The Truth About Where Hair Extensions Come From | Shady | Refinery29

this is the Hackl respect the Hackl this is Mariah she's a master wig maker whose skill and expertise has made her a celebrity favorite this is what they do after they cut it off the ponytail to get that shorter hair out she painstakingly sews each wig by hand in a process that can take months to complete and cost as much as fifteen thousand dollars close it off and then there you go and how you tie it determines the way the hair like flows and falls on parts she knows everything there is to know about hair except for one thing where it does most of the hair being sold in the industry come from I try to source from people who I know where it's coming from but I don't know as refinery29 senior beauty editor I've been on set for dozens of shoots and interviewed hundreds of hair stylists nearly every one of their kits holds the same things flat irons curling irons brushes product and hair but Hollywood's best kept secret is far from new both black and Orthodox Jewish communities have openly worn hair for generations but it's just now the popularity has exploded into the mainstream celebrities have opened up on social media about wearing human hair revealing just how common wigs and extensions are on the red carpet and in everyday life this extensions have really pushed the hair trade up people want things that are disposable they just like want long hair today and that's that there's something intimate and uncanny about wearing the hair of another person it can transform the way you look but at what cost closer eyes I couldn't help but wonder who this hair once belonged to it's difficult to trace the origin of much of the hair on the market it's no surprise because the hair trade has always been Shady for centuries hair brokers have used any means necessary to get their hands on hair in the 1800s peasant women in France were lured into being shorn like sheep in the early 1900's it was reported that hair sold in the States was coming from sewers and corpses in China hair dealers were thought to be so shady they were banned from Ellis Island controversy continued into the 21st century as reported by CNN she lost 8 inches of hair from the robbers perspective it's quick and relatively easy money one constant in all of this is that the hair trade sets up shop wherever women are the most disenfranchised and the people who end up wearing the hair are often unaware of the journey it took to get to them most people do not know where their hair comes from and I don't think they care freaka Hills the founder of a hair extension salon in Los Angeles didn't particularly care either until she got scammed I had already lost ten thousand dollars I couldn't afford to lose any more they had these great pictures they tell you how I was going to perform they say you want to dream that's the issue with it Rica went on a hair buying trip to try to get some answers what I know she travels across six countries and found the lack of regulation in America and around the world makes it hard to guarantee what you're getting push it push it push it whispers there you go oh right they fire the hair I can smell it smells like what is that burnt hair is that plastic plastic mixed with what's known as fallen hair it's the cheapest tier of human hair collected from salon floors hair brushes and drains the hair is detangled processed with chemicals coated with silicone and sometimes mixed with synthetic and animal hair well okay for some uses it's a less expensive version of a higher quality more elusive hair virgin remy so everybody's secretive about where their hair actually comes from that's what the hair broker makes this money passing off non remy hair as a remy is just one of the many tactics of hair dealers where do you get your hair from now I get my hair from India widely considered to be one of the most ethical places to source hair Hindu temples are a crucial part of the industry every year millions of devout followers travel to temples like this one the shree venkatesh were a temple in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh it's the most visited Indu temple in the world and perhaps the most lucrative here devotees shave their hair as an offering to the gods which becomes an easy revenue source for the temple bringing in more than seven million dollars per year it's a practice that provides a constant supply of cheap high quality hair but it's not for everyone for some matching specific textures and colors is worth paying top dollar for blond red wavy coyly the more niche the hair is the more expensive and harder it is to source making this type of hair crime for exploitation after months of back-and-forth only one of them agreed to show us their operation we set out to Vietnam to meet him Vietnam is in a moment of major transition with one of the fastest growing economies in Asia its growth is a mix of opportunity and exploitation hair sellers here have been known to offer women next to nothing for their hair or offer them what sounds like a good rate only to disappear before payment even though Dan agreed to meet us I still had no idea what to expect or how legitimate his operation would be the way other