Indian, European and Russian Hair Extensions – What’s The Difference?

  |   Hair Extensions   |   No comment

What You Need To Know About Indian, European And Russian Hair Extensions.


What makes Indian, European and Russian hair extensions different from each other? And why does it matter? Well, it could be the difference between the swishy, glorious hair of your dreams and the tangled matted mess of nightmares. But before we get into hair origins, let me give you a little background info…




You’ll see the word remy pop up a lot when looking at hair extensions. It’s nothing to do with where the hair comes from, it just means all the hairs are running in the same direction – from root to tip. So, is it good hair? Yes, and no. Let me explain. If you see hair described as double drawn, remy, Virgin, Russian hair, you know exactly what you’re getting (in theory). But, by only describing hair as ‘remy’, the seller is being deliberately vague – they don’t want you to know what this hair is. Why is that? Either you wouldn’t buy it if you knew, or they couldn’t charge as much. Don’t get me wrong, you want remy hair but look at it like this – all good hair is remy but not all remy hair is good.


Want to know more about ‘Remy Hair’? I’ve added a link to another blog at the bottom of this page.


Raw, single and double drawn hair.


Raw hair is the most basic – cut from a donor, not washed, or sorted in any way.


Single drawn hair is washed and has the shortest hairs removed, or ‘drawn’ from the ponytail – it makes it easier to work with.


Double drawn? A labour-intensive process where all the washed hair is drawn by the tips and trimmed to remove split or dead ends. This improves the condition and appearance of the hair, it’s shinier and stronger. The hair is drawn for a second time to sort it into 2″ lengths. Bundles of 18” will only contain 16”-18” hair, 16″ will only contain 16″-14″ nothing shorter. What does this do? All this work makes double drawn hair fuller, stronger and more luxurious. It’ll last longer than single drawn hair and look better too.


Whether you’re looking for Indian. European or Russian hair extensions, make sure they’re remy and double drawn too


Want to learn more? There are links to a video of a ponytail being double drawn hair and a blog at the bottom of this page.  


Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into it.


Asian (Chinese) Hair Extensions


Asian hair isn’t a good fit for the UK market. It’s very coarse, poker straight and only available in shades of black. To make it more like our hair, it’s aggressively processed. It has the cuticle stripped in an acid bath. There’s no ‘low and slow’ when it’s bleached, more like ‘high and dry’! And, it’s baked in ovens to make it straight, wavy or curly.


Asian hair can be split into 3 types.

Non-Remy Hair


Made from ‘standard’ or ‘fallen’ hair, which sounds harmless enough until you find out it’s shed hair collected from brushes, plug holes and drains! The cheapest, worst quality hair available. Non-remy, cuticle stripped in an acid bath and smothered in silicone. It’s unnaturally shiny and has a strong chemical smell. After just one wash it will start tangling. A few washes? Get in the bin.


Remy Hair


All the hair runs in the same direction, but it still has most of the cuticle removed in an acid bath. Why is that? To make it finer, like Caucasian hair. It’s treated with silicone to make it soft and shiny but this only last for a few washes. If it’s been manufactured properly, it won’t tangle but it will dry out, look dull and be prone to split ends. So, don’t expect it to look ‘reasonable’ for any longer than 6 months. Because it isn’t European hair, and because of the aggressive processing, it won’t move naturally or look authentic. If your priority is just to have long hair and you’re on a tight budget, this is a decent choice if you get it at a good price. This hair is often called ‘Euro grade’ or ‘European type’.


Cuticle Intact Hair


In the last few years, the market has been flooded with cheap Russian hair. The problem is, it’s not Russian, it’s Asian. Until recently, the only hair that had the cuticle intact was Russian hair. The Chinese factories caught on that if they left most of the cuticle on the hair, and processed it more

bundles of loose black and grey Chinese hair lying on the ground of a street drying in the sun
The streets a Chinese village are covered in hair, left out to dry in the sun. Some of the hair is definitely human, but a number of shaven goats wandering the streets suggests it might not all be.

gently, it could pass as Russian. Why would they do this? It all comes down to money. They’re getting a great price for inferior hair, as are the salons and shops that sell it on to inexperienced and unsuspecting customers.


