Hair extensions might seem like a new invention but in reality hair additions have been around as far back as the Egyptian times when both men and women work wigs. Since then hair pieces have been in and out of fashion ever since.
In 1800 fake hair was frowned upon and women left their hair to be natural until the Romantic era was in full swing when women wore elaborate Apollo knots. Come the mid Victorian era and hair pieces were used a lot more extensively. Then strangely in the early 20th century Edwardian women wore false hair additions to create the pompadour hairstyle which looked like a woman was wearing a teapot on her head. How that became fashionable I don’t really know!
Around the 1920’s less hair was the big thing so hair pieces took a dive around that time and it wasn’t until the 1940s when long hair came back into fashion and women starting indulging again. Then in the 1960’s big hair was back with a vengeance. Coils were the in thing or the updo as better known to us were seen of many women, this was created by very extravagant human hair pieces. Ballarat Wigs made from real or fake hair were commonly worn around this time too and carried on into the early 70’s. Come the 80’s and big hair was in but only natural hair. Famous singers wore wigs but that was about it.
A History of Feather Head Wear - Feather Hair Extension Today
As a Hairdresser and specializing in the Trading of Hair and Application of Extensions, I found that hair quality and the origin of donors is of the utmost of importance to determine quality. The quality of your hair extension hair will determine whether or not they look real, and how long the hair lasts. Please note, the following regions detail the process used to match hair extensions for people of Caucasian origin.
There are a large number of hair extension artists claiming to use virgin Russian hair for many hundreds even thousands of dollars, when in actual fact they are selling good quality European hair sourced from donors with origins in South America, Italy, Eurasian etc . This hairs cuticle has been harshly processed to strip out the very thick texture and dark colour pigments. To mimic western hair (Caucasian), the hair is re-tinted using fabric colours not hair colours to achieve the desired shade.
Hair sourced from donors of Indian, Asian and Chinese donors is a very course hair strand and grows naturally very dark and very straight. The hair is processed using the same method as European hair only more harshly. The pigments are stripped back to nothing then a short lasting silicon coating is added for a more realistic texture. For this reason Asian hair is usually the cheapest and most unnatural looking hair available on the market only lasting for the short term.
Raw Virgin Russian Hair
Raw virgin Russian hair has NEVER been chemically treated and is Caucasian hair so the cuticle is not processed and stripped unlike Asian and European hair. The hair reacts beautifully to salon products and remains silky even after lighting and colouring. Raw virgin Russian hair is widely known as the "creme de la creme" of hair and of the finest quality. The hair not only looks the most natural but also last for years not months. Russian hair is softer, finer and more compatible with western hair allowing the hair move naturally with more volume which means less extensions and less potential damage to your own hair.
Due to the scarce nature of sourcing raw virgin Russian hair the initial cost can be significantly more than European and Asian hair. People only compare prices directly, however volume and durability should also be an important consideration. You may find that over the long term you can purchase raw virgin Russian hair for the same price as Asian or European hair when allowing for how long the hair will last and how many extensions you need. Chemically treated hair is flat and lifeless needing more hair to produce the same affect as non treated hair. In addition to volume, raw virgin Russian hair will last for years not months so the only cost is the cost a hair extension artist will charge for uplifting the extensions. Many well known brands do not offer uplifting due to the poor quality and durability of the product they use. If hair extension artists or salons claim to offer raw virgin Russian hair but can only guarantee the product for less than six months it is more than likely a false claim.
Quick Facts: Asian/European hair extensions
- Hair only last in original condition for a short period
- Not recommended to colour as hair becomes even more porous
- Does not look real
- Not recommended to swim
- Frequently tangles
- Maintenance is very high
- Needs to be styled often
- Looks natural Can be coloured
- Swimming causes no damage
- Hair does not tangle
- Maintenance is very low
- Hair can be left to dry naturally
- Last for years if well cared for
- Need less as hair has more volume
The History of Ballarat
Our society has been adorning the hair with feathers for a long time now, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Feathers enhance the look of clothing, jewellery, hair accessories and more recently, feathers have been making an impact in the fashion industry in the form of feather hair extensions.
Native American culture provides a rich history of heads adorned with feathers. For the native American Indians, feathers represented the power of the thunder gods, along with the power of air and wind. Native American Chiefs wore them to symbolise their divine wisdom, and to communicate with the Spirits. Feathers sometimes represented the courage of the warrior during a battle or a successful hunt.
The birth of the "Flapper" during the Roaring Twenties may be recalled by some; many of the early black and white films showed ladies (Flappers) accessorised with feathers. Many sported short hair styles, unconventional dresses and accessorised with feather trim. Flappers were considered to be on the cutting edge of fashion.
The Flappers of the 1920's wore their hair feathers and feather accessories to symbolise their journey; their metaphorical flight into womanhood - so it is rumoured. The origin of the word "Flapper" refers to a young bird that is learning to fly, though the word flapper does have different meanings and connotations in different cultures.
