The phrase "Remy Hair" has become more of a marketing tool than something which actually shows a sign of high quality hair.
With every supplier claiming that their hair is Remy, how do you actually know?
At Hair & Compounds, we have a research lab that we occasionally use to help businesses in the industry determine the claims and authenticity of the human hair they purchase.
Just about every distributor and manufacturer out there claims they have Remy hair extensions, but very few actually do.
Unfortunately, there is no regulation to make hair extension suppliers tell the truth.
Case Study: How we determine Remy or not
Recently, a new customer requested we analyze some Remy hair extensions she purchased from another company that claimed the hair was 100% Remy virgin unprocessed human hair.
She had spent a lot of time and money with the company and was frustrated with the complaints she was receiving from her customers.
We took her into the lab so she could see us preparing the strands for microscopic analysis and see the evidence for herself.
The first step was to set a baseline - something we know is a natural strand of hair. So, we asked her to pull a strand of her own hair out of her scalp to examine.
How Remy Hair should look
The second step is to examine the roots, mid-shaft and ends of the hair fiber. This is to inspect whether the hair is truly Remy from root to tip.
It is fairly normal for cuticles to be missing or worn down near the ends of the hair strands, but thick and healthy near the roots.
We captured an image of the hair fiber about mid-shaft with 3500 high magnification and as you can see in the image below, there are cuticles (scales) in normal condition.
How Remy Hair should NOT look
Using the same magnification, the third step is to example the sample of supposedly Remy medium brown hair extensions also at about mid-shaft of the hair strand.
The absence of cuticles was glaringly obvious.
Sometimes when examining processed hair we will usually find some layers of cuticles left.
This hair strand was so thoroughly stripped that we could see deep cuts into the endocuticle.
This strand is a prime example of the Non-Remy hair extensions commonly sold through many brand names.
At the top of the photo the light is reflecting off the coating that is sporadically covering the hair.
This type of coating mimics shine and smoothness, but when washed away you are left with the true face of the hair.
Even though the cuticles have been chemically stripped from the hair strand, it will still tangle due to the roughened fractured state of the strands.
Without any cuticles to give protection this hair will quickly become dull, dry and break with every brushing.
Although this customer already suspected she was being cheated, having the evidence in front of her eyes helped her understand that labels can lie .
How does Non-Remy hair happen?
The fractured edges are a result of brushing, combing and other mechanical forces.
The spots and globs upon the cuticles are hair care treatment residues.
In some areas it appears the layers of cuticles are nearly welded together which is common with either conditioner build-up and/or hair sprays.
Other than some cosmetic and basic weathering, this is very normal cuticle hair that is often styled.
The More You Know, The Better You Can Make Decisions
The customer in our story was shocked but with her newfound knowledge, she felt better prepared when choosing a supplier.
She asked to see our hair under the microscope, to which we happily obliged, as we know this is the only fool-proof way to check if hair is Remy or not.