Human hair extensions have been around for a while but have been made popular by celebrities sporting wigs and weaves in their various music videos and TV appearances in recent times. Thanks to the Internet, curious fans (and non fans alike) can Google what sort of hair extensions a celebrity is wearing, or debate whether the said celebrity is wearing extensions, a wig or if it’s their real hair.
Human hair extensions were an accessory only available to rich celebrities and Hollywood actors until recently where there has been an explosion in the number of outlets selling variations of the term “Remy Indian hair”, “100% Remy Human hair” etc. Again thanks to the Internet, every retailer selling hair extensions wants to make sure they are using the right “buzz” words to attract customers to their sites or salons to buy what’s on offer. But what do these buzz words actually mean and is there really any way to verify the claims the retailer is making?
The word Remy has morphed into a synonymous term for high quality human hair. It originates from Indian temples where women, whose beauty is judged by the length of their hair, give their hair to the temple as an offering in thanks for something their deity has done for them. They “remit” their hair to the temple, which sells it on and uses the proceeds for charity – feeding the hungry and homeless who take refuge in their shelters.
These women present themselves at the temple where the hair is tied in a ponytail and cut off, making sure all the hairs are lying in the same direction to avoid tangling. Virgin hair is considered the best grade of hair extensions because it hasn’t been subjected to any harsh chemical processes and has it’s cuticle intact. This is what the term “cuticle correct” means. Bleached, dyed or permed hair is no longer considered to be virgin or cuticle correct. Other important terms to be aware of are “single drawn” and “double drawn”.
Single drawn means the weft, or bulk hair (ponytail) is from only one donor. Double drawn on the other hand should mean two donors, but I suspect it just means multiple donors. Double drawn hair has a higher tendency to tangle than single drawn hair because the cuticles from the multiple donors run in different directions. Single drawn hair is the more expensive of the two. Virgin single drawn extensions are the best quality of human hair available on the market. Non-virgin hair can also be single drawn or double drawn.
There are other non-Remy Indian hair extensions available. These are of a much lower grade than Remy hair because they are usually made out of discarded hair from hair brushes, or rubbish bins. They are washed, sorted and coated in silicon to make them shine before being sold on.