Hair extensions have become huge of the last few years and we all love to add a little length to glam up our look for a big night out- but have you ever wondered where that hair really comes from?
"It's horse hair," swears my friend, "Or from dead people. Honestly who would really cut off all their own hair if it was that long?" Well he's wrong. There are in fact thousands of people around the world who do just that every day and they don't always get paid for it.
The best quality hair comes from Asian or Eastern European countries where poverty is high and work is poorly paid. These women often see selling their hair as the best way to make money and feed their families.
The 'hair factories' are very serious when they sign women into a contract to grow their hair a certain length and have strict conditions under which the hair must grow.
The women- and sometimes whole families- must keep their hair away from any contact with pollutants and make sure it is kept in top condition while to grows. Sometimes the factories even provide food for it's workers to ensure that the hair grows to a good enough standard.
When the time comes for the hair to be harvested the women line up at the factory before their heads are shaved completely bald and they are sent out to start the whole process again.
This may seem like a girl's worst nightmare to you but for many of these women it is the easiest and most effective way of providing for their family and the alternatives are much much worse.
However not all hair 'donors' benefit financially from such a huge sacrfice. In some parts of India women are conned out of their precious locks without even knowing they are then being sold to beef up the hair of beauty conscious women around the world.
In 2006 the Daily Mail reported how in the hills of Tirupati, in India, a Hindu temple has become the second richest religious site in the world- due mostly to it's sale of human hair.
The newspaper reported how every day, up to 4,000 women visit the temple to take part in a religious ceremony, called tonsuring, during which they shave off their hair as a sacrifice to the god Vishnu.
These women believe that taking part in the ceremony is a sign that they are willing to give up their pride and vanity, and to thank the gods or ask them for health and happiness in the future- but what they don't know is they are also making a lot of money for those who run the temple.
After the ceremony all the hair that is collected is combed, sorted into lengths and dyed before being shipped to Western countries to sell as wigs and hair extentions.
So while we see our extensions as a great way to give us a beauty boost and make us feel great as we hit the town- there is in fact a much bigger human story behind every lock of hair.
Caz Moss- Female First