Synthetic Hair Extensions – The Dark Truth

Following on from my blog post ‘Human Hair Extension Industry ~ Human Exploitation’, I have now researched and found some concerning facts about the Synthetic Hair Extension Industry.

Synthetic hair for extensions (and wigs), are typically manufactured in China, Japan and Korea.  This makes it impossible to determine how the fake hair is manufactured, thus a product unregulated and without proper informative and efficient health and safety legislation, for the manufacture, use and disposal.  Despite fake hair being low priced and therefore, accessible, the Synthetic Hair Industry, doesn’t take into account the true cost of chemical pollution, waste and health impacts, through manufacturing, use or disposal.

Synthetic, means combining chemicals to make a product that mimics a natural thing.  Although it is impossible to determine how the fake hair is manufactured, investigation has revealed that the fake hair is made from 10-15 chemicals.  The chemicals are used to synthesis plastic strands of hair, which consist predominantly of acrylics, polyester, silicone, PVC, Polyethylene Terephthalate and Polyacrylonitrile, resulting in disposal of large amounts of waste material and environment problems.

Synthetic materials make up a lot of waste in landfill, and research is underway to promote reuse/longevity and recycling of wigs.  At present, the same not being sort, for the disposal of fake dreads.

There is no way of guaranteeing the quality of Synthetic hair and so same, in not being able to determine how long the fake hair will look and feel good in dreads.  However, according to the resources of my research, fake hair deteriorates quickly, 6-12 months, and needs to be replaced to continue the required effect; in the case of dreads, that’s a fuller volume and length.  It’s also interesting to learn, that Synthetic hair matts and tangles easily with natural hair, in the context of dreads, this means that fake hair will have to be cut off.  Therefore, the continuing disposal of fake dreads, undermines the productive research and action in contribution, to the immediate need to protect and preserve our environment.

Other alarming information from the resources of my research, is the risk to health.  The majority of Synthetic hair is dyed with Synthetic dye.  The Synthetic dye contains components that are carcinogenic, which can penetrate skin easily.  For those with sensitive skin, this can become uncomfortable and at worst, painful.  Studies have also linked acrylic and nylon to cancer; the study by France Labreche MD of the Institut de Recherche Robert Sauve Montreal, have exposed facts, that young women exposed to the Synthetic fibres, acrylic and nylon are at a greater risk of breast cancer.  Further research has exposed that Synthetic fibres treated with several flame retardant chemicals and delustering agents, also have carcinogenic properties.

Consciousness needs less, Ego wants more. 

Therefore, what is the intention and attention in the action 

– Anna-Marie Semturis JātaDreads 

Dreads are now an industry and whether I like it or not, I’m a part of that industry; the thing that sets JātaDreads apart from everyone else, is that I will not get involved with dread extensions, human hair or synthetic.  Nor do I get involved with the retail of accessories or hair products.  I lock hair purely for spiritual reasons, I’m devoted and committed to Sādhana, hair extensions contradict the Dharma that supports my devotions and commitments.  However, there exists a responsibility to be open to the needs of others’ and in doings so, I find myself researching both industries of Hair Extensions.  

The dilemma I found myself in when giving consultation, to someone who chooses to dramatically change themselves, was the 3 choices in which they are going to represent themselves:

  1. Unethical dreads
  2. Unecological dreads
  3. Embracing their natural hair in dreads

Continuing my research for a solution, there is good news, for those who are going to add extensions.  Raw Society Hair is the world’s first ethical, 100% compostable and recyclable hair extension manufacturer, the fake hair is made from banana fibre, yep that’s right, plant-based hair extensions.  There’s more, the 2 inspiring sisters who set up Raw Society Hair, who have devoted their lives to doing right by the ecology of our environment, have also created business for small-scale plant farmers, what is not to love and support this?  Obviously, I will continue to lock only one’s natural hair and I am biased in the choice ‘C’. However, when I have to accept that one is hell bent on having extensions, at least I can now point them in the direction of a kind alternative, for them then, to find someone to lock in their plant-based extensions and I remain within the Dharma of Sādhana.