Feathers have made huge waves in the fashion industry and crossed cultural divides globally. Women still sport feathers as a way to show their liberation from tradition. Feathers can also carry a spiritual significance, or could represent an emotional journey. Fast forward to society today, and the feather accessory is still as impactful as it has ever been; you can choose from an array of feather headpieces, jewellery, or semi-permanent feather hair extensions.
One of the most controversial films of 2010 was the awe-inspiring Black Swan. Dark as it was, it brought the symbolic nature of the feather to new heights. The feather was given a haunting persona, full of intrigue and mystery - the black feathers represented letting go and the discovering her true nature. Feathers in this film were representative of one young woman's struggle with personal identity.
If you're into Hollywood movies, you would have spotted celebrities with feather accessories both on-the-go doing daily tasks, and on the red carpet. This shows that the hair feather extension can transcend formal and casual occasions. The wearing of feathers and its meaning is completely interpretive; It's whatever it symbolizes to you and your own personal journey; rest assured you're not alone. That's what makes the feather such an evolving symbol through the years, or perhaps these days, no matter what your style, you can find hair feathers to suit your own personal style.
The newest types of feathers in hair design for 2012 are being worn as semi-permanent feather extensions. Feathers known as " Grizzly", "Euro Hackle" or "Variants" are being worn by people (men and women) who are interested in more of a long term, easy to manage feather hair accessory. They can be worn in a variety of combinations ranging from bright and fashionable colours for the outgoing and night clubbers to very natural earth tones for the fashionably trendy. You can choose as many feathers as you like to express your current style or persona. These feathers can be treated just like your natural hair. They can be shampooed, hot ironing, etc. You can wear them in your hair for 8 weeks or more with no fuss. Whether you wear them because of a deeper personal meaning, or because you just love to be a trendsetter; now it's easier than ever get the look you want.
Hair Extensions - Give Your Hair a New Look
You see them everywhere; they allow celebrities to go from short hair to greater lengths in an instant. Some look awful while others blend so well that no one would ever suspect; but have you ever wondered where the hair used in extensions comes from? Is it from human sources? What kind of process does it go through before it is attached as an extension? This article will address some of these questions and offer a couple of other insights into the world of the hair extension industry that may interest the average, information seeking, consumer.
First, we should establish that there are many companies that send buyers out to acquire hair for hair extensions and, without sounding biased to one brand or the other, I will just say this... not all hair extensions are created equal, so, buyer beware!
There are three basic categories of hair that is used for hair extensions.
• Synthetic - Hair made from synthetic fibers that are less likely to tangle with your natural hair but is very susceptible to melting due to heat from hot dryers and irons.
• Animal - In particular, the animal hair that is widely used for extensions comes from the under-belly of the Yak. It is claimed that this type of hair, because of its texture and look, has the most suitable structure for use as a match for chemically relaxed and treated African-Ethnic hair. One major drawback is that from there are those who will experience or develop allergic reactions to the Yak hair.
• Human - This hair may come from a variety of geographical regions. A word of caution: There are companies that will claim that the product you are receiving is from a human source but on final analysis, it may be shown to contain animal hair or synthetic fibers, as well. The reason this is allowed to occur is due to the technicality that if a collection of hair joined to form an extension strand contains at least one human strand in the mix, by legal standards it can be marketed as human. So, when researching where your particular extensions come from, always make sure that you are guaranteed that what you are buying is 100% human hair.
Now that we have categorized what the basic types of hair extensions are made of, we can look a little further into how the human hair, used in hair extensions, is collected.
Human hair collected for extensions can be categorized as:
• Remy: Meaning that all the hairs still have their cuticle layers intact with each strand faced in the same direction (this creates a natural fall to the extension, keeps tangling to a minimum, and allows light reflectivity for shine). Ideally the donor of this type of hair has a long braid cut from their head so as to preserve the quality of the cuticle layers following the same direction. Because of the care taken when gathering Remy hair, it tends to be more expensive to purchase but is the most desirable and suitable hair to use.
• Non-Remy: Cuticle layers are not aligned in the same directional flow. These strands are usually collected as naturally shed, fallen hair that is collected from hairbrushes. As you can imagine, this confused mixture of hair is very prone to tangling and matting due to the cuticle layers of the individual hairs not following in the same directions. To rectify this, these hairs are often subjected to acid treatments that remove the cuticle layers from the hair shafts, leaving behind a product that is weakened and dull looking. A silicone is then added to the hair to make the dull, stripped hair shinier. Over time this silicone erodes and washes away, leaving the Non-Remy tresses in their post-chemically treated, compromised condition. Being of lesser quality, this hair is less cost prohibitive than that of Remy hair but typically, produces a less desirable result.
Hopefully, I've shed a bit of light on where hair extension hair comes from, how it's processed, and created a platform where those of you that may be interested in getting an expert hair extension service performed will be able to make thoughtful decisions about the products that are used on your head.