Expensive wigs worn by African women come from hair sacrificed to gods, a new report reveals

If you check Instagram, you will see a lot of hair vendors brandishing beautiful black women shaking their ‘virgin’ hair wigs. But where does it all come from?

Indian hair is one of the most popular hairs worn by African women because it is silky, smooth and rarely tangles.

BBC went on a search to uncover where human hair comes from. They went to Tirumala Tirupati temple which is “the most visited temple in the world where 40 to 50 million people visit every year to pray for their problems to be solved, but it isn’t just a temple but the largest collector of human hair in the world, 500 tonnes. Most of the virgin hair we use in wigs in Africa and the world are from here.”

It isn’t only Tirumala temple, all the other temples in India are involved in selling human hair.

Many Indian women feel like the process of shaving their hair is a spiritual one, but do they know or even care that their hair is sold and immediately shipped to wig-making factories?

Most of the hair from different temples is taken to factories where they are steamed and curled and then shipped off to African women who are more than excited to wear this hair even at the most expensive prices.

But it isn’t only from hair sacrificed to idols, to get some petty cash, Indian women sell the hair that falls off when they comb their hair, that’s called comb waste.

An Indian wig seller spoke to the BBC about how excited African women are when they come to a shop full of wigs.

At the core of it, it makes us wonder why we, African women feel the need to wear hair shaved from other women’s heads.

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