The Origin of Hair Extensions and Ethical Practices

How often do we stop and wonder how products get into our hands or onto our heads? It’s easy to forget about it. But just as we are told look at the tags on our clothing and the labels on our food to see where they were made or what country they were grown in, it’s also mindful to know where our hair extensions come from.

Western Ideals of Beauty

In western culture, there are sometimes mixed attitudes about women's hair extensions. Some see it as a badge of pride to be able to afford them in tough times. Others see it as artificial and shallow. Some celebrities make their stylists sign confidentiality agreements for putting in extensions, as if it’s something to hide. But beauty comes in many forms, and, honestly, how can wearing hair extensions be any shallower than wearing clothes? Think about it. It’s never something to be ashamed of. It is, however, something to be mindful of.

Avoiding Exploitation

There are many reasons for donating or selling hair. Some women need the money, some are tired of long hair, and some are donating to charity. In some cultures, sacrificing one’s hair is done as a tradition and offering after prayer. Sometimes women and girls who are in need of money are exploited, tricked, or even stolen from. Fortunately these instances have declined and given way to ethical practices. Any reputable hair extension company, such as Balmain Hair, will use ethical and sustainable ways of collecting the hair that they use, and pay donors a fair amount. Sometimes the money even goes to help their community.

Progress toward Global Consciousness

Most people who give up their hair for money are from impoverished, rural areas like India, Peru and China. Hair, especially long, thick hair, is ubiquitous around the world as a symbol of feminine beauty and status. So understanding that someone voluntarily gave up her long hair, sacrificing that element of beauty that means so much in some cultures, doesn’t make you a bad or shallow person. Just a globally conscious one.

Hair ExtensionsJo Magliocco