What does REMY mean?
REMY (or REMI) refers to the method used to preserve hair cuticles during the collection process. Donor hair is pulled into a ponytail and cut. Using what is called root-to-tip, hair is cut, handled, stored and applied to a weft or hairpiece with the hair cuticles facing in the same direction.
Simply, when all cuticles face the same direction – unidirectional cuticles - the hair cuticle remains intact and the hair is less likely to tangle.
REMY has nothing to do with hair texture – REMY hair does not equate to European hair – and it has nothing to do with color, texture, or density or if the hair is virgin or not. REMY hair can be virgin (unprocessed), processed, bleached or colored.
A popular misconception is that REMY hair comes from a single donor. That’s not true. It could come from a single donor, but it also can come from multiple donors or a single-donor family. Think about it, the supply of hair from a single donor would be greatly reduced and the price of REMY hair would be astronomical.
So, don’t get bamboozled into thinking REMY equates to a single donor. REMY purely relates to the presence of unidirectional cuticles where the cuticle remains intact.
Non-REMY hair, often found pre-packaged in the beauty supply stores, is generally labeled “human hair.” Sometimes called ‘fallen hair,’ non-REMY hair has been collected from a donor(s) after it’s cut – as opposed to while it’s cut. Roots and ends are mixed up; thus, the cuticles are multi-directional. Hair is dipped into an acid bath to completely remove the cuticles and reduce tangling. Then, hair is dipped into silicone to coat it. Unfortunately, after a few washes, the coating eventually wears off.
Non-REMY hair is usually sold at a lower price point because the cuticles are removed and the coating is temporary. Less coating means more tangling and duller hair. Therefore, it’s less likely to be reused.
Non-REMY hair is like the fast-food version of hair extensions. It’s cheap, and perhaps, initially satisfying until it’s not. It has a smell from the acid and silicone used in processing. made more pronounced when the hair is wet. It’s also unnaturally shiny due to the coating. Even right out of its package, the hair will snag when you run your fingers through it, which is the reason the hair is packaged in the first place. And an unscrupulous retailer will show you a ‘sample’ of hair. Beware, that sample is not the one in the package, but one of much higher quality because a sucker is born every day.
Put it this way, you’re going to pay for what you get. The truth of the matter is non-REMY hair exists because someone, somewhere said that human hair is better than synthetic hair. The problem is how would you know it’s human versus synthetic as both hairs are processed in the same way. It may be cheap but in the long run, it’ll cost more in replacements and re-installation.
Another downside: Allergic reactions to the processing ingredients used in non-REMY hair often cause itchiness. Psst! Your scalp is not dry, you’re just allergic to the hair.
What is a hair cuticle?
Hair cuticles make up the outside layers of hair. We all have them, though some more than others. Cuticles are hard and transparent and form a layer that protects the fragile inner layers of each strand of hair, much like the shingles on a house. Typical human hair has 5 to 10 layers of cuticles, the wide range directly related to ethnicities. Asian hair has more than 12 cuticle layers, while Caucasian hair has 4 to 7 cuticle layers and Black hair has 8 to 12 cuticle layers.
So, healthy (or smooth) cuticles equal shiny, silky hair that clings tightly against one another. Damaged cuticles, however, means the cuticles are worn down leaving hair dull, frizzy, and prone to tangling.
A good reason why so many of us condition after shampooing, spreading the conditioner from root to tip. Sound familiar? So, what does a conditioner do? One of its ingredient – cationic surfactants – temporarily binds the hair strands and covers the cuticles. Then a small amount of acid forces the cuticles to cling to each other. The result: shiny, smooth hair … temporarily.