At Great Lengths, we’re very proud of our ethics. Occasionally, we hear from people who have been misinformed about the hair extension business and how the hair is sourced. We want to clear up these misconceptions and reinforce the ethicality of our hair extensions.
The hair used in our hair extensions is 100% virgin Remy, human hair sourced from India, the world’s largest exporter of human hair. Indian women cut off and donate their hair several times in their life. All of our hair comes from these voluntary donations deriving from a religious practice called tonsuring.
Between 40-50 million people per year come to have their hair shaved, offering it as a devotion to their Gods. Tirupati Temple, the most visited holy place in the world, collects 500 tons of human hair a year. Sacrificing this symbol of beauty is the ultimate sign of humility and religious devotion. The sacrifice is made in thanks for a blessing that has been received, or for a blessing to be granted. It is a purification ritual and is sacred.
The resulting Remy hair from the temples is considered the best in the world and has become an extraordinary economic resource for the communities. The hair received is sold by the Temples to the highest bidder at monthly online auctions. Great Lengths has a representative based in India who buys the hair straight from temples at these official auctions, ensuring there is a very fair monetary exchange for the hair. The revenues from the sale of the hair is then handled by the temple, allowing the money to be funnelled directly back into the local community to fund medical aid, educational systems and other crucial infrastructure projects.
When woman donate their hair, they are completely aware of the fact that their hair is sold by the temple. BBC explored the hair extension industry in a 2016 documentary called Trading Hair. When the host of the documentary spoke with women who had sacrificed their hair, their feelings about the donation were overwhelmingly positive.
“I am very happy if someone is using my hair and making themselves feel more beautiful. I am happy that someone will benefit, if they are happy, I am happy for them.”
“Immediately, I feel as if the weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My heart and mind are clear. I am really happy to give my hair wholeheartedly.”
For the women who donate their hair, it is the act of sacrifice that really matters and is very important to them.
For centuries Hindu pilgrims have donated their hair in this ritual of purification. Today, it has become a precious commodity and an extraordinary economic resource for India.
Knowing how the hair is collected, the stories behind it and that the women of India have a positive attitude toward other women wearing their hair, can allow our stylists and their clients to be proud to use Great Lengths Hair Extensions.
Our commitment to ethics does not stop at the sourcing of our hair. Our extensions are made in Italy, in working environments that have achieved all relevant certifications in regard to quality, security, and environment. We constantly set new goals for our social responsibility and are very proud of our ethics.