Why you should care
Because you could pocket huge money if you do your beauty research.
Pixie cuts and short crops may come and go, but hair extensions are a beauty staple. From Selena Gomez’s jet-black locks to Daniel Radcliffe’s Fabio-esque tresses, hair extensions in a multibillion-dollar beauty industry vary not just in color and cut, but also in price.
They vary, in fact, in a huge way.
in mostly black salons
in mostly white salons
Stylist Vanessa Garcia claims that “the more you pay, the more you gain” — of course, she would say that, given that she works at the ritzy Albert Anhar Salon in expensive Palo Alto, California. Garcia prefers a brand called Hairdreams — raving about the natural human hair imported directly from Europe with its “thickness, density and overall better texture” — over other brands that source from China or India. But these soft strands don’t come cheap, Garcia warns. They’ll set you back $1,000.
Over at the Edge, another high-end salon in Palo Alto, hairdressers use extensions from India, gathered via a special Hindu shaving process called tonsuring. Depending on length, says stylist Stephanie Arozco, these exotic manes can range in price from $300 to $1,500.
But others say: Pssh, yeah right. Faye Brown, a hairdresser with nearly 70 years of experience under her belt, weaves her clients’ hair from the comfort of her home in East Palo Alto, a much poorer neighborhood just down the road from some of the wealthiest people in the country. While its richer cousin boasts Stanford University and tech moguls, in East Palo Alto, 30 percent of residents live under the poverty line. Still, lots of women want extensions; in black salons, they’re known as weaves, which cost no more than $90 at Brown’s place. No import prices for her: She gets her hair from a beauty store a few blocks away. You can get good stuff and you “don’t have to break the bank,” she says.
Yet Brown and her counterparts all agree: A good hair extension is an “investment.” It just depends on how much of a return you want.