China is a hub for many products used across the world, and wigs are certainly one of them. In fact, consumers can find the best wigs available used by some of the bigger Hollywood stars and former First Lady Michelle Obama with the majority of these wigs sourced directly from China.
It is a fact – very rarely is there any of the best wigs in the world coming from the U.S. or Europe. There are understandable reasons why.
The best natural hair wigs are a highly labor-intensive product. A high quality wig will take a skilled technician anywhere between three to five days of time to complete. The amount of labor required for the best wigs means many of the developed countries in the world will not manufacture quality wigs.
China, however, continues to produce natural hair wigs. The best wigs available across the globe come from China, but the worst wigs across the globe also come from China. This makes starting a business selling natural looking, high quality wigs very difficult. After all, you want to know the difference between the best wigs available versus wigs of lesser quality. Sourcing Nova has compiled the research for you, and this article will show the entrepreneur how to determine the best wigs for your new business and your customer base.
Sourcing Nova will start with a bit of background into the wig manufacturing industry. The purpose of this article is the best wigs you can source from China. Information for the consumer: face shape, style, cap size and structure are secondary to the importance of selecting natural hair wigs for your customers.
Characteristics of the best wigs
The best wigs available for your customers do have certain elements you should look for before sourcing them from China. We have taken the time to review these elements. They are as follows:
1. The wig must be natural looking
– The wearer’s natural skin on the scalp should show to a degree. No one wearing a wig wishes a friend, co-worker or stranger to know they are wearing a wig. Better made wigs will cover the head adequately and not give the impression of anything but natural hair.
2. The cap should be clear
– The cap is the part of the wig assembly hair is placed into. The best wigs use Swiss lace. It is a highly transparent lace difficult for people to recognize as a wig base and not the scalp.
3. The burn
– The Internet has plenty of sites on how to determine the hair in the wig is the best on the market. Remove a hair, and burn it. The burning hair should sent white smoke, have a protein smell and leave a powder residue afterwards.
This determines the wig is a protein base and not chemical fiber. Hair made of protein does not mean anything – the hair could be human or animal. Japan created some synthetic materials with a protein base. Burning hair to determine quality is a poor and outdated method.
4. The look
– Synthetic hair has a certain brightness that is artificial. The best human hair wigs have a matte look. There are some wig manufacturers who will use white hair, hair with split ends and hair that will fall out during the manufacturing process.
Using this as a determining characteristic is flawed as well. Synthetic hair can be matte and the high quality synthetic hair available is exceptionally close to human hair. Healthy hair used in high quality wigs should not have split ends. Some companies will dye and trim follicles and split ends to cover faults.
– The best wigs made with natural hair are smooth and not dry to the touch. Experience will teach the consumer what natural hair will feel like.
– High quality wigs breathe. This means the head will not feel trapped under the wig during wearing.
Myths about high quality hair and wigs
The Internet is a powerful tool when it comes to finding products, including high quality wigs. However, there are more than a few myths about the best, natural hair wigs on the market. Sourcing Nova is not going to discuss them all. Here are the main ones:
1. The best natural hair wigs come from a single donor
– Donor hair is cut from a pony tail. A single ponytail does not provide enough hair for a single natural hair wig. All wigs, including the high quality wigs, use hair from a set of donors.
2. Synthetic hair will not stand up to high temperatures
– Synthetic hair is often characterized as wire. There are two wire types: low-temperature and high-temperature. The high-temperature synthetic hair is good for styling. Low temperature wire cannot stand up to high temperatures. It is a lop-sided argument to assume synthetic hair cannot tolerate high temperatures.
3. The best wigs use European hair
– This is partially true. Eastern European hair, hair from Russia and the Ukraine are ideal for white skin. The drawback is the hair is soft and lacks durability and is only good for a short period of time before replacement is necessary. Additionally, there is not a stable market for hair from Eastern Europe as they do not have a tradition of growing and donating hair. This scarcity means the price will be extremely high.
Blond hair wigs available are often come from India and are bleached. A ‘Ukrainian’ wig is less of its origin and more of its marketing.
4. Indian hair is best for natural hair wigs
– It is customary for women in India to donate hair to temples. This makes India a leading source of high quality hair for the wig industry, but India is not the best source.
