The Great Extension: One Woman’s Journey in Finding the Truth About Weaves

Riqua Hailes travels around the world to learn the truth about the hair extension industry.

As an entrepreneur and hair enthusiast, Riqua Hailes opened two specialty salons, Just Extensions Salon, Los Angeles' first Hair Extensions Salon, and The Weave Express in Washington DC. But after learning the business of running two salons, Hailes decided she wanted to tell the true story of the hair industry. What hair is good hair? Is Remy better than Brazilian hair? Hailes began her journey in March where she traveled to not only the sources of the hair, but to the people in which this industry has a deep root in.

She kicked off her trip in China, where she learned that most hair here is non-remy (or dead hair) that’s been collected from the scraps of hair salons. Next, she traveled to Cambodia, a poor country where women sell their hair (and often their bodies) for money, India, and Malaysia, where she discovered Malaysian hair doesn’t exist because most of the extensions there are purchased from China.

We caught up with Hailes and took a deep dive into her experiences and findings in discovering the truth about extensions. Take a look at her photos and be sure to stay tuned in 2015 for her first film, Just Extensions The Documentary, in which she highlights her journey.

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Filed under: Hair, Weave