Published 11th June 2018
We all thought we were cool in High School, with our cheap clip in extensions that looked oh-so-natural…
Oh, how wrong we were! We have the low down on everything you need to know about hair extensions, the different types and how to care for them, so you have the most natural full bouncy hair possible!
Let’s start with the different types of extensions, because there are quite a few!
The first choice you will have to make is Natural or Synthetic hair? Natural or ‘human’ hair is normally considered the best as is does what it says in the tin, it looks natural. It is easier to style and blend in with your own hair. However, as they are natural, they do react to the weather the way hair typically does. They’re also not exactly budget-friendly and can cost hundreds of pounds.
Synthetic hair is cheaper, and thanks to technological advances are looking more natural than ever. However, despite all this technological growth, they are less versatile than natural extensions, making them more effort to style and typically don't last as long and need to be replaced sooner.
Then you will have to try and decide (with the help of a professional) which type of extension to go for. Obviously, it’s better to go into a salon with an idea of what you want, so we have broken the types down for you.
Temporary extensions can be put in and taken out daily or can be left in inbetween washes, however long that may be. (up to a week is recommended)
These extensions can include wefts, clipped-in pieces, or weaves for larger pieces of hair.
These extensions are typically very good quality, but very delicate and are applied by your hair stylist braiding your hair along your scalp, then sewing wefts of hair into the braids. This type of extension will typically last for 6-8 weeks if cared for properly.
These are made up of small wefts of hair that are then looped through small sections of your own natural hair, they are then secured in place using a metal bead and a pair of pliers. Or as an alternative, micro loop extensions come with the loop and bead pre-attached, so they are more convenient. They can stay in the hair for up to 3 months and don't require heat or glue. They can also be carefully removed from the hair and reused so that regrowth is neither obvious or expensive. However, they must be done by a professional, and can sometimes be visible if you like to tie your hair up in a high ponytail.
These extensions are pretty quick to apply, as they use polyurethane tape to hold and bind the extension to your scalp. These last for roughly 6-8 weeks and as the tape is more often than not invisible, they can be virtually undetectable.
Tape-In Extensions are not for you if you love to work out or do hot yoga, as the tape will lose its effectiveness
Keratin Bonded Extensions/Glue-Ins
These extensions look like small wefts of your own natural hair (providing you have been correctly colour matched) and have a small amount of keratin adhesive on one end, which is them attached to your hair (not right up top by your roots) and are placed in rows so that they are always covered by hair, so they are undetectable, even when wearing your hair in a ponytail.
How to care for your extensions:
If your extensions are natural hair, then you can just treat them as if they are your own hair, just using a sulphate free shampoo and avoiding putting conditioner on your roots, otherwise, you will break down the bonds or adhesive. Your salon stylist should be able to recommend products to you to ensure maximum longevity of the extensions.
You should also make sure you dry your hair after it has been washed and brush it gently, using a brush that has thin flexible bristles to make sure that there is no added pressure being added to the bonds.
While it may be tempting to only give your hair a quick blow-dry before going to bed and leaving some of it damp, this is not advisable as your hair will be more difficult to brush the next day, which is added pressure on your extensions that may lead to them becoming weaker.
To make it easier to brush your hair in the morning, it is also advised to tie your hair in a loose and low ponytail or braid as this will not only stop it from becoming tangled but stop your hair from becoming trapped underneath your partner's arm in the night.
Every 4-6 weeks you should revisit your salon to have a professional check the extensions to ensure they remain healthy and don’t damage your own hair.
You should never attempt to remove bonded or sewn in extensions yourself, as this will only lead to long-lasting damage on your own hair, you should always go back to the salon (ideally the one that you got them put in at) and have a professional remove them.