After being apprehensive about shopping on AliExpress, especially when it comes to issues of shipping and customs in South Africa, I finally took the plunge and placed an order on hair bundles. Ever since I started wearing wigs, I have bought from local stores and boutiques but lately, I have just been horrified at the cost of bundles or wig units. I had heard of numerous ladies ordering and shopping for hair via AliExpress and I was intrigued, more especially because of the affordability factor.
I had a rather pleasant shopping and delivery experience, so I put together a few pointers on what to look out for when shopping for hair bundles on AliExpress.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
An important fact to note is that AliExpress functions like a shopping mall – there are hundreds of “stores” on AliExpress, these stores being called vendors. The vendor you purchase from is key. Social media is a good place to start looking for reviews as that’s where you are most likely to get more honest opinions and feedback from people who have previously shopped before. Search Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for ideas of who the reputable hair vendors are. Once you have identified them, drill down further and look for reviews specifically from South Africa. This will assist in any shipping and customs concerns that you may want to look into.
Additionally, take the time to look at the reviews and number of orders under the product you would like to purchase. I personally don’t look at anything below 4.5 stars and prefer to go with a product that has a high number of orders too. Again, filter by country and see what South African buyers have to say about what you are considering ordering.
Types Of Hair
This is imperative to understand if you want to avoid having matted fur for a wig a few weeks down the line. The whole concept of grades in hair is a marketing scam by hair companies. Think about it: what is it that causes the hair grades to improve every year? We were sold Grade 7A a few years ago and last time I checked, we had Grade 10A? There’s only 3 types of hair: Virgin, Remy, and Non-Remy. Virgin hair has never been processed, is collected from one donor and has aligned cuticles, making it naturally smooth and silky. Remy hair is similar to virgin hair but may have minimally been processed. Non-Remy hair is hair that is collected from multiple donors, the cuticles are not aligned or intact and has been heavily processed to give it a silky, shiny look and feel. Take note, that once you wash the hair, you will see its true nature. If it’s Non-Remy hair, the silicones it has been coated with to make it feel silky will come off and the hair will become matted. Before you place your order, make sure you click onto the specifications of the hair to check density, quality, and texture.
P.S – Look out for the hair review in my next post!
PLACING THE ORDER
Once you have (finally!) decided on what you would like to order, double-check if the shipping is free or if you need to pay extra for it and then calculate the total cost. Bear in mind that AliExpress lists the prices in American Dollars so you will have to factor in the exchange rate at the time. The AliExpress app shows the approximate price in South African Rands underneath the Dollar price. I prefer to use the app to browse and add items to my cart and then log onto my profile via desktop or laptop to complete the purchase. I just find it easier to navigate the payment process that way.
MAKING THE PAYMENT
After confirming your order and delivery details, you will be taken to a new screen for payment. I have seen many queries regarding payment using a debit card. The majority of banks require you to visit your respective branch and register for online banking first. The site is secure (hence the padlock on the address bar) but if you are a bit doubtful, then it might be worthwhile looking into getting a card that you will use specifically for online shopping, where you will transfer cash only if you are shopping then.
Once your AliExpress order has been confirmed, you can await the big arrival! And yes, you will probably check delivery status at least 5 times a day. The place of delivery differs from vendor to vendor. Some parcels get delivered to your address and some you might have to collect from the nearest post office. Delivery lead times vary as well. What I have seen is that hair takes between 7-15 days to arrive while other items like bags and accessories can take anything from 1 month to 3 months to arrive. This would have been noted to you before you checked out. You will be able to keep track of your order via AliExpress or the courier company handling the delivery – I prefer using the latter. The courier will let you know when your order is shipped, landed in South Africa and on it’s way to you.
LEAVING A REVIEW
It’s absolutely thrilling to finally receive your long-awaited order! Don’t forget to leave a review under the product that you ordered. This helps others who are in the skeptical position you were also once in, make a better decision!