Real Russian Hair?
Hair extensions are popular and Russian hair is the most coveted and desirable hair available. It's increasingly offered as a premium hair extension service. Many companies claim they offer the real deal. But what are they really offering? And is it just too good to be true? Well, there are a few ways to tell.
I've worked with hair extensions now for over a decade and it is an industry shrouded with mystery, misinformation and falsehoods. In truth, the demand far outstrips supply. Raw material is simply finite. An individual cannot rapidly regrow their hair like a chicken lays eggs so the industry has had to become creative when attempting to meet demand.
First let's start with some facts. True Russian Slavic hair is virgin. The definition of virgin hair is chemically unprocessed, uncoloured hair from a single donor. I don't mean to sound facetious but there are many, many companies claiming to supply virgin hair when you can very clearly see it's been coloured. If you see the hair has been coloured, it's not virgin. And definitely not considered Slavic. Coloured hair is also significantly cheaper than virgin, even if it's collected from the same region.
What's in a name?
So you may think you have Russian hair if you've bought anything with the name along the lines of 'Remy Russian', or 'Mongolian Russian'. I'm afraid that's wrong. The truth is the hair extension industry is unregulated and there's nothing stopping any company from putting whatever name or label to the hair no matter where it comes from.
Your hair is most likely all Asian hair, produced in a Chinese factory and coated with silicone to give it a nice shine in the salon. But wash after wash, your silicone will slowly wear off, exposing the processed hair which will become dry and tangled.
From Russia without love
A common falsehood is that ordering your hair directly from Russia guarantees you Russian hair. It doesn't. The Russian Federation collects a lot of hair from neighbouring Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and some Asian regions in order to meet the demand of vendors scrambling to order hair from Russia. Many just want to use the Russian label to mimic selling authentic Russian hair.
Anything that is too readily available is usually suspect. Your Russian Slavic hair should start its life in a single bundle and be produced bespoke to your requirements. Anything that is immediately ready to apply will most likely be mixed donor, coloured and used for mass production. And it's OK to have one or two donors. If you are using hair extensions for volume, you will require more than one tail.
What you don't want is an unknown number of donors who could have had varying textures which will not flow as one hairstyle.
It's not always easy to tell if your Russian hair extensions are the real deal if your knowledge is limited so the most important thing to do is research as much as you can to ensure you're getting good value for your money.
Buying processed hair is quite simply a bad investment. Both for your pocket and your mane.