You’ve been eyeing those Remys forever with the hope of achieving that J-Lo-esque blowout, but what’s your wallet saying? Extensions, especially the high-quality ones, are known to be notoriously expensive, but just how expensive can they get?
Whether you’ve sworn by extensions for a while now or are just discovering the joys of these wonder accessories, knowing how much extensions can cost you will help you figure out your style (and your budget, duh!) better.
So, how much do hair extensions cost? Here’s everything you need to know about the topic.
What Defines the Cost of Hair Extensions?
The cost of hair extensions can be more or less defined by the hair color, the type of extension (material and application method), the length of the extension, and its weight.
Here’s a detailed look at each factor.
The Type of Extension and the Application Method
If you’ve been using hair extensions for a while now or know anything about them, the first thing you encounter is the fact that hair extensions come in different types.
You can differentiate hair extensions based on the material and the application method.
Based on the material, hair extensions are either synthetic, Remy, or human hair extensions; based on the application method, you have bun, halo, tape-in, fused, clip-in, sew-in, micro-loop, ponytail, and I-tip extensions.
Here’s a look at how the material and the application method affect the cost of extensions.
Materials and Cost of Extensions
Extensions, as mentioned earlier, can be synthetic or human hair. Based on the base material, costs vary. Here’s a deeper look at it.
Synthetic Hair Extensions
Synthetic hair extensions typically cost lesser than hair extensions (about $20-$100) As the name suggests, these are made entirely from a range of artificial materials such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester—there’s absolutely no human hair in these.
These extensions are created by heating the materials mentioned above and molded, by sending them through microtubes, to mimic the feel and look of hair strands. Though they come in many forms and under many names, all synthetic hair extensions are more or less the same.
However, synthetic hair extensions can rarely come close to the look and feel of actual hair. While these extensions are shiny (because of the base material), they can also appear stiff, stringy, and obviously out of place.
Additionally, synthetic extensions can’t tolerate chemical treatments, coloring, and heat styling; the latter may even cause melting or even burning. Using styling products on synthetic extensions is also not recommended as this can cause a product build-up, which can’t be remedied by washing as this can cause tangling and loosening of the fibers.
To round it off, synthetic extensions only have a lifespan of one to three months.
All of these factors make synthetic hair extensions cheaper than real hair extensions, regardless of how they’re applied. If you’re someone who likes switching your look often and are working within a budget, these extensions are ideal. Just make sure you keep in mind the shortcomings—“what you pay is what you get” has never been truer!
Human Hair Extensions
Human hair extensions are the big fish, costing anywhere between $200 and $3,000 (or higher), depending on whether you’re opting for a temporary one (clip-in, bun, ponytail, etc.) or semi-permanent type (sew-in, beaded, fused, etc.). Whether you apply it at home or have a professional apply it will also impact the cost.
Human hair extensions are often treated with silicone to keep them soft and shiny, though virgin hair extensions (extensions from hair that’s never been treated chemically) are also available.
Many people use Remy and human hair extensions interchangeably, but the two are not the same. Remy extensions have their cuticles intact and aligned in the same direction and are collected from a single donor or source, whereas human hair extensions are collected in different piles.
Additionally, the only treatment that Remy extensions go through is coloring. Because of this, Remy extensions are the closest to natural hair, moving, looking, and feeling the same, while also remaining strong, tangle-free, shiny, and smooth till the end of their lives.
Remy or normal, human hair extensions, unlike synthetic ones, can be heat styled, colored, styled, and washed just like human hair.
Because of all these factors, human hair extensions of all types are much more expensive than synthetic ones.
Application Method and Cost of Extensions
Each type of extension comes with its own application method. Some, like clip-ins, are temporary and extremely easy to put on by yourself, whereas others, like sew-ins, need to be left to the professionals.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular extensions and their costs:
Clip-in Hair Extensions
Clip-ins are temporary and consist of hair wefts that are either glued or sewn onto small clips or barrettes that you can then clip at your roots and hide beneath your natural hair.
You can easily clip on these extensions and take them off, making them a great option for those looking for a quick and inexpensive way to add length or volume to their natural hair. Clip-in extensions can last between 6 months to a year, depending on how often you wear them.
Clip-ins are among the cheapest options out there. Though the price varies based on the quality and nature of the extensions (synthetic vs human hair), good clip-ins start at around $100, with the really good ones costing about $350-$400.
Tape-in Hair Extensions
Tape-in extensions need to be installed by professionals. These semi-permanent extensions are made of small hair wefts that are taped to your natural hair using “sandwiching”. The tape used is flat and thin, making them easy to hide among natural hair.
At a fancy salon, tape-in extensions can cost around $1,000 for both the extensions and their application by a professional. Removing and reapplying your extensions (which is necessary after 2-3 months or when the extensions loosen/slip) will cost you a further $400.
