Raw hair vs virgin hair: what’s the difference and why should you care? Well, first off, you might want to care for the sake of your pocket. Raw hair is more expensive than virgin hair and if you don’t know the difference between the two, you might end up getting cheated in the market.
Today’s article will help you understand what raw hair and virgin hair are. It will also help you differentiate between the two types of hair like a pro. And finally, we will be showing which hair to consider according to your personal needs.
Let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
What is Raw Hair?
The term “raw hair” is a relatively new one in the hair industry. However, if you’re hair obsessed, then you’ve probably already heard about it.
So, what is raw hair? If you guessed that it is hair that is completely unprocessed, then you’re right. When you talk about raw hair, you’re talking about 100% human hair that has not seen any form of processing including heat and steam processing.
Raw hair is the absolute purest form of human hair you can find in the market. There’s simply nothing like it, we’re talking premium quality that can literally last you years here. We kid you not!
One thing about raw hair that is both its beauty and its bane is that no two bundles of raw hair are the same. Usually, the difference between two bundles might not be gaping, but best believe you won’t ever find two identical raw hair bundles. The reason for this is that raw hair does not undergo steam which is what gives other kinds of human hair the uniform patterns that they have.
Now, in the past, raw hair strictly referred to hair that was not just free from all kinds of processing including chemical and heat/steam processing but also hair that is obtained from a single donor. However because of the increasing demand for raw hair among hair lovers, that’s a fit that’s becoming impossible to achieve. Hence, the definition of raw hair is widening to include hair that is sourced from multiple donors as long as the manufacturers do not process the hair at all and in any way.
Features of Raw Hair
1. Donors are From One Area
The donors from which raw hair is sourced are typically found in India, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Typically, hair from these countries are straight or wavy, so they are similar to most hair types. That said, it’s usually difficult to find raw hair that comes in tightly curled patterns.
2. Typically Lasts Long
Raw hair is the longest-lasting human hair type you can lay your hands on as they are sourced directly from the donors’ scalps. Although they aren’t processed, they typically undergo intense sanitization processes.
There are only three styles that raw hair comes in which are the straight style, the wavy one, and the curly one. Also, raw hair is typically coarser and not quite as silky as virgin hair. Remember we mentioned that raw hair is not steam processed which is usually what makes other hair kinds silky and their patterns uniform.
It’s usually very rare to find curly raw hair.
Types of Raw Hair
There are three types of raw hair and they are:
1. Raw Indian Hair
Raw Indian hair is usually light brown in colour and easily blends in with different hair colors and types. It’s definitely a buyer-favorite.
2. Raw Vietnamese Hair
If you’re in the market for perfectly straight raw hair, then you might want to look out for raw Vietnamese hair. Vietnamese hair is very smooth to the touch and will blend in perfectly if you have smooth, straight hair. Raw vietnamese hair is a popular choice among celebrities.
3. Raw Cambodian Hair
Raw Cambodian hair is quite thick and is a great idea for women with curly hair.
What is Virgin Hair?
We will only be touching on this briefly as we already did an exhaustive post on it last time. If you missed that, you can click here to read our comprehensive guide on virgin hairs. It answers the questions about virgin hair that we might be unable to devote time to in this article.
That said, virgin hair is much more popular than raw hair in the hair space. This is for a number of reasons. One reason is that raw hair is a relatively new discovery as we mentioned. Also, virgin hair is premium quality (not as high quality as raw hair definitely) but at a more affordable price. Plus, there’s more variety with virgin hair which means more choices for buyers.
That said, virgin hair usually refers to hair that has never been chemically processed. That is, hair that has never been permed, color-treated, relaxed, dyed, or bleached.
Virgin hair undergoes another form of processing though referred to as steam processing which is pretty much what it sounds like. Unlike chemical processing, steam processing is not too harsh to the hair and when done properly helps to improve the quality and even the longevity of the hair. Plus, it’s what gives virgin hair its silkiness and the variety of styles that virgin hair comes in.
So, today, you can find virgin hair in a variety of unique, gorgeous styles like deep wave, body wave, silky straight, kinky curl, loose wave, kinky straight, curly wave, Afro kinky, natural wave, water wave, and many other unique styles.
Unlike raw hair, virgin hair bundles are typically identical to one another. Hence, making a wig or a sew-in style is effortless. Plus, since the hair is steam-processed, the hair will remain in the style and pattern in which you bought it for as long as you have it.
Features of Virgin Hair
1. Virgin Hair Can be Colored
When you buy high quality virgin hair like the ones we have in our store, it is possible to color it because of the quality and strength of virgin hair strands. Just make sure you give it to a professional to do that for you if you’re not a professional yourself.
2. It is Also Quite Durable
If you take care of your virgin hair properly, it will last you as long as possible. This is because virgin hair has never been chemically processed, hence, its structural integrity is untouched.
So, Raw Hair Vs Virgin Hair — What’s the Difference?
Here are bullet points to take home with you.
