I am asked about hair extensions on the daily, which is fine by me because hair (and especially extensions) is one of my favorite things on the planet.
Since hair extensions are a hot topic, I decided to write up a little Hair Extension 101.
I personally became obsessed with hair extensions about 10 years ago when my hair mentor started doing them in her salon. I was fascinated at what a dramatic, new look you could give someone in just a few hours. I immediately knew that extensions were something that I had to learn how to do (and something that I was going to have in my own life as soon as I could afford them)!
In the past 5 years, the hair extension industry has skyrocketed. The love affair for hair extensions continues to grow more intense every day.
Have you have ever wondered how your favorite television star has flawless hair every time? It’s probably extensions!
Most of the photos that people bring to me in the salon are of celebrities (secretly) wearing hair extensions. See, here is the secret…gone are the days when hair extensions were just for adding length. A recent trend is the addition of hair extensions for a more demure affect (not in my personal case, lol). Now people are wearing their extensions more natural to create volume, density, and even for a soft highlight affect.
Young people often have long, colored extensions, middle-aged women have the “sexy/sultry, but I’m not trying too hard” look, while older women want the “wow” affect and often want to mimic the thicker hair that they had in their 20’s.
Because my hair is large and in charge, I often have people asking me about my hair. When I am asked if my hair is real, my response is, “It’s really mine!” 🙂 I think that most of you are very aware by now that I wear extensions. I don’t always wear them, but much more of a happy camper when I am adorned with hair.
So let me tell you about a few of the different types of hair extensions.
Fusion Hair Extensions
I personally wear Great Lengths Hair Extensions. I use this brand on my clients too, and they are always a fan favorite. Great Lengths are the top tier of hair extensions and every year they win the Stylist Choice Awards.
Classic Great Lengths Extensions are applied by hot fusion or cold fusion methods. They are individual bonds that are applied to the hair and they last 3-6 months. No glue is used, only a small amount of heat or ultrasonic wave softens the bond to adhere to the hair. Great Lengths are definitely the most versatile type of hair extension because the bonds are so discreet (the bonds are the size of a small grain of rice), they are ultra comfortable, and because the bonds are so small you can essentially wear your hair in any style imaginable.
Here is one of my client’s Great Lengths bonds:
The one thing that sets Great Lengths Extensions apart from the rest is the way they move!
They move just like your natural hair. If applied correctly, you will see no disconnect between the natural hair and the extension.
Check out that hair action below! Yesssssss… It’s easy to see why I’m obsessed!
Tape-In Hair Extensions
A rising favorite among hair extension wearers are the tape-in hair extensions. I actually like this kind as well. I have tried these before, and they are very comfortable and if applied correctly, can look completely natural!
With tape-in hair, you wear the extensions for 6-8 weeks. Afterwards you have the hair removed, retaped, and reapplied. It is a pretty easy process. The hair is reusable which is very nice!
The reason I prefer to wear the Great Lengths fusion bonds over the tape is because I don’t love having my extensions adjusted. I just like to have them put in and be done with them.
Here is what tape in hair looks like:
Clip-In Extensions are great if you need a new look for one night for if you like to wear a funky look for weekends-only. Clip-in extensions are exactly what they sound like – hair that clips in.
You can buy these online or go to a local hair shop or Sally Beauty Supply. Just match your color and you’re ready! Start at the nape of you neck and make a horizontal part, tease the base of your hair, and clip in the extension weft. Continue this process until you have reached the top.
My hair color influences a lot of my clients to do something unique with their hair. For the ones that have to wear a conservative look to work, they often opt for clip-in hair on the weekends. I will custom color a set of clip-in hair for them in an array of rainbow colors so they can have their fun, rainbow hair over the weekend, and they can remove it for it the work week!
Here is an example:
Beaded Hair Extensions
Ok, so personally, this is my least favorite type of application method for hair extensions. Some people really like it though, and I need to fill ya in with all the different types. The process is simple – small wefts or strands of hair are attached to small sections of your own hair with a small silicone-lined bead. The bead is then tightened to hold it in place. Every month or so, one would go into the salon to have the hair tightened. If you already have long hair, then this method can work decently, but if your hair layers are short then beaded wefts are never going to blend 100% with your natural hair. The pros of this type of hair is that is is a short installation process. The cons are that they can be bulky and are not suitable for a vast majority of hair types.
Sew-In Hair Extensions
I lied. Sew-in extensions are my least favorite. They are extra bulky and more difficult to wash than other types of hair. I assume there is a time a place for this type of hair addition, but there are more up-to-date methods on the market today. No offense to anyone who wears weft hair, it’s just not my personal favorite for many reasons that I won’t continue to elaborate on. 🙂
One more thing…
If your extensions move naturally AND look great straight, then you know you have a great application. The one thing I hate more than anything, is when stylists have to curl the extensions so that they look good. This is not good! Your extensions should be perfect whether you wear them straight or wavy.
(Above) A full head of Great Lengths hot fusion that I applied to my client, Amy.