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The bulk of the cost of a cosmetology mannequin is driven by the cost of hair.

There are 3 different types of  Wig Mannequin used for mannequins: human hair, animal hair and synthetic hair.

Human hair for mannequins comes mainly from Asia with China, India and Korea being the most common sources. European hair is also used but since it’s more expensive you will find mostly on premium quality mannequins. Some people believe that human hair for trade comes from dead corpses; they do not. Hair trade is a popular and lucrative activity in Asia. Some people sell their hair to generate revenue, whereas others may donate their hair for religious reasons. Hair trade is a whole subject on its own and goes beyond the purpose of this tutorial, but at least it is helpful to know where the majority of the human hair for mannequins comes from.

Human hair is classified into different quality categories. When it comes to cosmetology mannequins, we will focus on the most important three quality categories, they are: processed hair, virgin hair and Remy hair. To better understand these classifications, let’s look at the biology of a human hair.

Hair is mainly composed of proteins that are organized into three structures. The outside part of the hair is called the cuticle. It is made of several layers, which grows in the same direction from the root to the tip of the hair. All the layers are stacked on each other, just like the shingles on a roof. The cuticle protects the inside part of the hair.

The inside part of the hair is called the cortex and is made of long protein fibers giving the hair its strength. The cortex is also where the pigments of melanin are found, which is what gives the hair a specific color.

Anatomy of a human hair

Anatomy of a human hair

The third and most inner part of the hair is called the medulla. It is a small and hollow space inside the cortex and not present in all hair fibers.

PROCESSED HAIR

Processed hair, or sometimes referred to as “tangle-free” hair, is the most common and economical type of human hair used for mannequins. Hair is collected into large containers, where it is sanitized. Since the hair has not been kept in alignment (or in other words, all the roots and tips are mixed up), the cuticles are not facing the same direction. If they were kept like that, the hair would easily tangle. To resolve this problem, the hair cuticles are removed using an acid. This eliminates the friction and allows for tangle free brushing of the hair. Processed hair is also typically sold as a uniform color, so the hair is dyed to achieve a specific color level.

Finally, without its cuticle the hair would look dull and brittle. To re-create the appearance of healthy and shiny hair, a laminate product is also added. You can think of this laminate as a replacement for the cuticle.

So in a nutshell this is what how processed human hair is made.

Now here are a few things to note about processed hair:

Since the cortex is still present, the hair can be colored or permed.

Because the cuticle has been removed, it will be more difficult to give volume.

The laminate that was used to replace the cuticle is not as tolerant to heat than the natural human hair cuticle. So processed hair should be curled or flat ironed at lower heat settings.

This laminate also won’t last forever, especially if the hair is chemically treated with a dye or a perm. After several uses, your mannequin’s hair will become more fragile.

VIRGIN HAIR

Virgin hair means that the hair has not been colored or permed. Virgin hair is usually made with a higher quality of hair but it is possible that it too had its cuticle removed, similar to processed hair.

Virgin hair is better used for coloring classes because the hair cortex is all natural and has not been damaged by any prior treatments.

REMY (OR REMI) HAIR

Remy is the term used to designate the highest grade of quality for human hair. Remy hair has retained the cuticles in proper alignment. If the hair has not been colored, it is sometimes also referred to as “Virgin Remy”.

Mannequins made with Remy hair can be quite expensive and is often used by hair coloring educators in trade shows or other educational settings to make sure their coloring product will produce optimal results.




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