Reference Links:

Capturing the life cycle of false hair products to identify opportunities for remanufacture

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13243-019-0067-0

The Ugly Truth About Our Wig & Hair Extensions Habit

https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/synthetic-wigs-hair-sent-to-landfill

Occupational exposure to synthetic fibers – a possible link with breast cancer

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20100406/Occupational-exposure-to-synthetic-fibers-a-possible-link-with-breast-cancer.aspx

Exposure to Certain Chemicals at Young Age Linked to Increase in Risk – BreastCancer.Org

https://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/20100401b-2

Raw Society Hair

https://rawsocietyhair.com

Over due tidy up Fri 11th June

Long day giving these beautiful locks love. My dear friend Dinesh, been 2 years since we last spent a day together. Sharing all things Indian as he reflects on his root home Bombay, transporting me back to a place where I left a little piece of my heart. Love you Dino xx

No Dread Extensions No Dread Fillers

Full head of fresh new locks

Wonderful 2 days installing these locks. We were moored in a peaceful place, where we could fully appreciate the nature surrounding the canal. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, allowing us to have the french doors open, letting the outside come inside. The lovely lady you see in the photos is in fact from my tribe or community if you like, and having now known her for a while, I was aware of the significance of having these locks. I feel it’s important to mark such events of change in oneself with memories that can be favoured for a lifetime. I do this with food and this occasion was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing time with this lovely lady, installing her locks and preparing fresh lunches to celebrate the start of her journey. We laughed, listened to music, shared mind expanding theories and philosophies and became friends.

Wonderful to be back locking

May 2021, first month back since shutting up October 2020, and what a wonderful first month. Appointments began with the priority waiting list made up of fellas from my tribe, fellas who I have known for time, where our life paths cross and run parallel in many ways. A wonderful treat to spend time with each one, lots to catch up on and make future plans with. A wonderful few weeks return.

The locking diary remains fully booked till the end of August, September has limited availability and I’m already taking bookings for October. So grateful.

News and updates

We’ve started our slow cruise to the east end of the Kennet & Avon, we’re presently moored at the gateway of the ancient and mystical lands of Wiltshire. Leaving here Sunday, destination West Berkshire, mooring at a couple of locations between Hungerford and Newbury.  I will update our locations on the Contacts page.

Wednesday 12th May is our official re-open day and the locking diary is now fully booked till the end of August.  Already taking bookings for September, so anyone wishing to have maintenance or would like fresh locks, please get in touch sooner rather than later to arrange bookings.

As of September, I will be adding another day to the locking diary.  Appointments will be available for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

 

Learn how to tidy up your locks yourself

Svatantra (sva – one’s self, tantra – reliance), is the Sanskrit word for independance.

As a spiritual devotee, it is a responsibility to encourage and guide my students to become self-reliant. As the locking and having locked hair is a spiritual process, then I regard this the same.

Anyone wishing to learn how to tidy up their own locks, please let me know when booking a maintenance appointment. As I tidy your locks, I will share my skills, as part of your special day with us.

We’re travelling again, happy days

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This was home for the last lockdown, today we got back to cruising, will slowly be heading to The Thames, cruising through Great Bedwyn, Hungerford, Newbury and Reading.    We are grateful that we got to stay here for so long, a peaceful place with healing vibrations, a place where we could connect internally and connect with nature. We need to be in Reading Berkshire for July.  We’ll have a short stay in Reading before heading back on to the Kennet & Avon Canal, I estimate that we’ll be East of the Kennet & Avon Canal, up until about September, (Reading – Newbury – Hungerford – Great Bedwyn).  Anyone wishing to book for locks maintenance or installing fresh locks and would like to take advantage of Berkshire and West Berkshire locations, please get in touch as soon as possible.

