One of the most common questions from clients that have been “shopping” around for European or Russian hair extensions is “How do I know if I am getting real Slavic hair”. The sad reality is that most salons around the world that say they are selling Slavic hair, AREN’T. They are using Chinese and Indian hair and passing it off as Russian to unsuspecting clients and for the most part, it works. The problem for clients is that short of doing a DNA test to determine the origin of the hair, there is no way be for a client to be 100% certain. Clients who are new to hair extensions don’t have anything to compare it to and probably didn’t have the time to have consultations at a few different salons while the more seasoned extension wearer isn’t aware that they don’t have Russian hair and that something better exists. But if you know what to look for there are a few clues that can help you to identify all the salons masquerading Chinese and Indian hair as Russian.
Key Factors of Russian Hair
Chinese and Indian hair is cheap because it's readily available in large quantities. Often coming from prisons, cemeteries, and forced labour camps. China and India account for 38% of the world’s population while Russia only accounts for 1.89%. Over the past 4-years demand for Russian hair has skyrocketed and supply, due to the time it takes hair to grow, has not been able to keep up. The impact is that the price per KG which is denominated in USD has increased 35% and the purchasing power of GBP (because of COVID-19) has fallen 20% making real Russian hair for salons more expensive than it has been at any other time in history. Salons who offer “competitive” prices because they buy their hair wholesale or in bulk are a big red flag. The concept of buying Russian hair at wholesale prices or in bulk simply does not exist. You cannot buy Russian hair in bulk or wholesale any more than someone can buy gold, silver or diamonds in bulk or wholesale. Ethical Russian hair, like precious metals, is a commodity. It is a rare commodity that is becoming rarer every day. The hair seller knows it so if you don’t buy it at their price someone else will. Why would he sell it cheaper? After it isn’t like the hair has a past due date. So, if you see a salon offering a full head of 22” Russian hair for around $350.00 you can be confident in knowing that this isn’t Russian. In fact, for that price with the marks ups salons need to place in order to pay their bills, you could even assume it isn't even 100% human hair.
2. Price Differential Between Lengths
Another tell is the price differential between the shorter and longer lengths. If the salon’s price relationship is linear (equal amounts between different lengths) then this can be a clue that it isn’t real Russian hair. Longer lengths cost much more than shorter lengths. Anything more than 20” is likely to attract a length premium of 30% or more, so it stands to reason that the price difference between lengths should not be in equal increments.
3. Mass Market Products Line
Salons and online suppliers that offer Russian hair extensions products, tapes, clip-ins and wefts, in a myriad of colours and lengths, ready for next-day delivery are not selling real Russian hair. In order to understand why this determination can be so easily made, it is important to understand why it does not make sense to create a mass-market extension line from Russian hair. For this reason you may see that we often have very low inventory. We are proud to be the first direct to consumer company that offers access to Russian hair.
There simply is not enough Russian hair stock to supply all of the sellers around the world who claim to use Russian hair as Real Russian hair is extremely scarce, but scarcity alone doesn’t eliminate the possibility of someone producing a mass-market Russian extension line.
5 Hair colouring and processing.
For a mass-market line to work, everything needs to be exactly the same. If someone buys an 18” clip-in, in colour X5, all the X5 18” clip-ins must be the same colour and same length. This cannot be done by hand and must be done in a factory with specialized machinery. When you colour hair at an industrial level (large quantities) you lose about 25% of the hair in waste and subject the hair to an aggressive acid and colouring process. When we colour ur hair we do so in our private controlled factory. Blonde hair comes from blonde donors and brunette from brunette. We use zero acid in our dyes and toners. Each dye is crafted with plant extracts and each colour takes 40+ days. We dye/tone each batch gently with no heat in organic dyes. This allows for full cuticle penetration without any damage. This leaves the cuticle intact, meaning we never out a silicone layer over the hair. Allowing for the hair to retain its natural soft and light weight feel.
If a business is stocking wefts, i-tips, clip-in and tapes, each in 60 colours and 3 lengths, we are talking about 720 separate “products”. That-is 720 products supplied globally, daily, several times a day. There simply isn't enough good quality hair out their to make this possible. We now keep our inventory levels public so you can be aware of how much Russian hair is available.
5. Hair Appearance
While the above clues can all be used before you step foot in a salon, it is also helpful to know what to look for when handling Russian hair. To the touch, Russian hair is soft and fine while Asian hair is coarser and heavier. Hair should not be unnaturally shiny. While shiny hair compared to normal scalp hair may impart a feeling of quality and be construed for Russian hair, it shouldn’t. Shiny hair simply means that the hair has been covered with a silicone layer. This gives it a simulated healthy look and while in the beginning, the hair seems shiny and beautiful, after a few washes the silicone layer starts to wash away and the colour fades leaving the hair with a dull matt appearance.
What Makes Russian Hair, Russian?
Hair that transits through Russia or that is purchased from Russia does not necessarily make it Russian. Geography, genetics and diet define what is Russian hair. Hair from the south of Russia, the far East or Mongolia is not the same as Russian hair. It is thicker and coarser. True Russian hair is an excellent match in terms of softness, thickness and texture for Western women, but it is considered to be the best because of the Russian diet. Diets greatly influence both hair growth and hair quality and the Russian diet is high in nutrients and vitamins and low in sugar, salt, and processed animal fats which promotes the growth of luxurious and voluminous hair.