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Should You Wear Hair Extensions, Ethically?

By AK, 27 March 2019


There’s nothing wrong if you want to achieve fuller and longer hair. Looking and feeling beautiful is every woman’s goal. When you have great self-confidence, everything seems to follow - better work performance, relationships, and all things in life.

You really want to get hair extensions, but you remember Chris Rock’s Good Hair documentary that placed the hair industry in such a bad light. Now, the question pops up - “Should you wear hair extensions, ethically?”

Yes, of course. Making yourself beautiful comes with obligations. You must be conscious of the social and environmental effects of your actions.

But… is it possible to wear hair extensions without any ethical issues? Let’s find out!

1The Story Behind Hair Extensions


When buying hair extensions, most consumers prefer real human hair. They look and feel natural, and the experience is more enjoyable. Sadly, the sourcing method behind human hair is a growing concern.

Many stories are now surfacing that companies get their hair from women and children living in countries where poverty is flourishing. While this might be true, this doesn’t mean that all companies follow unethical practices in sourcing hair.

Somewhere in India, they have this religious practice where they willingly offer their hair to the god, Vishnu. There are about 18 million devotees who visit the Venkateshwara Temple to offer their respects to the god’s incarnation. Each day more than 12,000 devotees offer their hair as a spiritual act to the god. This is also their way of thanking the deity for their blessings.

The Story Behind Hair Extensions

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So, what happens to all of the hair offerings? They are sold to create the most beautiful hairpieces, weaves, and hair extensions. All of the money paid for the hair will be reinvested to the community. The money will help fund schools, open clinics, and provide nutritional services.

Awesome, right? So, as you can see, hair is definitely sourced ethically here.

2Finding the Right Supplier for Your Hair Extensions


The hair extensions industry is growing by the minute. Even with the thousands of hair donors in India, they cannot keep up with the booming demand of hair extensions. Some resort to diving into the black market, which you must be careful.

Right Supplier for Your Hair Extensions

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So, what should you do?

It’s impossible to check your hair extensions if they are ethically sourced by simply looking at them. What you need to do is perform thorough research on the hair extensions manufacturer.

To make it a bit easier for you, here are some tips on how to check them:

3Read About the Factory’s History


The first thing you need to do is find as much information as you can about the factory. Research about their background - how and when they started, the clients they’ve worked with, their factory’s location, customer reviews, etc. Learning about the factory’s background will give you an idea of what kind of company they are.

Research methods

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4Find Out About Their Donors


Some companies claim that their products are made from 100% Remy hair when it’s actually far from the truth. Some vendors collect fallen hair, mostly those from hairbrushes or on the floor. The process these hair strands undergo will depend on the manufacturer, but many will undergo an acid bath.

If this was the case, the hair on your extensions is not 100% Remy. They might be less expensive, but they are prone to damage. With regards to ethical issues, there’s nothing wrong with it since no one donated their hair forcefully.

The good news is, some source out hair from willing volunteers, particularly those from India and Russia. Many women will go directly to the factory to have their hair cut and be paid fairly for it.

It’s important that the manufacturer of your hair extensions provide specific details about where they got their hair. Many companies let you access this information on their official website.

5Check Transparency


Because of the tough competition and inconsistency in the industry, being transparent is another problem. Many companies resort to dishonesty just so they can keep up with the competition.

A reliable hair extensions manufacturer will claim that their hair extensions are 100% Remy and will stand by it. They will guarantee their clients that if their extensions don’t feel real or something’s off, they’re more than willing to provide warranty or a money-back guarantee.

You can test your hair extensions if they are 100% Remy by running your fingers through them. They should feel smooth when running downwards. Meanwhile, you’ll feel some irregularities or resistance when going upwards.

Check Transparency

Image Source: fctc.org

6Learn More About the Factory and Its Employees


The ethical concerns of making hair extensions don’t only focus on the donors. Some issues arise because of how the company treats its factory employees. This might be hard to achieve, but if there’s some way you can check, you must do so.

Fortunately, many factories are open about what happens during the production process. They also provide information on their website. However, you can search somewhere else, like Google. Factory workers should not work more than eight hours, and if they do, they must be paid fairly for it. They should also receive a fair wage and enough breaks.


Hair extensions belong to a complex and highly-competitive industry. The production process goes through more steps than you’d expect. A lot of money is at stake, so companies come up with strategies to thrive. Some remain ethical, while others are not so.

While it may take some time and work to figure out, it’s important that you wear hair extensions ethically. By doing so, you discourage the wrong ways of sourcing out hair. Always remember that consumers, including you, have the main control in this industry!


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