Going to Asia for the first time had us excited, nervous, apprehensive, but mostly motivated, determined and hopeful.
It would be a complete falsification to pretend the whole trip was smooth sailing, the language barrier was intense, and we literally managed to stray half a mile away from our hotel the first night we decided to go out, with no clue whatsoever how to return, and no one that could understand a single word we said to help us return back! Set the scene: Two young black women wandering around a quietening town in Asia; no telephone connection or data, no basic understanding of the local language, panicked and exhausted.
We ended up wandering into what (we still can’t decide) was either a hostel or public bathing house, attempting to communicate through a ludicrously inaccurate app translator. The whole staff team rushed over to our aid; but to be completely honest, we stood there simply trying to understand one another for at least 10 minutes before making any progress. Imagine us standing there desperate – they standing opposite completely confused.
They were incredibly eager to help though, which we were so grateful for, and the whole ordeal was most definitely the most hilarious moment of the trip.
By now, we’re pretty sure it’s common knowledge that the ‘Brazilian, Peruvian, Malaysian’ etc. labels are really just a farce, and that absolutely no one in Brazil is cutting their hair to sell for extensions, but shockingly, certain vendors still tried to sell to use under these false pretences! Presumably they thought we hadn’t done our research but somehow managed to spend hundreds and take not one or two, but three flights across the globe to get to the middle of Asia with no real knowledge or understanding of our trade? Again – Hilarious.
Aside from a few funny moments like those, the trip was actually culturally and educationally enriching. We learned about all the different countries that hair is sourced from (mainly India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and China,) and visited several factories where we learned how the hair is sorted, weighed, measured and wefted. We learned about the different processes and techniques used to create each specific curl pattern, how hair is bleached from black to the blondest blonde, and how to properly spot quality hair.
We are extremely grateful for all the experiences we had and the memories we made on the trip. The food was amazing, the people were hospitable, and our knowledge of extensions has well and truly elevated. We now know every single detail of the journey each strand of hair takes (all the way from a young lady’s head in India, to a factory to be processed and cleaned, to be installed as a wig on Davina’s head in London!) Who knew so much went in to choosing the right vendors and extensions?
It was an intense week, and we spent several hours in several meetings to ensure that we returned with nothing but the best quality extensions for the very best prices. We’ve gone above and beyond to do all the groundwork of negotiating, sampling, and (rigorous) testing to make shopping for extensions that much easier for you. No more having to worry about lustre, shedding, tangling, and overall longevity! You can trust that we’ve got you sorted.
Hair Care: What we’ve learned
Embarking on a hair business journey inevitably came with its challenges, but also its lessons. We gained a wealth of information that we’re happy to share with you to get the most out of your extensions, keep them lasting longer, and looking fresh for years. Good hair should last a minimum of one year, and we believe that with these tips, you will be able to achieve and possibly even exceed this!
First and foremost- The extensions themselves! Take your time to find quality extensions, because in the end, No amount of hair care tips and tricks will improve terrible hair! We recommend PHL, but we may be biased.
Quick tip from us: When shopping for new bundles, look out for excessive red and gold ‘hairs’ hiding in your extensions. These are actually synthetic fibres sneakily added by hair manufacturers to cut costs. Also look out for hair that has an overly ‘silky’ look and feel. This is often the result of a silicone coating that manufacturers use to improve the immediate look and feel of the hair. However, if you’ve ever been confused as to why your once silky and smooth bundles suddenly begin to feel rough and tangly, it’s because this silicone actually coating fades over time; after washing once or twice, or as a result of heat styling.
When looking for products to use on your extensions, it’s important to remember that human hair extensions are exactly that – human hair. Aim to use products that will retain the hairs lustre and avoid moisture stripping chemicals such as sulfates and alcohols. As mentioned earlier, the silicone ‘silky’ feel of your bundles may fade over time, however certain shampoos and conditioners contain silicone, so you can maintain this look and feel for longer. However, we don’t recommend excess use, as silicone is also proven to be quite drying! Oils or serums containing ingredients like argan oil or jojoba oil will do wonderful things for your tresses and keep them nourished (use small amounts.)
Try to avoid excessive heat styling to reduce hair damage as you would any human hair, however when styling, make sure to use a heat protecting spray or serum. We recommend heat-free methods such as braids for waves, or bendy rollers for bouncy curls (Ha – remember those?!)
Bleaching and Dying
Go to a professional! We cannot stress this one enough! For years, we wondered why just one round of bleaching would literally fry our extensions, but of course we continued; knowing no better – that was until we went to a one-to-one colouring class and learned about colour theory, product quality and technique. It is incredibly important to go to a qualified and experienced professional to have your hair bleached and coloured. Hair shop bleach and box dyes are like hair torture! If you insist on doing so yourself, buy quality bleaching products and a moisture replacing treatment, such as olaplex, however we still (and very strongly) recommend spending the extra money for a professional to do the job. Bleaching correctly is more technical than you may think.
We hope these tips have been helpful, and don’t hesitate to share any tips you may have down in the comments below!