If all hair starts out in India, How’d China get it so cheap?

I’ve heard it a few times, all hair starts out in India. It makes sense. What I didn’t get is how China sells it so cheap. How are they able to sell bundles at retail value for less than Indian manufactures can sell at wholesale price? Shouldn’t the place of origin have the biggest advantage? Chinese manufactures are the middle manĀ  when it comes to hair extensions but have managed to turn the hair industry inside out. Aliexpress is a website for vendors in China and has a reputation for selling affordable hair. The price may be good, but do you know what you’re really paying for?


Balls of hair

The hair industry in China is mostly unregulated, meaning they are free to grade, label and sell the hair however they see fit. There are no set of rules to abide by when it comes to how they collect and package hair to be used in your next sewin or lace wig. Often times the hair used is shipped to China from India in balls. India collects this dead hair or fallen hair from combs, salon floors, as one lady put it in the documentary “Just Extensions” no strand goes to waste”. Every hair in India is collected and sold to hair distributors in India for them to resell to Chinese manufactures. Every Chinese vendor may not be using ball hair. A lot of vendors add discarded Chinese hair, animal hair, and/or synthetic fibers.


Although most company’s in China will claim to sell virgin Remy hair that is often not the case. Remy hair is gathered from one head, this ensures all the cuticles are aligned and in the same direction to prevent tangling. Non Remy hair is gathered from multiple heads. This dead hair or fallen hair from India is the same hair China vendors bundle and sell as unprocessed “Virgin Remy Hair”. In order to get this blended bundle to look and feel uniform it has to undergo some kind of chemical process. The hair is dipped in acid and then coated in silicone. This ensures the hair looks nice and is soft to touch at least until its washed or styled with heat. This outer layer of hair, or cuticle, is needed to protect the hair and keep it from drying out. This doesn’t mean all hair brought from China is bad hair, but very rarely is it Raw unprocessed hair. When the products and labels are unregulated that leaves free range to sellers and manufactures. By now most people are aware that Brazilian, Peruvian, and Mongolian hair extensions don’t really exist. Just different variations of texture and curls being manufactured by China hair vendors.


As stated before China is able to reproduce products at a larger rate than other countries. In Just Extensions the documentary subtly touches on this topic when

Riqua Hailes asked the manufacture in China how many bundles each worker has to produceā€¦ 50 Kilos a day. This pales in comparison to the manufacture in India which only requires each worker to create 5 a day. Being that I haven’t been to a manufacture in China or India I can only guess the wefting process and or quality control has to be much different in order to process such large volumes. The wefting process is important because it ensures no excess shedding will occur. You want to be sure the manufacture handles your bundles with care.

I have had my fair share of good and bad bundles from both China based and India based vendors. A sufficient amount of customer reviews are not always available especially when buying wholesale. All hair from China is not bad. Depending on the style and your expectations investing in premium quality hair may not make sense. But being aware of what your purchasing is a part of being a savvy consumer. I tend to give my hair a beating. I probably wash, flat iron and color my hair and wigs more than most but I also want it to last. So I don’t mind investing in my hair. I rather create a look on a wig once and have it last without having to worry about it tangling or shedding.

What do you look for when buying hair extensions? Are you willing to pay a little more for quality bundles?

Just Extensions. Dir. Riqua Hailes. Distribber, 2015. Film.

Leave a comment