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Company turns unexpected material into affordable, itch-free hair extensions: 'Tackling the itchiness and the wastefulness'

Rebundle says its patent-pending technology is 97% bio-based, earning the USDA's certified bio-based product label.

Rebundle hair extensions out of banana fibers

Photo Credit: @rebundle.co / Instagram

Rebundle is tackling the plastic plague with the first U.S.-made plant-based hair extensions.

The hair extension industry is huge, with 13% of women using them. And though they offer benefits, like adding length and volume to your hair, the industry has a dark side. 

Hair extensions can be made from real human hair, but nearly 44% use synthetic materials like acrylic, nylon, or polyester, which contain toxins, carcinogens, and endocrine disruptors, according to Rebundle. These chemicals cause scalp irritation in about a third of users. 

And then there's the environmental impact. Rebundle Founder and CEO Ciara Imani May says that 30 million pounds of plastic synthetic hair end up in landfills each year. 

The solution? Banana fiber.

Rebundle's banana-fiber hair extensions, which are non-toxic, vegan-friendly, and biodegradable, provide a better alternative to traditional products. They can even be composted along with your veggies and also recycled by sending them back to the company.

Banana fiber is one of the world's strongest natural fibers, and it has been utilized for centuries in textile making, first appearing in 13th-century Japan. 

After the rise of cotton and silk, it took a backseat until its recent revival in the fashion industry. Rebundle's new product demonstrates yet another use for banana fiber, but it's not the only hair extension company to utilize the material — a Uganda-based startup also makes hair extensions and rugs out of bananas.

Rebundle says its patent-pending technology is 97% bio-based, earning the USDA's certified bio-based product label.

"We're really tackling the itchiness and the wastefulness issues in the hair extensions industry," May says in an Instagram video, adding that she started looking into other fibrous materials that could serve as alternatives to plastic because she herself suffered from an itchy scalp after wearing hair extensions.

You can order extensions directly from the Rebundle website, where you can also find a braider

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