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. Yackandandah 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.
Hair Extension Salons - A Guide
The quality of hair that you receive within a set of extensions will play a major part in the difference between a good and a bad set of hair extensions.
We all know just how popular extensions have become throughout the world and, with the demand for them getting more and more everyday, the extension market is becoming very saturated, rapidly.
More and more manufacturers are skimping on quality, as the price of natural human hair rises. With new competitors appearing throughout the market everyday, all retailers are feeling the pressure to perform.
As with anything, the price that you pay for your extensions will generally reflect in the quality of product that you receive, however the extension market is renowned for being a highly unregulated, so this cannot be taken as gospel.
This series of articles is designed to educate you as a consumer, so you can make an informed decision about the type of hair extensions that will choose to transform your look.
Origins have nothing more to do with the quality of extensions that you will receive other than the texture; however this still plays an important part in how our hair extensions look. We must also understand that companies will sometimes treat the hair using chemicals to change the texture, which can also affect the quality.
Everybody's natural hair texture is different and, although not imperative, it is a good idea to look at the type of extension origin in relation to the texture of your natural hair, before buying.
Lets look firstly at probably the cheapest and most readily available; Chinese hair. This has a very coarse/ thick texture and comes in dark colours, mainly black. With Chinese hair you have much more chance of it being put through a chemical process; manufacturers know that extensions are very popular for people with that of Caucasian hair so they will strip down the cuticle to make the hair resemble this texture.
Next we have to remember that with Chinese hair, any extension colour other than black, will have to go through some kind of colour stripping process to reach its desired colour. This normally means some kind bleach product will be used, so again, especially with the lighter colours quality will be affected.
It has such a coarse texture, it is not well matched to the majority of Caucasian types of hair. It is personal preference as to whether you are happy wearing this hair. To give you an example; my hair is quite fine with lots of layers and, as I prefer a thicker, coarser look and my hair extension stylist is very good at blending I do not see much of a problem using Chinese Extensions. I reiterate that personal preference is key!
So then we move up the scale to Indian hair. Texture wise this is a much similar texture to Caucasian hair but will still have the same issues colouring wise as naturally it is found in very dark colours and blacks.
Indian Temple hair is hair that is sacrificed in temples throughout India. It can be seen as a very good type of hair to use as long as it is not over processed. Good Indian Temple Hair will cost a bit more to buy, but will be worth the investment.
Then we move on to European hair. This can mean it is collected from countries within the EU; a massive area with a lot of countries in it. However not many where people cut their hair off and sell it! Consequently we are narrowing down the availability already. Again texture wise this is much more suited to Caucasian hair, however you will find that countries where hair is available from for example Spain will also be in the majority of dark colours. We need to also bear in mind that companies will label their extensions as e.g. 'Spanish Hair' when actually the hair has been sourced from China, but processed in Spain, giving its apparent 'Spanish' origin!
Russian Hair is another origin of hair where supply is extremely limited and consequently cost is high. This is because a lot of time and money has to be spent travelling through isolated Russian villages finding hair donors. Russian hair is classed as the finest best quality hair suited to Caucasian hair that money can buy. Please note the last section of this sentence; this is hair is from one of the most expensive origins. Russian hair comes in a variety of natural colours meaning the need for dying and bleaching is limited if not non existent. It is also renown for being soft and silky to touch therefore doesn't really need any processing so there are no problems with drying or matting after washing.
Again we must watch for these companies that will use only a percentage of Russian Hair in their extensions and sell as Russian hair and companies claiming their hair is Russian, when actually it has just been processed in Russia and nothing else.
So, to conclude, the second statement in our Hair Extension Article Series; What Do You Know About Hair Quality? Chapter 2 is; 'The texture best suited to Caucasian Hair, regarding hair origin is Russian Hair. This hair is very expensive and hard to find. Buy using a good hair Extensions Technician, we can use blending techniques to disguise the texture of other coarser hairs e.g. Chinese. Textures and Hair Origins are all to do with personal preference and must be analysed carefully. '
Please read my other Articles within the Hair Extension Article Series; What Do You Know About Hair Quality? To start piecing together the whole story about what to look for in Hair Extension Qualities.
The History of Yackandandah
It can be difficult to find a hair extension stylist near you, and you don't always have the time to drive hours to get your hair done. Luckily, several online resources are available to help.
Here is a helpful, condensed list:
The Hair Extension Salon Locator
This site lists hair extension salons by state. It also features articles on the care of hair extensions and hair loss information. Additionally, they have supplies and training resources.
This is the website for the HairBonz hair extension system. You can call 1-888-693-HAIR to find a listing of hair extension salons using the HairBonz system.
This informative site has links to hair extension salons. Unfortunately, the information is listed alphabetically and cannot be searched by city or state. However, if you have the patience to scan the listings you just might find a local salon.
Black Beauty Care Directory
This site is specifically for African-American beauty concerns, and lists salons that cater to African hair. Information is categorized by state for easy access.
Another way to find a local hair extension salon is to type "Houston hair extension salons" or "hair extensive salons near Houston" in a search engine. Of course, use your own city name in place of Houston!
You can also use your Yellow Pages to find hair extension salons.
One of the best ways to find a top-quality salon is by word of mouth. If a friend or family member has beautiful extensions, ask for a reference.
No matter where you located your hair extension salon, make sure that your stylist is qualified to apply the extensions. He or she should be a licensed cosmetologist with ample experience in applying the type of extensions you are considering. Many experts recommend that you meet some of the stylist's other clients and find out if they are happy with their extensions. At the very least, ask to see a portfolio with before and after pictures.
Hair Extensions - Where Do Yours Come From?
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