That Ain’t No Mongolian Hair, Girl: What’s the Real Deal with Your “Virgin” Hair Extensions?
“Virgin hair” is a term synonymous with premium weave, and in recent years, the growing trend has been to precede the term with an exotic location. Peruvian virgin hair. Brazilian virgin hair. Mongolian virgin hair. Filipino virgin hair. Cambodian virgin hair. Pick a country and you can find someone peddling hair from that region, giving it the mystique of being the ultimate premium virgin hair that has the perfect texture and luster to match the textured hair of black women. But what does any of this really mean?
Well, to be quite honest with you, there are no hard facts about where any of this hair really comes from. For the most part, you are simply taking the word of the particular vendor you are purchasing your hair from or whatever your favorite YouTube guru has endorsed you to purchase. However, with the abundance of exotic virgin hair (and people saying the following: “ooo im mongolian and i did not ever know we did hair extentions!”) and the latest advent of Russian virgin hair on the market, one does have to scratch their head and wonder if this is simply anything more than a marketing ploy.
First, the term ‘virgin hair’ denotes hair that has not been processed at all aside from washing it and sewing it on to a weft. So that Peruvian loose wave you are thinking about buying, let’s think about that. Is there a tribe in Peru that has loose wavy hair who just happens to be walking into factories to have their hair chopped off? I’m serious. Where in Russia are people trading in their luscious locks for some quick change? And who really ventured out to Mongolia to find some hair? And though some people unethically sell the hair of women who cut it off for religious purposes, that doesn’t mean that when you get it, it was kept in its virgin form. All it really takes is a quick Google search to identify that most of the countries, the people, generally speaking, do not have natural hair textures that are similar to the weaves we are purchasing. Have you seen a Mongolian woman lately?
The breakout star of the exotic weaves was Brazilian virgin hair, and the majority that people buy has been debunked as being from anywhere but Brazil. While Brazilian hair does exist, it is extremely hard to find and extremely expensive at that. The one reputable vendor I knew of, closed a few years ago because of lack of supply and the costs of acquiring the hair. Brazil has one of the most booming, emerging economies in the world. I promise you there’s not a far off favela where women are desperate to give away their hair for monies. If anything, many are rising out of the favelas to start hair salons that are set to break into the American scene.
Unless you are willing to fly out the country and visit the factory to ensure that the hair is virgin and from that exact location, the best way to go about purchasing ‘virgin hair’ of quality is to let go of the ‘virgin’ title. Most hair has to be processed, either steam-processed or chemically processed, to achieve the wave/curl pattern and luster that will blend with textured hair. The bulk of the hair on the market is coming from India or China, although Southeast Asian countries are emerging on the extension scene. While Indian tends to be the more cultivated premium hair, it’s not so much about where the hair comes from as it’s about how it’s processed and the end results. Look for reputable vendors that have minimal complaints of shedding and bulky wefts. The hair needs to be evenly distributed on the weft for a good install. Take note of luster, as shiny hair is harder to blend, and understand that ‘low luster’ is most definitely processed and it’s not a bad thing. Low luster hair blends better for women with highly textured kinky hair. And lastly, you want hair that feels like real hair and is soft to the touch. These are all things you can find out with a little bit of research. Google is a girl’s best friend.
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