We women tend to believe that much of our physical beauty lies in our hair, its texture, the way we wear it and its length. Although it doesn’t necessarily hold true, many women believe wavy, curly, and silky hair has the best texture. But does hair define who we are? Our passion for hair has become an expression of fitting with what many consider “good hair.” As we tend to search for what we call “good hair” we often find ourselves spending more money on hair extensions than we realize.

In purchasing extensions we try and find hair that not only looks good but is reusable and versatile. Today, the most desirable hair is Indian hair. Indian hair is first sacrificed by women, children, and men to the gods of the Hindu culture. One Hindu belief is that one should sacrifice their hair for god’s sake. The hair is cut off as a form of letting go of the ego and devoting one’s life to god.

Indians donate their hair out of gratitude and they believe they in turn receive a blessing. The sacrifice is usually made in temples of worship, where they pray to their gods before making the sacrifice. Once the hair has been cut off, it is collected and made ready for auction. The hair is then auctioned in bulk at the cost of millions of dollars, and is sold by multiple tons to various middlemen and wholesale distributors.

After it is washed, dried and cut into varying lengths, the hair is tied up in bundles and made ready for export to distribution centers all over the world, eventually winding up in local stores and hair salons.

Millions of women invest good money in the purchase of Indian hair, ranging from $20 to $100 an ounce, which of course depends on the number of inches desired. The lengths vary from 6 to 35 inches, considering that the average head requires 5 to 8 inches. The hair is capable of lasting years after purchase and can be worn many times. You can color it, straighten it, wash it and curl it. It is a 100 percent virgin, meaning that it is clean authentic hair, not synthetic, and very strong.

We women invest in Indian hair because we aspire to a “certain look,” which we believe enhances our physical beauty. We spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars, to create that look. We will often sacrifice such necessities as food and clothing, and neglect to pay bills to purchase the hair. In other words, we sacrifice things we need to purchase hair that has been sacrificed by Hindus to their gods.

So, in effect, Hindus are releasing their egos and devoting themselves to their gods while we’re boosting our egos by purchasing their hair for beauty. We search for the ideal of beauty when in reality what we purchase is only superficial. To the people in India hair does not make a difference in who they are. On the other hand, we who are consumers of Indian hair believe hair helps define who we are, as well as aid in making us beautiful.

Although the hair is being used by us for physical glamor, it has spiritual beauty to Hindus.

But after all is said and done, beauty is more than what is worn to adorn, and we aren’t defined by our physical appearance.