Chances are, as you’re perusing the internet and reading about hair replacement systems, you’ve come across the term “Remy” or “Remi” hair. Many women and men think it is best type of human hair for hair replacement systems and extensions.
What is Remy Hair?
The most common descriptions say Remy hair is human hair that has been harvested from the donor while keeping the hair directionally in tact (this is referred to as “root-to-tip” configuration), and retaining the original cuticle of the hair. But, this isn’t the case. “Root-to-tip” is the term used to describe hair that’s cut from the donor’s head in its natural position and kept that way. The part of the hair that’s closest to the scalp is called the “root” end and the part we typically refer to as the “end” (as in “split end”) is called the “tip”.
For example, if a woman with really long locks is donating it for use in a hair replacement system, the barber might put her long hair in 2 pigtails and cut it where the hair tie is, close to the scalp. That’s the root end. That particular bundle of hair is then kept in tact, from root-to-tip, throughout the entire process of creating a hair system, from coloring through ventilating (tying the donor hair into the base of a hair replacement system).
You may have seen close-up pictures of a human hair strand and it looks like it is covered with scales, bark or shingles. Those scales are the outermost layer of the hair follicle, known as the cuticle. Basically, if those cuticles travel the same direction, they tend to flow well and not tangle. But when the cuticles face opposing directions, the friction causes the hair to matte and tangle, creating knots and ultimately breakage.
So, the advantage of ventilating hair in the root-to-tip configuration is that the cuticles are all flowing in the same direction which can greatly reduce tangling, frizzing and clumping.
The other typically advertised benefit of Remy is that the cuticle remains fully in tact. The idea behind keeping the cuticle fully in tact is that the hair is naturally stronger, healthier and shinier, and, it is supposed to be easier to style. But nevertheless, this isn’t always the case.
Another common type of hair used in hair systems is called “processed” hair. Standard processed hair is ventilated with hair shafts facing opposite or random directions (because this is easier and less expensive to procure) and has had the cuticle removed to reduce the tangling normally caused by the friction of cuticles running in opposite directions. This is usually acceptable for a system that is less than 8 inches long, but for longer lengths, even this processed hair can still have a propensity to tangle.
From the sounds of it so far, Remy seems pretty similar to “virgin” hair. That is because Remy is usually described erroneously. Virgin hair has been harvested in the root-to-tip configuration, cuticle left in tact and not processed in any way. That means no curl, wave or color has been added or changed. Basically, it goes from the donor’s head to your head with no manipulation other than cleaning and ventilating. Virgin hair is highly sought after, harder to come by than Indian or Chinese hair and therefore incredibly expensive. As a matter of fact, blonde virgin hair is so hard to come by that long lengths are extremely hard to get. Naturally blonde hair is pretty rare and therefore very expensive, selling for hundreds (or thousands) of dollars per ounce to celebrities and socialites. If you are getting virgin hair at bargain prices, it is most likely not really virgin hair.
We should go on with this short article. The bulk hair used in hair systems is mostly harvested from China and India, unless you are specifically ordering European, Malaysian, Russian or other more pricey hair. Chinese and Indian cultures typically have naturally dark brown or black hair. In order to get your system to match the base and highlight colors you ordered, the hair needs to be stripped of its original color and dyed to match your specification–usually even if you are ordering black or dark brown hair. In the process of stripping the color, the cuticle is partially or fully removed.
You may be wondering, “If the cuticle is removed in the color stripping process, how is this hair still considered to be Remy?” Well, the term “Remy” is typically misused throughout the hair replacement industry because many companies advertise Remy hair as I stated above–hair that’s harvested and ventilated root-to-tip with the cuticle left fully in tact–when in reality, Remy hair, by the process required to achieve color, curl and wave, must have the cuticle partially or fully removed. You simply can’t make black or dark brown hair to be lighter brown, red or blonde without stripping the color. Stripping the color strips the cuticle, at least somewhat. If you’re wearing red hair that’s Chinese, it can be ventilated root-to-tip, but the cuticle is likely gone. This is in fact exactly what Remy hair is.
Please make sure to understand this particular blog post very cautiously, the matter and the alternatives have a lot of different versions. So, “Remy” just means that the hair is harvested and ventilated root-to-tip, but it is still processed and the cuticle is partially or fully removed. When you’re purchasing a hair replacement system, be sure to clarify with the vendor exactly what type of hair they’ll be using in your system so that you can be sure you’re not paying for something you’re not getting.