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View Full Version : My hair experiment - also seeking human hair and old hair pieces for research



esfand
June 6th, 2017, 11:49 PM
I was recommended to start a thread about this here and I guess many of you may be interested, and even provide new ideas and contribute too.

I know that women spend tons of $$$ on hair extensions, use them only a couple times or a few months, and then throw them away because they're too matted for their own hair. Yet, good human hair is a rare commodity with high demand. What if there was a way to take all that old hair (a waste product) and reuse them as suitable wigs for hospital patients? Mostly patients with alopecia or temporary hair loss thanks to chemo. Most human hair is fresh hair hence very expensive, yet synthetic wigs don't last as long and usually don't look as good. What if there was a third option - refurbished hair that is human hair (hence has the benefits of human hair) yet just as affordable as synthetic wigs?

So I am trying to research ways to restore damaged hair that is usually thrown away. I heard that Locks of Love and other charities throw most of the donated hair away because they're not good enough for wigs (or they sell it, and if those hairs are sellable... surely they're not completely useless. Hmm.)

I am seeking:


Ponytails or trimmed hair at least 5 inches (Please do not cut your hair just for this experiment! Only if you were planning to anyway)
Colored/damaged hair that you can't donate or sell
Henna'd hair (pure henna)
Hair that's been dyed with nontraditional fun colors, and even discolored or unevenly colored hair. It just gives me more to work with! I am thinking of methods that would help these colors blend, and thought of hair hackling like how this lady does it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IPbpd5p5g0).
Old hair extensions (clip ins, sew in, tape, doesn't matter)
Matted wigs and sheitels
Unprocessed virgin hair, at least 5 inches
Any hair to be honest. Just let me know the history of the hair (Is it your own hair? Bought/brand? Was it dyed? Bleached? Is it virgin?)

I need at least 106 wefts for the trials (and 36 of those are virgin hair as control samples), where each "weft" is about the size of a 1-clip hair extension.
There are four parts to my study (I am still in the process of tweaking the procedures):




restoration of hair
reliable way to color processed hair (or blend it in a way that will disguise bad dye jobs)
perform a blind test with virgin hair bundles and restored bundles (ask or hire hairdressers to rank the bundles by quality and guess which ones are virgin)
then turn the bundles into wigs that will be given to patients who volunteer to use it for a year and provide feedback. It's the test of time that counts.




To be honest, I didn't feel confident about my study at first. It could be a total failure, but dammit I gotta try. I already have 30 pages of procedure, plans, ideas, data, and other things written down. A lot of people I spoke to thought my research was interesting and that I should at least try. It will open up discussions and give other scientists ideas to consider. Recently, a local hair extension specialist thought my idea was interesting and gave me some old hair extensions that her clients tossed, so I was able to start a small segment of my study. I still need more old hair samples of course, just in case I need to repeat trial, and to finally start making bundles of restored hair for Part 3 once I determine good ways to restore and recolor hair.


I am always seeking virgin hair, which is the most difficult to find especially since I don't have the budget (I spent my money on buying the chemicals and supplies). Currently I am performing trials that don't require virgin hair, but for the last portion of my trials, I'll have to use virgin hair alongside processed hair.

Some photos:

Old samples that the local extension specialist gave me, and I tried a restoration method on them. Still seems a bit damaged, but better than before. I still need more extensions and damaged hair samples to compare to.

https://i.redd.it/0mg2cf0dl52z.jpg


Some tests I've been running with the old hair samples the local hair extension specialist lent me:

https://i.redd.it/cjn4zb8hl52z.jpg

lapushka
June 7th, 2017, 07:21 AM
I am seeking:


Ponytails or trimmed hair at least 5 inches (Please do not cut your hair just for this experiment! Only if you were planning to anyway)
Colored/damaged hair that you can't donate or sell
Henna'd hair (pure henna)
Hair that's been dyed with nontraditional fun colors, and even discolored or unevenly colored hair. It just gives me more to work with! I am thinking of methods that would help these colors blend, and thought of hair hackling like how this lady does it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IPbpd5p5g0).
Old hair extensions (clip ins, sew in, tape, doesn't matter)
Matted wigs and sheitels
Unprocessed virgin hair, at least 5 inches
Any hair to be honest. Just let me know the history of the hair (Is it your own hair? Bought/brand? Was it dyed? Bleached? Is it virgin?)


Darn. I cut 6 inches off in one go last November... I wish I could have helped you, but then I wasn't about to hang on to a 6 inch piece of hair.

If only I had known then....

