As I sit pondering my next extension-enhanced hair style, I thought that it’s about time I put some of my knowledge out there.Extensions are definitely a girl’s best friend… Actually, a guy’s best friend too! Anyone who’s ever been in a style rut, had a too short haircut, set their hair to self-destruct with bleaching, or wanted long, glorious locks, this post’s for you.
Firstly, trust your stylist. The most vital step is getting a stylist who knows their stuff. This doesn’t necessarily mean certifications (those usually translate into a $$$$ price tag). It does mean that the person has experience. I have been doing my own dreadlocks, wig modifications, clip in, and track extensions since 2001 (it’s 2014). I’ve been doing others’ extensions since 2008. In that time, I’ve tried many application methods, cutting and styling techniques, and fixed many people’s styling woes with the help of extensions.
Finding a good, experienced stylist means asking around, looking at pictures, and asking your stylist for a consultation. From there, you can decide if they’re the right fit.
Secondly, consider the look and investment that fits your budget.
For example, fusion or micro beads cost $320 to apply and then the cost of the hair is usually $200-ish. So, the initial extension appointment is around $500. After that you have them replaced as they shed or moved up (micro beads) every three months for an hourly rate.
Some extensions can be used over and over like micro beads and tape-in extensions so all you have to do is buy them once and reapply them until they get too damaged or funky. Most of the time they last 3-4 applications. These types save big $$ because all you will pay for will be reapplying them once they’re grown out and the beads or tape to put them back in!
Tape-ins are my favorite extensions on a tight budget because you can buy them for as little as $90/pack (it takes 3-4 packs) online, and I charge $150 to apply them. They last up to 4 months and only need $10 tape to reapply! Reapplication is much faster so it usually runs lower than $75 (takes 40-1 hour). This is the method I use on myself because of the longevity, thickness, comfort of wear, and tiny price tag when considering you only buy hair once a year!
Thirdly, Make sure you are willing to care for them properly by spending extra time and money on extension safe products.
Not taking care of your investment is always a bad idea. You can damage your own hair and the extensions if you are abusive and neglectful of taking good care of the extensions.
Also, they won’t last as long or look as good.
Treat them better than your own hair because they are drier and, chances are, have been through many a chemical service to look the way they do.
Fourthly, if you aren’t sure of something, ask your stylist or look it up! That’s what both are there for! However, on a side note, avoid texting your stylist at night or on Sundays. We have lives too! Do you want your boss texting you at these times? Hmmm?
Now, let’s talk about types of extensions:
This is what most celebrities have. It is very natural looking as they are 2-3mm in diameter with a keratin bond at the root that matches the hair. They are the most expensive because they are time consuming to apply and cut as well as to buy the hair itself.
They last 3 months.
These are not reusable unless you want to buy a heat gun and retip them yourself after taking them out the first time.
They require non sodium chloride shampoo as this can weaken the bond. You must also gently detangle daily with an extension brush and wear it up to bed.
Wait 24 hours after initial application to wash.
Always use heat protector and leave-in treatment as well as argan oil to the ends.
Never scrub harshly as shampooing and don’t blow dry the roots upward. This can also cause tangles.
Same as fusion EXCEPT these are reusable so you only have to buy them new every 3-4 applications
I suggest getting the kind with beads already attached to make for longer lasting application. Also, make sure they are silicone-lined and weigh a gram a strand. Otherwise, they look stringy.
Avoid oil or conditioner at the scalp.
Follow same care instructions as above.
My personal favorite, they are reasonable, reusable, fast to apply, and look thick.
2-inch strips applied with medical grade tape to just below the root so they can move and your scalp is happy.
Get a color that matches you after you’ve had your color as you cannot wash these for 3 days after application so the tape can cure.
No damage, no weird chemical removal (most are oil based removers), and very comfortable.
Reapplication means removing the old ones and buying new tape to pop them back in.
I have my clients buy the brand of extension’s suggested remover and do it themselves, washing and removing old tape. They come in with clean, dry, re taped extensions which saves them the cost per hour for me to do this.
It takes about 1.5 hours to apply & cut to blend at first, and then 45-1 hour reapplication.
They last up to 4 months.
Follow same care as above, making sure to keep oil and conditioners off the tape.
“How much hair do I need,” you say?
I suggest AT LEAST 200 grams per head. If your hair is thicker than normal or shorter than your shoulders, you need 200++ grams per head. With tape-ins, at least 3 packs (20 pieces per pack). Thick/short hair you’ll need 4+ packs.I’ve used several brands, but have old stand-buys I love. Hair Faux You Extensions, Hotheads, Hairtalk, The Hair Shop LA, Qlassy Hair, 808, Venus, Donna Bella, and La Prive are some favorites. I’m constantly looking for the best quality and price so these are subject to change. Just ask me. 😉
tape-ins, custom colored
Now, give those long, pretty tresses a whip!