I am sure by now you have all heard about the new weave phenomenons like Brazilian, Malaysian, Peruvian, Indian, Chinese the lists goes on. Figures from 2008 show that British women spend approximately £65 million a year on hair extensions. I have never understood the obsession we (especially black women) have with hair extensions and weaves. I read a 2008 article on the Daily Mail website headlined “Why I’ll never wear hair extensions again” (Read more here ). The article was for a documentary called Whose Hair Is It Anyway? by Singer Jamelia who was carrying out research into the source of our hair extensions, a side we hardly hear about. Another great article is this one posted yesterday. I literally just came across it on twitter as I was about to post this blog. Read it here its crazy and rather saddening to see that hair is such a big deal. One thing we never consider is how ethical these hair extensions. We don’t mind forking spending ridiculous amount of money on them but we don’t stop and think about where they come from. Although I am yet to watch the documentary, what that article does is shed some much needed light in the hair industry.
After reading the article I was left with some unanswered questions like why do we chose to wear these hair and questions for the sellers like why do they choose to sell them. This led to a little research. I found an ‘eBayer’ selling Brazilian hair and luckily for me she agreed to answer a few of my questions.
What do you thing caused the rise in human hair extensions?
Human hair extensions have been around for a LONG time. The goal for some women is to achieve the most natural (not in the African sense) look possible. The problem with affordable human hair that was on the market previously was the fact that it was quite unmanageable. By this I mean the tangling after washing, the shedding of hair, the fact that fibres in what was apparently “human hair” were synthetic or animal hair. So there was always a place in the market for something better.
When did you start using human hair?
I started using virgin (unprocessed) Indian human hair in 2005 for her braids, before discovering its full benefit after using it to do weave. It did not tangle, I was able to curl it and wash it and it still retained its quality”
Why do you think this type of hair has become a trend seen on Black Women?
That glamorous look is what everybody is striving for which can now be achieved using weaves made from virgin hair. Brazilian hair give you a lot of versatility (straight, wavy and can hold curls well), it blends well with our relaxed hair, it has excellent volume and the natural colours it comes is goes well with our natural colours.I think lace wigs have played a part in the bringing of virgin hair to the market as seen on various stars such as Beyonce and Tyra banks.
What made you set up a business in selling these types of hair?
It’s started as a hobby. I have been using hair extensions since I was about 9 years old, but I must confess I only started selling 2 weeks ago (This was in Jun 2011). I have had HUGE interest! We black girls LOOOOOOOVE hair (I wish I’d have thought of this name for my hair lol).
What sets you apart from other sellers?
I think my unique selling point is the affordability of the hair and my customer services. I spend a lot of time with customers on the phone, via text or email discussing their hair choices with them. I’m also very polite and try to be as understanding as possible. When you 1st messaged me I had JUST started with literally only a handful of sales and things keep getting better. It’s a whole learning curve and a very enjoyable experience.
I also found a Brazilian hair wearer who was willing to answer a few questions…
So as a wearer I just wanted to find out why you chose to wear it?
I first started using Malaysian hair about 4/5 years ago. I was initially convinced to make the investment because I was sick for paying up to £50 for crappy hair every time I did my hair. I saved up and spent £200 on two bundles of Malaysian hair and I used this for almost 3 years! I loved it because I could wash my hair while I had a weave with no problems at all. I also thought the weave better blended in with the texture of my relaxed hair.
When did you start wearing it?
I started using Brazilian hair about 2 years ago and I bought some Mongolian hair this year. The price has definitely gone down since I started buying this type of hair a few years ago. I think this is because the market has become flooded and most of the hair out there is of really poor quality. I also don’t think there’s any such thing as actual “Brazilian” hair. I think that 99% of the hair marketed as Brazilian, Peruvian, etc is Chinese and Indian hair that has been altered for its texture. I don’t know about you but Brazil is one of the plastic surgery capitals of the world so I can’t imagine that many Brazilian women willing to sell their hair!
How long does you hair last for before you have to buy again and How much you spend on buying and taking care if it?
My hair has lasted me years and I don’t spend much money taking care of it at all. I wash it once a week with Herbal Essences or Tresemme shampoo and conditioner. I only really spend money getting my actual weave done and that costs me about £30 every 5/6 weeks. I definitely think I’ve saved way more money with this type of hair.
Friends of mine know that I am not one to spend a ludicrous amount of money or time on my hair so going out to buy these hair was not even an option so when Annie of Epiphannie A offered me some hair at a very discounted price (what I would have paid for my braids) who was I to decline. They say don’t knock it unless you try it so I will try it and let you all know what I think.