A Guide to Hair Extensions
Which Ones are Best for You?
I am SO excited to share all things extensions today. We have so many new techniques, color options, and cutting styles that can truly make extensions blend right in. I wear clip-ins currently, but have run through every type of extension on myself - and also have worked with each type on different updo clients. I have SO many points I want to get to here, so let's dive in.
Synthetic vs Human Hair?
Let's first talk about the complete and utter importance of human hair extensions. When it comes to the types of extensions we're talking about - human hair (virgin or remy) is really the only way to go.
With the synthetic or blends of hair, you can't color your extensions to match your natural hair, and you can't heat style them - which is crucial for the types of extensions we're talking about.
Look for Remy Hair or Virgin Hair when shopping for extensions. These are both human hair with a few differences, but both are high quality! Remy Hair is simply hair that's cuticle has been kept intact (the outer layer of the hair shaft) and was collected with the hair all going the same direction to ensure it's tamed and flows naturally. And Virgin Hair just means that it hasn't been chemically treated (colored) and is typically all from the same donor.
For the purpose of todays topic, though, as long as it's Human hair (Virgin Hair or Remy Hair) you're good to go!
There are many different types of extensions available on the market today, but which ones are best for you? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular extension types:
I'm going to start by discussing the different types of hair extensions available on the market. There are five main types: clip-in, halo, sew-in/beaded wefts, tape-in, and fusion/keratin bond. I have worked with and had every kind of extension over the years, so I've paid my dues when it comes to the extension game.
Clip-in extensions are wefts of hair that have barrette-type clips sewn on them so they can be easily clipped onto a section of your real hair (pictured below). These are the most popular type because they're temporary and can be taken out whenever you want and worn just for special occasions (or every day if you're like me).
They come in different colors, thicknesses, textures, and lengths to match your own hair, and they're really easy to install yourself. Clip ins are awesome for just adding thickness, you can order them to the length of your real hair, or have your stylist cut them to match and this way your hair is full and voluminous and nobody would even know you've got a few clip-ins as your secret sauce ;)
I often use just a couple of clip-ins for specific styles to make my bun a little thicker or make my braid more fluffy. I love how versatile clip-ins are.
You can even mix and match different clips with different colors to give the look that you've gotten a fresh balayage without any damage to your natural hair!
All in all, I've chosen to be a clip in girl for life - I love the zero in-salon maintenance and having full freedom to wear them when I want or leave them out when I want to take a comfortable nap ;)
Halo Extensions are extensions that go around your head like a halo by a small wire. These are really popular because they give you the look of wearing extensions, but without any visible tracks in your hair. These also have no in-salon maintenance and can be taken in and out day to day for ease and flexibility.
They come in different colors, thicknesses, and textures to match your own hair, and can be worn for up to a year (if you take good care of them). I like these for a super quick style, but because it is all attached by one large weft, I find them to be less versatile and more 'clunky'.
I definitely still use my halo when I'm looking to wear my hair down or in a big full braid - but in most other styles I'll grab my clip-ins so I can have full control over how the hair is dispursed around my head and give the thickness all over instead of just the halo.
Sew-in/Beaded Wefts are also temporary but require a salon visit to install and maintain. The extensions are sewn into small sections of your natural hair using a special needle and thread and can either be sewn into flat braid or just beads that attach your natural hair to the weft. Both are sewn in but with different methods depending on what your stylist suggests is best for your hair type.
These are really full and beautiful and when installed correctly look amazing! They actually are a relatively fast installation process compared so other methods so your in-salon maintenance isn't quite as hefty. These need to be moved up every six to eight weeks, but the move-up process is not as involved as some others so it's manageable!
These are amazing for people who like to wear their hair up because the wefts are far enough into your hairline that they are invisible in a top knot - and y'all know me, I'm always in a top knot ;)
-Tape In Hair Extensions are installed in-salon by sandwiching a small slice of your natural hair between two adhesive bands of hair. These can also look really nice and natural because each weft is shorter, so they have more movement and versatility.
Tape-ins last anywhere from four to six weeks before needing to be moved up. The process does include removing the adhesive from the wefts which can be a longer process, but as long as they're applied correctly shouldn't be a crazy long process.
One thing I love about tape-ins is that you can use a pack of two different colors and sandwich those together to create really beautiful dimension in your color.
-Fusion Hair Extensions are individual extensions that are fused onto your natural hair with a keratin or silicone additive that safely locks your extensions in one by one for the longest-lasting extension installation (these last around six to eight months before needing to be replaced).
The way these are applied also makes it super hard to see where they're attached to your natural hair so these are also the most discreet type of extension, even when the wind blows ;)
These have the heftiest price tag as you can imagine. Not only do you have to buy the individual packs of hair but the in-salon installation time is MUCH more intense with these because they are done in tiny sections. Although, they do last longer so you have to weigh your options!
So, which extension type is best for you? It really depends on your needs, how much maintenance you're ready for, and what price point you're in. If you want temporary extensions that you can take on and off whenever you please, clip-ins and Halo's are a great option. If you're looking for something more long-term, tape-in or beaded wefts extensions might be better suited for you. If you're looking to splurge on a long lasting option, the fusion extensions may be your best bet!
I would recommend talking to a stylist about which type of extension would work best for your specific hair type and your desired look. They will be able to give you a full consultation and point you in the right direction!
I hope this article helped you get started in your extension journey and hopefully pointed you to which type of hair extension is best for you! If you have any other questions or want more advice on choosing extensions, feel free to contact us!