or the people that buy and rock it. As a matter of fact, many people buy synthetic hair and tend to look gorgeous in it. It actually has its advantages depending on what you're trying to do with your hair. Buying synthetic hair may be a good choice if you're goal is to try out new styles and colours as it is a lot more cheaper than its counterparts, which we discuss below. It actually wouldn’t be the wisest to risk hundreds of dollars to try something new using expensive hair.
But once again, know exactly what you are using your hair for and how you're using it, and match that up with the qualities that the hair offers. Do not expect to buy synthetic hair and have it last for months on end after daily usage. After a couple of weeks, you will surely start to notice the quality of the hair decreasing.
Human hair. Sounds straightforward right? Well as simple as it sounds, there are many misconceptions to it. The biggest one is that the hair is actually human hair. Sounds Crazy right? Feel free to sit down for this one because you might need to.
Back in the day many of us bought “human hair” from our local beauty supply store. This human hair came from brands like Yaki “human hair”, Hair topic, Premium Yaki Extensions, and Premium Yaki human hair to name a few. These brands were promoted to us as being 100% human hair. Now ofcourse many of us believed it to be 100% real human hair but unfortunately for us, the hair really came from an animal located in south asia, called the long haired yak(View image above). Yup, it turns out that the very same Asian vendors who brought us these brands of human hair claiming it was actual human hair were actually harvesting the hair off of animals. The unfortunate thing is we were deceived by those vendors then and many of us are still being deceived by them today just with a different type of hair.
Once again, depending on what your hair needs are, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this hair as it may be able to meet those needs. However it is important that we understand exactly were getting.
Question, if you pick up hair that's been cut and on the ground of a salon can you call it virgin human hair? Can you call it virgin hair if the hair has been gathered from combs, multiple donors, or sometimes even animal hair? Well it depends who you ask but sadly, according to virgin hair vendors encountered on Aliexpress, you can. These Aliexpress vendors don’t hesitate to market their hair as 100% virgin human hair because they know how appealing it sounds to both you and me. However, the process to create "virgin human hair" from the collecting of it to the preparing of the hair is everything but virgin. Hair that is dipped into silicon and other chemicals , stripped from all its cuticles, placed in a ribbon and then called a bundle should not be considered virgin hair.
The true definition of virgin hair is unprocessed hair that is cut from a single donor. Most of the“virgin” hair sold to us on Aliexpress is the bundled up collection of random quality hair from either the cut off hair droppings in a salon, leftover combed hair, donor hair from different donors mixed together or sometimes even animal hair. These bundles are than chemically processed with silicons to give it an appealing shiny look and/or a certain curl pattern. At first glance this hair looks pleasing and beautiful but you’ll start to notice that a few washes down the line, that hair will start to shed and tangle.
Virgin hair usually comes in names like Brazilian, Peruvian and Malaysian hair, with curl patterns and names like "body wave", "deep curly", "water wave". It is important that we take these names with a grain of salt as in many cases, these types of names are not what they appear to be. Although Brazilian hair, Peruvian hair or other forms of hair named after south American countries may exist in extremely small numbers, for the most part, these are just names given to hair in attempts to make the hair seem more appealing. Most of the hair comes from India and sometimes south east Asia. When marketing their hair, they also tend to add grades such as 6A , 7A ,8A etc. But what do these grades even mean? Not what you think.
These grades have no correlation with hair quality. Truth be told, there's no governing body that ensures that the higher the number the better the quality. This allows these Chinese vendors to associate any number with the hair that they sell just to make it appear as though its high quality. There is no basis for these grades. The hair is not tested on some sort of measurement of hair grade quality, meaning there is no all around basis to determine the quality of one type of "virgin hair" to another.
The quality of hair can only be determined by figuring out whether or not the hair has undergone any processing and whether the hair is remy (the cuticles are going in one direction). This brings me to our last category. Raw hair.
4. Raw Hair
Raw hair is what virgin hair is suppose to be hence a new classification being made. This hair is a lot more rare than its counterparts. It is hair that is cut from one donor cleaned and wefted. Often times true raw hair is considered remy, meaning the roots of the hair are on one side and the ends are on the other side, the cuticles are therefore intact and going in one direction, causing for there to be less matting or shedding of the hair. When the hair is not remy meaning the ends and tips of different strands are in different directions, cuticles often lock together with different strands causing matting and shedding of the hair.
Remy hair is cut in a way that ensures the cuticles are all going down the same directions and is not mixed up. Remy raw hair is not mixed with any synthetic fibres, animal hair , comb hair or leftover salon hair droppings, which we now know reduces the quality of the hair. Remy raw hair is the highest quality of hair and is usually expensive. It is 100% unprocessed human hair and can therefore last you a lifetime.
We hope you leave here today a lot more informed than when you came. The hair game could be a confusing place sometimes, but armoured with the knowledge provided here today, you should be able to conquer it and have your hair looking flawless for all eternity in no time. Keep Slaying!!
For some key pointers on determining the difference between virgin hair and Raw hair check out this Virgin hair vs Raw Hair post.