1. Raw hair and virgin hair are sourced from human donors. However, raw hair is 100% unprocessed. It is simply washed, attached to wefts and then sold. Virgin hair, on the other hand, is steam processed but never chemically processed.
2. The steam processing that virgin hair undergoes gives it the uniform wave and curl patterns you find in virgin hair. It also means that virgin hair can be found in many exotic styles.
Raw hair, on the other hand, isn’t processed at all, so it only comes in three styles: straight, wavy, and curly (curly is quite rare though). In other words, there’s no such thing as deep wave or body wave raw hair.
3. Raw hair is the more expensive of the two as it is the highest quality of human hair you can find in the market. Virgin hair comes in at second best. It is also expensive, but not as expensive as raw hair.
4. Raw hair lasts the longest of all hair types. It can last up to 4 years if you treat it like your baby. Virgin hair, on the other hand, would last 2 years max no matter how well you take care of it.
Now, Which One Should You Go For — Raw Hair or Virgin Hair?
Here are some factors you want to consider before you make your choice.
1. As you know, virgin has many different styles, textures, and curl patterns. So, if you want body wave or kinky straight, or natural wave, then you’d have to go for virgin hair not raw hair.
2. As for maintenance, raw hair and virgin hair require different maintaining techniques. So, in many instances, the products you use for raw hair are usable on virgin hair but it’s not vice versa. If you use your virgin hair products on raw hair, you could damage the hair.
3. Raw hair is quite expensive, the cheapest ones you’d find would probably be up to 3 to 4 times more than some virgin hair bundles in the market.
4. Because raw hair is typically sourced directly from the donors, it’s often in limited supply. Sellers often have to wait for a couple of months to get a fresh batch of raw hair. So, in other news, raw hair isn’t always in circulation.
Virgin hair, on the other hand, is ubiquitous and you will always be able to buy them.
We Know No One’s Asking, But Here’s Our Tuppence
The better choice between raw hair and virgin hair is more of a subjective choice than an objective one. So, what do you prefer? Do you prefer raw hair with its slightly coarser texture, or would you prefer the chic styles, patterns, and textures that virgin hair affords?
The most important thing is to ensure that whichever you go for, you’re getting a high-quality product that gives you value for your money.
How to Care for and Maintain Raw Hair Extensions
We already looked at how to care for virgin hair in our last article (click here to read that). So, today, we will be showing you how to care for and maintain your raw hair extensions. Spoiler, it’s quite different from how you’d take care of virgin hair.
1. Shampooing and Conditioning
The most important thing to note when thinking of shampoos and conditioners for your raw hair extensions is you want products that are sulfate-free. Sulfate is that component of shampoo that causes it to lather. But it also strips the hair of its essential oils and irritates the scalp for those with sensitive skin.
Now, we know you’ve probably seen dozens of videos on youtube that tell you that silicon mix conditioner is great for reviving old hair extensions. However, please heed us when we say do not do that to your raw hair extension. Silicon mix is too heavy for raw hair and what you want when it comes to raw hair is super light products.
As with virgin hair, when it comes to drying, air-dry rather than blow-dry to prevent heat damage, shedding, and overall damage to your raw hair extensions.
2. Deep Conditioning
Deep conditioning is another cardinal law that you must not break when handling raw hair. With a good deep conditioner, you clean your hair while keeping it soft, shiny, and manageable.
Now, when deep conditioning, ensure that the deep conditioner sits in the hair for, at least, 30 minutes so you get much better results.
3. Comb and Brush the Right Way
For raw hair, it’s best to desist from combing as it increases the chances of shedding. You can comb other hair types with a wide-toothed comb, but for your raw hair, get a paddle brush instead. This is what you’d use for detangling and brushing your raw hair extensions.
As usual, begin detangling from the tips and work your way up gradually to the roots. Don’t forget to support your hair some inches away from the section you’re detangling with your free hand.
4. Preferably, No Heat Styling
If you want to curl your raw hair extensions, it’s best not to use any heat methods. Perm rods, bendy rollers, braids, and bantu knots can help you achieve literally any curl pattern you might be going for. So, you really can do without heat-styling.
5. But Since the World As We Know It Would End if You Don’t Use Heat…
Hope you caught the sarcasm in that statement?
Anyway, if you must apply heat, then be thoughtful enough to use a heat protectant first. Also, whatever the case, do not exceed 350 degrees so that you don’t damage your extensions.
Other Care Instructions
As a rule of thumb, once you get your raw hair, make sure you inspect it to be sure that you got the right product. Once you’ve confirmed that it is indeed raw hair, then wash and condition the hair before you install the hair. We already showed you how to do that in the section preceding this.
Lastly, when turning in for the night, braid your hair up, or put it in bendy rollers, or roll them into bantu knots. Once that’s done, wear a satin bonnet or scarf. You can also sleep on a satin pillow. Whichever the case, what you’re going for is to reduce the friction between your hair and your pillow which is bad for the hair.
So, Which are You Getting Next?
Now that you know the difference between raw and virgin hair, which hair would you be purchasing next? Head on to our store now for a huge selection of the highest quality human hairs money can afford.