• Jodie

Hair Extensions... raw vs virgin

Lets talk about hair...

So I get a million questions concerning what is the difference between Raw hair and Virgin/grade hair. Many unknowingly purchase pricy processed hair thinking its the best of what hair extensions have to offer I’m here to tell you that you’ve been duped. In actuality if the hair was virgin it would be untouched right? unfortunately the hair game if a bit more complexed than many realize. Virgin hair isn’t as virgin as you think honey.

Virgin hair (grade hair)

Ever see those sites or wholesalers advertising 7A hair or even 13A and you scratch your head like um whats the difference? Well, I'm gonna explain how this came to be and why. Virgin hair in all cases nowadays goes through a few processes after they are harvested. Believe it or not they can be harvested from salon floors, morgues and even animals. Once they are harvested they are brought back to be sorted, detangled, wefted and washed in what is popularly known as a bleach bath. This is part of a process that gives the hair its like new and silky features. After the chemical bath the hair is baked (steam processed) with rods or positioned to give it whatever look for the origin name that will be tagged to it. Virgin hair can have a usage life of anywhere between 6 months to a year with great care. In most cases this hair will shed and tangle like crazy which brings us to the different grades of hair within the virgin hair industry.

6A Hair and believe it or not there is even a 5A, is the worst and mixed with anything from grey hairs, string and even plastic. This hair is impossible to bleach to blonde because in most cases the vendor will dye the hair a "natural" color because this bottom of the barrel hair is mixed with all types of fallen and discarded hair to create the bundle many unknowingly purchase.

To the right I've added a virgin hair grade card that deciphers what the standard of grading used to be for virgin or remy hair extensions. By the way remy and virgin, just throw them in the same bucket. So from what you've read so far I'm sure you're thinking virgin hair isn't so virgin is it?

8A and 9A hair is what most selling Brazilian hair are offering. In the mid 2000s and to currently, Brazilian virgin hair has been very popular. The funny thing however is Brazilian hair is not harvested or sourced in Brazil! Remember earlier I mentioned "virgin hair was processed for it to have the texture you seek?

To the left are some popular textures on the market for virgin hair. Each bundle has been processed to achieve the texture you see pictured. Body wave, loose wave, if its too uniformed or especially sourced from China the is a 99% chance its processed. How processed your virgin hair is all boils down to the factory or vender that prepares the hair.

In no way am I saying that all virgin hair is bad. I just want to highlight the differences in quality. 10A hair can be donor hair (raw hair) that of course has been processed.but in most cases its the same mixed up gathered hair just the higher quality healthier fallen hair. These bundles are not mixed with fillers but at times are filled with lower grades of hair.

Raw hair

Raw hair is sober hair, un manipulated and prepared in the state in which it was harvested from the donor's head. Currently it's only three countries that even come close to providing raw hair at a massive rate for demand. India, Cambodia, and Vietnam currently are the major sources for raw human hair due to the fact that women children and men donate their beautiful tresses in exchange for payment or religious expression. The process is pretty simple for raw hair, it's mainly harvested by shaving or cutting clean healthy "virgin" hair from the donor. The harvested hair is then tied and labeled and brought back to be prepared. All hair is thoroughly combed with a special comb and is sized before being cut, wefted, washed and packaged.

Due to the hair is not being processed, depending on the donor the hair the textures are pretty much limited to WAVY, CURLY, AND STRAIGHT. No bundle will be alike and the colors can range from natural brown, dark brown, light brown and rarely blonde or jet black . The rarer the texture or color of the hair the more limited the hair and higher the price will be. Also depending on the origin of the donor your hair might be softer or more coarse. Raw Cambodian hair mostly wavy to curly is thick and can be coarse and but sometimes soft. Indian curly hair is most times fine and very soft which Curly raw hair can be either tight curly or loose curly so its important as a supplier to specify to your vendor on exactly what type of curly you're looking for. If you're buying from a retailer you won't have to worry about this. The hair you purchase will look like or quite similar to the hair pictured or listed for purchase. As for raw straight hair you aren't going to get bone straight hair, not even Vietnamese hair is bone straight.

Raw hair typically can maintain healthy for up to 6 years (longest I've maintained my bundles) with proper care. Despite what some want you to believe all quality hair extensions can surpass their expiration date however you have to factor in the fact that they will thin out eventually. The quality isn't the only thing dependent on they longevity of your hair but also your care routine. If you are heat freak or a product freak, make sure to wash your hair extensions at least one a week and deep condition to keep hair clean and moisturized. Its' really that simple, you'll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes. All in all as it stands if you're someone who loves great quality hair that lasts longer and aesthetically looks better than all the virgin hair on the market then raw hair is for you.

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