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Post  Panda on Thu 14 Apr - 7:54

This from a Country which has all these Oligarks, yet the people are still poor.!!!!!
Russian Women Sell Their Hair To The West Share Comments
3:49am UK, Thursday April 14, 2011

Amanda Walker, Moscow correspondent

The celebrity obsession with hair extensions is growing and so is the demand for so-called "virgin Slavic" hair.
Untreated hair from young Russian women makes big profits - but hardly any of it gets passed back to the women at the beginning of the chain.

Katya's job gives her £400 a month. It's enough to get by on, but anything extra is more than welcome. Her long "virgin Slavic" hair is considered the best on the extensions market.

She's come to a dealer in Moscow to sell it. She's welcomed into a small apartment where women sit combing through bunches of anonymous hair. Katya's will soon join the piles they sift through.

The hair is washed, snipped, coloured and dried

In a last-minute wobble, she says her long hair makes her feel beautiful. But her financial need soon outweighs vanity. The scissors are out and her tresses are chopped.

Monitoring proceedings is Russian-born Tatiana Karelina. She is a hair extensions expert in the UK who regularly travels to her homeland to source hair directly from dealers.

he says her clients in London have no great concerns about where the hair has come from.

"They have a rough idea that it’s human hair - that it comes from people. And they ask a few questions - but I am always honest and whatever information I have, I will always give and they are OK with that. Sometimes they are a bit concerned like 'Oh really?' but very rarely."

On top of a pile of ponytails, a particularly gleaming one is pointed out as the creme de la creme, exactly the sort of hair Tatiana travels to Russia for.

Hair extensions provide £10m of revenue for one factory

It will be bought from the Moscow dealer for £300. It will sell in a London salon for £800. It came from three Russian women. For each, this was a final resource to tap in times of need.

Thousands of women across Russia have done the same as Katya.

The Belli Capelli hair factory on the outskirts of Moscow is the country's largest hair factory with an annual revenue of £10m.

Mountains of hair are being washed, snipped, coloured and dried by dozens of workers over three floors.

Some of it is from the Soviet era. Post-perestroika, hair is becoming less valuable. As Russia prospers, women are gaining more access to dyes and styling products - thereby lessening the quality.

Back at the hair dealer's, Katya receives her £40 and leaves, significantly lighter and slightly better off.

She expresses little concern that her hair will now end up on the head of an infinitely wealthier Western woman.

Award-winning coverage from Sky:

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