Are you tired of your hairstyle? Are you growing out your hair but still want the long, luscious locks you had before chopping it all off? Do you want a snatched ponytail that makes you feel confident and powerful? If so, hair extensions are your answer.
Hair extensions used to be weekend things we fool around with to spice up our look every once in a while. But now, with more semi-permanent options available to us, we can rock gorgeous, thick hair whenever we want! But with so many techniques and types of hair, how do you find the best hair extensions for you?
To help you make the best decision, we’ve put together the ultimate hair extension guide that tells you everything you need to know. Thicker and fuller hair, here we come!
It’s very easy to jump on trends or model yourself after your favorite Hollywood stars. But like many things in the beauty industry, the first thing you have to remember about hair extensions is that it’s all about you.
Don’t get us wrong — it’s perfectly okay to go into the hairstylist with a reference picture that defines your ideal style. But at the core of it, hair extensions are very personal things. What works great on other people might not work well on you and vice versa. So here are some things that you must consider to pick the best hair for yourself.
Semi-Permanent vs Temporary
Unfortunately, there aren’t any extension methods out there right now that will allow you to have thick and wavy beach hair forever. This is because your hair pushes the extensions down as it grows. Showing wefts of hair and exposing your secret to the world isn’t a cute look, so you’d have to go to the salon to get them repositioned or redone eventually.
Semi-permanent extensions can last from a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on the type of application you pick. Even if you don’t mind showing your extensions to the world, keeping old extensions in your hair can cause a lot of issues like breakage on your actual hair.
On the other hand, temporary extensions are damage-free, do-it-yourself solutions that you can buy from your local beauty supply stores. You have to put them on every time you want long, beautiful hair. The upside is, they’re typically very low-maintenance and would be cheaper than semi-permanent hair.
Synthetic vs Real Hair
High-end good quality synthetic extensions imitate real human hair pretty well, so you don’t have to worry about the hair not blending in well. It’s a perfect option for budget buyers who want to add a little extra to their hair.
The trade-off is that you can’t do much to fake hair in terms of styling. You can style heat-friendly synthetic hair to a certain extent, but they wouldn’t last very long since the heat might melt and damage the blended fibers. You can’t bleach or dye this type of hair either.
Real human hair extensions, on the other hand, offer a lot of versatility when it comes to styling. They can stand the same abuse your hair can — bleaching, dying, heat-styling, you name it. They also feel a lot more natural since they’re heavier than synthetic hair and move the same way natural hair does.
That being said, real human hair extensions also come with the same challenges you face with your natural hair. Split ends are a cause for concern, especially if you treat or style your real hair extensions often. They might also fall in wet or humid weather and cost more than a synthetic hair extension would.
If you’ve been dutifully doing your hair research, you’d inevitably come across the term ‘Remy hair’. Remy human hair is a type of hair that has been collected strand by strand with the cuticle still intact. Sometimes, Remy hair can even look healthier and better than your own hair since it’s never been chemically treated or damaged before.
Half Head vs Full Head
Do you want Rapunzel-like locks that come down to your butt or more volume on the top? Or do you want more hair on the bottom half of your head and rock natural hair up top?
Your stylist might ask if you want a half-head or full head application to help you get your desired effects. Half head application is generally for women who want to add more volume to their hair without too much length. On the flip side, full head application is made for women who wish for both length and volume for their hair.
The only real difference here is the price tag. Full head applications can cost upwards of $1000 per session depending on the type of extensions you want, while half head typically costs half of that.
Your Current Hair Condition And Desired Results
You have to match the condition of your own hair and your desired results to yield the best results. For example, it’s unrealistic to put on heavy and damaging semi-permanent extensions if you have bleached and brittle hair. Although you might look great in the beginning, the sad, paper-thin state your hair will be in the end is not worth it.
Because of this, you should use the right type of hair extension application method to match your lifestyle, integrity of your hair, and desired results. To help you out, here are some of the most common and risk-free hair extensions methods.
Common Hair Extensions and Application Methods
Clip-in Hair Extensions: For women who need longer hair
Clip-in hair extensions are perfect for you if you’re blessed with enough hair follicles to give you a voluminous look but lack the length you need for long, luscious locks.
They’re low maintenance as well as easy to remove and worn. Besides that, clip-in hair extensions are cheaper since you can install them on yourself. They also don’t cause damage to your hair if they’re not too heavy for your hair.
The Best Clip-in Systems
Clip-in hair extensions come in a couple of systems to give you different effects. The one-piece or two-piece systems are super beginner-friendly since there’s not much to do with them except positioning them correctly in your hair.
But if you’re looking for length and volume, multi-piece clip-in hair extensions would be a better fit for you. Multi-piece extensions have the larger pieces at the top and work their way down the extensions to give you the smallest weft extensions. They give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to styling and layering, but you’d need some practice before you master multi-piece extensions.
Price-wise, clip-in hair extensions can be as cheap as $50 or upwards of $160 for good quality human hair. It depends on the length, brand, and how processed the hair is. Blonde extensions are naturally more expensive than black or brown extensions since they require more processing. Nevertheless, we would recommend using Luxy Hair extensions since they are high-quality and thick.
Halo extensions: For women who like fuss-free clip-ins
Halo extensions are essentially a one-piece clip-in with wefts sewn into a semi-circle tip. They are designed to follow the shape of your head for the seamless blending into your hair. All you need to do is to position the hair around the middle part of your head and pull out the top hair section to cover the extensions. Fuss-free and easy.
Halo hair from HALOCOUTURE is made out of 100% human Remy hair, which means you can use heat-styling and dye them if you want. They cost about $300, but it’s well worth it when you consider how long-lasting and convenient these extensions are.
