DIFFERENT HAIR QUALITIES
Virgin Hair - Hair that is cut with the cuticle going in the same direction which allows the hair to not easily tangle. This also means that the hair is in its natural state. No chemicals have been added to it whatsoever. This type of hair can come from any race and is usually more expensive because of the time it takes to grow and because it is found in less abundance.
Remy/Remi Hair - Hair that is cut with the cuticle going in the same direction which allows the hair to not easily tangle. BUT, the hair has some chemicals in it. This could mean it has been permed, colored, etc.
Single drawn is of a slightly lower quality than double-drawn hair. The hairs will have up to a 2" difference in the tips; that is, some hairs will be up to 2" shorter than their original lengths.
Double drawn indicates that the collected hair of a certain length has all of the shorter hairs in the bundle manually removed twice, hence the 'double' drawn. This means that hair extensions that are double drawn will have (nearly) as many hair strands at one end as the other and appear much thicker and not wispy at the ends. This process is very laborious, and therefore makes the extensions very expensive.
With human hair the hair shaft is made up of dead, hard protein, called keratin, in three layers. The inner layer is called the medulla and may not be present. The next layer is the cortex and the outer layer is the cuticle. The cortex makes up the majority of the hair shaft. The cuticle is formed by tightly packed scales in an overlapping structure similar to roof shingles. Most hair-conditioning products attempt to affect the cuticle. There are pigment cells that are distributed throughout the cortex, giving the hair its characteristic color. The cuticle is a hard shingle-like layer of overlapping cells, some five to twelve deep, formed from dead cells that form scales which give the hair shaft strength and protect the inner structure of the hair. The hair cuticle is the first line of defense against all forms of damage; it acts as a protective barrier for the softer inner structures, including the medulla and cortex.The cuticle is responsible for much of the mechanical strength of the hair fiber. A healthy cuticle is more than just a protective layer, as the cuticle also controls the water content of the fiber. Much of the shine that makes healthy hair so attractive is due to the cuticle. In the hair industry, the only way to obtain the very best hair (with cuticle intact and facing the same direction) is to use the services of "hair collectors," who cut the hair directly from people's heads, and bundle it as ponytails. This hair is called virgin cuticle hair, or just cuticle hair. Most human hair used for weaves and wigs is obtained from Asia (perhaps most often China, India, and Korea).
Synthetic hair is made of a wide array of different [synthetic fibers]. Synthetic hair, just like human hair, comes in weave (weft) and single strands (bulk) for braids. Synthetic hair does not last as long as human hair because it gets quickly damaged by friction and heat. The quality of hair varies greatly. Depending on quality, it may never look like human hair, as it can be stiff and move differently than human hair. Synthetic hair is much less expensive than human hair. Heating appliances such as curling irons and straightening combs generally should never be used on most types of synthetic hair. There are some newer versions of synthetic hair that are more resistant, human-like hair that can be heat processed allowing for heat styling.FuturaFutura is a type of synthetic fiber that can withstand heat up to 400 degrees F, and can actually outlast human hair. It is very similar to human hair given it is tangle-free and has a natural sheen. It can be straightened or curled, however, it takes longer to set; but futura cannot be colored. It is sometimes sold as a human hair blend.
Weft - Hair held together with fine threads. This can be done with a machine or by hand. Although machine wefts are more popular (and cheaper), hand wefts are more desirable because they are more natural looking and more durable.
The most popular and commonly available form of hair is known as premium hair. It is sold in the majority of beauty supply stores worldwide. The roots and tips of hairs are interwoven in premium hair which causes tangling. This is due to the opposing cuticle layers catching onto one another. However; as it is the most inexpensive type of hair, it is a best seller.
Premium hair comes in two types:
- Regular premium hair: generally the least expensive type of hair. The cuticles are present in different directions and the hair is prone to tangling.
"Tangle-free" premium hair: this is obtained by chemically removing the cuticles using an acid bath. This process reduces the friction among hairs, leaving the remains tangle-free hair. In order to give the appearance of natural healthy hair, a laminate is applied to the hair to give it a shiny and silky look.
Pre-Bonded Extensions - Hair that is bonded at the ends with a bonding agent. The most common bonding agent is keratin. There are two types of these extensions, U-tipped and I-tipped. U-tipped pre-bonded extensions use heat when applied while I-tipped pre-bonded extensions use special devices that don't require heat.