Between 2001 and 2011, the demand for Remy hair and virgin hair extensions began to increase as discerning consumers began to grasp and appreciate the difference between Remy virgin hair and recycled processed hair. Due to the growing demand for virgin hair extensions and the fact that the supply of Remy hair came exclusively from the temples of India, the price of Remy Indian hair began to increase. Only a handful of companies in the U.S. were selling authentic Remy hair extensions. But because there were no regulations governing the human hair industry, all recycled processed hair being sold at beauty supply stores was also being named Remy hair extensions. Many consumers could not understand why the price of Remy hair extensions at the beauty supply stores (which was actually recycled processed hair) was dramatically lower than Remy hair extensions (virgin hair) sold by the handful of authentic Remy hair companies. This confusion arose as a direct result of the lack of industry regulations, with brands selling recycled processed hair and claiming their hair to be Remy hair facing no punitive consequences.
Facing little competition, no regulatory authority, and complete control of the supply chain, beauty supply stores were able to keep consumers in the dark. Most customers had no knowledge that the hair extensions they purchased and believed to be Remy hair was actually recycled processed hair. The deceptive nature of positioning recycled hair as Remy hair was evidenced by the marketing of certain brands that would promote “100% Remy hair – good for four washes without tangling.” However, true Remy hair will last through an endless number of washes without tangling as long as the consumer manages their Remy hair extensions as they would their own hair.
However, by 2005, Remy natural hair was also being offered by a new retail channel previously unknown to the hair industry – the internet. The advent of hair sales via the internet was the second significant shift in the industry because clients were now able to purchase hair from a retailer that wasn’t a beauty supply store. It was a slow and arduous journey for the nascent Remy natural hair (virgin hair) companies establishing themselves and trying to retail products in a competetive industry.
In 2007, Indique began using the label “virgin hair” to distinguish its remy hair extensions from the standard recycled processed hair offered at the ubiquitous beauty supply stores. Because the label “virgin hair” wasn’t being used by any established brands, it allowed Indique to clearly inform clients what the unique attributes of its virgin Indian hair extensions were. Demand for authentic Remy virgin hair extensions started to increase, and consequently the pricing from the temples in India increased.
In the U.S., Indique began to realize that clients needed to be educated on how to use and maintain their virgin hair extensions rather than recycled beauty supply store hair. The most important thing for consumers to know was that virgin Remy hair extensions are more durable and can be washed, colored, and reused for long periods of time. In other words, Remy virgin hair is a longer-term investment. Indique’s retail locations provided virgin Remy hair extensions and offered an educational experience for clients for the first time in the history of the industry. Clients were able to touch and feel the hair, understand why the hair had different textures even within the same product, and why the hair color was not consistent like the hair sold at the beauty supply store. In contrast, at beauty supply stores, hair was kept behind counters where it could not be touched, and sales associates were not trained or educated to sell hair. The opening of Indique stores signaled the third major shift in the industry. Now consumers could purchase virgin hair extensions from Indique retail locations focused on offering high-quality Remy virgin hair extensions and staffed by educated and knowledgeable salespeople who also wore the virgin hair extensions and understood the needs of the consumer.
Another industry development during this time was the export of virgin Indian Remy hair primarily to Brazil, but also to other countries in South America. Indians who had emigrated to Brazil in the 70s had uncovered the tremendous demand for virgin hair extensions in Brazil and began importing Remy hair extensions from India. Brazil became the largest importer of Remy human hair from India, and Europe (Italy and Spain) was second. As for recycled hair, China purchased 99 percent of all recycled hair from India, which they processed into recycled hair extensions and sold to the beauty supply stores in the U.S. and Europe.
As the volume of imports from India into Brazil grew, so did the news that Brazil was also a source for high-quality Remy Brazilian hair extensions. The Brazilian companies then began exporting the Indian hair as virgin Brazilian hair extensions to many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and the US. This was the advent of Brazilian hair extensions in the human hair industry as we know it today.