At first sight the answer seems very obvious – they are cheaper. And of course that is true. But in fact Eastern European hair is not that much more expensive – the amount necessary to make a good wig is about 30-50 USD in Poland or Czech Republic. That is not a fortune if you are going to spend a few hundred dollars on a wig. So what is the catch?
The problem is on the supply side. There are over 2 billion people in Asia and only 200 million in Eastern Europe. Most of people in Eastern Europe have no need to sell their hair for economic reasons. Moreover, I don’t have to emphasize how rare it is in rich Western European countries to sell one’s hair. That is what makes European hair rare and explains why local wig-makers purchase only the amount necessary for their own production. Outside of Eastern Europe, due to its rarity, the price of the best European hair (so called “raw virgin hair”) is skyrocketing.
Hence 99% of human hair wigs are made of Asian hair. This hair is marked by such trade names as “human hair” or “remy hair”. If the producer or a sales person does not state directly that the hair is exclusively European, you can be 100% sure that you are dealing with Asian hair.
Asian hair is by nature very dark (black), very straight and thicker than European hair. Subject to a complicated process of a pigmentation removal, the hair looses its natural shine and resilience. Before it finally gets to you it will be dyed several times using synthetic chemical products, which no one would use to dye their own hair. Such a hair has a tendency to show a ting of a dark or red color. This is why it has to be dyed several times and go through a bleaching process. That way any color can be obtained, but hair structure gets damaged during the process. It is not pleasant to the touch anymore and even after as little as twenty weeks it will loose its shine and become dull.
Another issue concerns the manner in which the hair is obtained. It is not planned from the start with the thought of creating wigs. Hair is cut in random hair salons. Part of the hair also comes from ritual ceremonies of cutting of the hair as a sign of entering into adulthood. Such hair in the fervor of the ceremony falls to the floor and is gathered from there and placed in a great pile. In the process the hair is turned against and opposite to each of its strands and not layered in the same direction. Although it may not seem so at first, this does change the fundamental significance in the quality of your wig.
Every strand of hair has a coarse cuticle, which clings to the cuticle of the neighboring hair if they are layered in the opposite direction. In effect hair is twisting and intertwining into a hair clump so difficult to comb out. The only method for solving this problem is to completely remove the natural cuticle, which is then replaced with a silicon one that gives the hair its shine. It is a brutal and destructive process – such a wig will maintain its sheen no longer than for a period of 4 to 12 weeks. After that time hair becomes dull and unattractive.
The best Asian hair comes from India and Pakistan. In reality, it is not much better than hair described above. The advantage is that this hair is less stiff and may have a natural tendency to from slight waves. For that reason, many producers claim that it has the same qualities as European hair, which is not true.
If only there were more Eastern Europeans, life of wig-makers and their clients would be simpler, heh?