Visits from woodland critters

 

One of the magical privileges living earth way, is when we get critters visiting our home. Problem is they don’t stay still long enough to get a photo.  Anyway here are three visitors I managed to catch with the camera.  First pic was a domestic duck gone feral, she stayed close by for several weeks, often helping herself up the gang plank. The second a beautiful bumble bee and third a baby rabbit, both safely caught and released.
 
Obviously we are surrounded by wildlife and on privileged occasions, we get to witness them wandering by.  Deer, fox and water vole are frequent, many birds, especially kingfisher, owls, woodpeckers, cranes and cuckoos.  A special treat, later in the day, we have otters swimming and frolicking about the boat, only had a glimpse of them tho.  
 
These are just some of the wonders travelling the waterways, I love this life.

Our dreadlock services now cover, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Somerset

We are travellers, living on a widebeam canal boat.  Since 2018 we have been cruising the Kennet & Avon Canal between Reading Berkshire and Bristol Somerset.  During that time we’ve had many visitors from far and wide, requiring lock maintenance or wanting fresh locks installed, we are grateful to each and everyone for their trust and friendships.

How and why anyone chooses to lock their hair is a personal choice.  However, if one chooses to come to us to have their hair locked, then please note, we won’t get involved with any extending or filling methods of locking, be it synthetic or human hair.  However, should one of your locks break away, as long as the lock is your hair, I am happy to re-attach it.  Please understand, we regard that locking hair is a spiritual process, extending or filling methods, using synthetic or human hair, contradicts Dharma ~ the virtue that supports our spiritual commitments.  I would like to add that the human Hair Extension Industry, is not ethically regulated in protecting adults and children from human exploitation.  For more information please check out my blog post ‘Hair Extension Industry – Human Exploitation

We use the crochet method of locking, we do not use rubber bands, waxes or any fixing agents, everything is natural and has to be your own hair.

We lock up all hair types using the above method.

I can also give maintenance, repair and rescue to locks in any condition, I’ve seen it all, nothing is too much trouble.  So please trust me and bring to me your natty messes.

We have chosen to live, as best we can, within the earthway cycle of the lands that are our home.  Not only the area we are living in at the moment do we consider our home, we consider the entire island to be our home and so we travel the waterways, within the limits of our boat, so that we can experience this beautiful, fertile and historically ancient land.

We’re also keen, on learning more about ancient cultures, especially as ancient cultures from all over the globe, would have been worlds apart but spiritually similar; take for example, historically, the locking of hair, something that ancient cultures around the world, have done. There is also the simplicity of ancient lives, their relationship with nature and the responsibility of their existence, which attracts and inspires us to be responsible for our existence, for us to cultivate a deep relationship with nature and to live simply.

We struggle with society, the materialism, the sensory overload, and the afflictions of choice and convenience.   Plus, we’re conscious of our impact on the ecology of the miracle of this planet, and so we decided to step away from urban living and live a more isolated, self reliant and off grid lifestyle.  Our home is approximately 80% self sustaining and we’re about 95% off grid.  However, there is always room for improvement, so when we can do better, we will do better.

As I already mentioned, we are interested and inspired by ancient cultures.  My partner is experienced in Eastern traditions and practices, he is experienced in and has a keen interest in the cultures of The First Nations People of North America and he is interested in finding out more about the original ancient tribes, (pre Roman) that existed here in United Kingdom.

I’ve been practicing Yoga since around about 2002 and in 2014, began taking a deeper path through Yoga, studying its ancient psychology through Sanskrit text.  This study has lead me toward Transcendental Psychology which is a self-enquiry into Consciousness.  In October 2021, I begin a 3 year academic course, in Bristol, to study Psychotherapeutic Counselling.

Between ourselves, our home and the nature around us, we offer a place of peace and healing to those who are seeking to have their hair lock-up.

Tidy Up Sun 9th Aug ’20

Started these baby locks in March ’20 just before the COVID lockdown, so today was the first tidy up.  Thank you Mark, for trusting me to start these locks for you and with your loyalty to my regular maintenance of them, especially as these locks are symbol of something special to you.