Hair Grading Explained — What Does 7A, 8A, 9A, 10A Hair Mean?

You’ve definitely come across a peculiar, alphanumeric code when trying to buy your weaves either at our store or elsewhere. Today, we want to help crack that code and that’s why our conversation today will be centered around hair grading.

When buying weaves, you often see “grade 9A” or “grade 10A,” but what do these codes mean? Well, the general belief touted in the hair industry is that these codes speak to the quality of hair you’re buying. So, as the numeric value of the grade increases, so does the quality of the hair increase.

Is this true or is there more to this than meets the eye? Well, you can bet there’s more that meets the eye, hence the reason for our article today.

Now, for a bit of history.

The History of the Hair Grading System

Hair grading began with Chinese manufacturers. These manufacturers created this system as a fast and easy (not to mention “catchy”) way to express to their customers how high quality their hair extension is.

Now, each year, this grading evolves and they add an extra A to the previous A or As as the case may be. This is supposed to distinguish newer models as being of higher quality than the other hair extensions previously available. However, today, the most popular hair grades available in the market are grades 6A to 10A.

Different Hair Grades and their Meaning

Grades 4A and 5A

Grades 4A and 5A, as you might guess, are low-quality hair, and although they could be 100% human hair, they are usually non-remy. That is, the cuticles are usually totally stripped and not running in the same direction.

Another thing about grades 4A and 5A hair is that they usually appear quite thin and because their cuticles have been stripped, they are prone to matting and tangling. They also barely last longer than a month.

You probably should not buy these kinds of hair at lengths longer than 12 inches as it would be very difficult to manage.

Grade 6A

Grade 6A is of better quality than grades 4A and 5A but not necessarily great hair quality according to this grading system. Grade 6A is usually Remy hair, all the same. So, all the cuticles, at least, move in the same direction.

It’s best to go for straight hair when buying grade 6A hair. Up to 18 inches of straight hair and grade 6A will still look good. It can even be dyed medium blond but let a professional do the dyeing as this hair is easy to damage. 

However, if it’s curly or wavy hair you want, it’s better to go for a higher grade.

With proper care, 6A hair can last reasonably long but not up to one year.

Grade 7A

Grade 7A is where things start getting good. Grade 7A is typically Remy hair with all cuticles intact and moving in the same direction. 7A hair is usually strong and thick, lasts longer than 6A, and isn’t as prone to tangling and matting as other hair types. 

Nonetheless, it’s still a little prone to tangling. So, you might want to use some detangling shampoo on your hair once every three months, at least.

Grade 7A can be dyed to platinum blonde without damaging the hair too severely.

Grades 8A and 9A

By the time you get to 8A and 9A, you’re looking at 100% virgin hair. By this, we mean that the hair is unprocessed and completely sourced from a single donor. We have a comprehensive article on virgin hair that goes more in-depth on virgin hair. Be sure to check it out.

That said, 8A and 9A last really long as virgin hair is typically unprocessed meaning that all cuticles are intact. Hence, these weaves can last as long as possible, up to 2 years in many cases.

Remember that dyeing or curling your hair means it’s no longer virgin hair. Processing is the difference between virgin hair and non-virgin hair. Plus, processing damages your weave to some degree. So, you want to keep that in mind.

Another thing about grade 8A and 9A hair is that they are typically much thicker than lower-grade weaves. They also have far fewer short hairs thrown in the mix which makes them less prone to tangling and makes them much easier to maintain.

Grade 10A

Grade 10A is about the highest quality of hair you can easily find in the market right now. Of course, this, naturally, makes it about the most expensive you can find. 10A is completely unprocessed, sourced from one donor, with healthy, thick tips, and an overall luscious hair structure.

Grade 10A can be dyed to white without suffering so much damage. Now, while grade 8A and 9A hair can also do the same, compared to 10A, 10A comes out less damaged and longer-lasting than 8A and 9A.

10A is the least prone to tangling, matting, or shedding and unless you process them, 10A lasts super long. You have to care for them, of course, and we have the best tips to ensure that your 10A hair completely lives out its shelf life.

Now, keep in mind that everything we just discussed is an ideal grading system. However, with the absence of a regulating body to ensure strict compliance, you’re really left at the mercy of the manufacturers and your supplier.

When you get your hair from us, you not only get high quality hair, you also get the peace of mind that comes with a 100% money back guarantee.

Another Way to Work With the Hair Grading System

We just looked at one way to look at the hair grading system but there’s another perspective to this hair grading system that’s worth considering.

Another way to look at the hair grading system is to think of it as referring to the strand proportion per bundle. That is, single drawn versus double drawn.

For instance, let’s use an 18-inch hair extension. You probably already know that an 18-inch hair extension will not be entirely composed of 18-inch strands. A bunch of strands will be 18 inches, no doubt, but the other strands would be of a different (sometimes varying) length(s).

