You often see terms like “Grade 8A”, “remy”, “virgin”, “100% human quality”, etc. when you buy lace wigs and strands or hair extensions … but what does all this mean? I’m going to break it down once and for all. By the end of this article, at the very least, you will be an informed hair shopper.
Hair manufacturers have established a grading system as a simple way to classify good quality hair from bad. Originally, the rating system consisted of a 3A – 5A scale. Over time, it has evolved from 3A to 10A more. Let’s start from 3A and work our way up, but you need to be familiar with a few terms that I will use in this article first. You’ve certainly seen these terms before, but I’ll explain what they really mean …
- Remy – Many hair buyers are misinformed about the term “remy”. They see this term on the label and assume that the hair is of the best grade. This is not always true. Remy refers to how hair is collected. Remy is hair that has been collected from various sources and classified in a way that ensures that the roots and ends travel in the same direction. Cuticles do not peel off during processing and remain intact … aligned in one direction. This ensures that the hair does not tangle or dull.
- Not remy – Obviously, the opposite of remy. This hair is usually picked up from the ground after a day of haircutting. The roots and tips do not travel in the same direction. Therefore, to avoid tangles or tangles, manufacturers remove the cuticle from the hair during a process called “acid bathing.” The problem with the acid bath is not only that it removes the cuticle, but it removes moisture from the hair, leaving it brittle and straw-like. To counteract this effect, a silicone mixture is applied to the hair that makes it look healthy and smooth. However, this is only a temporary solution as the silicone will eventually wear off.
- Virgin – Hair that has never been chemically processed … never dyed, never permed, never bleached, etc., you get the point.
- Raw – Just another word for virgin hair.
- Cuticle – The hair cuticle refers to the outermost part of the hair shaft. The cuticle is formed from overlapping layers of dead cells that form flakes on the hair shaft. The cuticle protects the hair shaft and gives it strength.
So with those terms out of the way, let’s move on to the hair grading system …
Grade 3A – 100% non-Remy human quality hair. The “human quality” is the key gift here. Let’s face it … this is the worst grade of hair you can buy. Even synthetic hair is better than this shit. The hair will have split ends and fine ends. It is not remy so the roots and ends are lined up in all directions and will likely blend in with animal hair or some other type of filler. To cover all this mess, the manufacturers put it through the “acid / silicone bath” process so that, at first glance, you don’t know what junk you’re about to buy. A lace front wig made from 3A hair will shed, tangle, matte, and transform into something like a rat’s nest very quickly. Consider yourself lucky if you get more than a month of 3A hair use.
Grade 4A and 5A – 100% non-remy human hair. One step ahead of the previous one. This hair is of medium to low quality. Although he is 100% human, he is not remy, so he will experience tangles and tangles. You will have undergone the acid / silicone bath procedure to temporarily fix it. This hair won’t look good for long … you may wear it 2-3 months before it too turns into a mess. Grades 3A, 4A, and 5A are typically the hair grades sold at your local beauty supply store. The cost of hair can be cheap, but the saying “you get what you pay for” applies here.
Grade 6A – 100% Human Remy. It is remy hair, so you should experience minimal tangle and tangle issues for lengths up to 18 inches. The hair can have a lot of short hairs mixed into the bundle, but nothing compared to the previous grades. You can dye this hair. It should be able to take on a medium blonde color. Anything lighter than this must go to the next grade. If you are inexperienced in coloring your hair, it is best to seek the help of a professional, as you may end up under or over-processing your hair and therefore ruin it. With proper care, you should be able to wear out 6A hair for up to 12 months.
Grade 7A – 100% Human Remy. High quality remy hair that has all cuticles intact. You will experience minimal tangles and shedding compared to previous grades. Fewer short hairs in the bundle compared to previous grades. This hair is thick and strong and can withstand light tints like platinum blonde. With proper care, 7A hair can last up to 18 months.
Grade 8A and 9A – 100% Human Virgin Remy. This is pure human hair. It may or may not have been drawn from a single donor. The hair is thicker and stronger than the previous grades and has a minimum of short hairs mixed into the strand. This hair can be dyed as light as white. Easy to maintain and you should hardly experience tangles. This grade of hair is expensive, however with proper care it will last up to 2 years.
Grade 10A – 100% Human Virgin Remy. The cream of the crop! Harvested from a single donor. Thick and strong hair that the donor has taken great care of. Minimum of short hairs and can be dyed in any color. No tangle and the best overall hair choice, especially for hair over 18 inches, full lace blonde wigs and general lace wigs. This hair will last 2-4 years. Initially, it is more expensive compared to previous hair grades, but if you consider the turnover rate of buying lower grade hair, it may be cheaper in the long run to invest in higher grade hair wigs or weaves.
So there you have it. Although there may be slightly different grade numbers assigned to hair strands depending on the manufacturer, for example … a Grade 8 manufacturer may be another Grade 10 manufacturer. However, the definitions of the hair types remain the same. .
Most of the hair manufacturers are based in China and it is a very competitive market. Be aware that there are many manufacturers that use misleading labels on their products. They can tag their lace wigs gold hair strands like remy hair when it’s not really remy. They get away with it because there is very little regulation of the hair industry in China. However, one indicator that you can use to assess misleading marketing is the price of the product. Remy hair is much more expensive than non-remy hair, so if the price seems too low for the product being advertised, be suspicious!