When designing your hair system, there is a choice of human or synthetic hair. Although synthetic hair is appropriate in some situations (such as gray hair), human hair is the most common choice for hair replacement systems. Particularly if your hair system blends with your growing hair, human hair will provide the most natural appearance.
Human hair is available from various different sources. It undergoes multiple stages of processing in order to meet the specifications in your order.
The human hair we use is of Chinese and Indian origin. We do not use virgin hair, and we intentionally process human hair to maximize its performance in a hair system.
This is one of the most common types of hair we use in our systems. Soft and fine, Indian hair works well for dark hair of any length, as well as short hair in any color. The fine, thin strands can’t withstand the processing necessary for tight curls or very straight hair, so Indian hair is a good match for hair with a slight bend or wave.
Generally, Chinese hair is thicker than Indian, so it can tolerate more processing. Chinese hair is used if you require a thicker, coarser type of hair, but we can also request it in a soft and fine texture.
Chinese hair is used for light hair, blond hair, red hair and straight hair with no bend. Because of its ability to withstand processing, it’s also suitable for afro curl and tighter wave/curl patterns. Curled Chinese hair doesn’t relax quickly, doesn’t frizz much and holds the integrity of the curl better, unless the hair is light blond or red.
You may be unaware of the methods used to process the hair in your system, so here we explain why it’s processed the way it is and how this impacts the final product.
Removing the cuticle
When processed, donor hair initially goes through an acid-based bath to remove most of the cuticle — the outermost layer of the hair. When magnified, the cuticle looks like layers of overlapping roof shingles moving down the hair shaft. It needs to be removed to match hair texture and help prevent tangling. When the cuticle is removed, hair doesn’t need to be ventilated from root to tip like Remy hair (see inset below).
Even though hair is processed to remove the cuticle, some of it can remain on the hair. When the hair is attached to the system, there’s a long end and a short end on either side of the knot. The short end is known as the “return.” Because each hair has a return, the system then has hair cuticles facing in opposing directions. This can result in the hair cuticles grabbing onto each other and getting tangled. If you experience significant tangling (common with long hair) a detangling treatment that removes more of the cuticle is effective for smoothing hair and reducing tangling.
What is Remy hair?
There is much confusion surrounding the definition of Remy hair. “Remy” simply means that the hair is cut from the donor’s head with the root end and the tip end in their original positions. For example, the hair is pulled into a ponytail, the ponytail is cut off, and hairs stay intact in that position through processing and ventilation, even though they are separated from the bundle. Hair labeled as “Remy” does not mean the hair is not processed, since the hair is usually still processed to chemically remove the cuticle. However, Remy hair is supposed to be ventilated into the base from root to tip, meaning all hairs are knotted or injected into the base with the original root end. This approach is intended to reduce tangling, but the original quality of the donor hair is also a factor in tangling and breakage. For the most part, Remy hair is processed by stripping out the natural hair color, then recoloring the hair and processing it for curl.
Many of our suppliers use hair that is understood to be Remy hair. However, because there’s no way to ensure the donor hair was initially bundled root to tip, undisturbed prior to, during or after processing, or definitely ventilated in the root-to-tip position, we will not make the claim any hair system is or is not Remy hair. We use the highest quality hair possible. If you are experiencing excessive tangling, please call us and speak to a hair replacement consultant so we can rectify the issue.
We allow the experts at the production facility to make final decisions regarding the best type of hair for your system. Hair type is chosen based on order specifications and the inventory of available hair at the time the order is placed.
Chinese hair has a different texture than European hair. When it goes through the acid bath, the texture becomes a finer, better match for European hair. However, because the original hair shaft is thick and strong, Chinese hair can handle the additional processing needed to add color and/or curl. Indian hair, on the other hand, is unable to handle so much processing. To match your growing hair or preference as closely as possible, hair texture can be ordered in coarse, normal or fine.
Most hair comes from Chinese or Indian donors, and is therefore naturally dark in color. In order to match the various colors customers order, the hair is stripped of its color, then dyed to match specifications.
The cuticle layer holds the color molecules inside the hair shaft. When you color your growing hair, the chemicals open the cuticle layer and allow color to be deposited; conditioners added to the color help close the cuticle. After the hair is colored, it is rinsed with cool water; the cool water helps the cuticle layer lay flat and retain color. Hot water is not used, because it will keep the cuticle open and cause the color to release.
Production facilities do not use regular salon hair color, because with the cuticle removed, it’s difficult for hair to hold on to color molecules from standard color. Instead, they use a colorfast garment dye to help retain color much longer. Even though you may not have known it, this has been standard industry practice for years. Garment dyes react to chemicals differently than professional hair color, which is why attempting to lighten or remove color from a system at home or with your local stylist may not give you the results you expect. If you have a problem with your color or want to change it, please contact us first so we can help you determine the best course of action for your situation.
Wave, curl or straighten
After cuticle removal, color stripping and recoloring, the hair is again processed to be straightened or curled according to your specifications. Curl, wave and straightening are mainly done using heat and pressure, similar to a pressure cooker. The hair is wrapped on long metal dowels and pressure-treated to permanently bind the curl. On rare occasions when the production facility deems it necessary, more traditional, perm-type chemicals are used for the curling process.