Get Real with Hair Extensions!
Celebrities change their hair so often that it's hard to keep up! Short, gamine crops give way to luxuriant, elbow-length tresses overnight – and the secret is hair extensions.
Hair extensions can transform your hair. How many of us have had wished for longer or thicker hair? Or had a disastrous haircut and wished we could have our longer hair back?
Well now you can solve all of those problems!
Just set aside some time and money
and you can go from this
Everything you need to know...
There are lots of types of hair extensions but the two main ones are 'individual strands' and 'wefts'.
The main problem with both is that hey have to be re-done every few months. This means taking them out and it's virtually impossible to do without damaging your own hair. Beware any stylist who tells you that they won't!
Small strands (20-50 hairs in each) of hair (real or synthetic) are joined to similar sized strands of your own hair. The joining method can be weaving, fusing with heat, gluing, clamping with tiny metal rods or joining with wax.
These are tiny 'curtains' of hair, joined at the top and free at the ends. Imagine a falsh eyelash with really long hair on it! There are two main types of weft:
Machine made wefts
These come in long widths and are then cut smaller. They're usually made from lower quality hair (very rarely European hair) and are not available in virgin hair.
These are the best type. A good extension specialist will hand make your wefts just for you, ensuring a good color match and blending several subtle shades into each weft for a natural result. They are also usually thicker than machine made wefts and tend to last longer.
How do I choose?
It comes down to price and personal choice. The best look will be achieved with raw/virgin hair handmade wefts but these are the most expensive. European hair wefts are the next in price and are very popular and effective.
Does the choice of hair really matter that much?
Yes – I'm afraid so! The quality of the hair in the extensions will affect how real your finished style looks and also how long it will last. Here's a run down to help you choose the extensions that will be right for you...
Synthetic Hair... avoid!
This is acrylic and will never look natural. Acrylic is plastic so imagine going near it with a hot dryer or straighteners…eeek! Synthetic hair is great for creating dreadlock extensions but not for anyone wanting realistic, regular hair.
Asian Hair... ok if you're Asian but otherwise no.
Asian hair is coarse, very dark black and very straight. If you're Asian and you havn't colored your hair, it's perfect for thickening and lengthening. Asian hair that has been colored or permed is also made into cheaply priced extensions but they don't last long.
European Hair Quality... ok (not to be confused with European Hair)
Be careful here. A stylist may try to sell you European Quality Hair as European but there is a difference. European Quality is the best of Asian, Pakistani and ordinary Indian hair. It fits the Asian hair description and won't last long.
European Hair... good!
This is the most popular hair for extensions. It's durable and can last for up to a year if you look after it well.
It mostly comes from Italy and Spain and starts off naturally dark. It then has it's color stripped out and is re-colored, usually with fabric dyes! So if it finishes up as blonde, it has already gone through several chemical processes. For this reason, it's not possible for you to dye it once the extensions are in – they will break and you'll end up with a real mess!
So, make sure you choose the right color to start with. There are many available so this shouldn't be too difficult. Take your stylist's advice.
Raw or Virgin Hair... the best!
This is the top of the range and the kind used by celebrities. It includes 'Temple Hair' and hair from Russia or Poland. Virgin doesn't refer to the donator of the hair! It means that the hair itself is 'virgin' – it's never been colored or chemically treated. Blonde virgin hair is totally naturally blonde!
Although it's possible to color (or perm) it, it's best to avoid this as it will compromise its' condition.
It's very rare and very expensive but worth it if you can afford it!
How are wefts attached?
A tiny braid is made in your own hair and the weft is then sewn onto it. Once the extensions are completed, you won't see the braids at all no matter what style you wear your hair in.
How do I care for my extensions?
The main point is to use a ton of conditioner every time you wash your hair. Every 2-3 days is recommended. This is because extensions don't get the natural oils that your scalp produces and if you don't keep them thoroughly conditioned they'll break and split.
Treat them gently – avoid pulling them when you brush or comb – brush from the bottom up, with a good paddle brush. Always set a hairdryer to cool and protect your investment by using good quality haircare products.
They will need re-doing once your own hair has grown about an inch and a half. This usually takes 6-8 weeks. The extensions are removed and then re-attached closer to your scalp.
Find a good stylist
This is extremely important. Ask to see before/after photos of previous clients. Ask a few questions based on what you've learned here – if you know more than the stylist…go find another one!