The Truth About Where Hair Extensions Come From | Shady | Refinery29

The Truth About Where Hair Extensions Come From | Shady | Refinery29

This week on Shady, our host, Lexy Lebsack, takes us into the underground world of human hair trafficking. Wigs and extensions are often made of real human hair, but have you ever questioned how that hair was sourced? Watch this episode of Shady to learn where hair really comes from!

Shady is the side of the beauty world you haven’t seen. Hosted by Refinery29 Senior Beauty Editor, Lexy Lebsack, the series swivels between the unexpected and uplifting, dives deep into the dark underbelly of beauty, gives a voice to those trampled by this quickly growing industry, and questions what it’s all worth. From counterfeit makeup to skin trafficking for cosmetic procedures, we go there.

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77 Responses

  1. Valeria Aguilera says:

    More Shady vids please! I love this series Refinery29!!

  2. Natasha Saeed says:


  3. What's the difference between Nemo and Loki? Nemo's father went looking for him. says:

    Damn, I hadn’t even thought about such thing! Wow, you can find scammers everywhere…

    • Mark Zuckerberg says:

      What’s the difference between Nemo and Loki? Nemo’s father went looking for him.

      Your username made me experience internal turmoil.

  4. Zara Sharpe-Dai says:

    Why is this unlisted? This has such a good message, and Remy New York is an inspiration. People need to see this!

  5. Refinery29 says:

    What topic would you guys like to see on Shady next? Comment below!

    • Effy says:

      More videos like this.

    • Riley Lloyd says:

      Animal testing

    • coval says:






      Pp ppp


      ppp ppp



      Pp ppp










  6. Julia Nell says:

    i come from an orthodox community and i worked in a jewish bakery for years….this was so eye opening! so many women in my life wear wigs

    • AnakarayaRavenclaw says:

      Sealy Sikes: the reason for the wigs is that during the late 1800s early 1900s it was quite dangerous to be openly jewish in many countries. Wigs became popular ways for jewish women to keep their modesty while also hiding in plain sight so they would not be attacked by antisemites. It became a tradition from then on for orthodox women to wear wigs instead of scarves. Scarves ARE also worn by jewish women, but in many communities still, women feel safer with a wig so they dont stand out (as we have seen with muslim women, headscarves can lead to attacks by others).

    • xMourningStar says:

      +Jae Bird Ask any woman who has a weave. Why do they sew someone elses hair onto their heads?

    • Sarah Alota says:

      AnakarayaRavenclaw So they wear wigs to fit the western society? Nope I’ll just stick with my headscarf “Hijab” and proudly show that I’m modest. Ironic how Jewish women and Christians used to wear veils waay before Muslim women started to wear them and yet get hate for it. It still doesn’t make sense of wearing a beautiful full hair wig on top of your real hair. Let’s be critical here!

    • Luke says:

      Sarah Alota they wear wigs to be safer like why y’all so salty

  7. jungkook oppa says:

    I’m not gonna lie, I’ve never really thought about where the hair for hair extensions came from, because I don’t necessarily use wigs myself but seeing this just really got me thinking how deep this issue goes. great video!! 👌🏽

  8. akualikewater says:

    I have noticed this on a smaller scale at beauty supply stores. A pack of hair would say 100% human hair on the front of the package but the fine print would say it is blended with synthetic. Or when you buy it you experience what they experienced flat ironing the hair that it is plastic.

    • MhxOhSoFunsized says:

      akualikewater that’s why you look after the 100% human hair…in small letters of it has plastic filler it will say quality somewhere on the pack

    • Whitney Moore says:

      I think companies use a loophole. Like there are strands of hair within the pkg that are 100% human hair (duh lol) but doesn’t mean the whole pkg contains that. i.e. “100% of contents contain 100% human hair. It’s a marketing ploy. Many companies do this and isn’t exclusive to the hair community.

    • Tomei F. says:

      And then sometimes you get what you pay for … $100 “remy human hair” vs $500 remy human hair .

  9. Mattie says:

    Dan is an amazing human who deserves nothing but support. He’s doing such an amazing job by empowering these woman. Stay blessed Dan.

  10. Paola M. says:

    Respect for Remy. What he’s doing is truly honorable and should be appreciated

    • Thảo Linh Trần says:

      Luigi Cadorna i’m Vietnamese and can confirm his buying price is unheard of. PR or not it benefits the women who sell him the hair and I think he deserves praises for that fact alone.

    • Luigi Cadorna says:

      hnljojoilbvtgfyvgub Is Google performing a charity when it offers six figured to software engineers? Also, why would the police do anything if he was only charging $2-3? You are not making any sense.

    • hnljojoilbvtgfyvgub says:

      We’re talking about the stories they covered of scammers taking their hair and leaving without paying anything. Even that lady wouldn’t do it for $2 so they’d probably rob her of it instead. Google paying engineers is a completely different thing. They can’t scam people with $200,000 worth of student loans into working for less than they’re worth

    • Gripit L says:


  11. April Martinez says:

    I never knew it got this deep before. What that man is doing is amazing! I love how he’s doing honest work & that it also helps out families in need. Keep doing more in-depth videos like this 😊

    • Baily Dash says:

      April Martinez I’ve been knowing about some of the unethical ways Hair dealers around the globe come up with *”Human* *Hair”*

  12. YepItsThatGuy says:

    So many consumers have absolutely no understanding of where their many hairpieces are from and only see the monetary of buying each one, not the ramifications of their production. Thank you so much for making this video!! 💙💙

  13. Romae Daley says:

    Wow props to Dan for wanting to make his business more ethical. I hate that women are scammed, attacked or misled for their hair. I wear a lot of wigs but mostly synthetic because that’s the cheapest.

