What is the Difference Between Hair Types?
When buying hair extensions, there are a couple of terms we see often like virgin hair, Remy hair, non-remy hair, human hair and heat resistant hair, but what does it all mean? There has been a lot of confusion about different hair types and it’s important to know what each of them means because they are all completely different in look, quality, and price. Before buying hair extensions, you should know all the basic terms and exactly what type of hair you want to avoid disappointment. There are also many companies that are trying to trick people to spend a lot of money on low quality hair so be careful and knowledgeable. All of this can seem a bit confusing at the beginning, but it’s actually very simple and you just need to know a couple of basic hair types and you’re all set!
100% Virgin Hair
Let’s start with the notorious virgin hair. 100% virgin hair is the most expensive hair that you can buy, but it lasts longer than any other type of hair extensions if properly taken care of. So in order to qualify as virgin hair, it has to be 100% pure. That means it can’t go through any chemical processing; it has not been permed, color treated, dyed, bleached, blow-dried, steam treated or gone through any chemical processing. Another thing to keep in mind is that 100% virgin hair has never been mechanically processed or manipulated as well. It comes from one single donor and the cuticles still have to be intact and run in the same direction. If all of these requirements are not met, then it is not 100% virgin hair.
For those of you who wonder what a cuticle is, the cuticle is the outermost part of the hair shaft. It is a hard, shingle like layer of overlapping cells. It acts as a protective barrier for the softer inner structure of the hair, including the medulla and the cortex. The cuticle is responsible for much of the mechanical strength of the hair fiber and it also represents the structure that holds the water content of the fiber. Much of the shine that makes healthy hair so attractive and beautiful is due to the cuticles. So for the hair to be 100% virgin, the cuticles have to be aligned and intact and the hair company should double check that.
There are four critical stages that determine the quality of virgin hair extensions. The first is collection and how raw hair is obtained from the donor. The second is blending and how that hair is matched to create wefts. The third is fabrication and what kind of process is used to sew the wefts. And the fourth is sanitization and which process is used to remove impurities from the hair. These are all the questions you can ask your hair company. It’s also important to ask how the hair is collected. If the company is selling virgin hair, they should have knowledge about that because they need to ensure top quality.
For removing nits, many suppliers use insecticides and then wash the hair or they’ll use an adhesive dissolvent, but both present challenges. If you ever experienced severe or persistent itching after installing your hair extensions or if you ever had an allergic reaction, insecticides are to blame for that. On the other hand, dissolvents cause damage to the hair cuticles so both are bad and those are chemical methods that are not used on virgin hair. Nits are removed manually from virgin hair and there are no chemicals involved in any way.
Some people get confused when dealing with Remy hair vs. virgin hair, especially because you sometimes see hair marked as 100% virgin Remy hair. What differentiates virgin hair from Remy hair is chemical processing and cuticle alignment. Remy hair has the cuticles intact and aligned, but it may have gone through some type of steam processing, even though it might not have been dyed or permed. So that makes it not 100% pure virgin hair. The reason why cuticle alignment is so important is because if the cuticles are not aligned, the hair will tangle and mat because cuticles protect the hair. The cuticle to your hair is like skin to your body; it keeps the moisture in, it keeps the shine. If the cuticle is removed, then they have to put silicone, an artificial cuticle, on the hair and you’ll be able to tell very quickly if you have non-remy hair because the silicone gets damaged and washes out pretty quickly. Then you get tangling and matting. Because this is not a regulated industry, some manufacturers will mark hair that has no cuticle or even hair that has been mixed with synthetic hair so be aware when you’re purchasing your hair. One way to test if you bought real Remy hair with the cuticles intact, is to dip your hand in water and run it down the hair, it’s going to feel really smooth. And if you do that again, but going up, it’s going to feel kind of rough and that’s what you want. If it feels smooth going down and going up, that means the cuticles have been removed.
Remy hair is high quality, 100% human hair so it’s going to last you a long time. If you properly take care of it, it will last and it will still look very fresh months later. However, it does require more care than your 100% virgin hair so make sure you follow the guidelines that come with the package. High quality Remy hair can also be dyed later professionally if you choose to. So if you want your hair extensions to last for a very long time and not to tangle or mat, Remy hair is the way to go. It has a really natural look and feel and it’s the best type of hair you can buy after virgin hair.
100% Human Hair
This is hair that is 100% human and it has not been mixed with any kind of synthetic fibers or heat resistant fibers. Although it is 100% human hair like Remy is, unlike the Remy hair 100% human hair has been chemically stripped of its cuticle. They do that so that it can be machine processed. The problem with this is, when you strip the cuticles, you’re going to get brittleness, tangling, matting, and dryness. The cuticles are an integral part of the hair and stripping it away may cause you many problems. The cuticle is also often replaced with silicone which washes away very quickly and you’re left with hair that has not cuticles and it will constantly tangle and will not look good. If it’s a higher quality 100% human hair, it can last for some time even though it might have been chemically treated or colored, however it’s not going to last as long as Remy hair. If it’s low quality, be careful because that’s sometimes been diluted with synthetic hair in order to lower the price. So make sure you pay attention to what you’re getting when you purchase this hair.
Human Hair Quality
This is not 100% human hair because this hair has been mixed with premium quality heat resistant fibers or other synthetic fibers. So you’re going to have some human hair but it’s not going to be the majority. This hair is a lot cheaper than 100% human hair. Be careful with this type of hair, it can usually be straightened or curl with hot irons but you cannot dye or color this hair. This hair is usually low quality and the only good thing about it is that it’s very cheap, but it will not last you for a long time like 100% human or Remy hair will.
Heat Resistant Hair
That leave us with another type. Which is heat resistant hair, made from high quality synthetic fiber and it’s heat resistant so you can still use flat irons or curling irons on this hair but up to a certain degree. This is not human hair in any shape or form. It will resemble human hair as much as possible but it is not. This hair will not last a long time and it’s really not a smart buying choice. It is simply synthetic hair and it will never look like real human hair. You can style heat resistant synthetic hair and use curling or flat irons on it but the effects are usually not so good. So if you’re looking for quality extensions that you can wear for months and that look natural, this is the worst option.
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