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Whether Spanish Wavy or European Straight, getting the right hair for our weaves is serious business! Clutch reached out to Hair-Ex founder Leslie Leland to educate us on the authenticity and maintenance of human hair extensions.

Q: What inspired you to start your business, Hair-Ex?
My friends and colleges in the entertainment Industry. Mostly everyone around me was wearing hair extensions and there weren’t any African American female based companies that offered a premium quality product. I wanted to be the face and the source for woman of color in the marketplace.

Q: There have been numerous articles and discussions, including the documentary, Black Hair, which has highlighted the hold by Koreans on the African American hair care industry. As an African American woman entering into the business, how has the response been from both distributors and consumers? Do you find that there are allegiances made among the distributors and their sources?
I deal directly with the source in India; I traveled to India in 2005 to establish my relationships who proved to very helpful and supportive. Consumers express their appreciation to me for educating them on the history and maintenance of good quality hair extensions.

Q: How you do determine what ‘good quality’ hair is?
By the hair being virgin, non-processed and by the cuticle layer being intact and not inverted. The cuticle layer is the outermost protective layer of the hair shaft. If this layer is damaged or inverted, the hair will matte and tangle.

Q: Your brand is called Virgin Temple Cut Hair; tell us about the process in which you acquire this hair.
My brand is hand selected from the temples in India and separated by length and texture. The hair is then washed in apple base Indian shampoo and conditioner, steamed or sun dried, inspected and packaged for sale to the general public.

Q: Some of us are rough sleepers- we go to bed beautiful and wake up with a bird’s nest on our heads. What’s the best way to maintain the upkeep of our extensions overnight?
A satin or silk bonnet or scarf is key. To maintain curls, body or waves the hair should be braided or put in a ponytail. For a straight layered style, you should wrap the hair going in either direction.

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Q: What are some daily styling tips when using the Hair-Ex brand?
Less combing and brushing throughout the day. Use your fingers for separation and daily maintenance.

Q: What are the best styling products to use on human hair?
We love Infusium 23 Leave-in Conditioner and Aveda Brilliant Finishing Gloss.

Q: How important is it to condition your extensions?
Very important, conditioning your hair extensions rebuilds and fortifies the cuticle layer.

Q: What are some of the biggest don’ts when it comes to hair extensions?
Hair-Ex brand extensions should be treated like your own hair. You should never assume that your hair extensions don’t require the normal maintenance and daily care as your own hair.

Q: Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent tangling?
We use a hydrating detangling deep conditioner by Infusium 23.

Q: How often should a weave be replaced?
At least 9 to 12 weeks for the upkeep of your own hair. Our extension hair brand does last up to a year which allows you to re-use throughout the year. It’s the most cost effective hair out in the marketplace today.

Q: Aside from providing authentic quality human hair, what are the other services that Hair-Ex offers?
We install sew in weaves inside our retail location as well as weekly maintenance, shampoo, conditioning treatments etc.

Q: Lastly, what are some goals we can expect in the near future for the Hair-Ex brand?
We plan to expand our retail locations to Houston, TX, Brooklyn NY and Phoenix, AZ.

For more information about Leslie Leland and Hair-Ex please visit www.leslieleland.com and www.hair-ex.com

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