  14. Cassandra Bankson says:

    *Oh my God was anyone else in literal TEARS by the end of this video??!!!?*

  15. Nathalie Munti says:

    That lady kinda looks like Penelope Garcia

  16. Sofia Bibi says:

    Lexy, this was exceptional work – congrats to you and the team!I really appreciated the professional, journalistic cover of the topic as long as shedding light to this shadowy trade. I really hope that Remy New York becomes the model company for the hair industry. I would definately want to see more ethical companies on Shady.

  17. Mellissa says:

    I grow and cut my hair every 1.5 to 2 years to donate 10-12 inches. Is there any way I could send Dan my hair (for free)?

    • Vick Vkusnyatina says:

      Mellissa Can you just send your hair to me please?? I have cancer and would love to have a way to have gorgeous hair!! Lol jk, that sounds sooo desperate of me!

    • Jessica Lai says:

      I wanna send him mine, too. Because in Bangkok now they ask you to chip in for the wig making fee on top of donating your hair.

    • Isis Mg says:

      I have donated my hair to wigs for kids, they don’t charge anything 🙂

    • Mindy Lou says:

      Lu C love for locks sells their wigs, dont donate to them. There are places that makes the wings and gives them for free

  18. undLiebeZitrone says:

    It’s a similar issue as fast fashion. As long as there is a market for $5 shirts, there is a market for low cost hair extensions. It is always easy to blame the companies, but we as consumers can make a decision: do I want to close my eyes, not think about why the product is so cheap and buy it anyway ? Or do I refuse to do that and face my responsibility.

    • Haze Notarealname says:

      more expensive products don’t always guarantee more ethical fashion. you can feel quality, though, and honestly so many shops sell shirts that must have cost $2 to make for $50. If I were after a cheap shirt i’d rather pay the $5 rather than $50 which would go into the company’s pocket not the manufacturer or workers. Price is no guarantee of ethics, it’s possible they were made in the same factory. There are some ethics ratings websites out there though that can help.

    • yazmin gutierrez says:

      I agree with you to the extent to those who can. Growing up my family was only able to get me 2-3 5 dollar shirts a year because we were so poor, barley had enough money for food. . not everyone has those kinds of privileges, even in America.

    • undLiebeZitrone says:

      yazmin gutierrez You are right ! I was in the same situation and still struggle today, even though I am working two jobs. But there still are alternatives, buying second hand for example. It‘s not about a lifestyle that is always 100% perfect – but about small choices in your everyday life.

    • JennPipp says:

      Romina Constenla you are 100% wrong. People who buy cheap fashion don’t care where it comes from. I currently live in South Korea and their clothing is far superior in quality than anything I’ve seen before and it’s cheap. Do people think about looking into other markets? No they get on these apps (Wish, Ali ) and don’t give it a 2nd thought. Just like they shop at Walmart not caring that company literally ran multiple small businesses/farmers out of business for many years.

  19. Lila Hart says:

    It made me so sad when they cut the First Ladies hair. They should of given her more than $100 when that wig will be selling for thousands

    • hanlo lo says:

      Soffy our currency is larger though. our “a hundred bucks” isn’t her “a hundred bucks.”

    • Alexis Spencer says:

      Considering most hair traders wouldn’t even give her half of that, it’s a pretty good deal considering for Dan to make a wig, he wouldn’t just need that one woman’s hair, he’d need hair from a few other girls, plus the time and effort he puts in to making the wig, he’s paying a fair amount.

    • Monica Nguyen says:

      That money is quite a chunk in Vietnam. The video mentioned how much she could spend it on. And that one girl got money to help with her school books and tuition! I know school isn’t as expensive in Vietnam as it is in the US but that is still a very helpful amount of money!

    • Isis Mg says:

      You have to remember that he is barely starting, he needs to pay for the building, any cost to maintain the services needed to do the job, pay the people that work for him, pay to run a website, and pay himself, wigs take a LONG time to be sown!
      I’m sure as he grows he will be able to pay them more

  20. Eliza h. says:

    I recently cut a lot of my healthy virgin hair (no heat, dyes) and would like to know if there’s a way to send it to him. I’d like to do this for free so he could offer even more money to women in need for their hair

    • Rachel P says:

      REMY NY my hair has split ends but I have never dyed it/used heat on it. Is it still deemed healthy enough to donate?

    • Rem Ram says:

      Rachel P yes

    • Vick Vkusnyatina says:

      Eliza h. Or you could just send your hair to me! I have cancer and have been looking for a more ethical way to get hair. Lol jk, that sounds so desperate of me to ask for people’s hair… But it’s so expensive! I have yet to get a wig yet.

    • m p says:

      Vick Vkusnyatina if I had long hair I would definitely donate to you 🙁
      I don’t have enough to donate. Also it’s not bad to ask. I’m sure someone will be nice enough to help you out.

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