Despite China being the biggest importer and exporter of human hair, you won’t find hair labelled as Chinese. Why not? Because it has an awful reputation for being horrible quality. The manufacturers get round this by lying about the origin, labelling it as coming from different countries. Or, they’ll be vague and just label it as ‘remy’.


Peruvian Hair Extensions


This hair isn’t from Peru, it’s Asian hair. Renaming Asian hair is common. Chinese hair factories do this to get more sales. Chinese or Asian hair has a terrible reputation, by branding it as being from a different country, they can sell it to dishonest, unsuspecting or inexperienced shops, salons and consumers. Peru has a tiny population of just 31 million. Do a quick Google search for Peruvian hair and result after result will come up. Do you really think all that hair comes from Peru? It doesn’t.


Brazilian/Malaysian/Etc, Hair Extensions


Same as Peruvian hair. It’s just a way of peddling poor-quality hair under a different name. 10 years ago, Chinese hair was simply labelled as ‘Remy’. By giving their hair new names – Malaysian, Brazilian, Peruvian, etc, the Chinese factories create new markets for poor products.


Indian Hair Extensions


Indian hair is Caucasian, so it is usually finer than Asian hair. Because of this, it doesn’t need to be processed as aggressively as Asian hair. It is naturally available straight/wavy/curly, in shades of black and dark brown. Because of the tonsuring practice which takes place in Hindu temples, there is a huge quantity of Indian hair available. If you can get your hands on genuine Indian hair, it’s generally good quality. Problem is, most Indian hair is exported to China, where it is mixed with cheaper Asian hair, and damaged by aggressive processing.


European Hair Extensions


Don’t confuse this hair with ‘Euro grade’ or ‘European type’. Virgin European hair is beautiful – if you can find it. It has many of the same characteristics as virgin Russian hair but is slightly finer. Why is it so difficult to find? Because Spanish/French/British/Italian/etc women aren’t queuing up to sell their hair. I visited the biggest hair warehouse in Spain, only to find that even their stock was incredibly small. Most of the European hair they stocked was only available in short lengths.  It was probably collected from hair salons and used to make wigs and toupees.

Russian Hair Extensions


South Russian Hair


South Russian hair is slightly thicker than Slavic Russian hair, but it still has lots of body and movement. It can be bought coloured or virgin and is a premium quality product. South Russian virgin hair will last for around 2 years but it isn’t available in many colours. This hair is a great alternative to Virgin Russian hair if you’re on a budget. It has all the cuticle intact, isn’t ‘permed’ and is handled with care. It’s coloured using the gentlest methods. Because of this, even light blonde shades can last for more than a year.


Virgin Russian Hair


brown and blonde virgin russian hair ponytails which are used for russian hair extensions lay down and lined up in a row
Virgin Russian hair comes from a single donor. It isn't chemically processed, it's soft, strong and the best hair in the world. The downside? It's expensive.

Genetics, lifestyle and diet make this the best hair in the world, it’s the diamond standard of hair. Collected from the Western regions of Europe (Russia, Ukraine and Belarus), this hair is perfect for the UK hair extensions market-it has the same characteristics as our hair but tends to be stronger. It’s available in colours from light blonde to dark brown. And, although it is usually straight, wavy and curly textures aren’t uncommon. After all, virgin Russian hair is a natural product, so each ponytail is unique. Being such a good match, it doesn’t need any processing. This means it is full cuticle, strong and healthy. There is a downside though – price. It is not cheap. Because of the high demand and low supply, you will pay far more for this type of hair. But, if budget isn’t your priority, you won’t find better.


We love to hear from you! We hope you enjoyed our Indian, European and Russian Hair Extensions blog. If there are any other hair extensions topics you’d like us to cover, or if you have any other comments, please leave them below.

Heard remy hair is ‘the best’? Find out why this is only half the story and why you might be paying too much for cheap hair…

If you’d like to see a short video of a ponytail being double drawn at our Manchester salon, click HERE.

No Comments

Post A Comment