Guest article

Harnessing tech to improve transparency: the science behind luxury hair extensions

By Lucy Whitehouse contact

- Last updated on GMT

Harnessing tech to improve transparency: the science behind luxury hair extensions
Niche Hair Lab, an indie hair extensions company, and ioLight, a British-based microscope inventor and producer, explain their progress into ‘next generation’ hair extension tech.

In this guest article, we get a case study of responding to consumer demand for ethical, transparent supply chain and materials:

Traditional hair extension options

Prior to Niche Hair Lab’s arrival, hair extension customers were faced with only two limited options, and each one had its flaws:

  1. Shop online, where unknown brands may use stock photos instead of the actual hair you will receive. As a result, the source of the hair may well be unreliable.
  2. Visit the high street and use products that have been chemically enhanced and damage the vitality and vibrancy of the hair, often in a matter of washes.

In response to this, Niche Hair Lab was born in March 2017.

The company is committed to sourcing premium quality raw 100% human Slavic hair and handmade hair extensions.

Proof is in the hair: ioLight

To ascertain the true quality of the hair, Niche Hair Lab’s founders Timea Szoke and Ame Seji required a tool that would enable them to determine whether the cuticles in the hair are intact.

After spending a considerable amount of time researching approaches and applications that would help us guarantee quality assurance, we found ioLight​,” said Szoke.

IoLight was completely transformative and enabled us to develop Niche Hair Lab from a basic idea to a full-fledged business operation.

The insights that ioLight provides has had a significant impact on the personal shopping habits and consumer decisions we make, choosing value over cost, and sustainability and transparency over unknowns​.”

Quality above all else

Based in London, the Hungarian duo typically source Slavic hair from Ukraine.

With up to four busy business trips a year, Szoke and Seji needed an easy-to-transport yet robust instrument that would indicate to suppliers and consumers the condition of the hair with absolute accuracy.

ioLight provides absolute quality assurance for real-life applications while supporting our transparent and socially conscious priorities​,” said Szoke.

The need to provide accurate quality assurance, answers to those curious about hair extensions, and beauty, led the company to ioLight, a British-based microscope inventor and producer.

Using ioLight’s Magnificent Mobile Microscope allows them to ascertain hair quality when travelling abroad to source suppliers and collect hair.

How ioLight works

With a simple Wi-Fi connection, the digital, high-resolution ioLight microscope enables Szoke and Seji to take images and videos.

The ability to transfer precise and detailed images immediately to our tablet has been an integral part of our quality-control and demo process, and enables us to fill the much-needed gap in our market,​” said Seji.

“Once we got the ioLight microscope in our hands, we immediately contacted 29 suppliers and flew to Ukraine four times to meet hair collectors and suppliers.

“We have used our ioLight microscope with every supplier - it has not only given us the confidence to check with 100% absolute certainty the quality of the hair but has enabled us to communicate this to consumers and the industry, with the backing of science​."

The new age of hair analysis

Physical examinations to feel the cuticles and smell the hair can only go so far.

While these can detect the overly shiny and smooth nature of the hair to indicate the presence of silicone, ioLight’s microscope shows, with absolute certainty, whether it has been processed or is artificial.

ioLight’s microscope allows the user to explore the outer layer of the hair shaft and examine the cuticles.

Along with providing peace of mind, this helps consumers avoid suffering the inconvenience associated with the short lifespan of typical hair extensions.

ioLight’s microscope is our first behind-the-scenes quality-control tool. Not only does it enable us to be openly transparent with our entire supply chain, it communicates our credibility, authenticity and trustworthiness​.”

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