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Hair again

The Guardian today reports on a story Socialist Courier posted about back in March - the business of selling human hair.

 Hair extensions sales are up to £60m a year and growing (pardon the pun).  Last year HM Revenue and Customs recorded more than £38m worth of hair (human, with some mixed human and animal) entering the country, making the UK the third biggest importer of human hair in the world.

Yet behind the profitis what hair historian Caroline Cox calls the "dark side" of the industry. Most hair comes from countries where long, natural hair remains a badge of beauty - but where the women are poor enough to consider selling a treasured asset. Much of the hair on sale comes from small agents who tour villages in India, China, and eastern Europe, offering poverty-stricken women small payments to part with their hair. As one importer, based in Ukraine, told the New York Times recently: "They are not doing it for fun. Usually only people who have temporary financial dif…

selling yourself

The UK's wig making industry is estimated to be worth up to £18 million according to the National Framework Agreement of Wig Supply. There are no official figures for the hair extension industry; however recent estimates put the value at £65 million. In 2009 nearly £15m worth of treated human hair - it has been washed and sometimes dyed - was imported into the UK, according to Customs and Excise.

Brazil, along with India, has long led the way in the lucrative global market in human hair. In the past few years, demand from UK businesses for human hair extensions has increased significantly, according to industry reports. The UK is now the third-largest buyer of human hair worldwide, behind the US and mainland China.

"As the demand outweighs supply, the price for the hair has increased. Which is one reason more people consider selling their hair as it is now considered a valuable commodity." says Emma Furlong, spokesperson for the UK's biggest supplier of wigs to the …