These ubiquitous beauty supply stores were my first introduction to hair extensions and while I haven't been to these shops for some time, today they look the same as they always have." I ask the young man behind the counter in the beauty supply store in Manchester, United Kingdom. There are rows upon rows of human and synthetic hair extensions lined up in plastic bags across the beauty supply store. He tells me that they cost £75 and that they are of excellent quality, assuring me that they will serve me well for a long time. It is nothing new for me to use hair extensions, whether they are made of human or synthetic hair, whether they are for weaves, braids, or wigs. In spite of this, it wasn't until relatively recently that I started caring (really caring) about the ethical and environmental costs associated with the hair I was using and then throwing away. More than ever before, I am wondering whether or not it is ever acceptable to wear hair extensions.1 million in the UK by 2027 — can muddy the waters of ethical considerations. The fashion and beauty industries are under constant pressure to change their unethical and environmentally damaging business practices.
However, the hair extension industry is still largely unregulated, which allows unsightly business practices to continue unnoticed by customers. Despite this, wigs and hair extensions remain extremely popular. For Black women like myself who use hair extensions for both protective styling and self-expression (and have no immediate plans to stop), fingers point to us as the source of this growing demand. This is because we use hair extensions for both protective styling and self-expression. It has never been simpler to get in touch with a retailer and demand accountability if they do not list their sources of supply on their website. ADVERTISEMENTIs it ever morally acceptable to wear hair extensions made from human hair? Those who are experienced with hair extensions will be aware that the terms "Remy," "Raw," and "Virgin" (which all mean "unprocessed") are indicators of high-quality human hair. These terms are used interchangeably. They are typically linked with the most luxurious nations, such as Malaysia, Russia, Brazil, and Cambodia, and as a result, they tend to be associated with those nations. These descriptors frequently provide a more in-depth account of the journey that this hair took to get to the point where it is now being sold as well as the individual to whom it was once attached.
In 2019, Refinery29 exposed the truth about where human hair extensions were sourced and, through time spent in rural Vietnam, brought attention to the ways in which poor women are exploited for their hair. The investigation was prompted by the company's discovery that poor women were being forced to give their hair for extensions. Thieves have been known to target women who wear their hair in ponytails for the purpose of stealing it and then selling it on the black market. In some of these incidents, the victims have their hair cut off against their will. According to Tendai Moyo, CEO and co-founder of Ruka Hair, a Black-owned hair extension company that serves predominantly Black consumers with hair extensions made of 100% human hair, "There is no one holding these manufacturers to account. Do you treat the individuals whose hair you purchase fairly in terms of payment? Are these individuals who have been the victims of human trafficking? Or are willingly provided with their hair extensions. ""When you look at the units that are sold to Africa, for instance, 38% of the 100 million units that were sent over in 2020 were counterfeit.
According to Moyo, "you have this enormous problem in which someone can spend five hundred pounds on a wig that is supposed to be real hair but it is a mix of the synthetic, human horse, and God knows what else."This hair comes from women who cut their hair for the purpose of selling it afterward, as many of these women rely on the money they make from selling their hair. Ruka Hair will soon be launching in Selfridges, London, and will be accepting and recycling real hair extensions, as well as selling them on their marketplace for a cheaper price. This will reduce the demand for raw human hair and help Ruka Hair meet its mission of reducing the demand for raw human hair. She tells Refinery29 that "the most important thing I've learned is that we, as a company, are going to have to hold those manufacturers to a higher standard" because there is no regulatory body that is going to do it for us."We have a quality control facility here in London so that we can double-check the hair that comes and send back what does not work," said the company representative.
Priscilla Jonker is in the process of launching her own UK-based hand-tied hair extension company, Belle Epoque, and admits that it wasn't until she saw the questionable practices of some factories and traders first-hand that she began to ensure that the human hair extensions she used were ethically sourced from artisanal workshops. "I made the decision to go and visit the artisans myself and actually create a relationship with them and that's at a cost to us as a businessShe tells R29 that the learning experience has been a lengthy one, but also an interesting one. It has given her the opportunity to develop her own code of ethics in regard to the individuals from whom she obtains human hair."Hair must be freely given and donated, and those who provide it must be compensated fairly," she says. "I even had a conversation with a woman from Vietnam who was having her hair cut," she adds. "It's a shame that so much hair is wasted."Instead of having her hair shaved off completely from the scalp, she was given a short bob haircut instead. Every day, thousands of Hindus embark on the journey of a lifetime known as the pilgrimage.
When they reach the most sacred area of the temple, they shave their heads in preparation for entering
1. The temples collect the hair from both men and women and store it in bundles before auctioning it off to businesses that manufacture hair products
2. It is presumed that these men and women have no problem with the temples carrying out this practice because it enables the temples to provide those who are on pilgrimage with free housing, education, medical care, and food
3. However, it has been reported that temples are extremely wealthy and make millions of dollars each year from the sale of bundles of human hair
4. According to Jonker, "I am not Hindu, and it is not my culture; therefore, I personally do not believe that it is ethical for me to have that hair
5. "They do, in fact, receive the money, but the woman who donated her hair does not receive any compensation of any kind