However, this amount can go up or down depending on the salon you go to and the extensions you choose.
Beaded Hair Extensions
Also known as micro-ring, microbead, micro link, and beaded weft hair extensions, beaded hair extensions are attached to your hair via small beads that are clamped down and secured. No sewing, heat, or glue is required.
Beaded hair extensions are among the most expensive type of extensions costing anywhere between $600 to $2,500 for the extensions and their application, depending on the brand and salon you choose, with maintenance costing a further $300-$600.
The Weight and Color of the Extensions
Here’s how the weight and color of your extensions can impact how much you pay for them.
Weight and the Cost of Extensions
Extensions are usually measured in grams, indicating the weight of the hair attached to the weft. The heavier the extensions, the thicker the weft.
The length of the extension can also impact its weight. Longer extensions mean heavier extensions, which leads to higher prices.
Therefore, heavier, longer extensions cost more.
Color and the Cost of Extensions
The color of your extension will also impact its price. If you’re looking for extensions that perfectly match the color of your natural hair, a dye job may be in order. This will increase the cost of the extensions.
Many brands also offer multi-tonal extensions, with lowlights, highlights, darker strands, and lighter strands, so that they blend in better with natural hair and provide better depth, movement, and dimension. Such bundling can also make the extensions more expensive.
Extensions are also available in the colors of the latest trends, such as balayage and ombre. This lends to a high price tag.
How Do You Find the Right Hair Extension Color?
For generic colors, it’s all a matter of looking in the right places. Finding these isn’t very hard or expensive.
If you’re looking for a particular color, many brands offer custom blending. Two colors, and sometimes even three, are blended to hit the exact shade. You can get in touch via their website, or even better, walk into the store/salon and have the color customized for you. Of course, this is going to make things much, much pricier!
Will Extensions Ruin My Natural Hair?
This depends on what kind of extensions you opt for. Some types, such as bonded, glued, and sew-ins, may harm your hair, especially if applied incorrectly.
The glue and chemicals used to attach the extensions to your hair can be quite harmful, causing damage to your natural hair in the form of slowing down growth, burning, drying out, hair breakage, hair loss, etc.
Also, regardless of whether they use glue or not, all extensions can weigh down your hair and cause tugging and pulling at the scalp. This can cause hair breakage and hair loss.
A great way to ensure that your extensions don’t damage your natural hair is to go in for maintenance appointments at your salon every six or eight weeks. Good maintenance is key in not only preventing damage to your natural hair but also ensuring that your extensions live their longest and best lives!
Alternatively, you could opt for clip-ins or microbead extensions as these are way less damaging than other types of extensions.
How to Look After Your Extensions
Considering how much you’re going to be shelling out for your extensions, you want them to last as long as possible.
In addition to regular maintenance appointments at your salon, looking after your extensions and caring for them the right way at home can go a long way in protecting your extensions and keeping them healthy till the end of their lives.
Here are some tips to help you out:
- Wash your extensions correctly. Each type of extension has a different requirement and there’s no one more qualified than your hairstylist to tell you what products you should be using for your extensions. The wrong products can strip your hair of natural oils and dry it out and react negatively with your extensions.
Washing doesn’t just extend to using the right products, though—it entails the right washing method as well. Don’t flip your hair to wash it and simply let the water run down your hair to keep your extensions from loosening or slipping off.
- Always dry your extensions completely before sleeping.
- Always brush your extensions gently and carefully. Brush before and after every use; if you’ve got semi-permanent weaves, brush them once in the morning and once before going to bed.
- Deep-condition once a week.
- Minimize the amount of heat styling you subject your hair to.
- To avoid tangling while you sleep, use a silk bonnet or pillowcase to protect your extensions.
- Separate your bonds every day.
So, Are Extensions Worth It?
Whether or not extensions are worth it comes down to a matter of personal opinion and preference.
For example, if you’re going to constantly wear your extensions and want something that blends in perfectly with your natural hair, the heavy price tag of Remy extensions and sew-ins may seem justified.
If you want to switch your look and style frequently, clip-ins may make the most financial and logical sense.
Bear in mind, though, that with cheap, synthetic, or short-lived extensions (such as clip-ins), you’re going to encounter replacement costs if you intend to continue your extensions phase! With Remy and human hair extensions, the cost of replacement is way lesser as these semi-permanent weaves are meant to be long lasting.
Your dollars are going to literally last longer with these!
Ultimately, it all comes down to what you want to get out of your extensions and if you’re willing to pay the price for this.
Paying top dollar for human hair extensions may seem excessive, but it may be worth it to have extensions that can last for a year (or longer) and be worn, treated, and styled just as your natural hair, compared to cheaper extensions that come with lesser versatility, quality, flexibility, and wearability.
Many people love how extensions make them feel and look good—even if nothing else is considered, this alone makes them more than willing to create room in the piggy bank!