- Sew St. Louis
The Truth About Virgin Hair
By: Kendra Cosey
Tired of Wasting Your Hard-Earned Money on Hair That Sheds, Mattes and Tangles? Are You Tired of Being Deceived?
In order to completely know and understand the information I am about to share with you, we must first be on the same page regarding the use of the word, "virgin." It is a word that is so widely used, yet very few people TRULY understand what it is and how it differs from other types of hair. The word "virgin" literally means "pure". Therefore, "virgin hair,” by definition, is hair that is pure in nature and has not been chemically processed or altered from it's original state. It was cut from the head of a single donor, washed, sanitized and sewn onto a weft. It's that simple.
If anything more has been done to the hair, such as mixing it with other fibers, coloring, chemical baths or coating with silicone (see #2), it is no longer considered to be virgin hair. It then is classified as "processed" hair in which the physical quality and good condition is altered. Unfortunately, this is an issue for many consumers. They are unknowingly purchasing "processed" hair that suppliers label and market as “virgin hair.” Surprised? Oh, you haven't seen anything yet. Below are 5 Truths to Know and About Virgin Hair That Most Suppliers Will Never Tell You.
1) Beauty Supply Hair is NEVER Truly Virgin Hair, No Matter What They Tell You!
Thousands of clients have sat in my salon chairs with tears in their eyes because they were led to believe that they just spent hundreds of dollars on top quality extensions, yet it melts when heat is applied or it won't even hold a curl. Beauty Supply owners and employees will tell you whatever it is you want to hear in order to make a sale. Now this may not apply to all, but it definitely applies to the majority. Consider this, does it make logical sense to purchase a product and trust the opinion of someone whom has NEVER used the product and has no experience with the product at all, outside of selling it. Their #1 goal is to make money. So, they will tell you whatever it is that you want to hear in order to make that happen.
To add insult to injury, many of them also have "No Refund" policies where you can't even get your money back after discovering the truth that their product wasn't what they advertised. Many Beauty Supplies have also gotten smart by hiring other black women in record numbers to sell their hair and products for them. I guess they figured that one black woman will trust another black woman's opinion regarding their products. After all, she is a familiar face. Although this is a smart marketing ploy on their part, the issue for the consumer is that the employee's job is to also sell products in order to receive a paycheck. Therefore, she will say whatever is necessary in order to close that sale. So, she too will be untruthful and falsely convince you that you are making a wise decision in purchasing their product.
I have befriended several women who work at these beauty supply retailers and they give me the inside scoop on how bad the hair really is and how much money the owners are actually making. These suppliers have literally become millionaires by pumping bad hair into our communities. It amuses me that when I walk in to the beauty supply to purchase my combs, hair spray, etc., everyone is always “Oooh'n and Ahh’n" over my hair, telling me how "good" it is, asking to feel it and questioning where I purchased it. I simply reply, "This hair is from a company I own called ‘Her Best Virgin Hair.’ Believe it or not, I have been wearing these particular bundles off and on for nearly 3 years. It's REALLY good hair." Petty, I know. But it's my way of discreetly showing them what true quality looks like without being disrespectful to their business.
2) The Term "Good Hair" is Relative to Each Individual and Does Not Guarantee Quality.
The #1 question I get from clients regarding hair is, "Is this GOOD hair?" The term "good hair" cannot be answered with a simple, "Yes" or "No" response. What a person considers to be "good" or "bad" is relative to them, their experiences and their budget. For example, I have had to inform many clients the unfortunate new that after sitting in my chair for over an hour, the hair that they chose to install won't even hold a curl or that it tangles so bad that is cannot be re-used. Frustrated, the first thing out of their mouth is, "They told me this was 'good' hair!"
Because I usually know how the situation will end, I ask a series of questions to hep educate them for future purchases. First I ask, "Who is the 'They' that you are referring to?" "They" is usually a friend, family member or a salesperson at the local beauty supply. If the "They" is a friend or family member, it's usually a case where this person has never experience real raw, unprocessed hair. They normally purchase packaged hair, and since the price tag on these particular bundles was a little more pricey (for their budget and based on what they're used to spending), it was assumed that the quality was also better. This is a false assumption. In this case, the assumption that this particular hair was "good hair" was based on the opinion of someone who discovered hair that was simply better than what they were used to and had experienced up until this point.
If the "They" is a salesperson at a beauty supply, well, we talked about this in Truth #1. Their job is to sell hair and make money, nothing more nothing less. They are NOT your friends! Although they will fool you into believing that they are. They will tell you whatever you want to hear in order to make a dollar. Also, most of these stores don't even carry true raw, unprocessed hair. So, again what they are convincing you is "good" is simply better than the other lower-quality options and packaged hair that they are known for.
3. Names and Grades Mean Nothing!
I also have women come into my salon and make statements like, "I don't like Peruvian hair,” "What grade is your hair?” or “Do you sell 9A hair?” Let me be the first to tell you the truth, whatever name a supplier decides to call their hair, is not an indicator of whether or not it is of good quality.
Think about it, I could cut the hair from a horse's tail and convince you that I ventured to Alaska and retrieved it directly from native Eskimos. I can then market it as a 10A Grade, and charge you a 2000% mark-up. Someone would then purchase this ridiculously expensive Eskimo hair due to its "exclusivity," when in reality it's just a horse's tail. This is what many retailers do. I don't mean that they're literally selling you animal hair. But, unlike a can of soda, hair extensions don't come with a list of ingredients. So, you never know what you're really getting.
