By Ashley Peters
Hair extensions as a vegan are a tricky thing to navigate. Hair extensions in general are a hard thing to navigate if you’re not used to them. Let’s explore finding quality extensions while still being mindfully vegan.
First and foremost do not purchase synthetic extensions. They are created with plastics, yarn and animal fabrics such as yak hair. Not all synthetics have yak hair but some do and most don’t disclose because even though many people don’t discern against animal products they do get “grossed out” about some. Yak hair being one of them. Even if synthetics don’t have yak hair (not vegan) they are plastic and therefore can’t be curled. Basically low quality extensions that you should not buy.
You should look for human hair extensions that are Remy and responsibly sourced. Both of these components are important. Remy means that all the hair cuticles are going in the same direction. Why does this matter? Because it means that it was cut off the head not swept up off the floor. Again, why does this matter? First the quality. Remy will last longer whereas “fallen” (swept up hair) will shed rapidly. Secondly is the compensation of the “donor”. Fallen hair is often swept up from salon floors, drains, temples etc and the donor is never compensated. Which brings us to the second important aspect of human hair extensions: ethically source. This means that the donor was financially compensated. The hair was not stolen from temples or straight off of someone’s head. Yes, sadly that’s a thing and yes there is a black market for all of this. Companies should be very transparent about this and if you don’t see it blatantly stated ask the company. If they don’t have a good answer chances are the source is sketchy.
So there’s the vegan aspect of the hair which I know some could argue that it comes from an animal being it’s from humans. If that’s how you feel your best bet is synthetics that you can’t use heat on or to avoid extensions all together. However I bring up the point that the ethically sourced hair is fairly compensated and individuals by no means are forced to contribute.
There is however the complicated vegan aspect of the chemicals used to treat the extensions. Once the hair is acquired it must be cleaned and treated with chemicals that enhance the shine as well as seal the cuticle to maximize their life longevity. Of course companies are secretive about what exactly is being. The best thing is to ask if they are vegan. Companies should be able to directly answer this.
Fortunately there are brands that do advertise that their extensions are vegan. First is Aashi Beauty. They have an extensive range of color, lengths and densities that’s actually quite impressive. Secondly is Luxy Hair. They are a beauty industry gold standard and very transparent about their processes. Next is House of Larin. Guaranteeing each bundle of hair comes from the same donor and ethically sourced however their extensions are designed more for sew-ins unless you plan to create your own clip-ins. Finally is Ayune Hair which again only offers for sew-in or create your own clip-ins but they have a beautiful selection of waved hair to choose from.
So are hair extensions vegan? Yes, they can be. As with anything else you just need to do a bit of research and ask. Do they cost more than some extensions? Yes and no. Quality extensions regardless of the vegan component are a higher price point than other. Compared to those quality ones they’re actually about the same. Extensions can add length, volume and dimension to any look. While it may be a new topic or even a bit confusing don’t be scared or shy away. Considering that over 50% of the inso photos you see online have extensions you may want to consider chatting with your stylist to achieve that dream look. If you have questions you can always reach out via social media or our website contact form.
Ashley Peters is an American based hairstylist, author and business owner. While many of her brides are stateside she is available for destination weddings worldwide. Along with her hair services you can shop personally selected hair accessories, education and hair kits via her website’s shop. She is passionate about animal advocacy, connecting through travel, art and always learning something new. When her hands aren’t in hair you’ll find her on a hiking trail, with a good book or off on a crazy adventure with her husband, pups and soy vanilla latte in hand. Read Ashley’s articles