As I sit here with my boy and girl running around me in the Covid restricted soft play, I’ve got my laptop open, coffee out ☕️ , seemingly it’s the perfect time to write about how some Russian hair can be 2,3,4 times the price of others and still be good value.
There’s more to Russian hair than many people know!
For years, the UK hair extensions market has had supplier after supplier claiming to have the finest, softest, and most luxurious hair. If you’re a professional reading this, you’ve no doubt heard it all before. There is a huge amount of sales patter on every website (including mine), so how can some sell ‘the most luxurious Russian hair’ for £100 and some sell ‘the most luxurious Russian hair’ for £1,000?
ARE RUSSIAN HAIR EXTENSIONS ALL THE SAME?
Russian hair extensions are not all the same. The term can relate to Russian, Asian, or Slavic hair. Meaning many different origins and structures.
Firstly, ask yourself what is being sold. I am personally determined to change the common perception that Russian hair is Russian hair…No difference. But actually, there is.
Russian, Mongolian, Russian Mongolian, or Slavic. There are a number of origins associated with Russia, so what’s the deciding factor on cost?
As every hair extension professional knows, some hair can be of better quality than others, and of course, this goes a long way when discussing cost. However, for the purpose of this article, I am assuming each quality is equally as good as the other.
SO, WHAT MAKES SOME HAIR EXTENSIONS CHEAP, AND SOME NOT?
When starting Hair2Love (H2L) I personally met with six manufacturers in Eastern Europe and settled on a final two. All of them said the same, they have a selection of ranges, all of which are good, but their portfolios are priced according to the rarity of the hair type.
Rarity can of course be driven by demand, ease to source, and ability to manufacture.
For now though, how does supply and demand impact hair extension prices? What is the clearest example?
Why is Chinese hair so cheap?
It is down to supply. Whilst much of this hair will come from genuine donors, much will come from hairbrushes or the floors of salons (fallen hair). The hair is bundled and sorted, before being processed to the point where all hair will match with one another seamlessly in the pack.
I have written more about this in the Hair2Love Guide (click here to download).
Actually, I am always eager to learn more. I have purchased some ‘real remy human hair’ bought from Amazon purely because it has over 2,000 5-Star reviews on Amazon and eBay. I have no doubt it originates from China. And admittedly, it looks nice, a little shiny perhaps, but the tapes look good and the hair doesn’t tangle (yet). It’s a strong start, but I am assuming the worst. We have all seen it, beautiful hair coming out of the pack, and a knotted mess after a wash or two. The hair likely has a silicone coating and has been heavily processed from a mix of Asian hair donors to make it the lovely blonde highlighted hair it is today. It feels incredibly fine for Asian hair, so I assume it’s spent time sitting in an acid bath.
With so many 5-star reviews it makes me wonder, can they prove me wrong?
Is Russian Mongolian/Mongolian hair cheap?
These are the middle ground for many. Both Russian Mongolian and Mongolian fall into the Asian hair category, this hair comes from the southern borders of Russia, in Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, there is a substantial population to choose from, meaning the hair is widely available (boosting supply). A real bonus is that it’s far easier to mix hair of these origins as they tend to all be a darker shade in the very beginning. Whatsmore, because the hair can be mixed it’s both easier and more forgiving to make this hair double drawn due to it rarely being from a single donor.
Whilst this will add to the cost as double-drawn will often sell at a premium, this also means that just like other naturally darker hair, the double-drawn variety will be at a lower premium compared to other, lighter hair origins simply due to the ease of its production.
DO RUSSIAN HAIR EXTENSIONS EXIST?
Due to Russian hair extensions being one of the most searched terms on Google, it is often difficult to find a supplier not just taking advantage of the name. In my home country of Russia, we call this hair, Slavic Hair.
Caveat for the next part… We specialise in Slavic Hair, which is by its very nature, finer hair. So although this makes for a short sales pitch, it also means we know our stuff.
What are Slavic Hair Extensions?
Slavic hair extensions are taken from donors in countries such as the Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Slavic is the word commonly used in Russia to describe hair taken from the white Caucasian side of the population in and around Russia.
Factors impacting the supply and demand of Slavic hair include:
- There is no history of the people in these regions being groomed for hair donation, certainly not like there is in some Asian regions. This means the supply is already lower, even before taking the smaller population into consideration.
- The hair is hugely popular with those of a fine hair structure, this is due to the hair being a better match to white Caucasian ladies. To support the better match, Slavic is coming from a region where a much higher proportion of donors are naturally of a lighter hair colour, meaning less processing is required for the lightest shades, again meaning huge demand, little supply.
It’s supply and demand
- If hair originates from a populous with a culture of donating, then of course hair will be in greater supply.
- If that hair can be mixed like in the case of Russian Mongolian, or Mongolian, the hair extensions will be in greater supply.
- If the hair will be heavily processed to turn blonde, it allows for easy mixing and therefore….greater supply.
Single donor Slavic hair
The only way to mix hair and keep the consistency is through processing it. With Slavic hair being naturally fine, the processing would destroy it’s quality, therefore the hair will instead often come from a single donor to ensure consistency. This means the hair is in shorter supply.
With the lack of comparable options for ladies with blonde and/or fine hair, Slavic is also in greater demand.
Is Baby Hair Expensive?
Yes! It’s the most premium of them all. Child hair, pure virgin child hair extensions can break the bank when it comes to the affordability of hair extensions. The quality is superb, but being sourced exclusively from children means the product is scarce.
In Russia this type of hair is called exclusive and sold as the most premium of Slavic hair. Typically, virgin baby hair (donors up to the age of 16), if cared for, has an unlimited lifespan and feels like pure silk. The hair is incredibly rare, the quality breeds demand and its scarcity increases the price.