Hair extensions are used in many different contexts. Whether it’s for a theater performance that lasts a few weeks or a long-term commitment to see what it’s like to have long hair, extensions can be very useful.
But there are many options in the market these days. From types of hair for the extensions to the types of extensions and the ways in which they can be attached to your hair, you can say you are spoiled for choice. But each of them has a specific purpose and why you’re picking them is important in deciding which one to pick.
We’re here to help you with a few details in that regard. Let’s begin.
Wigs might be the most common kind of extensions that even those who are unaware of any kind of fashion know. So, in a way, wigs were everyone’s chapter one in the book of hair extensions. If this is your chosen route, you should know that wigs are attached to the head using a net or plastic base which is how the hair stays in place.
The base typically covers the whole head, which is why we don’t necessarily think of them as extensions. But they do fall under this category. Wigs are known to last for about a year when they are made of natural hair and you take good care of them. If they are made of synthetic materials, you can expect them to last for 4-6 months.
It’s important to know that styling a wig is not a good idea, especially if the procedure involves heating techniques. This is because there’s a certain amount of damage that the wig undergoes, as does hair if you think about it, when you apply a lot of heat.
When you do this to a wig, it will wear out. The same happens if you brush a wet wig right before putting it away in storage.
These are the ones you might have seen in Katherine Heigl movies (yes, The Ugly Truth), if not in real life. Clip-ins are easy to attach and remove which is why they are preferred. You can also expect very little damage to your hair when you attach them to your natural hair.
As it’s clear, these are temporary extensions that can be removed whenever you please which is their greatest advantage. But you need to attach the weft clips that come along carefully with specific strands at the bottom of your hair. Clip-ins are like lenses which means you must take them out at the end of the day.
And if you do this religiously, they will last for three to six months.
Sew-in extensions work a little like cornrows in the sense that they are actually sewn into your natural hair that’s already braided. You will then sew the extensions in with an actual needle and thread. This works better if you have thicker hair.
Take good care of these extensions and they are likely to last for six to eight weeks. That’s a lot more work compared to clip-ins and a lot less time but these are relatively permanent installations since you don’t have to remove them at the end of the day. They might also slow down the rate at which your natural hair grows.
While you have these extensions on, it’s important to keep your scalp and nape moisturized. You should also make sure that the woven ends of your extensions are deeply conditioned on a weekly basis so that they look natural and remain healthy.
This is an interesting one. Micro- or nano-link hair extensions are attached to your natural hair using small weft threads of hair and beads of a preferred size. That’s why this process doesn’t involve using glue or heat.
If you care for them the way you are supposed to, these extensions are likely to last for three to four months. The beads are typically at the root of your original hair which is why you should be careful with your choice of beauty products.
So, it’s important that you care for the extensions just the way you would take care of your natural hair. After a couple of months, you must reposition the extensions since the beads will start slipping from the roots.
As the name suggests, these hair extensions are attached to your natural hair using double-sided tape. You will need a professional to take good care of it once in six weeks. And if you care well for them, they can last four to six months.
You won’t need glue since you’re already using tape in this process. You also don’t need heat to attach them since the professionals know how to use the tape. And you’ll also be revisiting them in six weeks. So, it should be okay. The best part might be that this style doesn’t hinder your natural hair’s growth.
It is truly the stop-gap solution that you intend for it to be. These extensions also look natural as long as the hairdresser does a good job with the tape and keep it invisible as it should be.
Pre-bonded or Fusion
These are the type of extensions that require heat when being attached to your natural hair. With a little bit of heat and a protein bond, the fusion strands are attached to your head at the roots of your natural hair. The tool they use looks a bit like a hot glue gun.
These extensions will last for three to five months but only if you take good care of them. That means you should know how to brush your hair, not overuse heat applications for curling or straightening and also how to wash your hair.
You should keep that down to twice or thrice a week and should visit your stylist once in 2-3 weeks. Apart from maintenance, how well they take to your natural hair depends on the latter’s texture and how well the extensions have been installed.
Try to avoid harsh products and oils if you want to make the most of your extensions. When they start becoming unruly, stringy or dull, it’s time to replace them.
Synthetic or Human Hair?
Another important factor when it comes to picking your hair extensions is to know what kind of hair you want on your head. You can pick human hair or synthetic hair since there are plenty of those options in the market. And it’s an important choice because they also play a role in deciding how long your extensions will last.
Human hair is often used for permanent extensions. So, if you’re going for a process that will keep the extensions on for months on end, you might want to pick human hair. And since they are so versatile and good for longevity, they are expensive as well. That’s also why stylists often recommend human hair.
But if you want something for a short period of time meaning weeks, you want to look into synthetic hair extension options. It’s important to remember that you can reuse synthetic hair extensions. But they are easily available and affordable as well which makes them an attractive choice.
Depending on the supplier, the quality of these synthetic extensions varies. And that matters even if you’re not playing the long game.
A lot of people like to get hair extensions while their natural hair continues to grow so that they don’t have to wear the extensions forever. But some folks like to have longer hair only for occasions. So, which process you pick depends on your long-term goals as well. And now you have a rough idea of where to start.