The Gold in Russia Grows on Heads

Sasha Brown-Worsham

In the worldwide quest for blond hair, one country is winning the race and that one precious commodity is now worth more than just compliments.

According to The New York Times, women in Russia are selling their golden locks to makes sure that women in wealthier countries -- the United States being number one -- get to look like Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton.

"Nobody else has this, nobody in the world," said Aleksei N. Kuznetsov, the building’s owner. "Russian hair is the best in the world."

And people will pay handsomely for it. Great Lengths, which supplies much of the human hair to the United States, estimates the worldwide market at $250 million annually and the average cost of the salon procedure to get the extensions is around $439, according to a 2009 survey by American Salon Magazine. At certain posh salons, it can cost thousands.

So how should we feel about this?

Poor women overseas are cutting off their beautiful hair -- their one commodity -- and selling it to spoiled American celebrities.

Isn't that a scene from Les Miserables?

The blond harvest is not necessarily new, having followed an economic development path in recent decades, moving from Western Europe in the 1960s and ’70s, through Poland in the ’80s and to Ukraine and Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. But as more of the world’s light-haired woman have climbed the economic ladder, the search for poor blondes willing to part with their locks has become ever more difficult.

It's a sad story, really. The wealthy socialite working to look better than all the peasants who is actually buying hair from poor women. There is something so sick about it and yet, it's an ingenious way of making money without having to degrade oneself too much. And also, hair grows back.

So, if you find yourself in the salon chair, getting beautiful blond human extensions, now you know they likely came from Russia, with love. Or without it. Eye of the beholder and all that.

Do you think this is weird?

Image via Facebook

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