Oh well. :shrug: Nothing I can do.

luxurioushair
June 7th, 2017, 03:52 PM
I don't think anyone here can really help you with this? People here like to grow their own hair and keep it too...check a hair extensions community maybe.

Zebra Fish
June 7th, 2017, 04:29 PM
I am intrigued by your study. Keep us posted :)

Nightshade
June 7th, 2017, 04:45 PM
I am intrigued by your study. Keep us posted :)

Same :) I love this kind of stuff, and if you ever want to pick my brain (I did a lot of research for my books), let me know!

Aredhel
June 7th, 2017, 04:54 PM
I don't think anyone here can really help you with this? People here like to grow their own hair and keep it too...check a hair extensions community maybe.

Not everyone here grows to extreme lengths, or keeps their cut hair. I personally would never keep my own cut hair, so if I happen to do a huge chop at some point, it's nice to know that I can send it to someone here who will do something useful with it. Plus there are members here who do big chops from time to time.:)

I'm interested in seeing this project progress too though, please keep us in the loop if you can esfand!

Stormynights
June 7th, 2017, 05:00 PM
I have used epson salts to remove metallic boxed dyes. It dries out the hair so you must use conditioner but with hair it can sit in conditioner all day or more.

luxurioushair
June 7th, 2017, 07:11 PM
Not everyone here grows to extreme lengths, or keeps their cut hair. I personally would never keep my own cut hair, so if I happen to do a huge chop at some point, it's nice to know that I can send it to someone here who will do something useful with it. Plus there are members here who do big chops from time to time.:)

I'm interested in seeing this project progress too though, please keep us in the loop if you can esfand!

I didn't say "keep their cut hair" :) I don't imagine many people would do that in general.

Nightshade
June 7th, 2017, 11:18 PM
I didn't say "keep their cut hair" :) I don't imagine many people would do that in general.

You'd be surprised. Many LHCers have given me their hair for various experiments over the years :)

MsPharaohMoan
June 8th, 2017, 01:46 AM
This is pretty cool actually. Can't help you right now as I'm growing, but am interested in seeing what sort of results you find. What's a restoration procedure look like?

eta: good luck with your ... exp-hair-iment! -giant wink and thumbs up-

amino
June 8th, 2017, 02:03 AM
I mean, I still have a braid from almost 8 years ago now; that was when I chopped from hip to shoulder, and I thought I'd keep it to make a wig for my grandmother. Now it's a keepsake, hidden away in box after box. Unfortunately I'm not going to be back home until August, so I can't help out now.

esfand
June 8th, 2017, 04:41 AM
I wish I can get my hands on Olaplex, but I am not a licensed hairdresser.
So... I am going to try Ion Absolute Perfection (Step 1 and maybe 2). I am also going to get a protein filler (Aphogee or Colorful Neutral Protein). I wonder if I can use both on the same wefts, or whether I should do the protein first, and then the rebonder... or the rebonder, and then the protein?

diewassermelone
June 8th, 2017, 04:52 AM
Since I'm collecting my own hair for making extensions, perhaps I can send you the shorter ones? It's all virgin although there is a heavy gradient since it likes to lighten.

esfand
June 8th, 2017, 04:58 AM
Since I'm collecting my own hair for making extensions, perhaps I can send you the shorter ones? It's all virgin although there is a heavy gradient since it likes to lighten.

lol me too (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=142908) and yes I am taking any virgin hair I can get. Regular envelop with one stamp should work. Even if I don't test on it or use it for the blind testing trial, I'd still like to look at virgin hair under the microscope and compare it to the damaged hair. One weft of hair pretty much exploded during a trial and became incredibly gummy. I looked at it under the microscope compared to the previous wefts, and the tattered cuticles... seriously it's some morbid entertainment. I looked at my virgin hair strands I was collecting, and in comparison it's so smooth. I still have to get a better microscope, but I'll probably have to borrow the lab or see if my school has something like an electron microscope. That's where the real details are.

I also decided to start collecting my shed baby hair instead of throwing it away, just in case wigmakers need it for realistic hairlines..

MidnightMoon
June 8th, 2017, 04:59 AM
Can't you get Olaplex from Amazon?

esfand
June 8th, 2017, 05:05 AM
Can't you get Olaplex from Amazon?

