‘’A woman who changes her hair is about to change her life’’-Coco Chanel.
So, getting a hair extension is not just about having a makeover. It is a life turning decision. Because when we, women are not satisfied with our look, we can’t concentrate on our inner abilities. There is no wrong in getting a full head of beautiful lustrous hair that lifts off the weight of styling hair every morning to hide out flaws. Unlike hair wigs, hair extensions can be temporary for occasional use and permanent- for months! So, your right to feel beautiful only justifies when you get to use hair extensions whenever you feel the need.
But, the wide range of categories and quality differences makes hair extension itself puzzling for women who never tried it before. We just tried to guide you so that you can make the right decision. Because using the wrong kind of hair extension can lead to hair damage and waste the money you spent on it. Most importantly, it can demotivate you from getting hair extensions in the future at all.
Things You Need to Know Before Getting First Hair Extensions
The following things should be considered before getting hair extensions. In fact, whenever you decide to change your hair extension type or try out a new set, you should go through this. It will guide you to get a no-fail hair extension experience.
1. Minimum Hair Length
There are differences between wig and hair extension. Wig gives you a full head look at any color, length, volume, and texture without showing off a single strand of yours. On the other hand, hair extensions must be matched to your original hair color and texture to make them look natural. The reason behind this is, the extension is worn in between the real hair and it clings on your hair too. So, you must have a certain length of hair to get a certain look. The minimum length of applying for hair extension unnoticeably is 4 inches. To make things simpler, try to make a ponytail with your hair. If all of your hair can not be grabbed by a rubber band, then hair extension is not your thing.
Another mistake women make is to expect a miracle. Yes, hair extension does make you look naturally glamorous as long as you keep your expectations in check. Don’t expect to have hip-length hair with your short bob hair. A wig is a better choice in this situation. Hair extensions look natural when you want to add 4 to 6 inches of length and a little volume or highlights. Just remember one thing: anything extreme just ruins the simplicity when it comes to hair extensions.
2. Check Out All the Options
Getting the first-ever hair extension does not necessarily end up with regret if you know which type you need. Yes, there are over 20 types of hair extensions in the market called by different names. The purpose of use, method of application, care and maintenance, expiration are different. When you can settle the type of extensions you are going for, the rest of the procedure becomes simple.
It is a temporary extension. As the name suggests the extensions come with matching clips underneath to attach to hair seamlessly. This one is the easiest hair extension that you can apply at home and can add length, volume, or even color! There are eight wefts in a pack for the sides, back and front parts of the head. As you can remove it at the end of the day, it requires minimum maintenance and causes the least discomfort.
The purpose of the halo extension is to add length. A long full weft is worn at the back of the head, under the hair while the attached fishline sits on top of the crown of your head. Wearing this headband style extension takes seconds. This one is also temporary and highly popular among young ladies who don’t need volume to the front. Besides, as this weft falls behind a thick layer of hair, it becomes undetected even if the color doesn’t entirely match.
There are several types under this category. I-tip, U-tip, tape-in, and tape-in extensions. The U-tip and I-tip have pre-applied tape on them. All you have to do is take a thin strip of hair and wrap the extension around it. The actual tape-in extension is applied with special tape. These are wide weft with glue on one side. To apply this, a wide yet thin section of hair is taken and two extensions are placed on top and bottom of the hair lock, sealing it like a sandwich.
This is a semi-permanent extension. This is a cheaper option because of its poor longevity. The bonds may loosen due to washing and brushing and needs to be reapplied.
In replacement of the tapes, micro bead extensions have tiny beads attached. Hair is passed through that bead and pressed with pliers to apply one strand of microbead extension. Surely it makes a better hold on the hair, and also less damaging compared to tape-ins. These extensions can be very uncomfortable while sleeping. It is also less damaging compared to tape and glue extensions.
If hair safety is your top priority for semi-permanent hair extensions, then I can assure you that it is the most reliable method. A long, single weft is sewed in using a needle in a cornrow on your head. No tape, glue, clips, beads are needed to follow this procedure. It takes a few minutes and a helping hand to wear this kind of extension. Its non-damaging nature and perfect hideout make it popular.
Fusion hair extensions are more like tape-in extensions, but more secure. These are applied with heat. There is glue on this extension which melts under heat. So, when the heat is applied with a special gun then the glue melts and the weft attaches to the real hair. Upon cooling down, the extension feels just like the real hair, without any stickiness. However, the heating part is quite scary and damaging to the hair, but this hair extension is semi-permanent and literally undetectable.
