One of the most common questions from clients that have been “shopping” around for Slavic hair extensions is “How do I know if I am getting real Slavic hair”. The sad reality is that most salons in London and Manchester that say they are selling Slavic hair, AREN’T. They are using Chinese and Indian hair and passing it off as Slavic to unsuspecting clients and for the most part, it works. The problem for clients is that short of doing a DNA test to determine the origin of the hair, there is no way be for a client to be 100% certain. Clients who are new to hair extensions don’t have anything to compare it to and probably didn’t have the time to have consultations at a few different salons while the more seasoned extension wearer isn’t aware that they don’t have Slavic hair and that something better exists. But if you know what to look for there are a few clues that can help you to identify all the salons masquerading Chinese and Indian hair as Eastern Europen.
5 Ways to Identify Real Slavic Hair
Chinese and Indian hair is cheap because it's readily available in large quantities. China and India account for 38% of the world’s population while Eastern Europe only accounts for 1.89%. Over the past 4-years demand for Slavic hair has skyrocketed and supply, due to the time it takes hair to grow, has not been able to keep up. The impact is that the price per KG which is denominated in USD has increased 35% and the purchasing power of GBP (because of Brexit and COVID-19) has fallen 20% making real Slavic hair for UK salons more expensive than it has been at any other time in history. Salons who offer “competitive” prices because they buy their hair wholesale or in bulk are a big red flag. The concept of buying Slavic hair at wholesale prices or in bulk simply does not exist. You cannot buy Slavic hair in bulk or wholesale any more than someone can buy gold, silver or diamonds in bulk or wholesale. Slavic hair, like precious metals, is a commodity. It is a rare commodity that is becoming rarer every day. The hair seller knows it so if you don’t buy it at their price someone else will. Why would he sell it cheaper? After it isn’t like the hair has a past due date. So, if you see a salon offering a full head of 22” Slavic hair for around £800 you can be confident in knowing that this isn’t Eastern Europen.
2. Price Differential Between Lengths
Another tell is the price differential between the shorter and longer lengths. If the salon’s price relationship is linear (equal amounts between different lengths) then this can be a clue that it isn’t real Slavic hair. Longer lengths cost much more than shorter lengths. Anything more than 20” is likely to attract a length premium of 30% or more, so it stands to reason that the price difference between lengths should not be in equal increments.
3. Mass Market Products Line
Salons and online suppliers that offer Slavic hair extensions products, tapes, clip-ins and wefts, in a myriad of colours and lengths, ready for next-day delivery are not selling real Slavic hair. In order to understand why this determination can be so easily made, it is important to understand why it does not make sense to create a mass-market extension line from Slavic hair.
There simply is not enough Slavic hair stock to supply all of the sellers around the world who claim to use Slavic hair as Real Slavic hair is extremely scarce, but scarcity alone doesn’t eliminate the possibility of someone producing a mass-market Slavic extension line.
II. Hair colouring and processing.
For a mass-market line to work, everything needs to be exactly the same. If someone buys an 18” clip-in, in colour X5, all the X5 18” clip-ins must be the same colour and same length. This cannot be done by hand and must be done in a factory with specialised machinery. When you colour hair at an industrial level (large quantities) you lose about 25% of the hair in waste and subject the hair to an aggressive acid and colouring process. Not only is this uneconomical it makes no sense to subject soft, silky hair to a colouring process that removes the very qualities that Slavic hair is sought after for. By the time the colouring process is done, it doesn’t look or feel like real Slavic hair, to an experienced buyer.
If a business is stocking wefts, i-tips, clip-in and tapes, each in 60 colours and 3 lengths, we are talking about 720 separate “products”. The seller will need each one of these products in sufficient quantity to be able to offer quick delivery. The amount of Slavic hair required to do this is staggering and when coupled with the amount of money a salon or supplier would have to tie up in inventory for a mass-market Slavic extension product line, it becomes prohibitive from a cash flow perspective.
As the hair extension industry is unregulated, it falls upon salons and companies that sell hair extensions to behave ethically towards their customers. Of course, this doesn’t always happen and one of the most common ways to mislead customers into thinking you are offering a better product than you are, by using specific terminology. A good recent example of this is a company that said all of their hair was 100% double drawn Slavic virgin hair. Now those within the industry know that, recently, it has become harder and harder to source Slavic virgin hair and that double drawn is the most expensive hair as it is labour intensive to comb out the short hairs and more hair needs to be used to achieve the thicker ends. As a result, the demand for double drawn is actually quite low and it makes no sense commercially to offer double drawn as “standard”. So, advertise that all hair, irrespective of colour, was double drawn Slavic virgin is a big red flag.
5. Hair Appearance
While the above clues can all be used before you step foot in a salon, it is also helpful to know what to look for when handling Slavic hair. To the touch, Slavic hair is soft and fine while Asian hair is coarser and heavier. Hair should not be unnaturally shiny. While shiny hair compared to normal scalp hair may impart a feeling of quality and be construed for Slavic hair, it shouldn’t. Shiny hair simply means that the hair has been covered with a silicone layer. This gives it a simulated healthy look and while in the beginning, the hair seems shiny and beautiful, after a few washes the silicone layer starts to wash away and the colour fades leaving the hair with a dull matt appearance.
What Makes Slavic Hair, Russian?
Hair that transits through Eastern Europe or that is purchased from Eastern Europe does not necessarily make it Eastern Europen. Geography, genetics and diet define what is Slavic hair. Hair from the south of Eastern Europe, the far East or Mongolia is not the same as Slavic hair. It is thicker and coarser. True Slavic hair is an excellent match in terms of softness, thickness and texture for Western women, but it is considered to be the best because of the Slavic diet. Diets greatly influence both hair growth and hair quality and the Slavic diet is high in nutrients and vitamins and low in sugar, salt, and processed animal fats which promotes the growth of luxurious and voluminous hair.