Hair extensions are a lot more common than you think; in fact, in a study conducted in England, 13% of women responded that they’re currently wearing extensions, while another 93% were either considering hair extensions or have previously worn them.
And what’s not to like: hair extensions give your hair that extra ‘oomph’ during bad hair days, and can even give you an entirely new look when you feel like it. Whether it’s sultry, waist-length beach-hair, to semi-corporate-but-still-fun ponytails, hair extensions give you a preview of how hot you’d look once your hair grows out.
But before you go out and get the first extensions you find, you need to know what you’re getting into. Because while it might sound like they’re easy, hair extensions actually require a fair bit of thought and consideration before you slap them on to your head.
We took some of the most commonly related questions about hair extensions and answered them as best as we can.
Synthetic or Natural Hair Extensions? Always Go with the Real Thing
In general, natural hair extensions, i.e. hair extensions that use 100% human hair, are the best choice for people just checking out a new hair style. It’s so much more convincing than the synthetic ones because they move and look just like real hair (because, well, duh, they are real). Natural hair extensions are also dyed to your liking, and while the shade will depend on how long the permanent hair color will last, natural hair extensions are more vibrant than anything synthetic extensions will offer.
In general, synthetic hair extensions are way too shiny, so much so that anyone looking at it will know that they’re synthetic. Moreover, because synthetic hair extensions are made from synthetic fibers, you can’t heat style them the way you can with natural hair extensions.
Most high-end salons will use Russian Virgin hair extensions, which are arguably the best natural hair extensions out there. Yes, they are quite expensive, but they last much longer, survive more refits, and their line is so extensive, you’ll for sure find an extension that works in tandem with your unique hair texture and color.
‘It’s always best to choose 100% human hair as other synthetic pieces are not a convincing alternative!,’ advises McKenna. ‘It is also advisable to invest in the highest quality hair you can afford. At Vixen & Blush we only work with Russian Virgin Hair and although it is expensive, the hair will last for many refits so the cost in the longer term is a lot more affordable. Synthetic hair extensions, on the other hand, are usually mass-produced using commercially-available colors and textures, so you’ll be very hard-pressed in finding extensions that will match your natural hair.
In short: go for the real thing. Always.
What are the Different Types of Hair Extensions Available in the Market?
Yes, there are different types of hair extensions that you can get, and no, it’s not just ‘curly’ or ‘straight’. Hair extensions actually come in three main types: temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent. Less about style and more about the time it spends on your head, the three types of hair extensions available to you vary in terms of how versatile you want to be. Hair extensions aren’t just about checking out new hair styles, after all; it could also be used to replace hair that’s been lost in accidents, or from conditions like alopecia. Hair extensions can give someone a sense of normalcy and beauty, and is a great way to remind someone of just how pretty they are.
As mentioned, there are three types of hair extensions:
- These extensions cover clip-ins, weaves, and wefts. Usually, temporary pieces cover a larger portion of the head as compared to the other types. Temporary extensions are usually taken off and placed back on every day or every week.
- These extensions are usually tape-in pieces, and usually last around 6 weeks up to 2 months. Semi-permanent extensions usually cover smaller portions of the head as compared to the temporary ones. With new Invisible Tapes, it becomes virtually undetectable and seamless, regardless if you wear your hair up or down.
- These extensions are usually micro rings and micro bonds, which means they’re attachments that are connected to your head strand by strand. These are worn continuously, without having them taken off for months at a time.
Modern hair stylists recommend that people use hair extensions to give volume to hair, not just length. This is usually prevalent in most haute couture shows, where models are given various amounts of hair extensions to give their hair lift and size. It’s a great way to thicken hair that’s usually thin without extensions.
Regardless of what your current hairstyle is now, volume is always best to give your style a more visible and more defined look.
What’s the Least Damaging Hair Extensions Out There?
In general, clip-ons and tape-ins are the least damaging hair extensions available to you. There are some extensions that require you to glue them onto your hair, which is more secure, but unfortunately, more damaging to your hair. Also called ‘fusion’ hair extensions, this type of extension is attached by melting hot glue directly onto your hair shafts. While it’s still relatively safe, if done incorrectly by inexperienced hair stylists.
Our advice? Stick to clip-ons. Give your hair volume and not just length. Depending on your needs, start with temporary extensions first so you can mix, match, and experiment with different styles for different occasions.