Where Does Hair for Wigs and Extensions Come From?


It is incredible how popular hair extensions have become in just the last five years. In fact, reporter Adrienne Berard of The Columbus Dispatch sites that, “Great Lengths Hair Extensions, one of the largest human-hair vendors in the industry, reports a 70 percent growth during the past five years. According to a report by the Professional Beauty Association, the number of U.S. salons offering hair extensions has increased 28.5 percent in the past two years.”

It’s no wonder why the hair extension industry has grown at a phenomenal rate; the secret that many celebrities have guarded is out, the methods of applying extensions have progressed, and it has become much easier to find a salon that provides this service. Moreover, the options and varieties of hair extensions that are available can appeal to a broader audience who have various budgets and styles that they desire.

While once salon customers were just concerned about cut, color, price, and care, now many are asking about the moral ramifications of purchasing human hair and how the hair is harvested. First of all, most human hair obtained for wigs and hair extensions is from Asian, Indonesian, or Indian women. The hair goes through extensive chemical treatments to lighten it and to become the final product that most of us are familiar with. Here are a few more facts that may help you in your decision to purchase human or synthetic wigs or hair extensions.

Chinese Hair (aka Asian Hair): Chinese hair has a thicker denier (unit of fineness) which causes the hair to be extremely straight. However, it is the strongest hair and can withstand the chemical processes that are necessary in preparing the hair for a wig. It also is the lowest priced human hair since it can stand up to treatments and has the largest supply.

Indian Hair: Indian hair is finer than Chinese hair and therefore more closely resembles European hair. It also has more varieties of textures and body available and the fiber is smaller in diameter than Chinese hair. Therefore, after chemical processing and other treatments, it can feel and look just like European hair. This causes Indian hair to be pricier than Chinese hair.

Remy/Remi Hair: This type of hair has been cut and bound together with the roots aligned at the top of the bundle. It is carefully preserved throughout the export process and arrives at the factory still intact. With the hair cuticles running in the same direction, tangling is greatly reduced and hair looks and feels silkier.

Non-Remy Hair: Non-Remy Hair does not have its roots aligned and may have been collected off the floor or may have some other reason why they were unable to keep the roots together and running in the same direction. This is a much cheaper option than Remy hair and isn’t as desirable. Non-remy in cheaper circles is used when the cuticle is removed. They can then make a wig and not have to worry about the cuticle. If the cuticle is upside down the piece can not be used

I came across an interesting article a few years ago written by Katherine Zoepf for Allure magazine. “Temple hair” has been in high demand for many celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson and Zoepf shares extensive insight into the process of gathering this most prized hair. “Temple hair most often comes from Tirumala, by far the largest of the South Indian temples where tonsuring is practiced. And at Tirumala, the glossy, healthy, waist length hair from the heads of young Indian women — women who typically have not cut their hair since early childhood, and who have never allowed anything harsher than fresh coconut oil and herbal Ayurvedic soap to touch it — fetches the highest prices… Three or four times a year, the hair collected at Tirumala is sold at auction. Approximately 500 tons of human hair is sold per year… The hair now brings the temple 100 crore rupees (approximately $20.6 million) annually. The money… is all poured back into the temple and the community: providing the free meal that each needy pilgrim is eligible to receive upon a visit to the temple, for example, and supporting local hospitals and religious schools.”

While this is only one example of where hair comes from to supplement the wig and extension market, at Wig Works, we only partner with reputable distributors that provide the finest quality products. We can help you find the perfect wig or hair extensions that will suit your style, budget, and lifestyle.

About Janelle P.

I am proud to be one of the foremost hair loss specialists in the Bay Area with over thirty years experience in the field. At age 12 I began styling wigs for fashion and fun and assisted my mother after she established Wig Works in the early 1970’s. My passion for hair led me to Honolulu where I worked closely with legendary stylist Paul Mitchell. I had the honor to perform onstage platform hair styling with Mr. Mitchell, as well as legendaries Jean Braa, Zenon, and Alan Bush. I was also highly involved with the development and distribution of the Paul Mitchell line and later worked as a color representative for L’Oreal and stylist instructor for Matrix. I returned to the Bay Area and expanded Wig Works, with the establishment of Extensions for Hair. The revolutionary new hair extension method offered my clients with thin hair the opportunity to augment their style rather than relying on a wig or hair clip for length or fullness. These hair extensions are popular with women of all ages. Furthermore, I survived breast cancer twice and once lost all my hair from chemotherapy, so I have a unique perspective on special hair needs.
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1 Response to Where Does Hair for Wigs and Extensions Come From?

  1. Sunny pullman says:

    Very good info thankyou


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