Considerations in Choosing Your Hair Extension Brand | SEJ Guest: Janie Tongue

The most important advantage of using hair extensions is the confidence it can bring to the person wearing them. Hair plays a key part in many people’s self-esteem, giving them the confidence, they need to take on the day ahead. When your confidence is boosted and you’re feeling great – it shows! Extensions are that magical.

So, how do you choose the right brand for your clients?

The first important detail you need to be aware of about the hair extension industry is that this industry is NOT regulated. That means manufacturers can state whatever they wish on the packaging, and it is not verified. For instance, should the hair state 100% Human Hair on the packaging, there may only be a couple of human hairs and the rest synthetic, so you must do your research prior to committing to a specific brand. Other keywords used are Remy (meaning cuticle intact and all running in the same direction),Virgin Hair (never been chemically treated) and Naturally Curly (not permed). Your research is paramount, so here are some tips to help you decide.


      1. Research where the hair is sourced from and how it is sourced. If the hair is said to be ‘Remy’, then the manufacturer must source the hair in ponytails. This will ensure all the cuticles are in-tact and running in the same direction. Make sure the hair wasn’t just cut off, fallen to the ground, scooped up and sold by weight.
      2. Almost all hair harvested, especially from India and China is a Level 1 when sourced. Check out the manufacturer’s procedures on how they colour the hair. ie. Do they lift slowly or quickly? Do they use any treatments to protect the cuticle ensuring long lasting extensions? Remember, going from Level 1 to #60 should be a long process in order to keep the integrity of the hair and make them last longer.
      3. Check the weight of the hair extensions. If using tape-in, is it 1.5g or perhaps 2g per tab? If hand-tied, what is the weight per weft? This could affect the amount required and pricing.
      4. Check the bottom of the hair extension. Some Manufacturer’s label their hair 14-16” for example – this simply means there are 14” & 16” hairs and everything in between on that bond/tape. This is important when it comes to blending. Are you going to be cutting the whispery ends off, leaving the client with actual 14” hair, rather than the perceived 16”? *Hint. If you hold the extension horizontal and at each end, give it a shake and see if any hairs fall – that would indicate different lengths.
      5. Virgin hair. Check if there is a coating on the hair extension, if so, if you intend to colour the hair yourself, this may prove difficult. Always check with the manufacturer before colouring hair extensions.
      6. If using tape-ins, check reviews on removal. Some brands leave a lot of residue in the hair and take hours to remove. Others claim to be little to no residue. Time is money and this can be a very important factor.
      7. Indian hair is the most sought after because the hair is naturally silkier and most rural women who donate/sell their hair have never used artificial dyes or colours. Some even haven’t had it cut before, which is where we can see 24” hair and beyond. China is the next popular. As there is an abundance of hair in India and China, this is reflected in the price. Russian or European hair that is sourced can be more expensive as it is rarer.

Janie Tongue is An internationally published hairstylist, Janie specialises in Hair Extensions. She is also the Director of Global Publications with Pheonix Salon Suites as well as Editor An internationally published hairstylist, Janie specialises in Hair Extensions. She is also the Director of Global Publications with Pheonix Salon Suites as well as Editor