Hair Extensions- Everything you needed to know...
What are Hair Extensions?
An actual definition for hair extensions is fairly loose. Hair extensions come in a range of types, sizes and colours that to clearly define them is fairly difficult.
Hair extensions are separate pieces of hair that you blend into your own. Generally, these tend to be longer than your own hair, but sometimes it's just to enhance the thickness of your hair rather than gain a lot of length.
In summary, hair extensions add length and/or fullness to human hair by incorporating human or synthetic hair pieces that are usually clipped, glued or sewn into place.
What are the Types of Hair Extensions?
Weaves, clip-ins, tape-ins, halos, ponytails, oh my! It's all so overwhelming.
Figuring out whether or not you want extensions all comes down to your personal preferences. There are varying factors to consider when getting extensions. Each extension format possesses different pros and cons that you need to weigh up.
Don't feel swamped by all the options because we've done the digging and we've got the dirt on the types of hair extensions you'll want to know about.
Clip In Extensions
Best for: Medium-density hair
Clip-in extensions are definitely one of the more well-known hair extension types. These come in strands of different lengths with clips that are sewn to the strand.
These are a super popular option as you can quite easily apply the extensions yourself. You can have a hairdresser put them in your hair to blend them, and even show you how to apply them properly.
Obviously, these are the least permanent form of hair extension, but this can be a positive feature. It allows you to choose whether you want short hair or long hair for the day or night by removing and putting them back in whenever you want. These generally take 5-15 minutes and they cause the least damage as they don't use any adhesive or glue to stick in your hair.
Clip-ins are fairly low maintenance and only need to be washed every 15-20 wears or if there is a fair amount of product on them. Essentially, they're the same as your own hair and you can even style them, dye them and cut them to your own preference.
These tend to last around six months to a year depending on the care, what products you use and how frequently you wear them.
If you're looking to purchase clip ins you can get real human hair extensions from
Tape Hair Extensions
Best for: Fine or thin hair
Tape-in hair extensions look similar to what they sound like. The piece is pre-taped and then taped or glued together on either side of your own hair. These need to be applied by a professional as they need to be placed close to the root of your hair for the most seamless look.
The benefits of tape-in extension is that once they're in, they're in. There's no fuss of taking them out or putting them back in and you can go about your day with long luscious locks.
The only drawback to these in day-to-day life is that they can be tricky to conceal. Obviously, you don't want people to be able to see the tops of the extensions so braiding your hair or putting it in a high ponytail can be challenging.
Additionally, you also need to get these touched up. Typically, they last four to eight weeks before you need to remove and re-apply them as your hair grows out.
You will need a hairdresser to remove the extensions (with glue remover) and then re-apply them higher up as long as they're in good condition. If they haven't been maintained well, you might need to purchase another set of extensions.
Finding good quality tape in extensions can be hard to come by, but offer a range of styles in incredibly good quality.
Best for: Coarse, curly or thick hair
Weaves are very much the big deal of hair extensions. The process can take several hours and it can cost a shiny dollar. Weaves work by narrowly braiding your natural hair and the extensions are attached to the cornrows with a needle and thread, sewing them into place.
This technique is frequently used for people with significantly thicker hair as they require more hair to mask. After their initial application, which is a timely process, the extensions can feel a little uncomfortable. Don't worry, this is normal.
Again, a professional needs to apply and remove these types of extensions for obvious reasons. While these can be the most painful form of extensions they are also one of the most popular because they're permanent and seamless as they're quite literally sewn into your head, so they aren't going anywhere.
When you have a weave you need to make sure you moisturise the scalp, nape and edges of your hair at least once a week and make sure you're using deep conditioning products.
Best for: Medium and thick hair types
Halo extensions are a modern design that just recently hit the Australian market. What makes these extensions so damn amazing is that they don't require ANY clips, beads, tapes, glues or weaves to be worn! Say what?
It's a somewhat similar style to a headband that you weave and blend into your hair. I know your first thought is that it's going to fall straight off because it's not actually attached to anything. However, halo hair extensions are designed to be fitted to your head so it sits at the perfect angle – and the angle is key.
According to the extension description that retailer Sitting Pretty offers, the extension "sits underneath the top-half of your hair. It's sitting around your head and tucked under the occipital bone [the bone that rounds out at the back of your head and is the base of the skull]. Don't worry! The Sitting Pretty Halo goes totally undetected because the hair that’s on top will be pulled over which makes the clear wire at the front invisible."
This design presents multiple benefits. The main plus is it eliminates the chance of damaging your hair since it's not attached to anything. They also don't need adjusting after a few weeks or months and they have a longer life, lasting around 8-12 months with the proper care. Their easy application and removal offers the same appeal that clip-ins give you – options to have a break from your extensions from time to time.
What hair extensions are best for your hair?
The extensions that are best for your actual hair are either clip-ins or the halo extensions. This is due to the fact the extensions aren't applied to your hair with any adhesive, glue, chemicals or heat, so they cause little to no damage to your natural hair.
The halo extensions provide a new standard when it comes to extensions and hair health. While clip-ins don't have any glue or heat involved, in order to place these in your hair you need to tease your roots and clip them in.
This isn't always the most comfortable feeling and can cause pulling on your hair, and minimal hair loss. In saying that, when clip-ins are applied properly, hair loss or pain is very rare.
How to take care of hair extensions
Taking care of hair extensions isn't as difficult or time-consuming as you think it could be. Obviously, you need to wash them and keep them untangled. Follow the steps below to keep your extensions in tip-top shape:
- Brush them lightly (don't hack at them) with a detangling brush until there are completely free from knots.
- Place the extensions flat in a sink or bathtub and wet them slightly.
- Apply conditioner to the extensions first.
- Apply shampoo over the conditioner and wash gently.
- Rinse extensions with warm water.
If you have permanent hair extensions, consult with your stylist on what shampoo and conditioner they recommend as each process is different. Overall, try to avoid any shampoo or conditioner that have extra moisturisers in them, as your hair can become too slippery for the extensions to adhere.
Additionally, make sure your hair is totally dry when you go to bed. If you really want your extensions to last, try braiding or putting your hair in pig-tails.
Do hair extensions ruin your hair?
In the grand scheme of things, hair extensions do have the potential to harm your hair.
First of all, you definitely want to avoid hair extensions that are heavier than your real hair. The weight will cause your actual hair to break and can be painful and cause headaches. This damage can also happen if extensions are attached too tightly.
This combination of weight and strain on your hair can result in hair falling out, which is also known as traction alopecia. When hair experiences frequent tension, which can happen from tight or heavy extensions, the hair around the hairline begins to recede and can cause permanent hair damage.
In order to prevent this, you do need to visit the hair salon regularly if your extensions are permanent. Allow them to take them out and replace them properly.
Moreover, it's good to give your hair a break from time to time and actually go without extensions for a while. Most importantly, if you do see the extensions have caused damage to your hair, take them out immediately.
Do hair extensions hurt?
Depending on the type of extensions some discomfort is normal. If you're completely new to hair extensions, the extra weight can result in headaches until you get used to them. Most describe the sensation as having a really tight ponytail for a day. This is normal and should subside after a few days or a week.
Particularly with permanent hair extensions, they can cause more discomfort than non-permanent ones. When tape, fusion, or weave extensions are positioned so close to the scalp, you may need time to adjust to the feeling, and for your hair to begin growing out any tightness.
However, you should never experience intense pain when it comes to hair extensions. If you do, remove them or have them taken out immediately. This could mean you're allergic to the glue or chemicals or that your scalp is just too sensitive.
While these are all possible reactions, they are fairly rare and most people experience minimal discomfort, if any.