Did you just say human hair? Usually you only think of growth with hair while it's on your head, but now this industry is starting to boom. So what exactly can you do with this hair? Well, fashion designers are creating clothes from it that go for up to 30,000 U.S. dollars. Hairdressers will charge up to $3,500 for extensions, which normally will go for around $1,000 dollars a pop. The amino acids in hair can be used as a food additive. Hair is actually very useful for mopping up crude oil.
Many may be disgusted with these facts (especially with the fact it may be used in foods), but there are real benefits here. Let's start with the fact it can be used as a food additive. The hair on top of your head is full of L-cysteine, which can be used as a flavor enhancer or flour improver. It has been used a lot in bread dough for pizza and bagels, and even gives some food a meat-like flavor, like with dog food. As people realized this, using human hair really declined starting 10 years ago. Now most companies will use the L-cysteine from chicken and duck feathers.
How about fashion? "Once people get their heads round wearing human hair I think it will become mainstream. It will be like wearing fur, a luxury," fashion designer Charlie Le Mindu told BBC in a recent interview. I'm not so sure about that, but some people in the fashion industry have used the hair to thicken fur coats, which in turn means that these expensive commodities can be made for less money. That will open up a market to the emerging middle classes from around the world.
Worried about BP's recent oil spill? Why not donate your hair clippings for the cause? The ecological charity Matter of Trust, runs an international Hair for Oil Spills program. Each hair follicle has a huge surface area which oil will easily stick to. This charity will make "booms", which are hair filled nylon tights. They work great in cleaning up oil spills, and I'm sure you could use your clippings for that oil mess in your garage as well!
Lastly I'll get to hair extensions. This not only is a great business opportunity, but a humanitarian effort and global trade opportunity as well. Most of the hair comes from Indian temples, where Hindu pilgrims will shave their heads for a religious ritual. This is a multi-million dollar business. All of the money made in India gets put back into chariable foundations. Meanwhile, the hair is bought by Italian importers, who wash and process it. From there it moves on to salons all over the world, being made into extensions. It's quite a fad now with several celebrities showing off the look and endorsing them.
Whether it's in your food or on another person's head, the trade of human hair is growing. Whether business entrepreneurs take advantage of this or not is yet to be seen. But one thing is for sure, you won't look at your hair the same way again.