Hair Thieves

I decided to get my hair and nails done before the baby is born because I know I won’t have a chance to afterwards. I used to actually work in this salon on Newbury Street so it’s always kind of fun to go back and see everyone.

I mentioned to my stylist that one of the other stylist had gorgeous long hair. She told me they were hair extensions. She called the girl over so she could show them to me. I know this may seem weird, but hair extensions aren’t really common here in Boston. We are kind of down to earth, so I was a little curious about them.

The other stylist gave me her card. She told me that they cost between $600 and $1000. As soon as she left, my own hair stylist turned to me and said, “And if you ever get them, I will stop being your stylist.” I asked her why, and she said she saw an HBO documentary about where hair extensions come from. According to her, roving bands of hair bandits tackled girls on the street of Calcutta and cut off their hair.

I looked for this documentary, and I wonder if she isn’t confused. What I found was the documentary below where the Indian girl is sacrificing her hair to a god at a temple ceremony. Unbeknownst to her, her hair is going to be sold to a hair broker for a lot of money. Still pretty appalling. At any rate, I am pretty sure I can keep a promise not to buy $1000 hair extensions. Really, not a problem.


Update (5 minutes later). The more I think about this, the more this pisses me off. I feel like women are always being manipulated either by religion or love to sacrifice things of value. Then other people profit from it.

Dammit. I really mean it. No hair extensions.


10 thoughts on “Hair Thieves

  1. Hairpieces for rich women made from poor women’s hair are nothing new. If you look to literature, Fantine sells her hair in Les Mis, and so does Delia in O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” Hair bandits are just being more direct about it.

  2. Hehe. I can’t help with the under-eye cream thing, but let me try to set your mind at ease about the hair-extensions :).

    Devotees at Tirupati in Southern India (the only shrine I know of where people donate/make offerings of hair) give knowing that the hair will be sold. Legend has it that the deity at Tirupati took out a loan to finance his wedding and the interest is a killer; so devotees donate money, jewels, lottery tickets (!), hair… whatever they can to help him repay his debt.

    It’s a sweet sthalapurana (place myth) about how ordinary mortals can help gods. The temple trust uses the money it earns largely to support several charities. And also men make hair offerings far more often than women do.

    Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family! Thanks for keeping this an open blog and writing so beautifully. xx

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