Maybe. I don't know if they're fake though, and I have to save up for it. I can get the Ion dupe tomorrow though. I know that Olaplex works, for sure. I've done it twice, and the hair extension specialist who volunteered her old hair extensions to me said that she treated her wefts with olaplex, which explains why they're still relatively in good condition (in my opinion) for used wefts. I don't know, I never used hair extensions, let alone until they were really old and frayed to the point I have to throw it away. Maybe the condition of the hair wefts I have right now IS the usual condition that discarded hair extensions are. In which case, this is very sad, because these extensions are still pretty good and repairable with some TLC in my opinion.

MidnightMoon
June 8th, 2017, 05:23 AM
It's worth giving a try or ask around. I remember when I wanted to buy Pravana I was supposed to have a license too, according to their website. But then on Amazon I could have it just like that. And it did seem like the real deal lol, no problems with the product.

lapushka
June 8th, 2017, 05:31 AM
Maybe. I don't know if they're fake though, and I have to save up for it. I can get the Ion dupe tomorrow though. I know that Olaplex works, for sure. I've done it twice, and the hair extension specialist who volunteered her old hair extensions to me said that she treated her wefts with olaplex, which explains why they're still relatively in good condition (in my opinion) for used wefts. I don't know, I never used hair extensions, let alone until they were really old and frayed to the point I have to throw it away. Maybe the condition of the hair wefts I have right now IS the usual condition that discarded hair extensions are. In which case, this is very sad, because these extensions are still pretty good and repairable with some TLC in my opinion.

I believe in Germany it is called "Keraplex or Keraphlex" either one... I've seen that on YT from someone who uses it and got it at his salon (GrahamsNaturalCurls). I think it's called differently over the world, so you might want to look into that, depending on where you are from.

Stormynights
June 8th, 2017, 12:08 PM
When I was working as a hair stylist I saved some hair from hair cuts for experiments. I had bowls set up in the back for tests. It was fun and helpd me learn a lot.

MsPharaohMoan
June 8th, 2017, 12:14 PM
In terms of sheddings, do you prefer them organized root to tip (say a piece of tape keeping them together and indicating the root ends)?

esfand
June 9th, 2017, 08:20 AM
It's worth giving a try or ask around. I remember when I wanted to buy Pravana I was supposed to have a license too, according to their website. But then on Amazon I could have it just like that. And it did seem like the real deal lol, no problems with the product.

I would love to get my hands on Pravana. I think it's available to the public these days, I could be wrong. I also wonder how Pravana compares to Elumen. I have a black bottle of Elumen that I will never use again... unless I use it to dye the hair. At the moment I will be using Ion's colors for the trials, because it's cheaper and still have a good reputation.


I believe in Germany it is called "Keraplex or Keraphlex" either one... I've seen that on YT from someone who uses it and got it at his salon (GrahamsNaturalCurls). I think it's called differently over the world, so you might want to look into that, depending on where you are from.

I am in the US. I may ask the hairdressers once I get further in my studies and actually come out with results I can show everyone.



In terms of sheddings, do you prefer them organized root to tip (say a piece of tape keeping them together and indicating the root ends)?

Yes I keep them all in the same direction (root to tip) with the root at the tape.

Here is some attempt at blending discolored hair wefts to see if I can disguise them:

https://i.redd.it/370wc1mrem2z.jpg

I am going to have to build a hackling board for myself soon, it would make life so much easier. To buy one is like $75+... screw that. I'll build one myself.

Rebeccalaurenxx
July 11th, 2017, 11:42 AM
Bump. Sadly all the hair I had was synethic.

When I was in high school I use to buy a lot of my hair extensions from a Asian wholesaler named minihouse8888 and so did a lot of other people, it was apparently real human hair. I don't know if they still sell hair, but I got like 100g of 25" hair for like 40$ which isn't really that bad. I can imagine at shorter lengths it would be cheaper, so if you still can't find more people that can offer their clippings and shed hair maybe that can be a route you can take.

Rowdy
July 20th, 2017, 09:52 PM
Bump :) Such a cool study idea!

esfand
August 5th, 2017, 03:27 AM
Okay you guys.. um... I NEED YOUR HELP.

I bought 4 bundles of (apparently) virgin, unprocessed hair from someone on a hair selling website, and I got 12-13" inch short ones for cheap because the guy said that a lot of wigmakers don't buy hair that short so he has a lot of shorter length ones that he can sell me for cheap. Like, $45 per bundle. Not bad when a bundle can go for like $200.
The 4 bundles arrived today and WOW... I think these are so beautiful, light, soft, and they have a deep shine to them. I think they might even be children's hair, because of how fine and light they are, and I kinda wish I bought adult hair instead as it would be courser and more comparable to the bundles of restored hair I treated.

