I am a girly girl. I love getting dressed up and doing my makeup. But above all, my signature is my hair. I absolutely adore getting my hair done. It’s almost as if I can reinvent myself every 2-3 months, and I love it. However, one thing I do not love is the hair industry. Whilst synthetic hair has its sustainability concerns too, I want to talk about the more popular human hair industry and how it proposes ethical concerns.
Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t do human hair.
I refuse to. Whilst it has pockets of ethical practice, a lot of the practices are somewhat dishonest or outright dangerous. The lack of transparency is a huger problem than we as consumers would like to believe. I recently watched a documentary on the human hair industry run by Refinery29 (they also have written an article about the experience and both materials can be accessed here: https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2018/06/201466/human-hair-extensions-ethical-sourcing ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlZ1SWLBfPE&feature=emb_title ) and was appalled by the practices they investigated. It began with them not being able to trace the hair back to its source and travelling through East Asia to understand the process of human hair production and sourcing.
Lower grade hair was sourced by taking animal hairs and buying client trimmings from hairdressers. So yes, it’s more sustainable than synthetic fibres, but it’s really gross and they claim that it is 100% virgin human hair. In short, they are dishonest about the sourcing of lower grade hair because they are aware of how gross it is.
But in higher grade hair, the practices only get worse and start to directly impact people. Those people are specifically the women of the global south. With temples selling hair sacrifices for profit, to women being held at gunpoint whilst thieves cut their long hair off, to women below the poverty line having to sell hair that took a lifetime to grow for hardly any money (which then sells on in the western world for up to $15,000), we can safely say that those women are being exploited to the highest decree. And any girl who’s into hair knows that the higher grade products last longer and are worth the money. But to me, it’s not worth it at all.
Yes, I may look bomb if I had a human hair unit, but what’s not bomb is having that hair at the expense of another woman’s trauma. If you can’t trace back to the source, just don’t do it. I don’t care how much more expensive ethically sourced human hair is, or how shiny and fake synthetic hair looks. Your look isn’t cute if it doesn’t look out for others.