Vera Sidika put Twitter into a tizzy in when she made the claim that her human hair weave was worth a whopping Ksh450, 000 in 2013 – a claim that many refuted, but it sparked a debate about why women were spending large sums to purchase human hair.
These weaves and extensions – which are made from actual human hair – blend better with your hair, are more long lasting and they retain style for longer.
These reasons, coupled with the prominence of such styles on popular TV shows, are the main drivers of the high demand for these hairstyles, image consultant and Couture Africa editor-in-chief, Olive Gachara explaines.
“Kenyan women seem to think that wearing human hair weaves is prestigious, especially since they are relatively expensive. Additionally, they want to emulate African American women they see on TV human hair is popular in those regions,” Ms Gachara explains.
With the increased demand of Human hair comes an increased risk of purchasing knockoffs as unscrupulous businesspeople seek to make an extra shilling.
So how exactly can you tell if your human hair is 100% real?
Human hair is not supposed to tangle when it is washed. So if it gets tangled during your wash, then that is synthetic hair or blended hair.
In a bid to increase the volume of hair produced, some manufacturers mix human hair with plastic fillers or animal hair.
This is probably the most well-known method of testing whether human hair is 100 percent real.
When you burn human hair, the flame burns briefly, leaving a dark ash that turns to powder when it is crushed. The odor smells of burning flesh or burning feathers.
Synthetic hair, on the other hand, rapidly melts and becomes sticky when it is burned. It then forms an ash of black beads.
Hair experts are able to easily tell whether human hair is real or not by just feeling it.
According to a local stylist, Judy Wambui, human hair has a softer and silkier feeling to it as compared to other weaves.
To avoid purchasing a knockoff, ask your stylist to accompany you when you purchase your hair pieces.