I recently rediscovered the title graphic (the Thai words for Hair Tinsel - I hope!) that I made waaaaaay back, before I launched my own Sparkles brand and before I knew what I know now! Back when I first started Sparkling; over three years ago; I researched and researched which product to stock – from the outset I took things seriously and wanted to offer the best quality and the best service that I possibly could. My head was turned by tinsels being sold as Thai Silk, a ‘superior quality’ strand that was purported to be 100% silk, versus the standard polyester, ‘inferior’ variety. So, I forked out top dollar for these fabulous Silken Sparkles, got practising and eventually launched my service, with an emphasis on the elite ‘100% Thai Silk, dontcha know’ angle. After all, it sounds good, right? My curiosity grew, though. As did a niggling concern that should any of my clients ask HOW these glistening, holographic laser-shot strands were made from a natural fibre, I wouldn’t be able to answer. So, I started researching. If you Google Thai Silk, then you get images of silk – shiny, shot silk, but nothing metallic or holographic. If you spend six months on a (virtual) global quest trying to find a manufacturer of ‘Silk’ hair tinsel, you get nothing. You even get nothing when you send your English, Thai-speaking (and Thai internet singing sensation) friend on a mission to find a supplier of Thai Silk Hair Tinsel actually IN Thailand. I also experimented – natural fibres, when overheated, will burn. The ‘Silk’ hair tinsel melted and stretched. So much evidence, and yet I still held on to the belief that as I had been sold silk, I MUST be using silk! After all, who would tell and sell such a brazen lie?
Whilst still in the throes of this pursuit, I introduced Face Glitter to my services. I opted to exclusively use Bio Glitter, as it was at a time when plastic glitter was at the height of its shaming phase, and again I wanted to offer the best and most accountable service that I could. Through this I learned that Bio-glitter was not available in any sort of holographic variety, as the effect can ONLY be achieved with plastic materials (three years later, this remains the case). So, armed with this new knowledge and applying that logic to the Hair Tinsel, I really began to seriously doubt there was any chance that the 100% silk claim could possibly be true. My breakthrough came when I discovered a fellow Sparkle obsessive, who had managed to get an admission from a highly-regarded and successful vendor of ‘Silk’ hair tinsel, that ‘Thai Silk’ was a ‘type of polyester’. I also had a response from another company, claiming that the holographic effect was printed onto silk… (insert rolling eye emoji).
I was actually relieved to finally be able to drop the bone I’d been so doggedly hanging on to. I removed all references to silk from my website and social media channels, and accepted that whilst I had essentially been duped and had in turn, for a short time at least, been mis-selling the product myself, I had at least done all I could to inform myself and implement this new knowledge right away.
I spent a long time sourcing my final product, and I am very pleased with and proud of it. It’s made from… polyester! 100%. I can’t make any big claims about it being a natural or eco product, and it certainly isn’t going to biodegrade any time soon (don’t panic - there are ways to re-use your sparkles when they shed!) but I’m not peddling a lie. I’m not taking advantage of my clients’ or customers’ trust and I’m not dismissing other products as inferior by making false claims about mine. I’d love to be able to say that my Sparkles are better than anyone else’s because they are harvested from the manes of unicorns by fairies in the light of a full moon, but it wouldn’t be true, so I don’t. I would also love to know how this glitch first came about – I suspect an adjective got wrongly assigned at some point – after all, these shimmery strands are most definitely silky and that’s a fair way to describe them.
As you might expect, there are varying qualities of tinsel on the market, and my Hair Sparkles are, simply put, the best product I could find and I measure, cut and package every last strand myself. Seemingly, there are also varying qualities of tinsel vendors out there, so, when deciding which type or brand of Sparkles to go with, be sure to support those who deserve your custom!