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. Snake Valley 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.
Real Hair Extensions - The Key to Having Perfect Hair
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 Snake Valley
Many women like using clip-in hair extensions. Clip-in extensions are clipped to your natural hair and therefore increase the volume and length of your hair. With these you may also choose to have hair which is temporary colored. Ladies with thin hair can easily gain more volume with clip-in hair extensions. These are made from man-made or human hair. You may also straighten or curl them as per your choice. These extensions are available in a variety of colors and lengths. You also have the option of removing them while going to bed.
Apart from clip-in extensions, women also prefer using wigs. Nowadays, wigs are made from a variety of materials. Modern day wigs use the most natural looking materials which have luster and imitate human hair. Materials used for making wigs are mainly lightweight, soft, manageable, and very durable. There are several style options even with wigs. You may choose from straight, curly, or wavy hair wigs to match your style. These wigs remain the same even after several washes as they are baked. A wig can change one's style in a matter of seconds. You can wear and take them off, as and when you like.
Several people are worried about their wigs fitting well, in other words, looking natural. It may sometimes be difficult to set these wigs for people who are new or out of practice. The front lace wig is a very popular. The wig can be adjusted with the help of 2 straps which are present on each side. These allow women to give their wigs a snug fit. You can wear these wigs very easily on your own. You don't need a professional to set these up for you every time.
There are several kinds of wigs and clip-in hair extension easily available in the market. Before you select between the two choices, it is very important to be sure about your choice. You should know that both these are easily made of natural and man made hair strands. These also come in various styles and colors for you to experiment with your looks.
However, people must be careful about using wigs and placing them naturally. Unlike hair clip-in hair extensions, which are clipped firmly to the roots of your hair, these wigs are mere placed, tied or glued to stay put. While using clip-in hair extensions you may need professional help and some more money, but the results will be outstanding. However, these clip-in hair extensions are also reusable. So you have the freedom of experimenting with your style as many times as you wish. Using clip-in hair extensions have one more advantage. You need not only use one color of these, you can freely mix and match several colors of extensions to get a colorful look. Using different colors at a time will give you that perfect bohemian look if you desire.
I would personally recommend women to use clip-in hair extensions instead of wigs. However trendy your wig may be, it does not make you feel natural. Clip-in hair extensions give that natural feel as they are used along with your natural hair. Therefore it is important that you go for clip-in hair extension to get that chic look.
A Guide to Hair Extension Salons
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