Author: Cristina Wen
As a Chinese hair supplier, I talk with a lot of people about hair extension products.
I often see some misunderstandings and I think some of this information will be really useful to some people.
Cut hair from a girl’s head, and you have Raw Hair.
When it comes to hair material, the quality can’t be higher than this. Most Asian girls grow bone-straight hair.
To create other textures, the hair is steam-styled.
The correct label for steam-styled Raw Hair is Virgin Hair.
Contrary to some believe, real virgin hair is same quality as raw hair, as steam-styling has a negligible effect on quality.
Perming has a minor effect on quality, but nothing to worry about.
However, some permed hair has the famous “corn chips / feet” smell.
Technically permed hair isn’t virgin, but it’s pretty much same quality as virgin.
99% of girls from China, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, (…) only grow bone-straight hair, meaning the hair will get styled to create other textures.
India is unique, as the genetics are a bit more ‘western’ as they can grow naturally wavy hair. (This is probably due the Himalayas as they created a big barrier during historic migration)
Raw and Virgin hair are rarer than you might think.
Most suppliers claim to sell it, reality might be closer to about 10% selling it.
What vendors often call to be Virgin hair, is chemically processed floor hair.
Floor hair doesn’t have aligned cuticles, meaning the hair would tangle crazily.
Therefore, it gets the cuticles of the hair either completely stripped (low quality), or use a machine to align the cuticles and then further chemically smoothen it (medium quality).
Chemically processed hair sounds scary to many, but it’s very common, can have nice quality hair, and is more affordable.
It’s good to know that high quality raw hair can be bleached to #613 and stay strong.
When done professionally, it can even be bleached to #60.
When you see a supplier say that their hair can’t be bleached to #613 (but to #27), then this most likely is processed hair.
However, some lower quality hair can reach #613, but will not be lustrous and break easily.
Mixed quality hair can sometimes reach #613 fairly well.
Grades don’t have meanings.
They’re simply a name that vendors attach to hair of a certain quality / fullness / weight / (…) to identify their own hair.
Higher isn’t always better.
15A isn’t hair from rainbow unicorns, with strength of ancient elvish rope.
11A/12A are often names oriented at the African market, and are usually lower quality than 9A/10A.
Simply ask for the properties of their certain grade as this is what actually matters.
There are always ways for a supplier to reduce the price by reducing the quality.
For example, cheaper synthetic hairs can be mixed in, processed hair and unprocessed hair can get mixed, the amount of gram can get reduced, or more short hairs get added.
This makes price comparison very difficult, and thus you should test the hair. It’s more about price / quality, rather than just the price.
If the price is too low, you can save on shipping fee by asking the vendor to throw away the hair directly.
Single donor hair isn’t really a thing.
If bundles are sold per ~95 gram, when the hair is collected from the donor, it’s never going to be exactly that.
This raw hair pretty much gets mixed and matched, and this shouldn’t have any effect on the quality when done well.
This means making it true single donor is simply a waste of resources, and adding unnecessary extra costs to the product, or in other words: marketing.
While suppliers claim that their hair is 95-100 gram, be sure to weigh the bundles without rubber bands.
It’s not that uncommon to see 80-85 gram hair with 10 gram worth of rubber bands.
When (Chinese/Asian) suppliers claim to sell hair from other countries, then it’s better to be careful.
Chinese sell Chinese hair (and some processed India hair).
Brazilian, Peruvian, Malaysian, (..) hair are mostly marketing labels.
Brazil only imports hair, and doesn’t really export.
Take whatever a supplier claims about their hair with a grain of salt, and always test a sample.
Wash the hair. (Hair with damaged/removed cuticles will get frizzy, and if there's silicon in it, it will be removed after multiple washings).
You can burn some of it. (Synthetic hairs will become hard, normal hair will turn to ashes).
There could be follicles attached to the hair. (Raw doesn't have follicles, sometimes processed hair has).
There could be red strands to the hair (more common in specific regions of Asia, and won’t bleach well).
If you suspect coloring, scrape/shave the hair (pre-colored hair will have a yellow-brownish colored powder come out of it.
While sampling can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be.
Taking even half or quarter a bundle as a sample order, would be enough to test for the above things.
Getting a dozen of samples from different suppliers makes you able to compare their quality to each other as well.
Since you wouldn't do full installs from all of them, can save heavily on the costs.
And once you selected those with a quality you could do more extensive testing. At Bossique we have some the better quality of raw/virgin hair (10a) and processed floor hair (9a).
Even if you don’t plan on ordering from us, as we’re straight forward about the quality, can order our free sample (excl shipping) so that you have a possible frame of reference for other suppliers. www.bossique.com/shop/hair-sample/
Hopefully this information helped. If you want even more advice, or have ideas for more posts, feel free to contact us: Cristina@bossique.com // www.facebook.com/bossique // www.bossique.com // WhatsApp: +86 135 3369 3283