Where do luminary hair extensions come from?

Inside India's remunerative tellurian hair industry

At a tiny church in Chennai, India, dozens of Hindu women lay on wooden chairs, watchful for their hair to be shaved.

It’s an act of finish friendship to their gods, and a initial step in an unusual tour that sees their long, dim thatch woven into a hair of women thousands of miles away.

Each year, a Sri Bhavani Amman Temple collects some-more than 3 tons of hair from a heads of pilgrims. At one time a hair was burned, though these days it’s put to a some-more useful use: It’s sole to estimate plants, that provide it afterwards trade it around a world.

The open tip to some celebrities’ full, sleek hair is that it’s not always their own. And a trend for celebrities to wear hair extensions has helped grow a tellurian marketplace for wigs and weaves.

Multimillion dollar trade

Extensions can be done from fake hair, though many salons use tellurian hair since it can be lightened and feverishness treated. Global exports of tellurian hair are dominated by China and Russia, though Indian hair has a repute for peculiarity and a exports are value $300 million a year.

Selling hair earns a Sri Bhavani Amman church $150,000 a year, and this is usually a fragment of a millions that incomparable temples earn. Devotees don’t accept any money; they are instead rewarded with food and eremite serenity.

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“The church can't have [the hair] fibbing around and we can’t usually chuck it out in a dustbin,” explained Anjan Lokamitra, a temple’s handling trustee. Instead, during a finish of a year a hair is sorted and auctioned to a top bidder.

“Companies come from opposite places and they bid for it, and those supports are used [for the] church in terms of several buildings that we are formulation in a subsequent dual years,” pronounced Lokamitra.

There are so many women who trim their heads during temples that hundreds of hair estimate factories have emerged in Chennai.

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Workers during Shanmuga Hair Products in Chennai

Among them is Shanmuga. Here, dozens of workers meticulously disentangle, categorize, delouse, wash, dry and tone a hair.

Around 1,000 kilograms of hair are processed by palm any month. Weaves are sole for $500 per kilo; extensions go for $900 per kilo. The factory’s annual turnover is tighten to $3 million.

“Indian hair is rather identical to European hair in texture,” pronounced Murali Krisna, CEO of Shanmuga. “It’s not as tough as a Chinese though not as soothing as European. So when we ready hair extensions, a final product accurately matches with European hair.”

india hair Murali Krisna
B.K. Murali Krisna, CEO of Shanmuga

Different countries preference opposite styles, pronounced Jyothi Krsna, Shanmuga’s handling executive of peculiarity control. “In France, people like true hair and they wish extensions mainly,” she said. “In other countries like South Africa and America, they like curly hair. Curly is for a African market, true is for European market. The American marketplace is worldly — they like all a textures.”

Blonde ambition

Shanmuga targets a offerings accordingly, exporting a third of a hair to Asia and a fifth to a United States. But a biggest marketplace is Europe, where it sells by sell partner Hair Luxury, formed in Paris.

“The biggest marketplace and a biggest patron in Europe is Italy,” explained Remi Chinta, CEO of Hair Luxury. “And now we are perplexing to enhance also in Norway, in Sweden, for all a blonde extensions since there is a large direct for blonde extensions there.” Shanmuga specializes in dyeing a hair blonde.

india hair blonde swatches
Swatches of hair, painted blonde

Hair Luxury can sell a hair for some-more than $2,000 a kilo. Its business are hairdressers, like Paris-based Ebtissen Tekouri. She buys a hair each 3 to 4 months both for her customers and her possess personal use. She pays $360 for a gold — around 150 grams.

“I adore regulating this hair on my conduct since of a length and a quality,” pronounced Tekouri.

Her salon is a prolonged approach from Chennai, and a women whose hair she wears on her head.

“When we buy it and it is beautifully finished we forget that this hair was once someone else’s,” she said. “You don’t see a credentials story, we usually see what is here in front of you.”

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