Pixies and bobs have been in lately, but we still love long, loose waves; think Blake Lively, Kerry Washington, Sofia Vergara, the Kardashians or any of the Victoria’s Secret angels. And you don’t have to be genetically blessed to get them. Many of the most sought-after heads of hair get help from extensions. Here at AFH, we recommend several methods and here are a few thoughts for someone interested in trying them out for the first time or trying them again.
When natural hair extensions are properly applied, they can be dyed, washed, straightened and curled – just like your normal hair. If you take good care of them, they can last several months. Top reasons why people get extensions…obviously to gain length, but some choose them to add volume and others simply utilize them to add a bold fashion color without permanently affecting their own hair.
While artificial hair can be a low cost option it is very limiting and not natural in feel. At AFH we recommend natural hair. In our opinion one of the best types of natural hair extensions would be Remy hair. This is the best and most beautiful hair from Northern Europe and India. It has durability, is strong yet is very soft. The most critical reason we use Remy hair is the cuticle runs in the same directions. This will diminish the extension from becoming a dreadlock and keep it soft and beautiful.
Finding the right extension method will depend on budget, preference, and hair type. While fusion and tape-in extensions can be used on just about any hair texture, weaves are best suited for curly, kinky hair. Weaving extensions are best for excessively curly hair, which has enough strength and texture to hold the cornrow braid. Fusion extensions tend to be the most expensive ($500 to $3,000) and have the most time-consuming application process; they also last the longest (four months). The tape-in application process is much faster (about an hour) and more affordable ($500-$1000), but requires more frequent maintenance (every six to eight weeks)
HUMAN VERSUS SYNTHETIC HAIR
When it comes to purchasing hair, you get what you pay for. Price will vary greatly based on quality of the hair, as well as the desired quantity (for thickness) and length. Virgin (never-before-processed) Remy human hair is the highest quality and runs upwards of several hundred dollars per bunch (and some heads may require several bundles). The hair cuticle is preserved, instead of stripped, and all the hairs run in the same direction, maintaining that natural soft, silky texture. Synthetic hair is much cheaper ($50 to $100) but won’t blend or style the way human hair does. It can’t always withstand heat styling and tangles easily. It can be a great way to try out extra length or bangs without a big commitment, though.
HOW TO CUT AND STYLE
Good extensions should be entirely undetectable—blending your natural hair with the extension is critical. The best way to do this? A great cut. After the extensions are in, your hair should be cut dry, with layers that blend the two hair types. You can color extensions darker (no bleaching!), but it’s best to choose a shade close to your natural color to avoid over-processing. Or you can mix and match various shades for a more natural-looking blend. As for at-home styling, extensions should allow you to wash and wear.
Extension hair should be cared for just like your natural hair: gently. Hair should always be fully dried (never wash and go). You can use all of your favorite hair products, but keep oils away from the roots in order to prevent the bond, tape, or weave from slipping. At bedtime, put your hair in a loose braid so it doesn’t get matted or tangled while you sleep. Its also a great idea to use a silk pillow case, this will allow the hair to keep its shine and luster and reduce matting.
The weight of extensions can put additional stress on the roots, so it’s important to match hair density to avoid unnecessary tension on natural hair. In other words, if you have fine hair, your extensions should be a lighter density; those who have thicker, more coarse strands should look for hair with medium density. Placement is also essential. Extensions should be placed where hair is strongest. Avoid areas along the hairline or the back of the neck, where hair is the most fragile. If proper care is taken damage is minimal.
What surprises most is how many different types of hair extension application methods there are available. At AFH here in Madison Valley we offer the following:
Clip in hair extensions are a great, temporary way to enjoy hair extensions. Clip-in hair extensions are usually composed of a moderate to large amount of hair attached to a clip that
can be placed in the hair to add volume, highlights or length. These types of extensions aren’t very versatile in regards to updos etc, but can be removed and replaced multiple times a day if desired without damaging the natural hair.
TAPE WEFT HAIR EXTENSIONS
These come in long, wide sections and are bonded to the uppermost part of the natural hair using a special type of tape or glue. These wefts lay flat against the natural hair and if matched carefully, they can be very hard to tell apart from the natural hair. Skin weft hair extensions are relatively easy and quick to apply allowing for a more affordable option. They need to be reapplied every 6-8 weeks
FUSION HAIR EXTENSIONS
In fusion application, the extensions are applied using a special type of adhesive, typically a keratin or wax bond. At AFH we use a clear organic protein bond that uses a kinder heat source with no damage to the cuticle of the hair. These offer a seamless transition and can be worn up to 6 months in the hair if proper care is used.
MICRO-BEAD HAIR EXTENSIONS
Micro-bead hair extension application involves the use of a small metal bead with an inner silicone lining. The natural hair is threaded through the bead, the bonded end of the hair extension is place inside of the bead alongside the natural hair and a pair of pliers is used to clamp the bead. These extensions are incredibly versatile and when the extensions come out, they can be reused depending on the condition of the hair. At AFH we recommend these be readjusted every 10-12 weeks.
Hopefully this covered any questions you might have about extensions. If you want more information or are considering one of these extension options, please contact us to schedule a consultation and you’ll be on your way to longer, fuller hair in no time!
AFH Salon Stylist