Can a feminist wear real-hair extensions?

(22 Posts)
ThursdayWeld Sat 05-Jun-21 16:11:25

Am having a struggle with myself. I have fine, ageing, thinning hair, and would love to have hair extensions for body and volume. You get them dyed the same as your own hair.

Except, the best ones are real hair confused Can a feminist wear the hair of a woman who has grown it and had it cut off for money? Is that a reasonable exchange, or is it exploitation?

OP’s posts: |
midgedude Sat 05-Jun-21 16:13:00

All work is exploitation

GreatBritishBummertime Sat 05-Jun-21 16:20:09

It's absolutely exploitation.

The problem is the poverty driving the desperation. But could you really feel comfortable wearing someone's hair? How would you feel about someone wearing yours?

myfuckingfreezer Sat 05-Jun-21 16:25:35

All work is not exploitation ffs.

But no. A decent human can't wear real hair more than they can wear fur, fast fashion, watch mainstream porn or buy marijuana.

ACatWhoBinds Sat 05-Jun-21 16:35:01

I've looked up a little about this - you can never really be sure if it was sourced ethically but particular companies source virgin hair from particular temples in India where people go and shave their hair for religious reasons. the Real Human Hair Company does this but I've never purchased from them so can't vouch for them. Of course, you can never be truly sure if the company is telling the truth.
The other option would be getting synthetic protein hair. I've never used this myself, but have heard it's meant to be similar to human hair. The only place I've found selling this is https://www.atelierbassi.com/en/produkte/wigs-hair-28/synthetic-hair-189/atb-organic-protein-hair-3752] but again, I've not ordered from them so can't vouch for them

ACatWhoBinds Sat 05-Jun-21 16:35:39

myfuckingfreezer

All work is not exploitation ffs.

But no. A decent human can't wear real hair more than they can wear fur, fast fashion, watch mainstream porn or buy marijuana.


All work under capitalism is exploitation

FemaleAndLearning Sat 05-Jun-21 16:35:55

Was the hair cut off with permission? How is the girl treated with short hair? Who profits? I doubt it is fair trade! I guess it is similar to the faux fur real fur debate but with humans not animals.

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EvilEdna1 Sat 05-Jun-21 16:42:25

There is part of the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair about women donating their hair in temples in India. It is the opposite of ethical. The temples tell them it's a sacrifice to the Gods and the women donate their hair for free and the temple sells it on at a profit. Deeply exploitive. It would be more ethical to buy it from a company that pays the women for it.

BoreOfWhabylon Sat 05-Jun-21 16:42:30

I guess it is similar to the faux fur real fur debate but with humans not animals.

Well, only if the human concerned is raised her entire life in a small cage, killed by gassing, electric shock via a probe in her anus, in some cases clubbed or strangled to death or scalped whilst still alive or illegally trapped and left suffering for days.

CuriousaboutSamphire Sat 05-Jun-21 16:54:21

Having donated my waist length hair to a local charity whose recipients include women with thinning hair I am not sure I see the issue. As long as you are willing to pay for ethically sourced locks.

If you really want to be sure find a local wig maker and ask what he would require then hook up with a hairdresser and ask for a donor - which is how the charity I donated to got started.

AdHominemNonSequitur Sat 05-Jun-21 17:18:31

I looked into it in some depth a few years back, source countries etc and concluded that it was not really possible to source it ethically. Mainly sourced from India and Russia. Mostly people selling due to poverty, often coercively, some harvested from corpses and some donated to hindu temples, who sell it but to be honest even temple hair I'm not sure about and hair is brought up by exporters, mixed, sorted by quality so not single source. Very seedy. I think it is different for wigs if you have lost hair due to chemo, some people donate for that specifically but for weaves, I don't believe it is possible to wear another person's hair ethically. Sorry. I was disappointed too.

ErrolTheDragon Sat 05-Jun-21 17:27:34

* Having donated my waist length hair to a local charity whose recipients include women with thinning hair I am not sure I see the issue. As long as you are willing to pay for ethically sourced locks.*

Yes... it's surely OK to use freely donated hair if you've got some sort of medical need for it. One of DDs friends donated her tresses to a charity which makes wigs for kids who've had chemotherapy, iirc.

But I don't know how sure people can be about the sourcing.

CuriousaboutSamphire Sat 05-Jun-21 17:33:50

I explained how in the same post.

Alicethruthelookingglass Sat 05-Jun-21 17:41:11

I have thin fine hair. I once asked my hairdresser about extensions. Granted, this was over a decade ago and new tech could have emerged, but she counseled against them because they are tied to one's real hair and the weight would pull on the hair and cause further damage/hair loss. They are not permanent and need to be redone about 3x a year or so as your natural hair grows out and so you are often not just buying the initial hair, but replacing it as well cyclically.

If you haven't already, I would get some input on whether you are a good candidate for extensions. I have no good advice on how to deal with fine, thinning hair, I just wear a lot of beanie hats these days to hide the thinning.

WoolOfBat Sat 05-Jun-21 17:41:32

I think it depends on where the hair comes from and why you are wearing it.

A girl at DD’s school cut her hair in a cute shoulder length after having hair to her waist. She donated it to some cancer charity. I think wigs for women / young girls who are going through chemo is a really important thing.

There is a charity called little Princess trust. It provides real hair for children up to 24 years who are going through chemo. They are looking for donations now if anyone is cutting off really long hair smile

WhereAreWeNow Sat 05-Jun-21 18:07:12

I'm sure there are some ethical places out there but I think overall the human hair trade is horribly exploitative. Julie Bindel wrote about it a few years ago www.truthdig.com/articles/the-dirty-secrets-of-the-global-hair-trade/?amp&__twitter_impression=true

My hair is looking stragglier as I get older but I don't think I'd ever consider extensions.

You've probably already done this but if not could you talk to a good hairdresser about changing hairstyle/colour/products to create more volume?

user7891011 Sat 05-Jun-21 20:25:43

myfuckingfreezer

All work is not exploitation ffs.

But no. A decent human can't wear real hair more than they can wear fur, fast fashion, watch mainstream porn or buy marijuana.


Why can't a decent person buy marijuana

ThursdayWeld Sat 05-Jun-21 21:11:14

Thanks all. You have confirmed what I felt - the trade in human hair is exploitation.

I will see if any properly ethically sourced hair can be got. Thanks for the link.

Hair extensions are different these days, they use tapes and you get them redone every few weeks.

OP’s posts: |
myfuckingfreezer Sat 05-Jun-21 21:15:01

Why can't a decent person buy marijuana

Marijuana is the biggest cause of human trafficking to the U.K.

Young boys are brought and locked in houses alone to raise and farm plants.

SmokedDuck Sat 05-Jun-21 21:43:54

I'm not convinced selling hair is any more inherently exploitative than selling your labour. You can grow hair back and it's completely harmless to cut it.

Do people get paid enough? Well, people in some countries don't get paid enough for their work in general. I wouldn't necessarily say though that hair cut off at temples is sold under false pretences, offering at temples are often intended to be used for the support of the establishment.

user7891011 Sun 06-Jun-21 10:52:18

myfuckingfreezer

*Why can't a decent person buy marijuana*

Marijuana is the biggest cause of human trafficking to the U.K.

Young boys are brought and locked in houses alone to raise and farm plants.


Thank you, I did not know smile

hassletassle Sun 06-Jun-21 11:27:37

I would say no. If you consider yourself to be a feminist it doesn't quite fit to glue to the hair of another, exploited/impoverished woman to your own head for vanity purposes. Charitable donations for cancer sufferers is a totally different matter.

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