Why Wigs Are So Damn Expensive — According to Amaka

October 15, 2022

One minute, you’re scrolling through your social media feed, looking for tweets to make you laugh, instead of doing the work your employer assigned to you; the next minute, you’re being bombarded with arguments about how much wigs should cost. 

Hint: It’s not ₦900k. 

Need context? Here:

Beautiful, yes. So this person went to find out the price and said: 

“Ara adugbo, come and see something o!”

And as most money Twitter conversations go, people were either like:

“Ordinary ₦900k? Something I use to buy data every day. Stop being broke, y’all.”

Or…

Amaka has run Amakashairfordays where she sells wigs, for over six years. She’s made hundreds of sales, so we reached out to find out why wigs cost how much they cost. And if they should really cost that much.

Here are her thoughts on natural hair wigs.

So let’s talk about human hair; there are three grades

Remy, virgin, and raw hair.

Remy hair 

Remy hair is gotten from different sources to make a fine blend. People mix fibre, synthetic, and donor hair. Sometimes you may find things like sack strands in your hair. Remy is processed by heat and other chemicals to get that fine blend.

Simply put, remy hair is cuticle aligned human hair. This means it was processed in a way that the cuticles are facing the same direction, creating a more natural look/feel as opposed to non-remy hair that will have some strands facing a different way. You can easily differentiate with your eyes. Non-remy hair is not free flowing.

Virgin hair

Virgin hair is hair of which its cuticles are already aligned from the donor’s head. Some manufacturers can be funny, but virgin hair is believed to be gotten only from human donors, and not mixed with anything synthetic. Virgin hair is only processed by heat to form different textures — straight, curly, wavy, kinky, afro.

Raw hair

Raw hair is hair from just one donor and hasn’t gone through any processing. We usually have to use deep conditioning to texturise raw hair when it comes because it’s usually coarse and dry.

When styled, virgin hair and raw hair look the same. They come in only straight, wavy and curly textures but can be manipulated to give any texture you want. They can also be relaxed and texturised. Raw hair is the the most durable and expensive hair.

All raw hair is virgin hair, but not all virgin hair is raw hair.

So now, pricing

Remy hair is the least expensive. What you need to know is that the more hair is processed, the lower the durability and price. But apart from base pricing, what really affects wig prices in Nigeria are: dollar rates, foreign exchange (FX) agents, customs clearance and local supplier markups. I’ll break it down.

Dollar rates

One of the worst things to come out of the dollar fluctuations since 2020 is having to increase prices to accommodate for the resulting inflation. I could sell a wig today, and in a month, that same wig is ₦50k more expensive because the dollar rates have shot up, and I’ve had to spend more money on buying the hair. 

What many vendors do is increase their markups so that regardless of the new dollar rates, they’ll still make profits. 

Foreign exchange agents 

I buy hair from Asia: Vietnam, China, North and South Korea. Once they see you’re Nigerian, they send you a Nigerian account number to pay to. They have Nigerian agents who mark up the dollar rates, so when you’re converting at an already crazy rate, you have to pay even more. One way or another, you lose. 

Customs clearance

I ship my goods at $15.5/kg and clear at N550/kg at customs. Wig vendors have to consider these things when setting their prices. 

₦900k for hair?

I currently don’t sell hair for ₦900k, but the hair in that trending video looks like really good quality hair, has a lot of volume and is long — I think it’s about 26”. If I found a supplier that sold hair that good, I could sell hair that expensive too. The market is there. People will buy.


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