Frontals, ponytails, and buns
Frontals are used to cover up alopecia, baldness, and thinning hair to the front. It also changes look by adding instant bangs, or air bangs to the front without bothering to actually cut your hair. Just like the clip-in hair extension, it also comes with clips underneath.
Ponytails, braids, buns, and scrunchies are also hair extensions but these are more of a hair accessory. These are also available in different colors, styles, and qualities. For short hair, doing an updo for a disco, special event or date night is not an issue. Just choose the right accessory for the outfit and you will get the ‘salon makeover look’ without paying the salon.
Hair extensions can be natural or artificial. Natural extensions are made from virgin human hair and then processed to give it the desired texture, color, and length. Upon wearing these extensions it looks and feels like own hair growing from the scalp. Mostly, semi-permanent extensions are made from real hair and last long.
Artificial hair can be made out of plastic strands and even animal fur! Needless to mention, both are harmful to health, if you have any allergies to animal hair. However, the advantage of using artificial hair extension is, it is cheaper, mostly used in temporary extensions, and does not require high maintenance.
The first thing hairstylists do after applying hair extensions is to give you a trim to match your own hair with the extensions you have. It is a must no matter you are wearing permanent or temporary extensions.
According to the material and type of hair extension, the maintenance procedure varies. If it is Remy human hair extension, then you must invest in sulfate-free shampoo, a load of sulfate-free conditioner, and silicon loop brushes. For pampering, only a special kind of oil or hair mask can be applied. Otherwise, the glue or tape of the extensions loosens and slips. Permanent hair extensions need to be reapplied every 3 to 4 weeks as it goes down due to hair growth.
Caring for temporary hair extensions like clip-in or halo hair is easier than this. Just rinse the hair with shampoo water and hang to drip dry. Applying live on conditioner upon drying the hair makes it easier to wear as these hair extensions tend to tangle a lot.
5. Price to Pay
Hair extensions have been hyped for several decades. It is most desirable to especially young girls, teens, and middle-aged women. However, the main problem, with their excitement is, they overlook the price of the maintenance products of hair extensions. The price of hair extensions can be as cheap as a few bucks and as expensive as a thousand dollars! Moreover, you have to pay the stylists for applying the hair, if it is a semi-permanent category. Even if it is a temporary one, it is still important to get a hair trimming wearing those extensions. it makes sure that it blends well every time you wear it on your own. Do I need to mention how much it costs to the salon for a little trim?
The maintenance products for semi-permanent hair extensions cost more than the extension itself. As those are human hair and it can not soak nutrients from the scalp, so it absorbs a lot of product to survive beautifully. If you are obsessed with hair extensions and determined to get your first hair extension soon, then please make money to grab the toiletries as well.
It sounds cliche, but beauty is pain. Hair extensions feel uncomfortable at the beginning and women need time to get used to them. You can’t sleep with temporary hair extensions and the permanent one just won’t let you sleep. Besides, wearing those, you are not allowed to wash your hair for the first three days.
Itching, applying oil, or brushing on the hair roots is extremely prohibited while wearing any kind of hair extensions. Before getting the hair extensions, prepare yourself to go through that tricky period. After a week, hair extensions are your best friend, trust me.
7. How to Choose
Again, choosing the right hair extension is the most crucial part of your journey or wearing these. As you are getting your first extension, you need some simplified tips. The following steps should help you determine which hair extension you should get.
Do you want it to be exact your own hair color? Then you have to know the shade of your hair. Go to the nearest salon and skim through their catalog. You will know the shade of your hair and the closest shades too. Now deciding the hair color is easy for you. If your exact hair color is not found, then go for a shade darker if it is semi-permanent hair. Because semi-permanent hair falls behind your hair. A darker shade will create depth to it.
If it is a frontal or clip-in extension, then go for a shade lighter. Because this extension sits on your head. A lighter hair will give the illusion of sunburnt hair and make it less artificial. Choosing accessories like a ponytail or bun should be the same way.
Teen girls just don’t care much about the hair extension color as they usually go for one or two wefts of bright color and wear it regularly. In this case, there are no rules for choosing the color as long as pleases the client.
