Today, Brazilian hair is one of the most popular hair extension types available. But where does Brazilian hair come from?
Human hair is a multi-billion dollar industry that has ancient origins in many different cultures.
"In the 1800's, peasant women in France were lured into being shorn like sheep to make wigs. In the early 1900's, it was reported that hair sold in the states was coming from sewers and corpses in China. Hair dealers were thought to be shady." , according to a Refinery29 report.
"Most people do not know where their hair comes from, and I don't think they care." says Riquia Hailes, founder of a Just Extensions salon in Los Angeles.
The hair extensions market sources hair from some reliable and trustworthy sources, but there is also a huge risk of shady, poor quality, chemically processed hair suppliers which have flooded this multi-billion dollar market.
The hair bundles industry has devolved into a fierce competition between suppliers trying to outdo their competitors in quality and authenticity.
Why Do Hair Extensions Have Exotic Names?
The terms Brazilian hair, Malaysian hair, Peruvian hair, Russian Hair, Cambodian Hair etc., evoke images of exotic looks, textures and curl patterns often associated with women of those ethnicities.
Some names were created out of thin air in order to stand out in an increasingly diverse and worldwide hair extensions market.
These hair origins sound exotic and are often just fancy descriptors for hair textures that resemble the stereotypical hair quality of women from various tropical areas. (i.e.- Brazil)
Most of these countries do not have a thriving hair donor industry. Due to the poverty that often exists in these areas, there is a minimal chance that women will be fairly compensated for their virgin hair.
Virgin Remy Hair is unprocessed, hair from a single donor with all cuticles intact and flowing in the same direction. It's the most sought after hair, but is rarely found in todays market.
However, one place does have a multi-million dollar hair extensions industry; India... Specifically Hindu Temples of India where millions of women donate their hair as part of their ritual show of devotion and faith.
"This level of high quality hair isn't something you can fake.", says Refinery29's beauty editor.
So, Where Does Brazilian Hair Come From?
Brazilian hair is not sourced from Brazil. It is most often sourced from either India or other manufacturing giants of the world, like China and certain countries in Asia.
The names, Brazilian, Malaysian, Peruvian Hair etc., is most likely hair that is merely branded to satisfy consumer demand for a certain curl pattern, texture, durability, softness, luster and/or heat resistance.
"Brazilian hair" is characterized by a soft feel, medium luster and thickness with a natural durability that holds well under various temperatures and conditions. It is also a deep natural black color that approximates what is known as color (1B).
Regardless of where hair is sourced from or how it is processed, the fact remains that human hair textures do vary naturally and have unique qualities that are based on human genetics.
Some virgin hair donors have hair that is naturally coarse or thick. Some hair is naturally thin, silky or shiny. Those traits, combined with unique processing techniques such as washing, conditioning and steam processing, keep the virgin hair intact and of high quality.
The hair extension industry is not regulated by any governing body, so the hair on the market today will often make claims that can't be easily verified. Hair grading systems (Grade 8A) and claims of Virgin Remy hair without any verification have put a grey cloud over the authenticity of the entire market.
So Should I Buy Brazilian Hair?
There are many quality hair vendors whose products claim to be free from chemicals, dyes and synthetic fibers and they have hundreds of satisfied customers to vouch for their claims.
You often get what you pay for in this industry so don't be afraid to invest in good hair extensions regardless of the brand name or claimed origin.