I am wondering though... how do I tell if they're actually virgin unprocessed hair? If these bundles are virgin hair, then they're likely Caucasian due to their lighter shades, and I never touched anyone's hair before but my own LOL. I am Asian, with Asian hair texture, and I can tell between strands of my hair versus the ones on extensions because my hair is very soft and "squeaks" when I move my fingers against the direction of the cuticles. I also have a bundle of unprocessed, virgin Indian hair, which is almost exactly like my hair (but I have finer hair), and it squeaks too (but not as much as my hair) when I move against the grain.

Some of the extensions that I have been working on also squeak to a degree, though sometimes they don't. They are all processed Indian hair.

Yet, when I feel the unprocessed bundles of hair I just ordered, they don't squeak, and they're nowhere as thick in strands as my hair or the Indian hair. They seem teasable (like backcombing) but otherwise, I don't know how I would tell if they were acid-treated, if they were bleached/dyed, or whatever. I am guessing that these bundles lack the "squeak" because they're just soft and fine, especially if it's from teens and children. But how would I know? I never touched caucasian hair before, and the only other hair I've touched are these Indian hair extensions I've been working on for the past few months.

Lol I feel like a creep caring about this, if I was just a wigmaker I wouldn't care about the actual nature of the bundles I ordered from this guy as the hair is already so soft and light and beautiful, but I ensure this is real virgin hair if I am going to be presenting these to hairdressers and making them guess the natures of the bundles I show them.

lapushka
August 5th, 2017, 04:16 AM
Maybe the mods could make this post / experiment of yours a sticky and that's how we'll know you're the go-to gal for hair that we cut off and would otherwise throw away. If you can't take an LHC'ers word for whether the hair is virgin or not, I mean...

Other than that. What if you look through the microscope. Can't you tell if it's processed as easy as that? I always was under the impression you could tell, but what do I know. :shrug:

TatsuOni
August 5th, 2017, 05:25 AM
All I can say is that I've had fine hair that felt like combination of a kitten and silk when younger and now the hairs are thicker but still silky. I braided a friends hair a while ago (she's 25) and it was really fine and soft like doll hair or something. Natural blond hair isn't that uncommon around here either.

So while I can't answer your question, I can say that natural hair like what you bought does exist here (also on grown ups).

MidnightMoon
August 5th, 2017, 05:31 AM
Yeah, natural light blonde hair isn't rare to a degree you wouldn't be able to find it anywhere, plus, if it's short and that fine, then it could actually be children's hair. Most kids have much lighter hair than adults. Most natural blondes and light browned haired people had hair ranging from medium blonde to literally white as kids.

restless
August 5th, 2017, 05:36 AM
So while I can't answer your question, I can say that natural hair like what you bought does exist here (also on grown ups).

Yeah, I agree with this. It´s been many years since I was a teen, but my (caucasian) hair is still soft and fine and it doesnt "squeak". The stuff you´ve got there could definitely be virgin hair.

esfand
August 5th, 2017, 02:05 PM
Maybe the mods could make this post / experiment of yours a sticky and that's how we'll know you're the go-to gal for hair that we cut off and would otherwise throw away. If you can't take an LHC'ers word for whether the hair is virgin or not, I mean...

Other than that. What if you look through the microscope. Can't you tell if it's processed as easy as that? I always was under the impression you could tell, but what do I know. :shrug:

I'd trust an LHCer, because why would anyone lie if their hair is virgin or not?

I actually had access to a $300 microscope for a while and took pictures of some of the hair. It wasn't an electron microscope, which I prefer, but that's out of reach. My pics are on a different hard drive so I gotta go to my office to find it.

Speaking of whether the hair bundles I bought are virgin or not, I guess I can safely assume that they ARE, according to what you all mentioned about hair. Yes it's short and light-shaded (from medium brown to blond bundles), it's fair than course, and there is a deep shine to it, it looks multidimensional. The light shades are also ashen, not brassy at all. I was confused because of lack of squeak, as that's primarily how I can distinguish my hair from the processed bundles I have on hand. My intuition says these bundles ARE unprocessed, just wanted to get input from others. Thanks everyone.

What confuses me about one thing the guy (who sold me the hair) said was that a lot of people don't want 12-13 inch hair because they like long wigs. I mean, I feel like people would like hair at this length because it's cheaper than longer hair, and people who need wigs for hair loss will probably be happy with whatever wig that's good quality (unprocessed), affordable (so short hair), and realistic (human hair). But what do I know, maybe the buyers on hair-selling websites are mostly the ones who sell to glamorous clients than medical hair wigmakers.

