Ethical Hair Extensions / + How to Henna Hair Extensions – Luxy Hair

Hair extensions are yet another product that I mindlessly purchased the majority of my life without giving a thought as to where they came from. I think everyone has heard rumors that hair extensions are made from taking hair from corpses, or horses, but other than that I never really bothered to look into their origin.  From how the hair is collected, to how they are made, the whole industry has left me feeling icky.

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There are many ways in which hair extensions can be made, and there are just as many countries that supply hair. Sometimes it isn’t exploitative, sometimes its just gross. With lower quality hair collected in China, the woman will collect hair from their hair brushes or drains over the span of a couple of years, in hopes of selling to hair companies. People in factories then have to sort and untangle each individual hair. No doubt a tedious job. Sometimes the hair is mixed with animal hair to make the hair thicker, they then sew the hairs together on a weft,clips,or wig in sweatshop conditions.

In India, woman and their children will shave their heads for a religious sacrifice to the god Vishnu. They leave the hair behind in the temple and are unaware that their hair is being taken and sold to us. It is then sent to factories where again, in sweat shop conditions and an unlivable wage, woman slave away organizing, washing, and sewing together extensions.

 

in Myanmar and India, where she saw dozens of women sitting on the floor untangling other people’s hairballs and then sorting them into bunches based on their length. “It’s painstaking work, and very labour intensive – 1.5kg (3.3lb) of hair takes around 80 hours of labour to untangle” she says.

 

For some very high-end extensions woman in India & eastern european countries actually sign contracts to grow their hair out to be shaved. But even under those conditions, the rules they have to follow are extremely strict and are often told what to eat and where they can go as to avoid pollution or damage to the hair.

The people involved in this industry are paid a tiny percentage of what we pay hundreds or thousands to purchase. The industry is very corrupt, and unfortunately unregulated. So it is not possible to verify 100 percent where hair came from.

I have been buying my extensions from Bellami hair extensions for 5 years now. I’ve probably purchased 4-5 full sets, roughly $250 dollars each. I love the quality, I have never had any issues in that respect. It wasnt until last month when I decided I wanted to go back to my natural hair color ( auburn) and was looking for ethical hair dye that it even occurred to me to do some research into how ethical hair extensions were. I researched Bellami and didn’t find much info into where or how the hair was sourced, so I contacted them. I asked if their hair extensions were ethically made and sourced. Within 24 hours I received a response stating that their hair was of the highest quality and they would be glad to answer any more questions that I had. Since that response did not answer my question I wrote again and asked “ Can you confirm that your hair is ethically sourced?” …. no response. As I always say, no response IS a response. So that is that, I am not longer a Bellami customer.

I started searching for ethical hair extension brands and there really isn’t many options. The 2 that I came across were Perfect Locks, and Luxy Hair. Perfect locks claim to be ethically sourced, but after reading their write-up I chose to not purchase from them. They say their hair is gathered from the temples in india that I wrote about previously.  I am atheist, and I usually don’t care about religious issues, but to me, if someone is giving a sacrifice for a religious purpose than obviously to them, it is important. It doesn’t feel right to go into a temple and unknown to the woman there, taking something and monetizing something that is meant to be sacred. If those woman shaving their heads wanted to sell their hair to the industry they could do that, but they not they are shaving there heads for what they belive is a greater cause, for there god. So in my personal opinion, this is not ethical. Of course this is something you have to decide for yourself. It is more of a moral issue than human rights issue.

The next brand I came across was Luxy Hair. Their site has information about how it is sourced, all hair is purchased from a “distributer who has a long-standing reputation for ethically sourced hair, all hair is donated, or purchased freely and fairly”. There is a lot information on their site about the factories they use, and the conditions for workers and states they all have fair wages and benefits and are provided food throughout the day.

Although I didn’t know anyone who had tried Luxy hair, I figured I would place an order. I ordered the 160 gram pack, 20 inch hair in the color vibrant red. The hair is 100 percent Remi so it is great quality. They are fairly thick top to bottom, but I did find Bellami to be thicker at the bottoms. I don’t know if this is really a downfall though because I find the Luxy ones look more natural and easier to blend with my natural texture and they are much lighter. The pack I purchased is for normal thickness of hair, if your hair is thinner, you can get the lower pack, and if thicker than mine you can get the thicker pack.

First pic is in indoor light with camera flash, second is indoor lighting without flash.

 

 

 

The color of the hair is a natural toned red. A lot of other hair brands were all a fake red color, so that was also big plus for me. If you want a fake red color I would suggest to buy the blond color and dye them to the color you want. I still had to dye mine to match my hair color though. I recently henna’d my hair. The first time I henna’d my hair the color was too orange of a shade to match the extensions, so I did it again to deepen the color. The result was too deep of a shade and the orangey tint didn’t match the vibrant red of the extensions, so I decided to henna the extensions to match my hair, I only had to do it once and the result was a perfect match.

 

 

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For the process of how to mix henna and the brand I used, you can read my previous blog. The steps were exactly the same in dying my extensions as with my natural with one exception. Because the henna can’t have contact with metal, I had to be sure that the henna didn’t come close to the clips on the extensions. I could have wrapped each clip up but i was too lazy for all that, i just made sure I applied all the henna with one hand, and the other hand holding the tops of the extensions. I applied the henna up to about 1 inch from the clips, then lay them flat on a plastic bag. I rolled the bag up when I was finished and  let them sit for just under 4 hours, then rinsed and conditioned them in the shower. They went through the same process as my hair did when I applied it, the second day they were very vibrant, by 72 hours they had processed to their final color and I love it.

 

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Over all I totally recommend these extensions. They are a nice texture, and the clips hold in my hair very well eve without teasing or hairspray.

 

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The exact pack I ordered is here

My Henna blog here

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