Weaves and hair extensions are two of the most versatile ways for African-American women to change up the look of their natural hair. But what is virgin hair, non-virgin hair and synthetic hair, and which option is best for you?
Virgin hair is natural and unprocessed. That means that it has no color dyes and no relaxers or other chemicals. In addition, the upper and lower ends are kept in their natural state. You’ll find no damage to the structure of the hair or the cuticle.
Virgin hair is far more expensive than synthetic hair. One 3.5 to 4 oz. package can run as high as $100, for example, and you’ll typically need two to three packages for a full weave. This hair is found in the natural colors of its donors, such as brown or black. However, it can be colored, and when it is washed and dried it will return to its natural shape without damage. Virgin remy hair is hair where the cuticles face in the same direction. You can tell that hair is virgin because it will move naturally and will not be stiff. With proper care, this type of hair can last up to a year or more.
Non-virgin remy hair has cuticles that face in the same direction, but it has been colored or otherwise chemically processed and is no longer virgin. Brazilian hair and Peruvian hair are two popular options for virgin and non-virgin remy hair.
When purchasing virgin or non-virgin remy hair, it’s important to pay attention to the retailer. Whether you buy your hair form a brick and mortar store or shop online, the reputation of the beauty supply distributor is important. Both virgin and non-virgin remy hair is not mixed with synthetic hair.
Synthetic hair is artificial hair. It is a far cheaper option. A 3.5 to 4 oz. package can run as cheap as $10. When you purchase the hair, it looks shiny. However, the shine is created with a silicone that wears off after washing. Even though the hair can be washed, shampooing synthetic hair is not ideal because the texture becomes dry and brittle. It is also not a hair type that is heat friendly. Furthermore, eventually the hair tangles and mats easily because it does not have cuticles that face in the same direction. Consequently, synthetic hair, unlike virgin and non-virgin remy hair, only lasts a few months.