Hair Extensions 101: Everything You Need to Know
Long, flowing locks will always be in fashion – whether stick-straight and ultra-sophisticated, tousled bed-hair waves, or glamorous tightly-wound curls, it’s something every girl aspires to have at one point or another. And you know what the best news is? You don’t have to be genetically blessed to have it for yourself!
Hair extensions have been used by everyone from supermodels to Red Carpet starlets, and are a fantastic way to get a little bit of help achieving your sought-after fantasy hair. The results will depend on the type of extensions you use and the method used to apply them, but with so many different ones to choose from, the world of hair extensions can be an overwhelming place.
So here we’ve waded through all the information out there to put together everything you need to know about going longer, so that you can have the long luscious locks you’ve always wanted, without the wait!
Hair extensions can be applied in a number of ways, and the method you choose will depend on your budget, personal preferences and hair type.
Clip in hair extensions: These are a temporary, non-committal way to get long, thick hair for a special event or if you want to try the look and feel of hair extensions before committing to a more permanent type.
They are quick and easy to apply and you can wash and style them just as you would your own hair, but they will also wear quickly and won’t last as long as other types of hair extensions.
Tape hair extensions: These are applied directly to thin sections of your natural hair using bonds of double-sided tape. They sit flat to your scalp and look very natural.
Tape hair extensions are ideal for volume and for extending shorter layers, fringes or bobs. If you take good care of them they can last up to 5 or 6 months without a big maintenance job.
Fusion/Keratin hair extensions: These are an easy and low maintenance option for adding length and volume, applied by fusing the bond of the hair extensions to a section of your natural hair with a small amount of keratin and a hot tool.
They are great if you like to wear your hair up regularly because the bonds are very discreet and flexible.
Micro bead/Micro ring hair extensions: These are secured to your natural hair with small metal or plastic rings, by clamping them around sections of your hair. This method uses no glue, heat, tape or sewing and the rings have a layer of silicone on the inside, so they don’t cause any damage to your hair.
They are very durable and natural-looking, and are great if you want to be able to colour your extensions or use product or heat-styling appliances regularly.
Weft/Weave hair extensions: These are hand sewn into tiny braids of your natural hair with thread, resulting in a very natural-looking curtain of hair.
They are heavier than other types of hair extensions, and so are better suited to women with thick, coarse or curly hair that’s able to handle the extra weight.
Human vs. Synthetic Hair
Human hair extensions will last longer, look more natural and can be treated and styled just like your real hair. They’re also more expensive, but with hair extensions you always get what you pay for. Remy human hair is the highest quality, with each strand picked one at a time and bundled to run in the same direction so it looks natural, soft and silky. It’s also mostly tangle-free.
Synthetic hair is much cheaper, but won’t blend seamlessly or style the way human hair does. You generally can’t use heat-styling appliances on them or swim with them in, and they do tangle much easier than human hair. But if you’re looking to try out the extra length for a short time, synthetic hair is an affordable way to give it a go without the commitment or price tag.
The Perfect Match
It’s very important to get hair extensions that match the colour and texture of your natural hair. Hair salons will have a wide range of colours for you to find the perfect match, and you can also add tone and depth to your hair by choosing shades with low-lights and highlights. It’s a good idea to look for a stylist with a colourist background, so that the colour match is seamless – if it’s off, even just slightly, your extensions will be very obvious.
The blending of your hair extensions into your natural hair is vital, and a good haircut once your extensions are in will be able to achieve this for you, by layering the two hair types to blend them together.
Care and Maintenance
Use common sense when caring for your hair extensions. They’re attached to your hair with a bond, so be gentle when you’re washing or brushing them and be careful not to pull on them or snag them. Be extra careful when your hair is wet. Blow drying will help get rid of tangles, or you can hold the hair at the root and brush from the ends.
You can use all the hair and styling products you would normally use, but try to avoid weighing your hair down with excessive product and keep oils away from the roots to make sure the tape or bond doesn’t slip. If you want to colour your extensions, always test a small area first to make sure it doesn’t react to the dye.
What to be Careful Of
Hair extensions will not damage your natural hair as long as you care for them properly. Their weight can put extra stress on your hair, which is why it’s important to go to a professional hair salon that specialises in applying them. A knowledgeable stylist will be able to match the density of your hair as well as the colour, and apply them where your hair is the strongest.
If your extensions feel tight or uncomfortable for more than a week after you’ve had them put in, you should go see your stylist for an adjustment. Continuous tightness on your scalp and neck can cause sores or traction alopecia, so if it doesn’t feel right make sure you get them checked as soon as possible.
Once you’ve decided to take the step and get hair extensions, have a consultation with your hair stylist to find out what they can provide, and ask to see samples of the hair both dry and wet so that you can see how it washes and sits.
Register at Oz Beauty Quotes and we can put you directly in contact with the best local salons near you, to get you a beautiful head of thick, voluminous hair without any of the fuss.