A Weave Tale

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If you want to buy a weave for the first time, it can initially seem to be a challenge, but it is not that difficult once you know what to look out for. There are different types that you can buy but we’re going to be concentrating on weaves made from virgin hair, as that offers the best quality. What is Virgin hair? Virgin hair means that the hair used in the weave is completely unprocessed. It has not been coloured, bleached, permed, or subject to any chemical process and is 100% natural, human hair. It is obtained from one person, with the cuticle layers still in place and running in the same direction which stops the hair from hopelessly tangling. Any hair extensions that are not made with virgin hair have been treated, which is demanding for the hair and thus it has to be replaced after a short period.

The Brazilian weave myth For most people, it is important where their hair extensions are coming from. A lot of people want their sourced virgin hair to be Brazilian, Malaysian, or Peruvian for example, but the idea that such hair extensions are available for the majority is a myth. Say if a Brazilian weave is priced at anything less than £400-600, then the hair has not come from Brazil, since the women there place a high importance on their hair and it is not cut off in masses for money.

Is the hair sourced ethically? Certain questions have been raised about the ethicality of virgin hair and the sourcing of it. For it to be ethical, the donors have to have been treated fairly and given their hair with consent. A lot of it comes from temples in India, where women have their hair ritually cut. A large portion of the profits are reinvested back into the local community, to fund hospitals, teaching centres and that of the like. Without such funding, these places would not be able to last very long. Virgin hair can be ethically sourced in other places too, such as Bolivia or Cambodia. It is essential that the company you buy your weave from know that the hair used to create it has been sourced ethically, as there are a lot of instances where it has been obtained unfairly.

How is the hair processed? Different companies process their sourced hair differently. Some will chemically process it to achieve different patterns, however this dramatically reduces its longevity, and the harsh processes means that it is no longer virgin hair. Other companies will either sell it in the natural pattern it was prior to cutting, or might steam process it give a desired curl pattern. Steam processing is a very gentle process and thus the hair can retain its virgin status. If you’re buying hair which is in perfectly formed waves, this may be questionable since it is rare for women to have hair like that naturally.

How do I choose who to buy my hair from? It is important to know what to look out for when purchasing quality hair extensions. If it is really cheap then it is probably synthetic, since the process behind a company getting virgin hair ready to sell incurs costs such as paying the donor and the staff that sanitise and weft the weave, shipping costs and company running costs, all the while trying to bring home a profit. Buy from an established company which knows exactly where their hair is being purchased from and source directly from the donor countries. A lot of hair companies purchase hair from large factories in China and have no way to verify where that hair has come from. Some hair companies have a unique serial number system, whereby every bundle of hair can be traced to its region of origin and the date it was cut.

Nits and other mishaps Should you worry if you find nits in your weave? It is not as concerning as it sounds. It is definitely unpleasant but it is an indication that your weave is real and unprocessed. Chemically treated hair extensions are usually free from nits as the chemical processing of them gets rid of them, and as virgin hair is completely free from chemicals, some nits may remain.

Once you’ve considered all the above, you should hopefully be more confident in buying your weave.

Special thanks to Nji from Alyssum Hair and Omon from Eden Virgin Hair who provided an invaluable and experienced insight about weaves.