Growing up in London i’ve always sported a short edgy crop. I would dye my hair a variety of different colours every other month. Some days I might wake up and have an uncontrolled urge to go pink or blue or just for the heck of it, green. However, the more I started travelling back to Nigeria I became very aware of hair. It was everywhere, long luscious bouncy hair. I stuck to my crop as long as I could until one day I decided to venture down the path of.. a weave on!! *gasp*
Now you must understand, this was a pretty big thing for me. If I wanted long hair i’d wear a wig or a ponytail (and I still do sometimes, they’re so much fun and you can scratch your hair at night, my poor husband has seen this many a time).. but back to the point. I clearly remember plucking up the courage as I was coming to Nigeria in December and you just KNOW everyone’s in Nigeria in December. I went to the store & I was transfixed by the vast array on offer. I mean I live in hair stores but if i’m doing braids how much are you really going to spend on a pack? So one of my older sisters friends swore by Remi Goddess. And to me, she was a weave queen. If anyone should know good hair then she was an expert. I almost died when I was informed that my total purchase was about £120. *huge sigh* I went to the best hairdresser I knew and I prepared to come out to Nigeria very confident that I was decent enough to flick my hair with the best of them.
However, this all came crashing down one day.. oh I remember it well.. some young upstart of a child.. 18 years old or something like that.. standing next to me dancing commented..
“oooh your hairs really nice, is it yours?”
(me beaming from ear to ear, flicking from side to side) “Thanks sweetie, I cant lie, sadly it’s not”
“oh wow, I would have never guessed, which brand is it”
(Me thinking.. ok the lights are pretty low in here, in daylight you can tell i’m really not that pale and this mane could never be mine but oh well what the heck) “Oh it’s Remi Goddess”
“Ahhh are you serious? I used to use that years ago, yeah it’s a great cheap alternative”
(Dancing stops at this point.. neck nearly breaks swinging round to eye this girl to see if she ACTUALLY just said that to me.. I mean.. seriously.. you’re a child! respect your elders) “Oh really? Uh huh.. so what hair are you using now?”
“I only use Brazilian”
(Brazilian.. in my mind i’m thinking.. wharraeck.. no one told me about that brand.. do Sleek sell it? Let me take a closer look at that frizz bomb on her head) “Oh cool.. yeah.. so how much did you pay”
“Oh for the full head it cost about $750”
Ok this is the point where my fingers started itching and I had the sudden urge to reach out and strangle the impudent child. I mean.. come on.. where did she get the money from, with her smug smile.. in fact, who cares! It could have been her mama or her daddy or even her suga daddy, I didn’t give a rats arse, all I knew was that my Remi Goddess was not the bees knees, the creme de la creme that id been advised on.. I felt cheated!!
It was at this point my trip went downhill, every where I looked I realized, everyone had the same hair… no wonder theirs was all fluffy and bouncy and they all went to the salon every 2 weeks.. I was out of my depth. Who has time to go re-fix every 2 weeks, or run to “Sari” to get him to blowdry or set your hair just because you’re going out. Apparently, Nigerians… *Obsessive Compulsive Disorder begins*..
That was 3 years ago.. seems like a lifetime ago. I was so young and innocent.. it seems every other week one of my friends announces “if you need hair let me know”.. EVERYONE is selling hair.. your neighbour’s cousin’s friend’s aunt has a source and they can sell it to you at a good price.
The real question is however, is the hair you’re about to invest your hard earned cash (well in some cases not so hard but that’s another story) worth the rubber band it’s tied with? It’s very important to find a trustworthy reliable hair merchant. The hair industry is very cut throat and you may end up being sold more synthetic or low grade hair than you bargained for.
Our friends at Fabulous Hair Europe have put together this helpful guide to help all those of us who are hair bimbos understand the difference between all the various types available. Their client list is impressive both in the UK and Nigeria with several Nollywood stars sporting their locks. For more info you can visit their website:
Virgin hair is the most sought after hair in the world. It has many other names such as Human Hair or Cuticle hair. Virgin Hair is often found in small remote villages in any part of the world such as places like India or Russia and other parts of Asia.
Virgin Hair is un-processed, meaning it is not coloured or chemically treated in any way. Typically the hair is shaven or cut off the donors head with the cuticles present and then simply washed ready for export. Virgin Hair can be presented in two typical ways which are normally either weft (where the hair is sew together on a thin strip) or bulk ( where the hair is just in a simple bunch, resembling a horses tail).
Indian Virgin Hair
Every year, India alone exports $136 million worth of Virgin Hair around the globe. Most of the Virgin hair from India get’s exported to its main trading countries China and the US.
Many Indian women offer their Virgin hair to Hindu Temples, as a mark of respect or sacrifice. Many of these women are unaware that their hair often always ends up in a very lucrative export market. In a recent year India exported over 3m kilos of Indian Virgin hair to China for around $1million.
Russian Virgin Hair
Virgin Russia hair is one of the best types of Virgin Hair you can purchase today. Most European celebrities wear these types of hair extensions for the thickness and its glossy appearance. The hair is often gathered from Southern Russia, in the villages. Although neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan have also entered themselves into the lucrative market. Europe and the US are Russia’s biggest traders. This type of hair is more expensive than Indian Virgin hair for the simple reason, there is less of it also costs are much higher in Europe than that of India for labor. Therefore the price is high.
Remy Hair is not always virgin hair, once virgin hair has been colured or treated in anyway it is often known as Remy. Remy Hair is known in today’s hair market to be in the Premium segment, as far as hair quality is concerned.
