Where do hair extensions come from?

If you are going to wear something on your head for the next two or three months, then you should know exactly where it is coming from. I am not going to lecture you about anything, but the source of your hair extensions should be common knowledge. You can use this knowledge when choosing between human and synthetic hair.

Human hair used to be in high demand until the 60s when synthetic hair appeared on the market. All was well until increasing reports of allergies increased demand for human hair again.

In India, and most of Asia, many Hindus shave their hair annually, which attracted the attention of hair companies worldwide. There are women who grow their a few metres long and then sell it, so they can provide for their families. Some sell their hair by choice, but there have been reports that some are forced to by blackmail or threats, even by their own husbands.

Women is the ideal source, but if not then the hair is retrieved from anywhere else it can be found, like street barbers. Even children are involved. Those living in poverty often swap the hair in return for playthings that their parents cannot afford.

Any leftover hair is burned, which has led to dangerous toxins being released into the atmosphere. The toxins have caused serious allergies and asthmatic problems for the local community, so the Delhi police force started to crack down on these harmful hair factories.

I am not saying that you must stop wearing human hair, but the next time you buy it, stop and think about where it came from and consider the part you play in this billion dollar industry. Do some research into the producers of your favourite hair product and see how exploitive they are. As a black woman your ancestors were greatly exploited, so why do the same to someone else’s?