It is a good idea to start at the true source of where our hair comes from. Last year I listened to a great podcast by BBC radio talking about the business of hair extensions, called “Trading hair” It included information about the aspects of India’s people providing hair to hair extension companies around the world. This program was general and did not exclusively pertain to Great Lengths. It documented the temples the hair comes from, and most importantly, the tens of thousands of women who donate their hair in religious reverence to later be sold as hair extensions. A surprising amount of great Lengths hair extensions actually find their way back to India, to be worn by affluent women there.

Image source: Al Jazeera

In India, a woman will shave her head at least twice in her lifetime. This tends to be related to a blessing that has been received, or if someone is asking for a request to be honored. It is a purification ritual and is sacred. Women in India are quite aware of where their hair goes after it is donated. It may be difficult for us to understand, but the fact is they actually don’t care what happens to it afterwards. It is the act of sacrifice that matters. These women are donating their hair as a sacrifice to God. This means that the women who donate their hair do not pay for it. Instead, the temple the hair is sacrificed to hold auctions to the hair, which Great Lengths has first rights to the best pick of the finest hair. The money the temple collects is used to maintain the temple and support the community.

During the aforementioned BBC podcast, the host of the podcast was interviewing women who had just donated their hair to God. She asked how thy felt about women wearing their hair. Their answers brought me to tears ; They hoped that their hair made other women happy and brought them happiness.

As I mentioned, one of the thing I discovered was the religious story behind the donation of hair.

From The Aljazeera online report:

“The Our story begins with a myth. While planning his wedding to the goddess Padmavathi, Vishnu accumulated a large debt with Kubera, the gods’ treasurer, who, in consideration of the high interest rate he had stipulated, decided that the loan could be paid off by hundreds of generations over the centuries to come. For hundreds of years, devotees have donated money or jewellery. Many will not hesitate to offer the only thing they own – every day 40,000 pilgrims donate their hair in a ritual of purification. Before Great Lengths began to collect the hair, hair donated to the temples was burned or used to stuff mattresses. Today this hair has become an extraordinary economic resource.”

Knowing how the hair is harvested, the stories behind it, and the fact that it is a beautiful religious sacrifice that I benefit from does not make me uncomfortable. It makes me proud that this hair is not going to waste i a fire or stuffing and that the women of India have this attitude towards other women wearing their hair. I am proud to wear Great Lengths Hair extensions and I am grateful to these women and to their God for providing me with such a precious gift.