Most of the human hair used in wigs and extensions comes from India and China. Religious people make pilgrimages to temples such as the Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala, India, where their heads are shaved in a ritual of devotion. This practice results in a plentiful supply of hair with potential buyers, including the hair industry; where local dealers weft and weave the hair before it is sold to wholesalers.
Overall, hair is in high demand as a material for sewing wigs, making into hair extensions, and selling as processed natural human hair to the general public. India produces 700,000 kg (1,540,462 lbs.) of hair annually each year.
What is the process of collecting the hair?
Vietnamese and Indian women sell their hair to the hair extension industry by visiting Temples. While there, the hair is directly cut from a donor and immediately wrapped into a bundle in order to keep all cuticles intact and in the same direction. It is then wefted, and cleansed. The hair comes in colors ranging from dark brown, light brown, black or reddish tints. Its quality is similar to European hair, but the waviness of each bundle depends on the person who is donating the hair.
Characteristics of Vietnamese Hair:
The natural texture of Vietnamese hair is straight, wavy and a little curly. You can change the wave pattern by using heat and a light oil that will keep the hair nourished.
While it is possible to buy hair extensions in many different textures and colors, Vietnamese hair is becoming more sought after because of the natural wave quality that comes from the unique cuticle structure.
Vietnamese hair holds curls or waves well. You can use curling irons that have ceramic barrels to make your waves last longer. The hair can withstand more styling heat and manipulation. But for your own safety, make sure to use a heat protectant spray when using any hot tools on Vietnamese hair.
If you decide to bleach Vietnamese hair, do it slowly and use a high-quality bleach. Something to keep in mind: “It is harder to change the color of Vietnamese hair due to its high levels of melanin. It requires a professional-strength bleach (persulfate booster/40 vol. bleach) to reach the desired lift. And may sometimes have to be done more than once.
Overall, Vietnamese hair has a unique texture, movement and luster that shows off its natural beauty when worn naturally or straightened into a sleek 'do. It can be drawn up into braids, weaved into long extensions, and styled with hot tools to give it lush waves and body.
Characteristics of Virgin Indian Hair:
Virgin Indian hair is very versatile, easy to maintain and very thick. The average length of the hair we carry is between 10 inches and 30 inches. It is also very full and has great length retention. The cuticles on the surface of the strands are aligned in a single direction - meaning that it looks smooth and shiny when not processed or dyed. And it is known for its unique texture and its natural shine. Slightly wavy to deep wavy hair texture is most abundant in natural virgin Indian hair.
While Indian hair comes in a variety of natural colors and patterns, it is almost impossible to get three bundles with the same shades of natural brown. We have customers that prefer different colors and often dye their virgin Indian hair to achieve the color they want. But remember, continuously applying color and bleach to the hair will cause long term damage to the hair follicle. All hair is healthy enough for bleaching, it is just a matter of treating it correctly and making sure the right products are used.
Types of Virgin Indian Hair
Indian Straight Hair is popular because it makes one look youthful and can be easily styled with the use of heat or a straightening balm. It comes in lengths of 12-30 inches and above. The hair is protected by two layers of cuticles laid out in opposite directions, giving it its unique texture and making it smooth to touch.
Virgin Indian Curly hair does not require as much maintenance as other types of curls do. The cuticles on the surface of the strands are aligned in a single direction, which makes them smooth and easy to comb. This hair can be contoured into any style, including a wash-and-go look, bantu knots and twist outs.
Indian Wavy Hair is very much in demand among consumers searching for this type of hair. It has a natural pattern that looks like a "S" when viewed under the microscope. It is naturally very thick and soft and very similar to an afro-textured type of hair. The hair has a midrange weight that makes it versatile for many uses including head bands, wash-n-go styles, etc. The texture has very few split ends and has a low to medium luster and is popular because it can last for 2-3 years while still looking great.
How to test if the hair is 100% real and natural:
There are a few simple ways you can tell whether the hair extensions you have purchased online are authentic.
Just because the hair sheds, does not mean its low quality. All hair extensions are pronged to some shedding. But to reduce the amount of any shedding, you can seal the hair wefts and make sure that you do not use the wrong products on the hair. I will give you an example of what I mean. I bought a beautiful Cambodian Deep Wave Wig from a great vendor about 5 years ago. The hair was beautiful. It did not smell nor was it tangling or shedding. That is until I used the wrong products on the hair. I used a hair mousse that was for curly hair on my Deep Wave Wig. Why, ooh why did I do that! I am thankful I know better now. The mousse made the hair hard and stiff, which caused the hair to shed as it was combed. To fix the problem, I had to rinse the wig thoroughly with cool water to remove all traces of the mousse. I then added a light oil and allowed the hair to air dry. The hair was perfect after that. And I still have that wig in my hair closet today.
The Burn Test
Follow these steps to test your hair:
Take one strand of hair and place it in an open flame for three seconds without touching your fingertips to the fire source.
Blow out the flame after 2 seconds. If the ends turn into ash and produces white smoke, this indicates that it is real hair.
If the hair melts or turns into a hard ball, this indicates that it is synthetic hair. Fake hair feels and melts like plastic.
When a hair bundle is virgin hair, it will have cuticles present. If they are not there, then the hair has been stripped with chemical processors, like an acid bath.
This is not always a bad thing because these types of hair can still last a long time, roughly 9 months, but this is not virgin hair.
You can do a hair cuticle feel test to find out.
Run your fingers up and down the length of the hair. The hair should be smooth when feeling downwards and will be resistant when feeling the hair in the opposite direction, signifying that the cuticle is present. Synthetic hair will feel smooth if you rub it downwards or upwards.
Avoid Products That Contain Sulfate & Alcohol:
Be sure to check the ingredient listing and ensure you do not see the words: SLS, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Alcohol denat, Ethanol, SD alcohol 40, Propanol, Isopropyl, and Propyl.
These ingredients strip the hair of its natural oils which, in turn, makes the hair drier and more prone to tangling or matting. Prolonged use of these ingredients will affect their integrity. Remember, products that are free from sulfates might not produce much lather as they are gentle cleansers but that is a good thing! We do not want the shampoo to strip the good oils from the hair. So always look for hair products that are sulfate and alcohol free.
The final thing I do is simply examine the hair extensions themselves for luster. Only virgin human hair will have a natural healthy sheen to it. This is a clear sign that the extensions have not been chemically processed and treated.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the different textures of Vietnamese and Indian hair. As someone who has been working with both types, it is interesting to see how they differ. The process for collecting hair can also vary depending on where the person lives as well. If you have any questions or comments, please email us at email@example.com