Hence, the more there are strands of said length (18 inches, in this case), the thicker and fuller the weave would be and the higher its quality as well.

This is how single and double drawn hair works, where double drawn hair has most of the hair strands at the designated length and the single drawn hair has only about 50% of the entire hair strands at the designated length.

Single drawn hair usually gets graded A while double drawn hair is of higher quality and can be graded AA or higher.

Based on this perspective, therefore, these are different levels of hair grading and what each signifies.

Grade A

Grade A hair is 100% remy hair but single drawn. That is, less than 50% of the hair strands would be at the designated length.

Grade AA

Also 100% remy hair but 50% drawn. However, in this case, you’d have about 50% of the hair at the designated length.

Grade AAA

Grade AAA is 100% remy hair, 60% drawn. With this type of hair, about 60% of the hair will be at the designated length.

Grade AAAA+

Also 100% remy hair but 75% drawn. So, this will have 75% of hair strands at the designated length. You’re getting the drill by now, surely.

Grade AAAAA+

Again, 100% remy hair, but this time, 90% drawn. You can deduce what this means now, no?

Others

There are, not-so-common hair grades such as Grade HD, Super A, or Grade AD. These are less common hair grades but usually follow the same basic principle. A rule of thumb is that if it is listed among the top grades, then it is, most likely, double drawn.

The Truth About The Hair Grading System

The thing about this hair grading system is that there is no regulating body controlling the grading. So, the allocation of grades such as 6A or 12A is totally arbitrary and is, therefore, not a reliable method of determining the quality of any hair extension you want to purchase.

One company’s 7A can be very well another company’s 12A. In fact, in some cases, what a company used to call 5A several years ago can easily become 9A hair today. And since there’s no real way to confirm, you simply have to take their word for it.

You probably understand better now why we say the grade of your hair extension does not necessarily say much about the quality of the hair. The quality of your hair extension is strictly determined by the manufacturer of the hair. 

This is why we are very strict with our sourcing processes. We only source directly from the best manufacturers in China and personally inspect the hairs to ensure they conform to our standards before passing them off to our customers at reasonable prices. 

The best part is, you have our money back guarantee. So, if you get your product and it’s not the quality we promised, you can get your money back, no questions asked.

Back to our article now. Before information became as prevalent as it is now, the hair grading was holy grail when talking about hair quality. However, right now, hair grading is quite outdated. Many people are beginning to find out that the grading systems are simply there to entice customers into buying a particular hair extension not because it is high quality.

For this reason, many people now prefer to refer to the quality of hair in terms of being single drawn or double drawn. This is a much clearer and more straightforward way to describe hair quality. 

In this system, hair that is double drawn is considered to be of higher quality than single drawn hair. However, there’s a little more to single drawn and double drawn hair than hair quality. We covered a bit of that in this article. So, you can click on it to read up and find out more about single and double drawn hair.

A Better Way to Determine Hair Quality

Now that we’ve seen everything we need to know and understand about hair grading, here’s a better way to determine hair quality when purchasing hair extensions and weaves. Look out for the following factors when making your decision:

1. Wefts

Wefts can either be single stitch or double stitch. As you can probably tell, single stitch would be less secure and less durable than double stitch. So, when buying weft hair, you want to be sure that you’re buying double stitch which is what we carry at our store.

2. Weight

As a standard, most hair bundles weigh about 3.5 ounces which is about 100 grams. If a weave is suspiciously cheap, it might be because it’s lighter than it should be. So, check that out and confirm when making your purchase.

3. Is it 100% Human Hair?

Some manufacturers, in a bid to make a quick buck, end up mixing in animal hair, and synthetic fibers into their hair and pass them off as human hair for a cheaper price. This is something else you should be wary of.

At Spreadit Global Hair Store, we sell only 100% human hair because your optimum satisfaction is front and center in our minds. We do not sell cheap hair. Instead, when you buy from us, you get quality virgin hair that you can cut, style, curl, and dye to your preference.

4. Is it 100% Remy Hair?

There is virgin hair, Remy hair and there’s non-Remy hair. You can read this article to understand the difference between these terms, if you’re not familiar with them

Anyway, 100% remy hair is of higher quality than non-remy hair as it has all its cuticles intact and moving in the same direction which reduces chances of tangling and matting.

5. Single Donor or Multiple Donors?

Single donor hair is considered more precious than hair from multiple donors. So, as usual, they cost more than hair sourced from multiple donors.

6. Single Drawn or Double Drawn?

Most of the hairs you’d come across for sale are single drawn hair because producing double drawn hair is more expensive to produce. Specifically, we’re talking about the cost of removing the shorter hairs from the hair bundles. This also makes double drawn hair pricier than single drawn hair.

It’s A Wrap!

Now you know the truth behind the hair grading system. We hope this information empowers you to make a more intelligent choice when buying your next weave. Let us know in the comment section if you need more help with the hair grading system or other hair issues.

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