The best hair for wigs comes from Yunnan, China. Hair from Chinese women is black, straight and healthy – an excellent source for natural looking wigs. The economic boom in China has curtailed the hair industry, and there are not as many selling their hair. This means the best wigs use hair from India. It makes sense: the women there grow hair long, it is often virgin – not dyed into different colors – the perfect source for high quality wigs.
One specific myth on Chinese hair sources.
The Bama Yao Autonomous County in Guangxi have the best hair from China. This particular location’s residents are known for long life spans, and geriatricians from across the world study these people for better understanding of the aging process.
Bama is the only city in the county, but the village Huangluo Yaozhai deep in the woods, full of mountainous peaks, backwater, bamboo and a gorgeous natural view.
Huangluo Yaozhai is also famous for another reason – the Hongyao girl. The Hongyao girl is famous for their exceptionally long hair. It is a custom for these girls to wear their hair in a similar fashion – curled on the head.
The Hongyao girl takes their hair very seriously to the point their hair is an extension of their person and is not cut easily. The mountain lifestyle they enjoy provides these girls a personality that is friendly and vibrant. Their hair is a rich black, and the hair stays black even into their advanced ages.
This exceptional hair growth, grooming and styling is generational along with their “ancient Chinese secret” for care. It is a custom to wash rice in China before cooking, and this water, now somewhat fermented, is the basis for their hair. The water has grapefruit peel, tea oil residue and some herbs. The fremented water is boiled and used to wash hair after cooling.
The hair washing process starts with soaking the hair in this fermented mixture. The hair takes in the nutrients from the mixture, washed in spring water and allowed to dry naturally. The result is a hair that is black, soft, shiny, lacks split ends and is a common attraction for visitors to the village.
The Hongyao people take the girls’ hair very seriously, seeing the hair as human blood and a symbol of life. Hair is cut once in their lifetime – at the 18 year old ceremony. It is not until marriage that the hair is unfurled and only by the husband.
The idea of the Hongyao people using hair for wigs is clearly a myth and a marketing ploy.
5. Brazilian hair is a source for natural hair
– The people of Brazil do not have a custom of growing and donating hair. The Brazilian hair seen so frequently on the Internet does not refer to a natural hair wig but a hair style.
The wig industry finds hair in the southwestern provinces of China, India and other underdeveloped countries around Southeast Asia. It is common for women in these areas to sell hair, and the women take good care of their hair as a consequence. This means hair that is virgin and of high quality.
There is no market in South America for human hair. Those sites selling wigs promising Brazilian hair are dishonest and should be avoided.
How to be sure only high quality hair is in the wig
Virgin hair, as we have previously stated, is hair that is raw, undyed and unprocessed. Virgin hair is also very expensive, and some manufacturers will mix other hair into the wig to reduce the overall cost and quality of the wig. It is an important skill to identify virgin hair. Here is Sourcing Nova’s system:
1. The hair itself
– The hair color of virgin hair is even, flexible and at the end, thinner and lighter in color. There should be no evidence of manual cutting or hair follicles. Hair color should be darker at the follicle root and grow lighter, mildly, to the tips. Pay particular attention to the middle and short parts of the wig. The hair color should be the same. Some manufacturers will mix human and synthetic hair to pass the product as all natural human hair wigs.
2. Hair scales
– Hair scale is a pattern found on the individual hair and will resemble stacked cups. Hair scales should lie in the same direction as this will greatly reduce tangles in the hair. Touching the hair with the scales turned down in the same direction will be smooth and fluid. Touching the hair with the scales turned up will have slight resistance.
3. Bleach test
– Take a lock of hair and bleach with hydrogen peroxide. The color should be uniform. Any variations in the color after bleaching mean the hair is mixed. Synthetics, even those made from proteins, will not bleach. Note: Leave the bleaching to a stylist. Improper bleaching can ruin a wig.
The image below demonstrates the point. Sourcing Nova found a cheap and inferior human wig as an example. The dots are dyed hair follicles.
Why are there hair follicles on the wig?
Natural, high quality wigs will not have hair follicles. This means the hair is not virgin or remy, an artificial braid hair, but hair that was cut, swept up and bunched up in several different ways. Other times, hair that was brushed out or falling out naturally will be collected and sold – a commonality with the poor.
It is common for these shops to collect this hair, sell it to various buyers and have the hair land in a wig manufacturing plant where the hair is turned into a poor quality wig.
