Human hair

What is Raw Hair?

Published By: Dasia

Last Updated: November 12, 2021

More and more individuals have learned the importance of educating themselves on the type of hair they buy for an installation.

With so many types of hair on the market it can be difficult to fully understand the true meaning of some of these words. Let’s start with some fundamentals specifically on raw hair. 

We will discuss some of the basics like what raw hair is and what’s the best way to maintain it.

What exactly is raw hair?

Raw hair speaks for itself, it’s 100% raw, unprocessed human hair. This means it hasn’t undergone any chemical, steam, or heat processing.

This type of hair is considered to be the purest hair on the market. It is of high quality and will last for years due to its natural form. 

The hair comes directly from donors and is then thoroughly sanitized. The hair is provided from a single donor that has not chemically or heat processed their hair. Due to the fact that it’s difficult to consistently get hair from a single donor, raw hair can also come from multiple donors.

The variety in raw hair isn’t as extensive as other types, but its quality makes up for that fact. As long as the hair is not processed in any way, you have yourself raw hair.

What types of raw hair are available?

There are 3 common types of raw hair available.

  • Raw Cambodian – This type of hair is known to have a slightly curlier texture and a full body. This thickness makes it perfect to blend with those who have naturally curly hair.
  • Raw Indian – One of the most popular types. Often comes in lighter brown colors. This is ideal for those who want to include leave out, it’s easier to find a shade that matches.
  • Raw Vietnamese – Has a smooth and sleek look. Comes in a straight texture that also works well with blending into leave out. Its smooth texture makes it look amazing in photos.

What is the difference between raw hair and virgin hair?

Raw hair falls into the category of virgin hair. All raw hair is virgin hair, but not all virgin hair is raw hair. The biggest difference between the two is how the strands are processed.

Raw hair has not been altered in any way. This even includes a steam process which gives the hair texture, it behaves exactly like the hair growing from your head. Virgin hair can be steam processed which gives it certain textures like a body wave or loose wave.

Another difference is the texture. Virgin hair can be manipulated resulting in many different styles. Raw hair generally only comes in 2 textures, straight and a natural wave. 

To achieve more textures it would have to undergo steaming. This results in it not being raw anymore. 

Read more: Raw vs Virgin Hair

Benefits of Raw Hair

One of the biggest benefits of raw hair is the fact that it lasts longer than most types of hair. Although it’s expensive, the longevity of the hair makes up for it.

This hair type is great for anyone who has naturally straight hair. Due to the fact that the 2 most common textures are straight and wavy, you can easily find extensions to blend perfectly.

The overall health of the hair results in bouncy, smooth, and silky hair. This texture remains even after it has been washed several times. Since it’s not coated with silicone, it doesn’t get more rough after every wash.

Why wouldn’t raw hair be a good fit for you?

Raw hair can be limited in terms of texture. Generally it comes in straight, wavy, and once in a while curly. Due to this specific point it may not be ideal for someone who enjoys having leave out.

This type of hair needs as much maintenance as your natural hair. Detangling, washing, and moisturizing are all a frequent necessity. This being said, raw hair probably would be the best for someone who wants their hair installed and then not have to worry about it until the next visit.

Make sure to do diligent research on all of the hair you are interested in possibly installing. They will all have slight differences that may make your life a little easier or harder.

How to Maintain Raw Hair

Raw hair tends to be the most dry hair out of all the types. This requires lots of moisturization to keep the hair strands looking and feeling their best.

Co-washing the hair between shampoos in essencial as well as doing hair masks/ deep conditioners weekly.

When picking a styling product try to avoid anything with drying agents such as alcohol. Adding oils on top of your desired styling product is another way to seal in the moisture. 

When you want to refresh the hair you can make a rehydrating spray. Mix a little bit of conditioner and water into a spray bottle. This will refresh the hair in a simple and easy way.

Ideal Products to Have When Dealing with Raw Hair

  • Leave-in conditioner – As we have highlighted before, raw hair is very dry. Applying a leave-in first will allow for moisture to be soaked directly into the hair strands.
  • Oil – Oil is considered a sealant. It keeps in whatever else was previously applied. Best to apply right after a conditioner.
  • Anti-frizz serum – Raw hair reacts like your natural hair meaning it will frizz. Unless you are going for a frizzy look, it would be beneficial to have an anti-frizz serum on hand. 
  • Heat protectant – While raw hair is very healthy and can take the heat well, it’s better to take precautions ahead of time. You don’t want to harm the hair instantly with heat.

How long does raw hair last and what’s its average price?

Raw hair can last up to 3 years if cared for properly. This is drastically longer than any other type of hair. Due to its high quality it makes sense why it can last so long.

That being said it also leads to a big price tag. Raw hair prices can easily start at $200 for even the shortest length of hair. That is quite pricey considering you will have to buy multiple bundles to complete a full look. 

Each vendor has their own standards but raw hair always tends to run more than most other types of hair. It closely adheres to the saying you get what you pay for.

Does raw hair shed?

Technically all hair sheds. Just like your natural hair, when you brush it some hair comes out. That being said, if you notice a lot of strands coming loose and falling out, you likely don’t have real raw hair.

Due to the way the hair is collected, donors have very healthy hair and even with manipulation of the hair it’s not likely to experience extreme shedding. If you do, you may want to look into the supplier and inquire why the hair is shedding extremely.

On average your natural hair loses about 50-100 strands a day. Since the raw hair is attached to a track it should be significantly less than that. You can still expect around this amount to fall out without being alarmed. [1]

How to know if the quality is good and the hair is real?

In reality, you can only know by trying it for yourself.  While this is the case, there are some things you can be on the lookout for during the buying process.

Be on the lookout for the words raw or raw grade, they should be in the description or marketed this way. It’s a good start in initially finding the hair.

Make sure you are using a trusted company. Do research including looking up their social media and reading reviews. If they are a reputable company, reach out and inquire about any additional questions.

Read the reviews of not only the company but the specific product. This gives you insight on what other customers have experienced and they will have received the physical product meaning they have been able to try it for themself. 

While all of these are good starts to finding out about the quality, at the end of the day, you will have to try the hair for yourself. Even if the hair is real and good quality, it still might not be your preference. 

Closing Thoughts

Raw hair is exactly as it sounds, hair that is raw and untouched. Depending on what you are looking for this could be a great choice for you.

There are a handful of different types and textures available. Keep in mind the ways of how to spot good quality extensions.

Even though raw hair is premium quality hair it’s good to look into why this hair wouldn’t be ideal for you. It can be easy to only focus on the positives. 

Regardless if you focus on the goods or the bads, you can’t ignore the fact that raw hair is good quality. Your wallet may hurt a little after you purchase raw hair, but you will definitely enjoy the outcome.


A lover of all things beauty related whose been in the industry for about 5 years. While I'd love to say I'm a self-taught prodigy, I'm actually a licensed cosmetologist who has spent countless hours studying hair. I quickly learned sharing valuable information with like-minded individuals allows everyone to make the right choices when dealing with their hair. As a curly girl myself I love to experiment with different styles on a regular basis. While I do have a busy schedule between work, freelancing, and school; I always seem to find time for my hair.

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