Because I was born in Russia, people tend to assume that this explains my strong preference for Russian-sourced hair. The reason is, however, quite different. In order to explain, it might be sensible to talk about some of the sources of hair commonly used in extensions and to look more closely at their relative pros and cons.
Synthetic hair, in other words, man-made fibres intended to look like human hair, has been widely used in the manufacture of hair extensions, particularly in low quality, off-the-shelf products. Its virtue is that it’s cheap – but that’s about it. When seen close-to, it’s apparent that it doesn’t match your natural hair, nor does it move in the same way – compared with real hair extensions, it screams “fake”. Synthetic hair works fine for theatrical applications but it fails to reach the standards that most people would demand for normal use.
China and Eastern Asia is probably the most common source of hair used in modern real hair extensions. Again its main virtue is its cost. Because it’s a relatively plentiful source, it’s also one of the cheapest. But because it’s naturally relatively coarse, it’s unlikely blend in particularly well with natural ethnic European hair. This can be overcome to some extent by chemically treating the hair to reduce its coarseness. However, this process strips the cuticle layer which, in turn requires the hair to be coated with an overlay of silicon. Unfortunately, the silicon layer is only semi-permanent and, after a few washes, it fades – as does the colour and sheen of the hair itself.
For clients whose own hair is naturally rather more coarse, I would always use Remy Virgin hair rather than Chinese hair. Remy Virgin is sourced from Eastern parts of Russia and, as the term “virgin” implies, has not been treated with aggressive chemicals and retains its natural cuticle layer which means it will look and feel right and will retain its natural shine.
Confusingly, So-called European Virgin Hair doesn’t necessarily come from Europe. The name comes from the fact that it is selected to look and feel like ethnic European hair. If carefully selected and arranged with the cuticles lying in the same direction (to prevent tangles) it can be used to produce an excellent, cost effective product.
Russian Virgin Hair is, however, simply the best available and will therefore produce the finest finished hair extension. And, of course, as the term virgin hair implies, it’s never been bleached, dyed, straightened or permed. In fact, it hasn’t been treated chemically in any way. We review and test all hair in salon before it’s used to ensure the quality of both the raw material and the finished hair extension. We’re also scrupulous in ensuring that all the Hair we use to make our quality hair extensions is 100% ethically sourced, working with trusted local contacts rather than anonymous brokers, to create a fair deal for all our suppliers. It’s far from the cheapest, but for clients who demand the best, it’s really the only sensible choice.