This allows companies to name their hair exclusive names from different regions around the world, yet what you're really getting is cheap, fallen hair from China that has been marked up 1000%. Yet, they play with the numbers to make you feel as if you're getting a better deal. Names mean nothing nor do grades. Grades were created by hair companies in order to compete with other companies. You may notice grades from 5A all the way to 10A+. It’s all false. Years ago, grades only went up to 5A, which used to be the highest quality. But, competing companies got smart and started increasing the grades, while the quality remained unchanged. Quality (longevity, durability and whether or not the hair tangles, sheds or mattes) is all that matters when considering what hair extensions to purchase.
4. Hair is Classified into 3 Categories.
All hair on the market is classified into 3 different categories based on its physical health and whether or not it has been processed. Virgin hair, Remy hair or non-Remy (fallen hair) are the 3 types of hair that exist. Most companies, (especially those whose prices are really cheap) sell Remy and non-Remy hair disguised as Virgin hair. I bet you're thinking to yourself, this is a lot of information. What in the world is 'Remy' hair?" Let me break down the difference:
Virgin Hair (10%-15% of hair on the market): Raw, unprocessed hair from a single donor. When collecting virgin hair from a donor, the manufacturer put the hair in a ponytail and cuts it. This ensures that the hair is not damaged and that the cuticles remain in tact. Color is a big indicator as to whether or not your hair is truly virgin hair. Since every donor doesn't have the same hair color, the colors usually range from a natural brown to a natural black. If you are purchasing what you think is Virgin hair and all of the options are jet black, run for the hills! This is an indicator that it is processed hair instead. The quality is not the same as Virgin! With Virgin hair, all of the cuticles are facing in the same direction, and it lasts at least one year with proper maintenance. This hair does not tangle, matte and has minimal shedding. This is the type of hair we carry in our Premium Collection.
Remy Hair (20%-50% of hair on the market): While this hair is better than non-remy hair, it's not as good as virgin hair. Remy hair is hair collected from multiple donors and whose cuticles are mostly in tact, but do contain damed cuticles as well. To simplify it, Remy hair is a mixture of the good and the bad. It is a mid-grade option for those who can't quite afford Virgin (the best), but was something better than the non-Remy (the worst). These bundles can last anywhere from 3-6 months. While Remy hair is softer and smoother to touch than virgin hair, because the cuticles are not 100% in tact, some occasional tangling isn't unusual. Someone inexperienced won't be able to tell the difference between Remy hair and true virgin hair simply by the look and feel. But, after a few weeks, and a couple shampoos, the difference is evident. Our Budget Bundles are made of Remy hair. They are a more affordable alternative to our raw, Virgin Premium Collection.
Non-Remy Hair (60%-80% of hair on the market): Another word for non-Remy hair is "fallen hair". This is hair whose cuticles are damaged. Fallen hair is hair that is literally collected from the floors of virgin hair manufacturers. Another method manufacturers use to collect fallen hair is by traveling door to door in India and collecting the dead hair from the combs and brushes of citizens in exchange for money, food or toys.
The hair is shipped to China where workers then comb through the hair with large metal brushes to remove tangles and kinks. But, because the cuticles are extremely damaged, the hair is not useable until it is coated in silicone, which produces a soft, silky finished product. However, once the silicone begins to wear off, the true nature of the hair is revealed as it tangles, mattes and sheds horribly. This explains why your hair is good for a little while, but then starts to tangle up. The silicone coating has worn off.
This type of hair is what beauty supply store sell to 99% of their customers under a variety of different names. Do not be fooled by suppliers that claim their hair is raw, remy or unprocessed, especially if the price is too good to be true. To make matters worse, many companies mix their Remy hair with 10-40% Non-Remy hair. You can definitely tell the difference with this and you don't stand a chance at getting any longevity whatsoever from this. Most packaged hair is non-Remy hair. We do not carry this type of hair.
5) You Get What You Pay For!
The hair market is so saturated and competitive that online companies and retail stores offer competitive deals at low prices in order to get consumers to purchase from their company instead of their competitors'. The problem with this is that typically the cheaper the price, often times, the lower the quality of the hair. Have you ever seen Gucci on clearance? No! Why is that? Let me save you the trouble of trying to figure it out. It is because QUALITY COSTS!!! If a business is selling you a quality product, chances are, they have paid a good amount of money for it themselves, even at wholesale prices. So, the chances of it being sold at an extremely discounted rate is slim to none.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with having a sale or offering a deal to your customers. But, I'm referring to those deals that are too good to be true, where you get 4-5 bundles for under $200. The only way a supplier is able to give you a deal this sweet is by purchasing cheap, non-Remy hair (mixed with synthetic fibers), labeling it with a fancy Virgin hair name, marking it up a ridiculous amount and convincing you that's it's the best thing you'll ever wear. It's all lies!!
Remember this the next time you're shopping around on Aliexpress and other China-based websites. You think that just because you got 4 bundles of hair for less than $200 that you got a deal. No, you just got robbed. These bundles shed horribly and will begin to tangle within a week or 2. Beauty Supply stores are notorious for this also.
However, there is a flip side to this. You should also be leery about really expensive hair. You cannot assume that just because a certain brand of hair has an expensive price tag that it's a good quality. In those cases, you must rely on everything else that you learned here in the previous truths to ensure you are paying for quality. My motto is that while it is possible to purchase great quality hair that is "affordable." It is not possible to purchase great quality hair that is "cheap." There is a BIG difference. While I will admit that it does take a little bit of time, trial and error to find quality hair (it took us 8 months), it does exist. But once you find some that works for you, stick with it!
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