Does the length of the hair extension confuse you? Well, hair extensions are available from 8 to 24 inches. The length guide is shown in a photo for all the lengths in between and displayed in most of the sites. From those guides, you will get the idea of your desired length. I suggest not going for hair extensions too long if you have short hair. Most likely the stylist will cut half of it just to blend in.
Fortunately, hair extension can be found in kinky, wavy, curly, and straight. Everyone should choose their own hair texture for hair extensions. Because all the hair extensions are allowed to style the hair using heating tools. So, get the hair extension with the texture you already have and style the full head whenever required.
Big budget name brands sweat on their product and longevity. If you have a smaller budget, then you can go for non-famous brands. The quality will be win-win, but remember, you can always return their items if not liked.
Long-wearing hair extensions should be of very good quality. This is how the hair looks healthy and real 24x7. For occasional use, artificial hair extension will also be a smart choice.
As you are new to this, getting confused about the hair volume is normal. The weight of the hair extension is mentioned in the designated link. The weight of the hair determines how much volume the single pack can deliver you. Now you can decide how many packs you need for a cute lift or for a full head look.
No need to order several packs unnecessarily if you only need a little lift on the hair. You can get one or two packs of semi-permanent hair for a healthy look throughout the day. For special events, just use a clip-in extension. This way you can play with your hair in different ways.
All the hair extension vendors are highly responsive to their clients. You have some query or order to make, just contact the customer care. You can also send them your photo to help you decide the extension you should order.
Never overlook the return policy of the vendor; not as a beginner, not as a pro. Ask them what happens if the hair you get is not up to the expectation. Usually, hair care vendors replace their products for manufacturing defects. For return or refund, the extension has to be intact for claiming it.
Can’t find the extension you look for on the list? Then order one! All the sellers offer customized hair extension services everywhere. Just send a photo of your desired hair color and let them do the rest.
8. How to Blend in/Updo
It is very common to get the shade you ordered but just doesn’t suit your hair. There are many ways this problem can be fixed. You are allowed to dye the hair extension in a dark shade. You can take the extension to the professionals and let them decide.
Women often chose to color their entire hair and the extension with the same shade to match with. You can approach for a highlight, ombre, or any other style you can name.
You can make almost any hairstyle or updo even while wearing extensions. Just make sure to backcomb our front hair to hide the fake roots, and you are good to go.
9. Professionals or Personal Help
With the help of your friend, you can try applying the hair extensions to cut salon bills. If it is halo hair or any accessory, then it will be no problem fixing it at home. For other types of semi-permanent hair, professional attachment just makes the best of the bill. Applying the hair, cutting, dyeing, and styling, and reapplication within a month requires a lot of patience. It is best to get these services professionally done.
10. Hair Care Routine
Hair extensions may require a whole new line of products, but the hair care routine is all the same. You should wash the hair as it builds up dirt and oil. Mix the shampoo with a little amount of water and use it on your hair. Do not scrub the scalp with extension no matter what.
After rinsing, dampen hair and apply conditioner all over the hair. Leave it for a minute and rinse again. Leave 3 to 4 inches from scalp to apply conditioner.
Never rub the towel against hair for drying it. Rather, wrap your hair with an old towel and gently squeeze. Then leave the hair to air dry.
Use a loop brush to detangle your hair and hair extensions. Start detangling the tip of your hair and hair extensions and gradually go upward. Use live on conditioner to make this process bearable. In fact, you should apply live on conditioner throughout the day when needed.
Make a loose braid or pigtail before going to bed. If possible, use a silk pillowcase to reduce friction with the hair. Never go to bed with wet hair.
Did you get everything you need to assure to begin using hair extensions? Or I missed something. The things explained here should help you have an idea about how it feels like wearing hair extensions. I also honestly added the side effects and cons of wearing hair extensions, but my motive was not to scare you off from getting your dream extensions.
Rather, I would like to mention that, women who are maintaining their hair extensions for years now are fully okay with all its disadvantages. Sometimes you don’t know what you are capable of unless you try.
If permanent hair extensions demotivate you then try the temporary ones at first. Wear hair extensions and accessories on the day to day life. It helps to gradually convince yourself to get the real deal.
It’s Bella Herper, the author and founder of Kulahat. It is your most reliable option to get to know about the latest beauty products and tools, DIY hair styling methods, DIY ways to lash extension, personal care, accessory, and expert styling tips.