Tape-in hair extensions: For women who like sleek, thick hair
Tape-in extensions are thin and light extensions that sandwich a small bunch of your natural hair with adhesive glue. Because they lie so flat on your hair, they’re perfect for the sleek, boss babe look.
Since the wefts are about an inch wide, it’s important to section your hair precisely when installing tape-ins. You can DIY it as well, but you get a much better effect with a professional unless you can see from the back of your head. Tape-ins typically take about 30 to 90 minutes and can last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
If the tape-in extensions are applied very close to your roots, they can cause a bit of damage when you take them out. It’s not great for women with brittle hair either as the adhesive might break some of your hair. Once they’re in, they’re very low maintenance compared to other types of extensions. The only thing you need to look out for is the adhesiveness of the tape, so avoid heat-styling close to the adhesive as well as heavy and oily conditioners.
Tape-in extensions cost about $200 to $800 depending on what type of hair you choose. Glam Seamless offers many other extension options, but they’re definitely one of the best tape-in extensions you can get. Most of Glam Seamless’ tape-ins are made of real human hair or Remy hair for more styling options.
Keratin-bond extensions: For women with active lifestyles
Keratin-bond extensions, otherwise known as k-tips, are excellent at resisting oil and sweat, which makes them the perfect solution for women who exercise a lot. They can only be done in a salon since you need a special tool to fuse the keratin-based flue on the small, thin wefts to your hair. It typically takes about 4 to 6 hours to install a full head of hair, but it can last up to a year if you take great care of your hair.
It’s important to go to a reputable hair specialist since k-tips cause some damage to your hair. You could stand to lose a lot of your natural hair from the glue if your hairdresser doesn’t know how to remove them properly. They’re also prone to tangling, especially if your hair grows out super fast.
BELLAMI Professional is undoubtedly the best in the k-tips game since they use the highest quality Remy hair. The trade-off is that they can cost anywhere between $500 to $4000, depending on your hair texture and how many hair bundles you use. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s a good investment, given how durable it is.
Microlink extensions: For women with fine hair
Microlink extensions are perfect for women with fine hair since they are applied strand by strand. It has to be done by a professional since your hair extensions specialist tightens the bead at one end of a small section of your hair. For the best results and reduced slippage, go for silicone-lined beads, especially if you have very fine hair.
Since microlink extensions are heat-free and glue-free, they’re also considered one of the safest extension application methods. It takes about 2 to 4 hours to apply, depending on what type of hair and how much hair you want. It does take quite a bit of maintenance since you have to tighten the beads every 4 to 6 weeks. Not only that, but you have to make sure that your scalp and hair are moisturized nicely to avoid damage.
The key to good microlink extensions is a professional who knows what they are doing. When done correctly, microlink extensions can give you the perfect density and hairstyle that you want while you’re growing your hair out. Since it’s minimal damage, you don’t have to worry about losing your natural hair after getting it done.
One of the perks of microlink extensions is the possibility of reusing your hair extensions. Because of this, you should only use 100% Remy hair with microlink extensions because they last longer. Even though it can cost anywhere between $500 to $2,500, being able to reuse your hair and the repositioning appointments (vs new installation) would save you money in the long run.
Sew-in extensions: For women with thick hair
Sew-in extensions are the best for ladies with thick hair since the hair is braided into cornrows. The extensions are then sewn into the cornrows, giving you the length you’ve always wanted.
These extensions have to be done by a stylist who has experience in this. Too-tight cornrows can put a strain on your scalp and give you a constant headache – not great if your goal is to feel like Beyonce. It’s a pretty long process, so you’d have to sit in the salon for several hours at a time, depending on how skilled your hairstylist is. Sew-ins can last up to 4 months.
You have to make sure to take care of your natural hair underneath the extensions though. To do that, you have to moisturize your scalp, nape, and edges of your hair at least once a week. You can also opt for a wig sewn into your cornrows the same way, which gives you the most permanent and seamless effect.
Sewn-in hair extensions are one of the most affordable semi-permanent hair extensions at about $250.
Quick Hair Care Tips For Your Extensions
With great hair comes great responsibilities. Without proper maintenance, you might find your $500 investment go down the drain after just one use. In this section, we’ll discuss some easy and fuss-free tips to help you get the most out of your extensions.
Brush your hair often with a good bristle brush: Getting a good brush is imperative since a particularly rough brushing sesh can literally rip out your hair. For shiny and knot-free hair, make sure to brush and detangle your hair often.
Keep your hair in a braid before bedtime: Friction can quickly mess up your gorgeous new hair, so make sure to keep your hair in a nice braid during bedtime. You can also opt for soft silk pillowcases or a silk head wrap to prevent breakage from friction.
Use the right products: Depending on what types of extensions you get, you need to get products that keep your extensions in good condition while keeping your natural hair healthy.
Keep away from oily and heavy conditioners: You can shampoo as normal with most of the extension methods, but never apply heavy or oily conditioner near the base. This is because oils or silicones may compromise the bond and cause your extensions to slip.
Never sleep in wet extensions: Your hair is the weakest when it’s wet, so avoid sleeping in wet extensions. Not only will you have to deal with serious bedhead in the morning, but you might also run into some long-term problems like tangling or matted hair.
Protect your hair from heat: Even though your Remy human hair can withstand most abuse, you should still protect them from heat as you would your real hair. Use a thermal protectant if you want to use any hot tools. Better yet, try going old-fashion and use rollers for big, beautiful curls instead! Not only will you protect your hair from frizz, but you’ll also make your investment last longer.
Don’t itch your hair: It’s normal to feel a bit of itching when you first get your extensions installed. But try and resist the urge to itch your hair since you might accidentally pull out the newly-bonded extensions. If the itching persists, you should go to a technician though.