I'll post pics of the hair bundles I'll be presenting (both processed and unprocessed). I'd call the hairdressers right now to ask who can spare some time for the blind testing, but my phone isn't working at the moment. ugh

TatsuOni
August 6th, 2017, 04:29 AM
I'd trust an LHCer, because why would anyone lie if their hair is virgin or not?

I actually had access to a $300 microscope for a while and took pictures of some of the hair. It wasn't an electron microscope, which I prefer, but that's out of reach. My pics are on a different hard drive so I gotta go to my office to find it.

Speaking of whether the hair bundles I bought are virgin or not, I guess I can safely assume that they ARE, according to what you all mentioned about hair. Yes it's short and light-shaded (from medium brown to blond bundles), it's fair than course, and there is a deep shine to it, it looks multidimensional. The light shades are also ashen, not brassy at all. I was confused because of lack of squeak, as that's primarily how I can distinguish my hair from the processed bundles I have on hand. My intuition says these bundles ARE unprocessed, just wanted to get input from others. Thanks everyone.

What confuses me about one thing the guy (who sold me the hair) said was that a lot of people don't want 12-13 inch hair because they like long wigs. I mean, I feel like people would like hair at this length because it's cheaper than longer hair, and people who need wigs for hair loss will probably be happy with whatever wig that's good quality (unprocessed), affordable (so short hair), and realistic (human hair). But what do I know, maybe the buyers on hair-selling websites are mostly the ones who sell to glamorous clients than medical hair wigmakers.

I'll post pics of the hair bundles I'll be presenting (both processed and unprocessed). I'd call the hairdressers right now to ask who can spare some time for the blind testing, but my phone isn't working at the moment. ugh

I've met a few older people wearing wigs due to cancer or balding and thoose have been really short (but older people does in general have short hair here). Also some people prefer short hair, so I suppose that they would want the same in a wig.

esfand
August 17th, 2017, 02:14 AM
I know, right? I'd be HAPPY with 12" hair than no hair. I feel like all kinds of hair would have some sort of demand. Oh well.

I had to move, so I wasn't able to focus on the hair stuff for a while. Now all I have to do is find people for the blind test portion, and I'd be good. I am nervous lol what if people can tell right away which is virgin hair or not and my experiment is utter fail, or at least kid's hair (lol seriously though why do kids have such nice hair??). Oh well. Gotta try anyway.

The other virgin samples I have are Indian, Caucasian (it was given to me as a gift when my friend met a lady who decided to cut off a good amount of hair), and I was going to get a Chinese one from a commercial vendor but it turned out to have been acid-treated (so no cuticles). I am debating whether I should cut some of my own hair off for the blind test, and then donate/sell it later, or just end up ventilating another wig.

I think the hair I treated is in much better condition than when I first got them, at least. I think they're good enough for making a wig, at least it feels better than the "human hair" wigs I found at the beauty supply stores.

TatsuOni
August 17th, 2017, 09:44 AM
I know, right? I'd be HAPPY with 12" hair than no hair. I feel like all kinds of hair would have some sort of demand. Oh well.

I had to move, so I wasn't able to focus on the hair stuff for a while. Now all I have to do is find people for the blind test portion, and I'd be good. I am nervous lol what if people can tell right away which is virgin hair or not and my experiment is utter fail, or at least kid's hair (lol seriously though why do kids have such nice hair??). Oh well. Gotta try anyway.

The other virgin samples I have are Indian, Caucasian (it was given to me as a gift when my friend met a lady who decided to cut off a good amount of hair), and I was going to get a Chinese one from a commercial vendor but it turned out to have been acid-treated (so no cuticles). I am debating whether I should cut some of my own hair off for the blind test, and then donate/sell it later, or just end up ventilating another wig.

I think the hair I treated is in much better condition than when I first got them, at least. I think they're good enough for making a wig, at least it feels better than the "human hair" wigs I found at the beauty supply stores.

A wig with shorter hair should be a lot easier to take care of, so I don't see why there wouldn't be anyone wanting one. Also if the hair isn't perfect but looks good it should be okey in a shorter (pixie to apl) wig if you ask me, as they shouldn't be that hard to detangle and wash compared to a longer wig.

esfand
September 8th, 2017, 12:04 AM
I completed the hair experiments and I just have to clean up my notes. I think so far, it could've been better but overall it was a success.

Hair I have been working on so far. There's the virgin hairs, the red colored hair in the middle, and then the set of brown treated hair ready to be donated.

https://i.redd.it/4w9ky7zzclkz.jpg