Our expert this month is Dafina Nya Smith, Owner and Creative Director for Sunny’s Hair & Wigs in Atlanta — a family-owned and operated beauty brand in existence for over 20 years.
Question: I’m finally making the switch from buying synthetic weaves and wigs to investing in more expensive “top shelf” human hair. That said, what’s the main difference between Brazilian and Indian hair and which do you recommend I buy?
I have a belief that your weave is only as great as the hair you use. You can go to the world’s best “Weavologist” and if you purchase “Non-Remy Beauty Supply Store” hair you might as well flash a neon sign announcing “My hair is fake”. I absolutely applaud you for stepping into the world of premium hair. That being said there is a lot of mis-information about premium hair extensions. A dirty little secret of the industry is that most hair is mis-labeled and mis-leading because it is not a government regulated industry.
With a few exceptions, most of the hair available in large commercial quantities is either Indian Hair or Chinese hair. Indian Hair is amazing because it is generally a natural dark brown, finer and not too shiny so it happens to blend amazingly well with African American hair. There are some exceptions though. From my experience, Indian hair blends better with natural hair because their cuticles are less ragged and reflect light better therefore is shinier than relaxed hair.
99% of the time Brazilian hair, Peruvian Hair or Malaysian hair is actually hair from India or China that has been processed. For instance, when I go to India I am often buying large amounts of hair alongside Brazilians who purchase the curly Indian hair and process it with steam to deliver tighter curls and remarket it as Brazilian hair with a premium price tag put on it. Malaysian hair is often Chinese Hair blended with Indian Hair for sleeker and shinier appearance. Give me a country and I could go on and on; but I won’t!
So to reiterate, there are generally two types of hair available on the general market: Indian Hair and Chinese Hair. Of the two, I always recommend Indian Hair for black women especially women who are natural. When you purchase Indian Hair I would recommend Virgin & Remy Indian Hair which means the hair has never been chemically processed for color or texture which ensures the cuticle integrity is strong and all in the same direction so the overall health of the hair is ideal for long-term wear.
Sunny’s Hair & Wigs has provided hair extensions and wigs for feature film productions such as Flight, The Hunger Games, Drop Dead Diva and a whole bevy of television and reality TV projects.