Your Ultimate Guide to Hair Extensions
Ever wondered how superstars like Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez plus the likes of those Kardashians just seem to sprout luscious long locks overnight?
Well ladies they’re all rocking hair extensions. And it’s never been easier for you to have them too.
Hair extensions are more accessible for real women than ever before, so there’s nothing stopping you from having stunning long hair right now.
And they’re not just for length. Hair extensions are also a terrific way to add volume and body to fine and thinning hair. They work for all face shapes and all ages.
You just need to know your ‘wefts from your clip-ins’ and with a little insider knowledge you can get the hair you’ve always dreamed of.
TEMPORARY HAIR EXTENSIONS
- Human Clip-in Hair
Clip in extensions are temporary and just as the name suggests you can clip them in yourself whenever you like.
Ideal for a night out or a special occasion if you don’t want the commitment of longer-wear fitted extensions.
There are a huge array of clip-in extensions available online, in most major salons and from hair and beauty suppliers on the high street.
Some of the most popular include:
- Cinderella Hair
- Foxy Locks
- Beauty Works
Prices range anywhere from £60 to £150 for human hair clip in extensions. As with everything in life you really do get what you pay for. Human hair is the most natural looking and you can wash, blow dry and style it exactly like your own hair.
- Synthetic Hair
There are even more affordable synthetic options but you have to choose carefully as most do not tolerate heated styling over 120 degrees.
Synthetic hair tends to be the more detectable and can sometimes be difficult to blend with your natural hair.
However there are some great synthetic suppliers that have entered the market that offer more realistic and heat resistant options, such as Biya Hair Elements.
How to Apply
Ideally your own hair needs to be 5 to 6 inches long from your crown to be able to successfully blend hair extensions with your natural hair. You can still use extensions on shorter hair but be realistic about the length of hair you want to add otherwise it can look very fake.
- Start at the base of your hair and section out a layer of hair whilst clipping the remaining hair up on the top of your head
- Gently backcomb the roots of the section of hair that you will be attaching the extensions to
- Lightly spray with hairspray – this adds ‘grip’ and staying power when attaching the extension clips
- Ensure all the clips on the first weft are in the open position
- Attach in the centre of your head first, hooking into your hair and ‘snap’ clip shut after
- Attach remaining clips to the left and right of centre clip
- Repeat steps 1-6 as you work your way up your head to the crown
- Apply smaller hair extension pieces to both sides of hair just above both ears
Watch this video to see how it’s done!
Caring for your Temporary Extensions
- Wash your clip in extensions in sulphate free shampoo to prevent drying them out
- Place in a bowl of warm water and gently lather with downwards strokes avoiding tangling the hair
- Rinse and condition then lay flat until almost dry then smooth by blow drying with your hair dryer
- Use a dry oil to keep them silky smooth and in optimum condition.
PERMANENT HAIR EXTENSIONS
Permanent hair extensions are applied to your own natural hair and last for many months with the right application and aftercare.
The most important decision is choosing a professional hair extensionist to apply your new hair. I cannot emphasise this point enough. There are an awful lot of people out there who are not qualified hairdressers and have taken a one day course and are advertising their ‘services’ – you want to avoid them at all costs!
Do your research and find a highly experienced and qualified professional to fit your permanent hair extensions.This is absolutely vital to avoid the horror stories of dreadful damage from badly applied extensions that we have all seen in the media.
NEVER skimp on the quality of hair you buy or the fee for an experienced professional to fit your hair extensions.
ALWAYS have a consultation to decide which method of application is best for your hair type and lifestyle.
There are several methods for attaching permanent hair extensions to your own hair. Three of the most popular methods include:
Micro Rings – strands of hair extensions are attached directly to your hair with tiny silicone lined rings which are virtually undetectable and are closed firmly into place using specialist hair pliers. This method can last for 6 months or more with proper care and maintenance. The hair is also reusable
Pre-Bonded extensions are attached to your own hair using a keratin bond adhesive to seal the extensions strand by strand. This method can last up to 4 months before removal but the hair is not reusable. Some of the bonds can cause damage if not correctly cared for. The bonds can also be melted by heat so extra care is required during styling.
Pre-Taped extensions have an adhesive strip on small wefts of hair which are attached to your own hair close to the roots. This method of application is by far the quickest but only lasts up to 8 weeks. Again the adhesive can be compromised by heat styling.
CHOOSING EXTENSION HAIR
It’s crucial that your own hair is healthy and strong enough for permanent hair extension application.
Damaged, over processed hair may not be able to cope with a full head of hair extensions and this could cause further damage or even hair loss.
There are a lot of different grades of extension hair on the market. Make sure you opt for Remy hair which is the highest grade of human hair you can purchase for hair extensions.
True Remy hair ensures all the cuticles of the hair remain aligned. This is essential to prevent your new extension hair from tangling or matting once it has been attached to your own natural hair.
Virgin Remy hair is the best. This hair has never been chemically treated and is 100% natural. But you will pay a premium for this.
Hair extensions also come in a variety of lengths from 14 inches (approx just below your shoulder) to 22 inches (approx touching your waist)
Quality of hair, the length and amount used will all affect the price you pay.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR HAIR
- Always use a sulphate free shampoo to prevent colour being stripped from your extensions
- Tie hair at night either in a ponytail or low bun to prevent hair tangling
- Don’t wash hair too often and preferably only at the roots
- Keep hair hydrated by using a good hair oil
- You hair will need regular maintenance i.e. your extension hair must be refitted every 8 to 12 weeks
- This allows for removal of natural shedding and prevents matting at the roots of your hair
MY BEFORE & AFTER
Earlier this year I chopped off about 8 inches of my hair. I loved it. For about 5 minutes!
Then all I wanted was my long hair back. As a professional hairdresser I knew I wanted Micro Ring hair extensions as I personally believe they are the safest option and best value for your money because the hair can be reused.
I’m based in South Wales and am also extremely lucky to live near one of the most talented hair extensionists in the country – Jane Morgan of Beau Hair & Extensions – www.facebook.com/beauhairandextensions Instagram jane.beauhair.
Jane is one of the best in the hair extension business. She is a perfectionist, highly skilled and very talented. She offers a one-to-one service in her private hair extension studio at her home.
It does take a little getting used to after you first have permanent extensions fitted. Some people can experience brief tension on the scalp but nothing severe and it passes within a day or two.
Drying your hair takes longer and just getting used to the sheer quantity of hair on your head can take a little time.
But pretty much by the end of the first week it feels like you’ve always had all that hair.
So if you’re dreaming of a change and want long luscious locks then go for it.
Just remember find a professional extensionist who’s recommended and you can trust.
Then enjoy your new hair !
Follow me on Instagram at Victoria_hairandmakeup