Are you thinking about getting hair extensions? Then you definitely want to research where your hair is coming from.
Because the difference between a hair transformation and a hair nightmare is largely dependent on where and how your hair extensions are sourced.
Below is a pie chart that shows the top 3 regions of the world that export human hair extensions. (Source)
Asia, Europe and North America make up over 90% of the hair extension market.
So there is a highly likely chance that the hair you purchase will be from one of these regions.
Now that you know where your hair is most likely to come from, you will want to dig a little further into the qualities that are commonly found in hair from each of these regions.
Chinese and Indian Hair Extensions (Asian)
The largest exporter in the world of human extension hair is Hong Kong with 51.9% of the market. India is a close second with 32.5%.
That means there is a good chance that the extensions you are buying will be from one of these two countries.
If you are buying Remy Hair then it is guaranteed to be of Asian origins.
Photos Source | Emma Tarlo | BBC | " Women In Myanmar Sort Hair Into Similar Lengths"
Pro #1 | Affordability
The biggest pro of purchasing Chinese or Indian hair is that the cost per ounce of this hair is significantly cheaper than other types of hair.
Con #1 | Chemical and Color Processing
The vast majority of women who are native to these countries have predominantly darker shades and tones of hair color.
So if you are purchasing blonde or lighter toned hair extensions; the hair will have been color processed or chemically altered to achieve the lighter color you are purchasing.
Photos Source | Emma Tarlo | BBC | "Asian Extension Hair Being Dyed Blonde"
Processing and coloring extension hair weakens the structures that surround the hair and will ultimately reduce the quality of the extensions.
For example, if the hair you are purchasing has been changed from dark brown to blonde then we can guarantee that the cuticle of the hair is either severely damaged or removed altogether.
That means the hair you are purchasing will look amazing when your stylist first puts it in, but it will quickly become matted, easily tangled, frizzy, dry and lifeless after a few washes.
You can read more about this issue in this great Forbes article
Con #2 | Quality Of The Source
Another major issue is that when purchasing hair from these countries is that you run the risk of purchasing hair that has been sourced from undesirable sources.
Photos Source | Emma Tarlo | BBC | "Piles Of Unsorted Standard Hair"
There is a term used in hair extension marketing called Standard Hair (Source), and it is a more flattering term than what it actually refers to.
Standard Hair is a type of extension hair that is gathered from numerous sources, bundled together, processed, and then packaged for sale.
More often than not, Standard Hair will have been collected from undesirable sources such as hair brushes, salon floors, drain plugs and other questionable sources.
This quote from a BBC article we found sheds more light on this dark side of the hair extension industry - “There is a whole industry around untangling, sorting and treating comb waste. While the finished product invariably passes through China on the way to its final destination, it is likely to be a mishmash of hair from many Asian countries. "There is no distinction, it all gets mangled up," (Source)
Con #3 | Limited Regulation
When purchasing hair from this part of the world you run the risk of purchasing counterfeit or mislabeled hair.
The Hair Extension Market in Asia is largely unregulated and there is always a chance that the hair you are purchasing is counterfeit and of poor quality, even fi it is labeled as hair of a higher quality.
Photos Source | Irish Times
Recommendations / Recap
Asian extension hair is much cheaper than hair that is sourced from Europe or North America. But with that cost savings comes a significant reduction in quality.
Lighter hair tones from this part of the world will have been dramatically chemically altered or colored resulting in dry and damaged hair extensions.
Standard Hair is common from this part of the world. Standard Hair is extension hair that has been collected from multiple sources, detangled, combed, processed, and repackaged for sale to you. This results in very poor quality hair that has often been bathed in acid and coated with silicone
Photos Source | Irish Times
Hair from this part of the world is largely unregulated and could be a counterfeit product or mislabeled.
Our recommendation would be to skip this hair all together and pay the extra money for a higher quality product. It will look and feel more natural than hair imported from Asia and it will also last much longer.
If you have hair color and texture that naturally resembles the hair imported from Asia then you may want to consider it. Just make sure you do your due diligence and avoid hair that is not single donor with the cuticle intact.
Slavik Hair (European)
The Slavik regions of Europe represent the third largest exporter of extension hair in the world.
Slavik countries include Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe.
The popularity of hair from this part of the world continues to grow as more women become aware of its superior quality.
Due to its popularity and limited availability, Slavik Hair is hard to come by. So if you find a salon that carries it you should be ready to pay the extra price for the highest quality extension hair available.
Pro #1 | The Longest Lasting Hair Available
The biggest signal of quality of your extension hair is how long it will last before you need to replace it.
Slavik Hair will last up to 1 Year with proper care. The average amount of time Remy Hair from China and India will last is 3-6 months. Lower grade hair that has been coated in silicone will last less than a month.
Pro #2 | Minimally Processed Hair
Slavik Hair comes in a variety of colors that range from dark to light. So finding a hair color and tone that closely matches your natural hair will be much easier. It also comes in a wide range of textures.
Because of its wide range of colors and textures, Slavik Hair is going to be processed as little as possible before it is added to your hair as extensions. This will result in extensions that are healthier and of higher quality than hair from other parts of the world.
Pro #3 | Virgin, Double Drawn and Hand Tied Hair Wefts
If you happen to find a salon that carries Slavik Hair, then you are in luck, because they will most likely have access to Virgin Slavik Hair which is the absolute best hair you can purchase for your extensions.
Virgin Hair is 100% human hair that has never been colored or chemically processed.
Read this excerpt from a Huffington Post article we found that really highlights the amount of care that goes into the hair that is expired from Europe,
“ On a recent trip to Ukraine to source the much sought-after Slavic Hair, I witnessed the pain-staking double drawn process in which they remove most of the short hairs so the hair appears thick from the roots right to the ends. Then instead of machine-made wefts, the hair is attached onto a handmade weft that takes one worker a full day to complete just 100 grams of hair - no mass production here! Capsule keratin bonds and tape extensions are much faster to produce and do require machines but it does give you an idea into the detail of process Ukraine puts into their hair production. Not only do they preserve the raw material with strict standards and processes so you receive the hair as it was on the head; they take out any imperfections to ensure it actually looks even better.”
Con # 1 | Higher Price
With quality comes price, but as we have mentioned before, the hair from Europe will last 2 to 4 times longer than even the best hair sourced from China and India. It will also look and feel more natural.
Con #2 - Harder To Find
Because there is such a high demand for Slavik Hair, it is becoming harder and harder to find. If you ask your current hair extension stylist where their hair is from they will almost certainly say it is “Remy Hair”. And all that means is it is cuticle aligned (link to cuticle aligned section) hair from China or India.
Recommendations / Recap
The pros of Slavik Extension Hair far outweigh the cons. You might pay a little more for the hair, but the quality makes that price difference well worth it.
Slavik Hair looks and feels more natural, will last longer than hair from China and India.
All Glamour Locks Hair Extension Salons exclusively carry Cuticle Hair and Cuticle Hair +
Cuticle Hair Wefts are: silicone free, single donor, European sourced, will last up to 1 year, cuticle aligned and 100% human hair with the cuticle intact.