Raw Hair vs Virgin Hair: Differences & How to Tell Them Apart

8 min read

When buying human hair extensions, the difference between raw and virgin hair quality is what creates such dramatically varying price ranges. Vietnamese and raw Indian hair is usually of 100% unaltered quality. Colored or kinky curly hair bundles, and those with a deep wave or body wave pattern, however, have probably been chemically processed and are not truly virgin.

Raw Hair

What does raw hair mean and how to find raw hair vendors? Unlike virgin hair, the raw hair meaning describes natural human hair that is simply cut and 100% unprocessed. No chemical, steam, or heat treatments were applied to this type of hair yet. For this reason, it is rightfully considered the purest and most natural type of hair existing in the hair beauty and salon industry.

Although the raw hair was not specifically treated to extend its life, it doesn’t mean it remains exactly as it was when it was cut. First, it is thoroughly going through a sanitization process. and it is supposed to last for several years without any issues.


When it comes to hairstyles that you can apply to this type of raw hair, usually not much can be changed. That’s because it mainly comes from donors in areas like India, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Burma. People in these areas have a certain hair pattern towards the rigid side, and cannot be easily arranged in a fashionable style, wavy or tightly curled.


The basic raw hair types, that all suppliers provide directly or to salons, are three: straight, wavy, and natural wave. However, some also offer raw curly hair. The quality of raw hair is less silky when compared to virgin hair, its texture is coarse, and as time goes by even brittle. But the real downside is that there are not so many options for its style.


The benefits of raw hair are connected to its unicity. You won’t find two similar bundles. The differences are not big, sometimes you don’t even notice it, yet, there are never identical, because of the absence of all types of treatment, which might create a similar pattern.

Usually, a bundle comes from only one donor. This is what defines raw hair, besides the absence of processing.


Due to these conditions, getting numerous bundles of of the exact same raw hair is not an easy job. Whereas for users, this means that applying raw hair implies multiple donors. Most companies that sell raw hair specify on their products if this is a multiple donor or single donor. Even if the hair cannot come from a single hair donor, the quality and appearance of this raw hair are nevertheless, stunning and unitary. That is because hair distribution businesses do their best to uniformly align the hair cuticles between the hair bundles coming from different donors.

Virgin Hair

The type of quality virgin hair you can find on the market today varies greatly between sellers and you really need to pay attention to the details. The term virgin is used very loosely, and it is more of an insinuation that the hair is not of high raw hair quality, rather than it being untouched.

Processed virgin hair is by far the most popular and most frequently used type of hair in the hair fashion and extension industry. Why, because it’s cheaper than raw hair and because it’s normally chemically processed or altered in some ways to make it look shinier and more stylish.

High Quality

High-quality virgin hair extensions will cost more, but they will not be chemically processed in any way, and are generally only steam-processed to maintain the hair and cuticle integrity.

Low Qualify

Most hair bundles that you can find on Alibaba and through online hair vendors are actually non-virgin hair. As in you are buying processed virgin hair that has been chemically altered or mechanically manipulated during manufacturing.

These changes are due to market demand for specific textures and colors, which are simply not available from single donor raw hair. When multiple donors are used, the imperfection of virgin hair is more noticeable. To attain more desirable results, virgin hair is then severely manipulated to achieve the desired style, texture, and coloring that consumers want, but can’t find in raw hair bundles.


Chemically treated hair is much more attractive and appealing. It is uniform and shinny, as a result of a chemical coat that envelops each piece of hair. However, the downside is that these chemical treatments tend to change in quality and appearance with time, and with every washing and styling, especially when using heat. It can become matte, tangled, or shed, in some cases, it even changes color.

You should be extra careful when you want to purchase virgin hair. Many companies sell products under the title of “virgin hair”, however that has been somehow chemically processed. This automatically makes it non-virgin.

Remy Hair

Raw hair comes from natural cut hair, but with virgin hair, you really have to be careful of its origin. Believe it or not, the majority of virgin hair sold these days is coming from hairballs.

Yes, manufacturers can turn hairballs into glamorous-looking hair extensions through heavy chemical processing. It can then be labeled then as virgin hair which even further dilutes the gold standard.

These hairballs are from by collecting excess from hair combs, sink and shower drains. The ball mass is then cleaned, dried, and manually straighten, piece by piece.

India is the number #1 exporting country of hairballs and you might know the end products as Remy hair or Goli Hair. The main buyer of hairballs is China, according to a recent BBC news report China also gathers virgin hairballs in huge amounts from their local population. Put together it is marketed and sold as Mongolian or Peruvian hair even though it’s not from those regions.


The main difference between raw hair and virgin hair extensions is that raw hair is completely untouched, while what’s being sold today as virgin hair is usually not virgin at all.

The number of donors is usually lower in raw hair bundles, but it still can come from multiple people. Since the supply is low for raw hair, there’s also a lot less variety in terms of styles, textures, and colors.


The biggest difference between raw hair and virgin hair is the level of intervention on the original hair.

Raw hair is the purest form of extension, 100% unaltered. This raw variant is only cut directly from the donor, then washed, conditioned, and directly sold to clients. You can find it in any form: wigs, clip-ins, tips, wefts, etc. Most often it looks like your own natural hair and it blends in very well with most hair types. Typically, raw hair only comes in three different textures, which are straight, wavy, and curly.

By definition, virgin human hair should mean 100% natural human hair that was not processed or manipulated in any way, shape, or form. When it comes to virgin hair extensions though, the reality is the exact opposite.

Virgin hair could simply mean that was once 100% virgin human hair but not good enough quality to qualify as 100% raw human hair. When virgin hair bundles are formed by numerous donors they are typically processed or manipulated to create a uniform color and texture.

Sometimes the color or texture is not altered but the so-called virgin hair is still treated with a chemical to give an appealing luster at first glance. Other times the natural virgin bundles are mixed in with synthetic fibers for abundance and extra shine.


The main difference between virgin and raw hair is the fact that the raw variant is cut directly from a donor, and can be just a single one. Whereas the virgin bundles are generally from numerous donors and are usually altered in some way to make them look like they came from a single donor.

Low-quality virgin hair like Remy/Goli hair extensions is typically collected from comb leftovers or plug holes. This mix of otherwise useless hair is then severely processed and chemically treated to make it look like it came from a single donor rather than fifty or more.


Raw hair is coarse, whereas virgin hair is shiny. However virgin hair shouldn’t be extra luscious either unless treated somehow. If you are being sold an extra silky “virgin” hair, you should expect to be a bit treated. Cambodian hair is very coarse, yet it is the most sought-after. The next in line when it comes to texture requests, is the Vietnamese, the Indian, and the Burmese hair.

People usually prefer coarser hair as it is easy to style, and lasts up to four weeks. Unlike silkier virgin hair, which after styling lasts a maximum of two days.

Double Drawn

The double draw is usually a selection process characteristic of raw hair. This means that the short hair pieces are removed from the bundle manually. This makes the final result full and thick from one end hair to the other.

Virgin hair is most times single-drawn, so it is not equally distributed. It is thicker at the top and thinner near the bottom.


As it is fully natural hair, the raw pieces absorb and change color easily, with great results. Yet we recommend you to do this together with a hair dyeing specialist who operates with good products.

Coloring hair extensions or wigs must be done with extra care since it is more delicate than the original hair. If the hair is colored too often the hair cuticle can be affected. Virgin hair can get even more damaged by chemical treatment, become matte, or even get burned, and the cuticle is forever destroyed.