Raw hair, virgin hair and remy hair simplified

Is it raw, virgin or remy hair?

Raw hair, virgin hair and remy hair simplified

We’re seeing a lot of confusion about labels like Raw Hair, Virgin Hair, and Remy Hair. Generally, both Vendors and clients use these labels wrong, making it more challenging to get your hands on quality hair. In this post, I will explain the differences as clearly as possible.

It’s All About The Cuticles!

When talking about hair quality, it’s all about the cuticles. Cuticles are on the hair’s outer layer, forming a protective layer. In this way, they are like the shingles of a roof. They can keep moisture within the hair shaft when they’re intact. The hair can be called Raw Hair or Virgin Hair if intact.

High-Quality hair has intact cuticles, and lower-quality hair has damaged cuticles. Then how do some of the hair end up with damaged cuticles? Because the hair ends up getting processed.

Raw and virgin hair still have cuticles
3D rendering of a hair with cuticles

Why Does Some Hair Get Processed?

To explain, I first have to tell something about how hair gets collected. Some hair gets cut directly from a donor or shaven from a head at a temple. When they bind the hair together, all cuticles remain in the same direction. Hair with aligned cuticles is called Remy Hair. It can also be called Raw Hair or Virgin Hair when it doesn’t get chemically processed.

What is real virgin hair?

Real virgin hair is cut directly from a donor’s head, resulting in cuticles that are aligned and remy. It is chemically unprocessed, but it can be manipulated non-chemically, such as by using steam styling to create textures.

What is virgin hair?

The true definition of virgin hair has been diminished to include floor hair with unaligned cuticles that were aligned with a non-remy to remy machine and then chemically processed to prevent tangles. Floor hair refers to hair that has been collected from hair brushes, drains, and hair naturally falling out. It’s also common in Indian temples, as not all hair is bound up before being cut.

How do you know if your hair is virgin?

When we’re talking about real virgin hair, this type of hair doesn’t get frizzy when washed, bleaches to very light colors while remaining healthy, comes in a natural color, and contains white/gray strands. The processed type of virgin hair is damaged and will get frizzy when washed and only bleaches to #27 healthily. It’s dyed to a color #1b or #1, and this will cover any white strands of hair. What you’ll often see are orange or red strands. Processed hair it’s mostly caused by chemical processing, as the chemicals dissolve some of the melanin in the hair.

Aligned Cuticles VS Non-Aligned Cuticles
Aligned Cuticles VS Non-Aligned Cuticles

What’s the difference between Raw Hair and Virgin Hair?

All Raw Hair is Virgin, but not all Virgin Hair is Raw. Find a girl (or boy), cut the hair, and it’s both raw and virgin hair. Steam-Styled hair is no longer raw but can still be called virgin.

As steam-styling has a negligible effect on quality and costs money to do, the quality will be the same, and virgin hair will be more expensive than raw hair.

Then Why Is Most Supplier’s Virgin Hair Cheaper Than Their Raw Hair?

Their hair isn’t pure virgin hair but processed hair. About 99% of suppliers claim to sell virgin hair, while the reality is closer to about 10% of suppliers selling it. It’s often easy to see by price and easy to test for, for example, the washing test.

Often when vendors call their hair virgin Brazilian hair, Peruvian, or Malaysiana, they’re mostly selling processed hair. Indians mostly market their hair as raw, and when you see vendors calling their hair Indian virgin hair, it’s better to look elsewhere. Even if it’s true, Indian hair is finer, making it less able to withstand processing.

So What About The Processed Hair?

Hair tends to get processed in 2 ways:
1) — Chemically stripping the hair of the cuticles.
2) — Using a machine to align the cuticles and then chemically processing them to become smoother.

Method 1 is cheaper than method 2 and strips the entire cuticle from the hair. This makes the hair easy to break and responds poorly to coloring/bleaching.
Method 2 is more expensive, but the chemical processing is much less damaging than completely stripping the cuticle. This hair type will not break easily and generally responds better to bleaching/coloring. The overall quality of this type of hair is higher than that of method 1

Processed hair shouldn’t be bleached to #613 as Raw & Virgin hair Can. Some hair can achieve the color (especially when the factory does them by themselves) but will become lack of lustrous and dry. The magic number is #27, which is what most suppliers will indicate for their processed hair (and sometimes suppliers will lie about this, so always test the hair yourself).

If you’re interested to see how the remy machine aligning works, Vesta Hair College has a good video showing how it is done:

Remy Machine Aligned Hair

Got any questions? Feel free to ask us! Got any feedback? Feel free to give us! Want to experience actual high-quality hair? Order our sample or bundles now!

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