Thursday, June 17, 2010

All About Hair Types

Posted by Ask Chavi at 10:50 AM
As you may already know, many wig companies make a large variety of wig types ranging in quality and price.  The one factor that seems to set the price of the wig above all other features is the hair type.  You have probably heard the following terms:

European Hair, Virgin European hair, Human Hair, Kosher Human hair, synthetic, synthetic/human hair blends, South American hair

European Human Hair - Hair that originated from people of European origin (Caucasian).  European Human Hair is the most rare and expensive to maintain.  However, just because a company claims the wigs are European Human Hair does not mean that the hair is not dyed or processed.  It is important to ask this question when purchasing a sheitel.  Dyed wigs will oxidize faster, Also if the hair is processed to be straight or wavy it could feel brittle or damaged.  Also, its possible that the hair was processed on the head of the original person before it was cut and sold to be a wig.

Virgin European Hair - same as above except hair is completely unprocessed.  That doesn't mean the wig will look better.  In fact, some sheitel manufacturers purposely process the hair to give it the smooth sleek look that so many consumers desire.  (Think how your own hair looks without being blow-dried and without styling products)

Human Hair - If a wig is being sold with the title of "human hair" the hair is definitely Human, but the origin is most likely Asian.  Indian hair was more like European Hair, but ever since the Indian Hair fiasco no Jewish wig companies will sell it (albeit some rabbis actually hold that Indian hair sheitels aren't a problem, consult your LOR)

Kosher Human Hair - Probably mostly or 100% Asian Hair.  The structure is thicker and coarser than European Hair, and much more affordable.  Human Hair is heavily processed in order to get all the shades of light brown, blond, red, auburn etc.  Curly Human Hair wigs are probably permed.  Kosher Human Hair is Kosher certified.

Synthetic Fibers - Wigs made out of synthetic fibers are the most affordable.  They come pre-cut which saves a lot of money.  Also they can be washed at home easily by just soaking in soapy water, rinsing and air drying.  Synthetics regain their shape by simply shaking and brushing them out.  Synthetic hair cannot be styled with heated hair tools (the hair will melt).  They typically have a much shorter life than a human hair wig, but they definitely require less maintenance. Synthetic hair often has a glossy reflective quality to it that makes the wig look fake or.. like a wig.

South American Hair - South American Hair is similar to European Hair, since many of the people there originated from Europe.  It is cheaper to obtain than European hair and a lot of companies are starting to offer South American wigs at a cheaper price but almost identical in quality to European hair wigs. SA hair may be processed to be smoother because its texture may be coarser than European Hair.

Eurohair/Y2K/European Texture Hair - A quality of wig hair between European and Human hair made with processed Human Hair and European hair blends.  These wigs are much cheaper than European Hair Wigs, and depending on ones needs and hair color may be satisfactory.


Caveat for blonds: As a blond I have had an extremely tough time being happy with a sheitel.  Finding a wig made of non-processed blond hair is extremely difficult and expensive.  Additionally, a person with dark brown hair might be perfectly satisfied with a sheitel made of Asian hair because the hair wasn't dyed, however a sheitel of the same price in blond is surely heavily processed to become blond and will most likely get damaged quicker..

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very informative post!

Do you have any advice on how a novice can determine a sheitel's hair quality prior to purchase?

-- F

Chavi on June 18, 2010 at 11:07 AM said...

I would take a 1 inch circumference of hair between my index finger and thumb and hold it out 180 degrees. Then open the fingers very gently to let gravity pull stands of hair down. If the hair mostly falls individually then it is good hair. If the hair comes down in clumps, then the sheitel likely was blowdried and perhaps covered in product to make it straight or shiny.

I would also turn the sheitel upside-down and see what happens to the hair under the neck. Does the hair start to tangle?

Also, "tease" a strand of the hair to see what happens when you push the cuticle upward. Does it immediately become frizzy?

Anonymous said...

Can you recommend some brands for blondes? thank you!
Ruchel

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