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Hair salon owner Meyly Heng places a hair extension on a customer in Phnom Penh. Image by Paula Bronstein. Cambodia, 2019.
Hair salon owner Meyly Heng places a hair extension on a customer in Phnom Penh. Image by Paula Bronstein. Cambodia, 2019.

Women of all races wear hair extensions. Combining another woman's hair into one's own is a mainstream beauty practice. Whether it's a full head of weave or just a few extensions, using 'fake' hair is in fact very real. Cambodia is an emerging market in the hair trade industry. It's a relatively new export in this Southeast Asian country, a place where prostitution is high. The texture of Cambodian women's hair provides for more versatility. In the villages outside Phnom Penh, women grow their long enough for traders to cut and sell it to an international market. They are paid a mere token of the resale value. This project explores the lives of Cambodian women who sell their hair and how the lack of regulation exploits their plight toward economic self sufficiency all in the name of vanity.

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