So how can i tell if i have Remy Hair?
Remy Hair has its cuticle’s intact and all hairs are running in the same direction to prevent tangling, The cuticles protect the hair from damage and gives the hair its natural look.
Remy Hair is categorized into two types:
Remy Hair Single Drawn & Remy Hair Double Drawn
Remy Hair Single Drawn:
This type of Remy Hair is taken out directly from the scalp by shaving the head. Care is taken to remove the very short hair, with the longer hair found in different hair lengths, giving a pony tail like appearance.
Remy Hair Double Drawn:
This type of hair is the finest quality with the same wave length in a piece. The hairs are arranged with equal lengths. There will not be any short hair in a piece. Fabulous Hair Europe Ltd are suppliers of Swedish Royal Scandanvian Remy which will be Double drawn as a standard. This range is one of the finest qualities of Human Hair in Europe.
Quality A: These are an expensive type of weft hair made up of Virgin Remy hair. This type of hair will be running in the same direction and is double drawn. The hair will not be coloured either. Therefore if the donor is Asian, then the hair colour is likely to be dark brown or like a colour 1b/2. If the donor is European then the hair colour is likely to be medium brown to blond, like a colour 6/22. The whole weft is made up of hairs of the same length.
Quality B: This type is again made up of special double drawn hair, Virgin Remy Hair, which all runs in the same direction. The length of hairs though may vary by up to 1-2 inches.
Quality C: This is the final quality of weft hair. The cuticles are intact and still all run in the same direction however the entire weft contains hairs of different length.
Fabulous Hair Europe Ltd supply will be Single drawn quality C as a minimum standard although you can purchase qualities A & B.
This is perhaps the most popular and widely available form of hair.
Non-Remy Hair is also known as fallen hair. The roots and tips of hairs are all mixed up in non Remy hair. Tangling is a problem as a result of this, but still since they are inexpensive, they are the largest selling kind of hair in the world. This type of hair net worth was in 2008 worth $6bn USD.
Non-Remy Hair comes in two types also, just as Remy hair does. Non Remy Single Drawn and Non Remy Double Drawn.
This type of non Remy Hair is obtained by shaving off the cuticles or the ends. This process reduces the chances of friction among hairs and what remains is tangle free hair. This is still generally the least expensive type of hair. The cuticles are present in different directions and the hair is prone to tangling.
Single drawn is of a slightly lower quality than double drawn hair. The hairs will have up to a 2 inches difference in the tip; that is, some hairs will be up to 2 inches shorter than their original lengths.
Non-Remy double drawn hair is similar to Remy double drawn wefts in that all hairs are the same length. This is a good quality hair type.
Quality A: This type of hair consists of tangle free non-Remy hair with the cuticles shaved off or smoothened out. The entire weft consists of hairs of the same length, with no short hair. This is a premium quality weft.
Quality B: This is the next quality in wefts made up of non-Remy hair. They are also tangle free and have their cuticles shaved off. They are made up of special double drawn hair, with hair lengths of two inches difference, with no short hair.
Quality C: This is the final quality of wefts, made up of tangle free non-Remy hair. The cuticles are again shaved off and the hair used is single drawn. This makes the entire weft have hairs of different length.
Synthetic hair is made of a wide array of different synthetic fibres. Synthetic hair, just as human hair, comes in weft and single strands for braids. It does not last as long as human hair because it tends to easily tangle and frizz out uncontrollably. There are, however, exceptions, and technology has allowed for types of synthetic hair that minimize these issues. The quality of hair varies greatly, and if well maintained, synthetic hair can look as good as, if not better than human hair.
Synthetic hair is much less expensive than human hair.
Heating appliances such as curling irons and straightening irons generally should not be used on synthetic hair. There are newer versions of synthetic hair from some brands that claim to allow styling with lower temperatures of heating appliances. Generally people should steer clear of such claims because the golden rule with synthetic hair is that heat is not an option. Synthetic hair is better used for particular styles of braids. Although, Synthetic hair can usually be shaped into styles by using the steam from boiling water to set the hair. This is a common practice for individual braids.
Most human hair used for wefts is derived from Asia (China, India, and to a very small degree, South-eastern Russia). Lower-quality human hair extensions are often diluted with animal and synthetic hair to lower the price. Yak hair can be curled, premed, relaxed, and coloured. Human hair is, however, more versatile than synthetic hair because it can be relaxed, or curled with heating appliances just as one would do with his or her own hair. But, many people are allergic to yak hair so suppliers are using human hair treated to mimic the African American texture. As the person with the hair would want the hair to match the texture of his/her hair in its present condition (relaxed, curly, or straight), weft hair comes in a variety of textures: Yaki (closely resembles relaxed hair texture), silky (resembling very straight Asian hair), European texture hair straight (Europeans do not generally sell their hair, so called European hair usually comes from India or China), curly (ranges from tight corkscrew curls to the varying degrees of wavy), and crimped (very small, sharp waves). There are different grades of hair. The highest grade comes from young donors.
The same maintenance that one would apply to his or her own hair should be applied to the human hair to keep it in good condition.
High quality 100% human hair is more expensive than hair mixed with other materials (synthetic hair is most common).
All rightie then.. so now you know the difference.. spend wisely.. but most importantly..go forth and flick wildly!!!
(We can also wholeheartedly recommend for those divas needing a supplier based in Lagos Hair Glamour Int based in Lekki. If you haven’t heard of Anuli.. then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?