companies operate everything is gonna be under the radar some of the woman that Reef bought her fun they've been scammed before we're trying to be different than everybody else Dan's mission is to make his company Remy New York one of the first ethical and totally transparent companies on the market these are gonna be our dyed hairs so we do have different varieties insects idlers yeah really cool you sure wants to sure if a girl were to come to you and want to cut her hair but she has short hair you would still buy it of course yeah um we try not to turn away anybody just because everybody needs help so this one it's gonna be one of our long ones this one is pure virgin remy you can feel the softness of it in my six years in the beauty industry I had never seen hair like this oh my gosh this is so long this level of high quality hair isn't something you can fake and as soon as I saw Dan's hair I knew he was doing something right but he invited us out to see for ourselves dan travels across the region to buy hair in person and at a fair rate here in the countryside having long hair is still an important sign of femininity hi yeah hi how are you for wente Thuy it's a promise of a better future even time to print a inve since I don't get it will you miss your long hair yeah chuckling yeah oh my god bolon not at that moon look can you laugh right off my long black macaque they look level how many Z can I talk now a new phenomena doc my alchemy really hundun how I don't know I new moms come on and Dan took my cup because for the previous times they only offer about two or three dollars for her hair that's like actually criminal ah could you later then not high you know yeah yeah Calculon don't even it hits home that the hair trade starts with women like tweed behind many of these wigs and extensions is a woman making the tough choice to sell her hair to better her life dan zip-ties tweeze hair to avoid tangling and to keep it all in the same direction after it's been cut it looks beautiful we I think it looked beautiful you look young and fresh and really pretty how are you feeling dan paid tweet a little over a hundred dollars the money is more than a month's worth of living expenses for her entire family enough to buy livestock they'll bring a new income stream for years to come Dan's rates are not only unheard of they have the potential to change lives it's a mission dance taking across the country from a woman who wants to use the money to put her son through swim lessons for the first time to another who needs to pay for books intuitionist school next semester and even a woman who wants to advance herself through the trade you know there's no shortage of hair companies in the world but there's no companies that want to make a difference that want to change lives the reason why I'm doing this is because I know that nobody else will and nobody else has well it's still the early days for Dan's company a lot of eyes are on him to see if Remy New York can be a new standard within the industry what does an ethical supply chain for hair look like it sort of looks like Fairtrade this guy in Vietnam he's transparent and the girls are getting something in return that's extremely valuable you have to make an effort to understand where the hair is coming from do your research make sure that the women it's coming from are getting a wage I think that's how changed happened hair can be more empowering and we ever thought possible for the women who wear it and those who use it to create businesses that enrich their communities but also for the women who sell it to better their lives and the lives of their families a fair trade transparent supply chain can leave everyone better off that is if the industry allows it and the customers demand it thanks for watching refinery29 for more videos like this click here and to subscribe click here


  1. If you support Dan's ethical approach but still cannot afford/doesn't need to buy from his company now, at least follow REMY NEW YORK on Instagram to boost its market value.

    At the time I'm posting this comment it only has 7.804 followers. Let's see how much he can get from now on with our help.

    @theremyny is his user

  2. omgomg love love and hope all the women in the world heal form scars of the past and have better lives💯💯♥️♥️🥰😭🥰💯🥰😭😭

  3. As an Indian girl from Andhra, and as a person who grows their hair out to donate to kids with cancer, I was really disgusted that temples sell the hair that people offer like this. Many of my uncles and cousins have shaved their heads at temples. My mom and her siblings shaved their heads when praying for my grandfather when he was ill. I'm angry that hair that was offered as prayer will end up on the heads of the privileged.

  4. Bravo to Dan 👏🏻 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 This is a man who is showing love to his country and is out to improve lives, now just make his profit. I hope he really acts this way when cameras are not around. The way he showed respect and tenderness to these women…beautiful ❤️

  5. This channel is amazingly good at hiding adverts in plain sight in the form of social documentaries.

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