You often see terms like “Grade 8A,” “Remy,” “virgin,” “100% human quality,” etc., when shopping for lace wigs and hair bundles or extensions… but what does it all mean? I am going to break it down for you once and for all. Read this blog till the end to make an informed decision.
Human hair wigs manufacturers have established a grading system as a simple way to categorize good quality hair from bad. Originally the grading system consisted of a scale of 3A – 5A. Over time it has evolved from 3A – 10A plus. Let’s start from 3A and work our way up but first you should be familiar with some terms that I will use in this article. You have no doubt seen these terms before, but I will explain what they really mean…
A lot of hair buyers are misinformed about the term “Remy.” They see this term on the label and assume that the hair is the best grade. This is not always true. Remy refers to how the hair is harvested. Remy is hair that has been collected from various sources and sorted in a manner to ensure the roots and tips are traveling in the same direction. Cuticles are not stripped during processing and remain intact… aligned in one direction. This ensures the hair does not tangle or matte.
Obviously, the opposite of Remy. This hair is usually collected off the floor after a day of hair cutting. Roots and tips are not travelling in the same direction. So, to prevent tangling/matting, the manufacturers strip the cuticle from the hair during a process called “acid bath.” The problem with the acid bath is not only does it strip the cuticle, but it removes moisture from the hair leaving it frail and straw-like. To counter this effect, a silicone mixture is applied to the hair which makes it look healthy and feel smooth. However, this is only a temporary fix as the silicone will eventually wear off.
Hair that has never been chemically processed, never dyed, never permed, never bleached, etc., you get the point.
Simply another word for virgin hair.
Hair cuticle refers to the outermost part of the hair shaft. The cuticle is formed from overlapping layers of dead cells which form scales on the hair’s shaft. The cuticle protects the hair shaft and gives it strength.
With those terms out of the way let’s move on to the hair grading system for lace frontal wigs.
Grade 3A – 100% Human Quality Non-Remy Hair
“Human Quality” being the key giveaway here. Let’s be real. This is the worst grade of hair you can buy. Even synthetic hair is better than this. The hair will have split ends and thin ends. It’s non-Remy so the roots and the tips are lined up in every which direction and it will probably be mixed with animal hair or some other type of filler.
To cover all this mess up, the manufacturers put it through the “acid bath/silicone” process so at first glance you will not know what a piece of junk you are about to purchase. A lace front wig made from 3A hair will shed, tangle, matt and transform into something resembling a rat’s nest very quickly. Consider yourself lucky if you get more than a month’s wear from 3A hair.
Grade 4A and 5A – 100% Human Non-Remy Hair
A step up from the former. This hair is low to medium quality. Although 100% human, it is non-Remy, so you will experience tangling and matting. It will have undergone the acid bath/silicone procedure to temporarily spruce it up. This hair will not look good for long… you may get 2-3 months wear before it too becomes a matted mess. Grades 3A, 4A and 5A are typically the grades of hair sold in your local Beauty Supply Store. The cost of the hair may be cheap but the saying “you get what you pay for” applies here.
Grade 6A – 100% Human Remy
It’s Remy hair so you should experience minimal problems with tangling and matting for lengths up to 18 inches. The hair may have a lot of short hairs mixed in the bundle, but nothing compared to the previous grades. You can dye this hair. It should be able to take up to a medium blonde color. Anything lighter than this, you will need to move up to the next grade.
If you are not experienced with dying hair, then it’s best to seek the help of a professional as you can end up under-processing or over-processing the hair and thus ruining it. With proper care you should be able to get up to 12 months wear out of 6A hair.
Grade 7A – 100% Human Remy.
High quality Remy hair that has all the cuticles intact. You will experience very minimal tangling and shedding compared to the previous grades. Fewer short hairs in the bundle compared to previous grades. This hair is thick and strong and can handle light dye colors such as 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 harvested from a single donor. The hair is thicker and stronger than previous grades and has minimal short hairs mixed in the bundle. This hair can be dyed as light as white. Easy to maintain and you should not experience hardly any tangling. This grade of hair is expensive, however, with proper care it will last up to 2 years.
Most of the hair manufacturers are based in China and it is a very competitive market. Be aware there are plenty of manufacturers that use deceptive labeling on their products. They may label their lace wigs or hair bundles as Remy hair when in fact it is non-Remy. They get away with this because there is very little regulation of the hair industry in China. However, one indicator you can use to gauge deceptive marketing is the price of the product. Remy hair is a great deal more expensive than non-Remy hair, so if the price seems too low for the product being advertised, be suspicious!