Chinese VS Russian Hair Extensions

Hair under the microscope

Did you know that over 52% of hair extensions sold around the world come from China?

Even considering the above, you’ll struggle to find a hair salon or online retailer selling anything specifically labelled ‘Chinese hair’.

Chinese hair has earned a bad reputation within the hair extension community, so bad it has had to rebrand several times over the years and these days will mostly not refer to the word ‘Chinese’ at all, choosing instead to label the hair as, Remy hair, Human hair, European grade or European standard.


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Allow me to explain.

There are huge shipments of hair that come from China, it is the globe’s primary distribution centre for hair extensions, and in some cases, the hair processed in China is among the finest you’ll find (I’ll write a post on this another time), but other times, even the majority of times, the Chinese market caters for the budget ‘Remy’ ranges, that hair sold for £100 a head, you’ll know the type. 

This hair is the traditional, generally hair of Chinese decent, probably Chinese adult, and perhaps not collected in the most ethical fashion. This hair is typically very coarse (thick hair shaft), making it twice the diameter of western caucasian hair. Pokey straight, black, or dark brown in colour, in its natural form this hair isn’t suitable for European markets, so it must be adjusted… Or it would be tough to blend, right?

Adjustment can include aggressive processing in an acid bath to make it finer, that’s right, a bath of acid. It’s during the ‘bathing’ process that many of the cuticles are stripped, and following the acid bath that the hair is coated in silicone, leaving it, at least temporarily, soft and shiny. This is exactly why the hair purchased on the online marketplaces out there looks so damn great initially, but after a few washes, they are…unsavable.

Most of the time, this type of Remy hair extension looks great when it arrives in the box and the first time on the head, but after a few days/weeks it will start to look dull, become prone to split ends and shedding. The lifespan of these extensions is often advertised as up to 6 months of wear, but in reality, you would probably prefer to remove the hair after just 2. 

Just to add some clarity, I’m referencing the bad quality Chinese hair here, online marketplaces sell this very cheaply. This hair is the lowest in desirability, adult, non-virgin, coarse. But, there is Chinese hair that is sourced for young girls with the hair in a virgin state, taken as braids to ensure entirely Remy. As this hair is yet to develop such a coarse structure, this is far better suited to the majority of clients in the Western market, it will almost certainly still be straight, one defining factor to that of European Hair Extensions, but it’s just as good in terms of its quality.

To save yourself from disappointment, when shopping for hair extensions always look out for the lifespan. This is the most crucial factor when it comes to getting top-quality hair extensions that will last you for many months, and look great while feeling natural and authentic. 

Free Flowing Hair


Hair on Table

This shouldn’t be a surprise, anyone enthusiastic about hair can see from a distance that the structure and natural flow of hair varies dependent on ethnic background, so white caucasian matching white caucasian is a formula for success right from the off.

A naturally very similar structure, in its virgin form the hair will come in a variety of shades from blonde to dark brown, not requiring any chemical treatments or harsh bleaching. High quality hair with these origins will last over 12 months (more like 24 months with the right attention) because it hasn’t had to undergo the heavy processing. In my opinion, the hair will eventually save money through the longevity of the product. Slavic Hair (a specific type of what is often referred to as “Russian Hair”) is also the highest density hair, meaning that often just 100g is enough for a voluminous full head due to the weight of each strand.

If considering both European/Russian Hair and Chinese/Asian hair, at the highest level of quality for each, both are equally as good. In both cases, if the hair has not been looked after by its donor, the hair will not be good quality. But if collected in a virgin state, from a donor with a healthy lifestyle, and a child or young adult (more important for Asian hair), then the hair will not need such processing, and of course all processing is damaging, impacting longevity and feel.

In Summary

Russian type hair and Chinese type can both be good quality, but only in the right circumstances. As Russian/Western hair becomes harder to source, more people are relying on the Asian market of young children or adults with hair in a virgin state. These origins are different in structure, and it’s a rarity to find curly Asian hair, but both types under the right circumstances are of good quality.

On the other hand, budget hair, the more easily sourced and less desirable Chinese/Asian hair has its place, if money is tight, as it often is (especially now), then there is a great argument that budget hair is perfect for getting an immediate lift, a product to boost confidence for a weekend away, or a work function. However, the reality is that the vast majority of the cruel photos flying around the internet of bad hair extension blending could have been avoided by simply investing in understanding the difference in hair structure, its background, origin, and value.

If you are looking for guaranteed 100% Remy Hair Extensions...

View the Hair2Love Hair Extension Range in store!

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