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Hair Extension: Its Origin and More

It is said that on a good hair day, there’s not much a woman can not achieve. Her confidence skyrockets, her walk has an extra pep to it, and she...

It is said that on a good hair day, there’s not much a woman can not achieve. Her confidence skyrockets, her walk has an extra pep to it, and she is probably “gliding” through the day feeling on top of her game. 

After all, hair is everything, is it not, ladies? 

This desire of having long, luscious, and healthy-looking hair dates back centuries, and so does our obsession with hair extensions. The history of which is extensive and equally interesting. 

Hair extensions although might seem like an invention of the modern world, they have been a key fashion accessory since ancient times. The first ever hair wig to be documented was in 3400 BC in Egypt (5400 years ago!) – a culture that considered hair as the symbol of wealth and nobility, both in men and women, mostly politicians and royalties. 

wigs in egypt

In the 16th century, the hair extension industry experienced a boom as the Victorian wave bought tall head buns, and elaborative headpieces (Bridgerton fans, you know what we are talking about) in fashion. Queen Elizabeth I herself gained popularity for her dramatic, yet tightly-knit Roman hairstyles made out of wool extensions, a common material used to make hair wigs and later attached using beeswax. 

Sometime around the late 17th century, the industry also started producing custom-made wigs, and by the time it was the 18th century, people were wearing hair extensions made out of actual human hair. It looked more natural and as compared to wool, it was sustainable for a longer time. Clip-on hair extensions became one of the crucial styling elements for celebrities in the 1960s as the movie industry began to experiment with unique hairstyles.

70s hair styles    

It was only in the 20th century that hair extension got adopted into mainstream fashion. Several factors such as the introduction of better styling equipment, accessories, and professional awareness led to this growth. 

Today, India is one of the largest suppliers of hair extensions in the world. As far as the recent numbers go, according to Statista, India exported over $14.3 million hai extensions in 2020. Not only has the hair extension industry expanded revenue wise but has also widened its understanding among the people. They are no more limited to fancy dress competitions in schools but are now commonly used by celebrities or even common people or cancer patients struggling with a plethora of hair loss issues in their day-to-day lives. 

In addition, the advent of e-commerce technologies has also led to hair extensions becoming more economical and accessible for women of all walks of life. More and more businesses are looking at hair as an opportunity to spend. 

In India, Nish Hair was the first-ever online retailer of hair extensions, selling directly to the consumers and making real hair extensions more accessibles to the women not only looking for styling solutions but also those battling hair loss and related problem like alopecia, Trichotillomania and more. While they started with the easy to use and commonly known clip-in hair extensions, they were also the first to introduce non clip-in, Halo hair extensions that were even easier to use and added length in seconds. 

nish hair extensions

All in all, the goal to start making hair extensions could have been many things but in the 21st century, women are embarrassed about having thicker volume, length, and beauty, among many different reasons. Urban women are moving toward an acceptance that there is no “shame” in wearing hair extensions if they are someone who struggles with chronic hair loss or receding hairline. And that is the next step to watch out for in the evolution of hair extensions!

What do you think?



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