A study conducted in 2011 reported that British women spend on average £405 per year on their hair. The cost of hair extensions may see your own average spend far higher than this so it’s understandably upsetting if the results are disappointing. Poor hair extensions can damage your hair, look unnatural or show a noticeable colour difference. Here are some pointers to ensure you spend your money wisely and are happy with your hair extensions.
Choosing the right extensions
Firstly check what hair types your hairdresser is offering. Only accept natural human hair. If you’re even considering synthetic hair extensions stop right now as you’re unlikely to ever be happy with them. Synthetic hair will look fake, be more difficult to manage and not allow you the freedom to perfectly colour match it to your own tresses. Human virgin remy hair is the premium choice as it refers to hair that has never been chemically treated including never having been coloured which makes it longer lasting. It also means the hair was collected and treated to preserve the cuticle direction, ensuring that the hair will always lie in a natural way and is easy to colour and style.
There are several methods for application of hair extension. Knowing the pros and cons of a few will help you decide which is best for you.
- Clip-ins: These are fully removable and provide a quick boost to hair volume or length for special occasions. High street stores sell synthetic clip-in pieces very cheaply however you can also buy human hair clip-ins for home use. There are easy to use and even easier to take out. Opting for human hair will, as I mentioned above, make your finished ‘do much more natural and allows you to clean and style the hair easily.
- Wefts: Hair wefts are wide sections of hair that can be cut to size as necessary and joined around the width of the head and varying levels. These can be glued, wrapped around the hair or sewn in. Glue can be damaging to your natural hair and it much harder to remove later on. Sewing wefts starts by tightly plaiting your natural hair close to the scalp and then sewing the wefts to the braids. This can be quite stressful and painful for your scalp and may result in hair loss if you don’t give your scalp breaks between renewing your hair extensions. New varieties of wefts are available that have micro rings attached which wrap around smaller pieces of hair.
- Pre-bonded hair extensions: These are very small sections of hair that are bonded to your own hair close to the root. Two kinds of bond are available; stick tipped extensions which are joined by applying keratin glue to the extensions and your roots or micro ring extensions which wrap around your hair to secure the new hair glue free. Due the size of each extension they can be joined in an almost seamless way, hiding within your natural hair very well. Pre-bonded hair extensions also last longer than any other type of extensions and can last up to two years with proper maintenance.
If you’ve chosen good quality hair extensions and had them fitted in a way that allows you to manage your own hair then aftercare should be a lot easier. In general with the most high quality varieties of hair extensions you can wash and style the hair as you would your own natural hair. However there are specialist aftercare products that are designed to keep the hair in tip top condition and preserve the integrity of the keratin bonds used for pre-bonded hair extensions. Your hairdresser should be able to supply these to you.
Another invaluable tool is a nylon brush. The soft bristles mean less pulling at the bonds, preserving them for longer.
Lastly make sure you go for regular maintenance at your salon. Although pre-bonded hair extensions are a long lasting type of extension and are often referred to as ‘permanent’ this doesn’t mean that they are actually permanent for life. Nor does it mean they are maintenance free. All hair extensions require maintenance as your own natural hair grows. The bond will become looser over time and as it moves outward from your scalp it will also be more visible. Making a visit to your hairdresser every 2 to 3 months to adjust pre-bonded extensions or renew wefts will ensure that your coiffure is flawless.