A couple days ago, the BBC news did an article called “The Salons That hope you can’t tell goats and humans apart”. Sam Piranty gave an in-depth account of human hair trafficking from start to finish and found that some of the human hair extensions* are often mixed with goat hair but marketed as human.
From reading the piece, the premise was that there is a lot of deception in this business and that what you might be buying might not be what you think it is. We talk about the weave business a lot, how huge the market is but also the fact that the cost of getting human hair is far greater than your dollars paid.
The moral aspect of human hair harvesting is always thrown around in the conversation as something that is rather inhumane but all is forgotten once packaged and put on the shelf in our local beauty supply story. From the article
In a tiny village in Hunan province, central China a man dressed in a white vest and shorts rides around the dusty streets on a rusty bicycle, shouting and ringing his bell.
I stop him and ask what he’s up to. “I’m collecting hair,” he says. “When I ring my bell women come out and I cut their hair. I make hair extensions*.”
I ask him how much he pays women for their hair. “I offer them a good price, but I need to make a profit,” he says with a smile.
The streets of the village are covered in hair drying beneath the scorching sun. Some of the hair is definitely human hair, yet the number of shaven goats wandering the streets suggests otherwise.
My first thought was to get on my high horse and say that is just gross. If you have ever been around a goat, you probably wouldn’t want their hair on your head. But then I look at that picture above, and I wouldn’t want any of it on my head to be honest.
When we talk about International trade, it’s hard to say that everything you get is legitimate, in the article one seller admits to using fake scales when selling hair to her traders because to keep costs low that have to do what they can to beat the system.
“We say it is Indian hair or Brazilian hair, but in fact it is normally Chinese hair or even goat hair. They never realize. This is the only way we can keep things cheap,” she says, adding that her customers always drive a hard bargain.”
Then when you ask the traders, do you know that you are purchasing goat hair? They say of course, the Chinese think we are stupid but we know.
“I laugh a lot when I go home and I know that the beautiful women of Kampala have goats on their heads.”
The fact is how would you know if you have a goat on your head? The truth is you won’t, the hair is manufactured in a way to make it unapparent to the naked eye. By the time it’s packaged you are just thinking you have the highest quality human hair possible especially since you paid top dollar.