Fundamentally, the biology of hair is basically the same, regardless of ethnicity. Hair is a biopolymer (DNA) that is made out of 90% keratin (a hard, fibrous protein).
The structure of keratin is termed Hair Shaft and consist of three main areas, the cuticle or translucent scale like outer layer of the hair shaft, the cortex which can be conceptualized as the meat of the hair shaft, and the medulla, the central core of the hair shaft.
The cuticle is responsible for the mechanical strength of the hair fiber. When adding any kind of extension, one should have a clear understanding of the cuticle. This will aid in determining hair texture, type and quality to be used.
HAIR TEXTURES AND TYPES
The three main categories of hair fiber are Synthetic, Animal and Human. Each having a variation of forms and textures.
Artificial Hair: A synthetic polymer
Polymer is a substance made up of a large number of smaller molecules that link together to form larger molecules. An example of a synthetic polymer is plastic.
Synthetic hair like human hair is a polymer. It is composed of fine plastic fibers, manufactured to look like human hair. In its basic form, synthetic hair is made from low-grade acrylic that is heated and strung into strands to make individual hair fibers.
Synthetic hair is a broad term used to describe hair extension material that isn't made of a natural fiber.
- Comes in Weft (for weaving) and Bulk (loose strands) for braids.
- Less expensive than human and animal hair
- Made from artificial materials
- Will often have a feel and smell similar to plastic.
- Has an advantage that it can be easily mass-produced in any color and length.
- Made of a wide array of different [synthetic fibers] and quality vary greatly.
- Can cause your natural hair to become dry, brittle and sometimes cause hair loss
There are many things to take into consideration when installing synthetic hair. Before initial service it is important to do a consultation and scalp analysis. This will determine if the synthetic fiber is a good fit for the client. It will also help you the professional determine and recommend what pre-treatment is required. It will also help determine what aftercare products to use.
ANIMAL (YAK) HAIR
Yak hair is NOT human hair. It is harvested from the body of the Yak animal – an ox-like mammal native to the Himalayas and Tibet with dark, long and silky hair, a horse-like tail and a full, bushy mane. The hair of the yak is structurally similar to human hair and testing revealed that it responds the same way to the styling methods used to style human hair.
In look and texture, Yak hair closely matches “relaxed” African-ethnic hair and Indo-Asian hair types. Because the hair could be grown and harvested from these animals in massive quantities, it has become a staple in inexpensive hair extensions and accessory products.
However, sometime after yak hair became widely used in the industry, it was discovered that many people were allergic to the fibers. Since the look of the yak hair products was so popular, researchers immediately went to work looking for another alternative that would be inexpensive, yet give the look of Yak hair.
And thus “YAKI” hair was born. Yaki hair is human hair that has been harvested in as inexpensive a manner as possible and chemically processed, blended and treated to look and feel the way yak hair does. This allows the desired look without the risk of allergic reactions. Unless you're allergic to synthetic and mixed blend hair fibers as well. If so, than you're a candidate for human hair.
Buying human hair has become the most complicated thing to do. As a professional, you need a concise understanding of human hair. Your knowledge of the different textures and qualities of human hair is important. It determines the finished look of the desired style. The following are terms used as it relates to human hair: Virgin, Virgin Remy, Virgin Indian Remy, Remy cuticle, Brazilian, Malaysian, Peruvian, Mongolian and many more.
What is Virgin Hair?
Virgin hair is 100% natural and is not processed in any way. Which means that there’s no damage to the cuticle (outer protective layer of the hair shaft).
What is Remy Human Hair?
Remy Defined: unidirectional, going in the same direction
- Remy hair has to be one of the most confusing and misunderstood words used in today’s market.
- Remy does not necessarily mean the hair is 100% human.
- Includes the cuticle on the hair shaft
- Not always virgin human hair
- Remy human hair can be virgin, blended, processed (colored, permed) or unprocessed.
What is Remy cuticle Hair?
Real Remy Cuticle Hair is the highest grade of human hair that comes from one individual. The hair is sectioned and allowed to fall into its natural growing pattern. The hair is then cut and carefully arranged in bulk or weft in a way that maintains the integrity of the natural cuticle direction so matting and tangling are virtually eliminated.
Hair extensions made from human hair can be dyed, heated (curled or straightened), styled, washed, and treated like your own natural hair. Hair extensions made from synthetic hair are sensitive to the sun, don't last as long as human hair, are difficult to style, and doesn’t blend in as well with your real hair.
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