Hair Extensions: Business, History, Types & Terms


Hair Extensions: Business, History, Types & Terms

Given the exquisite variety of textures, applications, grades, styles, and types, you might wonder in awe thinking how massive and large-scale the hair extensions industry has today become ever since its largely-fascinated inception and slow start.

Today, almost everyone loves wearing a weave. In this post, let’s have a look at some of the highlights, milestones, and characteristics of this quintessential and exp0onentially growing global hair extensions industry.

Origin and the history

The inception of hair extensions traces back to the era of the Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra. She was the most beautiful and desired woman on earth! The wigs may perhaps not have been the mere reason, but it’s certain that they would’ve helped. It is a historical datum that the first indication of weaves was reported in 3400 BC and was flaunted by the Egyptians, who wore almost anything.

• Around 500 BC

Wigs used to be a fascinating way to transform the looks for different occasions and women in this era made the most of it. Grey hairs were looked down upon by most Egyptians, and therefore wigs were on trend to hide grey hairs.

After the Roman Empire fell in around 500 C.E., wigs largely went on to lose their popularity among the people in the western world for close to 1000 years. Although, the popularity and craze were alive and kicking in the Eastern cultures.

• During 775 to 700 BC

Korea, Japan, and China (until the wigs were banned in the 1800s) all were experiencing a massive popularity and usage of wigs and various hair adornments.

During the 16th century, a resurgence was experienced in the Western Culture for wigs, with the use being based on the same reason that Egyptian used them for beauty, practicality, and hygiene.

Queen Elizabeth can be greatly credited with the rekindling the fame of wigs during the mid-1500s. She used to wear a tightly and closely curled bright red wig in line with “the Roman style.

• The 700s era

During the 1700s, King Louis the XIII, as well as his son both, used to wear periwigs, also known as peruses. These wigs are a chiefly elaborated, powdered type of wings commonly preferred and used by both men and women.

Perukes in that time often used to designate rank, status and wealth. Louis senior too wore wigs to hide the verity that he was getting bald with the passage of time; while his son wore wigs as a fashion and status statement.

• The 1800s, the Romantic Era

During the 1800s, we witnessed a great hike in faux hairs. Apollo knots wherein super tight curls are appended close to the men’s scalp gave men a tussled and decent look. Women, on the other hand, were greatly fascinated by the idea of dressing up with creatively coiffed curls.

• The 1900s

The 1900s were marked with a specialized weave trend termed as the “switch.” This hair extension Switch was basically a noteworthy breakthrough since these hair extensions came along with a clip so that they can be easily added or removed at the sole discretion of the wearer.

Stylists used hair “switch” extensions created from human hair and it would cost about $1.00 for a handful.

During the 1940s, the rage shifted to long hairs, and the trend drove the demand for wigs extension that had long hairs.

In 1960, we started witnessing the craze for big hair, such as Boufondos, Bubbles, the French twist, as well as the ever-so-popular Beehive. These styles made hair extensions and wigs a popular and chic accessory well across the 1970s.

• The 2,000s – until today

We are now firmly into the age of “hair extensions”.

The choices are now limitless – Korean, Brazilian, horsehair, human, synthetic, etc. We can easily choose from almost every conceivable color, a wide range of textures, and an array of methods to apply for these extensions.

Types of hair extensions

There are five most widely popular methods of hair extensions’ application. Each of these methods has their own pros and cons, subsequently. If you are mulling over improving your looks and appearance by using hair extensions, the information provided in this article must surely come handy for you. The most common types of hair extensions are:

• Sew-in Extensions

• Micro-Links

• Hot Fusion

• Tape-In Extensions

• Clip-in Extensions

The business of hair extensions:

Almost 68% of women in the US today use wigs and hair extensions. More than 80% of the users, however, prefer not to disclose it to anyone!

The use of wigs is predominant amongst African Americans where more than 65% of women tend to take up the slack. The hair extensions business is believed to rack up a massive 9bn dollars annually across the US.

Major industries

• Before 1989

While the business of human hairs existed for over 150 years, its outright popularity among the royals and aristocracieswaned out in the fall of 1700s.

Speaking in an exactly modern sense and implication, the hair extension industry was a blockbuster hit during 1960 and 1989.

• Hair extensions during the 80s

During the late 1980s, and early part of 1990s, the sourcing and trading for Remy’s hair started shifting from the market in Europe to South Korea that started outsourcing hair some 3 decades back.

Until the middle part of the 1990s, all hairs were treated almost the same. No major emphasis was laid on the value of Remy or virgin hair. All hairs were lumped together, dyed and processed maintaining color uniformity.

The hairs were then bundled up and delivered for mass production of extensions, braids, wigs, and pieces.

• Shift in momentum

At the last of the 90s, we started experiencing a considerable shift in the entire hair extensions industry with numerous enterprising people who realized the superlative quality and worth of Remy virgin hair.

The profits from retail sales of Remy wigs and extensions sold in markets across the US enjoyed a ballistic growth at the same time. This business in the US went up from about 2000 suppliers during the final phase of the 80s to about 5000 by the middle of 2000.

• The boom during 2001 and 2011

The pressure and rising demands affordable as well as available hair extensions and wigs surged drastically when numerous celebrities started coming up to reveal their love for these products.

Just about everything from micro bead extensions to clip-ins became more and more popular. Customers started discriminating on understanding and identifying the difference in various types of available hair, and it was time virgin hair became the hot favorite.

• The e-commerce invasion

It was 2005 and the welcoming of the e-commerce industry, scaled up the popularity as well as competition in the hair extensions market, taking things online and right to the doorsteps of the customers.

Remy hair extensions were now being offered via the internet. Seamless connectivity gave the biggest boost to hair extensions business as it made it feasible now for almost anyone to buy the one they love right from the comforts of their home.

The influx of hair suppliers witnessed a massive industry growth of around 4.9 percent between the year 2005 and 2010.

Major terms used in the hair extensions industry

Every industry has its own set of terminologies. For anyone interested in the hair extensions industry it is important to know the following main terms used in the industry.

• Base

A hairpiece base is a foundation on which synthetic fiber or human hair is attached ahead of supplying it.

• Baby Hairs

These are the tiny hairs that are added by gluing or weaving to the edges and top front alongside the hairline of much of full lace wigs, lace frontals, and closures.

• Bond

The term is used for the adhesives (be it any) like keratin which are used for bonding the hair extension pieces to the shaft of the hair.

• Blended Hair

The blending of hairs can be done wherein some cheaper hairs (such as animal hairs, etc.) can be mixed with synthetic of human hair to make the extension cost effective.

• Braid extensions

These are very thin pieces of synthetic, animal or natural hairs that are basically braided to very small braids, and can further be braided into natural hair an individual for creating custom looks or specific hair designs.

• Brazilian hair

These types of hairs are very top-rated and preferred amongst most users, especially women, as they are luscious, soft, easy to style and 100% human.

• Bulk hair

Bulk hair refers to a bunch of unbound hairs that are sold “packed loose.” They are mostly human hair by can also be synthetic or animal. Bulk hairs are more sold for stylistic application such as comfort and custom designing “strand by strand”.


Closure refers to a tiny piece of lace that is covered with 100% human hair. The closure is the generally the piece utilized for masking the gap left by the wefts of hair, or it can even be used for covering the skull’s crown area.

Colored Indian Remi

It refers to Indian Remi Virgin hairs that are dyed somewhat in a different manner as compared to their natural color (thence making them no longer considered as the virgin hair).

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