Factories using this hair will wash the hair in an acid bath to remove the hair scales. The hair is from a variety of people and colors, so the factory will dye the hair for a uniform color. The follicles in the picture above are black, and some factories will trim these follicles to make the counterfeit wigs look more natural. However, no amount of trimming will remove all of the residue. It is easy to note trimming marks – check the hair tips. The tips should be lighter than the root, and the root should be thicker than the tip.
Dyed hair wigs mean inferior quality wigs and are not worth the money. The hair is processed to form a specific color, and your customer will not be able to dye the hair to a color of their choice.
Why does the factory dye the wig?
The original hair is not naturally colored but a variety of colors including black, blond, white and grey. If the color is not uniform, the wig is worthless. This is trash and certainly not the same quality as the hair collected from sweeping it up. In fact, wigs that are dyed black are the worst quality wigs available. This is hair swept up from the floor and thrown into the trash.
How to determine if the hair is dyed.
1. The wig cannot be dyed a lighter color
– Hair that is dyed black at the factory is the worst kind of hair because no other color will take to the hair to change the color. Hair dyed brown at the factory can only be dyed a darker brown or black. Lighter shades of brown will either not hold onto the hair or create a giant mess.
2. Several washes
– Dye is not permanent. After washing the wig a few times, the color will fade. The hair will have variations in color and not attractive.
3. Soak the wig
– Soaking the wig in water will pull some of the dye from the hairs on the wig. This will stain the water slightly.
4. There is variation in color on the tips and roots
– Some methods are low quality. Under a light, the black will appear red. How does black turn red?
Why avoid manufacture dyed wigs?
Dyed hair is not hair at its natural state. This is also dishonest and cheating customers. Sourcing Nova recommends buying natural hair wigs and having a stylist dye them on your behalf.
Dyed hair is inferior and only junk hair is used for dyed hair. It is a strong recommendation from Sourcing Nova to avoid dyed hair wigs at all costs.
Lace wigs – The process and technology
Observe the following picture:
The scalp is natural and delicate. This is an excellent example of the best hand-crocheted lace wigs. Those wigs will look like this picture:
These wigs are not worn naturally on the customer’s head. It is obvious at first glance this is a wig.
What is the reason behind the differences between the two?
The hair is crocheted into the inner net of the lace cap.
A master of the best wig craftsmanship does a technique called “hole hook.” This means each mesh in the cap will have one or two hairs and no more. This is how a hair follicle grows hair naturally, and the result is a very lifelike appearance.
This also means the cost is very substantial. Craftsmen of this level are paid in the square centimeter at a rate of five to six yuan per square centimeter. There are a limited number of craftsmen capable of performing such delicate work with little production output. Additionally, it takes considerable resources to train people in this particular skill, resources many factories making high quality wigs cannot afford.
As a time saving measure, the lesser skilled craftsmen will reduce the density per square centimeter – hooking four to five hairs while leaving some mesh empty without hair. This makes the wig’s appearance more like a brush and less like a human scalp.
The majority of lace wigs commercially available are hand-woven, crocheted European and U.S. lace hair pieces. These wigs are assembled with robotic technology. This does not require substantial man power and training, does not yield high quality and creates natural looking wigs at an affordable price.
Materials for high quality, natural wigs
The best wigs on the market use braided hair as a raw material base for all wigs. The braided hair does not mean the hair is braided like a French braid or similar, rather harvested as a ponytail and tied tightly thereafter.
These braids are not cheap. Hair that is virgin, never dyed and of decent length commands a top price. The crocheting process is reversed – the head and tail is flipped. Hair scales are facing in the same direction as well when dealing with the natural hair for the best wigs.
The finest sources for braided hair include the Chinese villages like discussed above and the various temples around India. The pricing of braided hair wigs made with the full hand crocheted process is incredibly expensive and priced well out of the average person’s budget.
There is a solution to the excessive cost – the Shunfa hair. Shunfa hair, or remy hair as we mentioned previously, is an afforable option. The hair is rather unkempt when first picked up. Machinery then guides the braid to straighten both the head and tail before crocheting. The result is hair that is 60 percent of the cost of braided hair. This make a suitable replacement for a customer on a limited budget or a first time wig buyer.
Sourcing Nova has worked hard to provide you information on the best, natural hair wigs you can find for your new business. When you are ready to take the first step and start, be sure to contact us for your sourcing needs. Meanwhile, we want to know: What natural looking wigs would you order for your first customers? Let us know in the comment section below.