You don’t need to have a genetic blessing for fast-growing, full-flowing hair thanks to the availability of hair extensions.
Hair extensions are a great quick and fuss-free solution to add extra length and volume to your hair. Whether you want long, waist-length hair or just a little extra body and volume, there are plenty of types of extensions to choose from to suit your specific needs.
Understandably, with so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which style to opt for. Furthermore, whilst they may be a simple solution to hair issues, there are a few things you need to consider before purchasing them.
The trick is to make it look as natural as possible without looking fake or obvious. The last thing you want is peeking clips, mismatched colours or uneven ends. Instead, by choosing the right type of extensions that match your lifestyle and hair type, your extensions will look as natural as possible. Furthermore, they should blend naturally into your own hair.
So, before taking the plunge, we’re going to tell you exactly what to think about before purchasing extensions. Also, we’ll go through how to maintain them so they last as long as possible.
What Are Hair Extensions?
The purpose of hair extensions is to add extra length and fullness to the hair.
If you are going through a frustrating in-between stage of waiting for your hair to grow out, extensions will bridge that gap without you having to wait for a long period of time for the hair to grow.
Using the correct type will instantly transform your hair and let you transition effortlessly between different styles. Additionally, there are separate strands of real or synthetic hair that can be combined with your natural hair to give it more body and an enhanced look. Moreover, extensions come in many different lengths, textures and colours.
However, hair extensions should be seen as ‘secret’ as it shouldn’t look like you are wearing them.
How to Know If You are Ready to Commit to, and invest in, Hair Extensions
While you may be ready to make a dramatic change for your hair, hair extensions can require a lot of work and care. So, you need to make sure that you can commit the effort that comes with extensions to ensure they look their best along with lasting as long as possible.
Make Sure They Fit Your Lifestyle
The best extensions are those that blend in with your lifestyle, as well as your hair.
For example, if you are an active person who likes to take part in activities like swimming, then chlorine could damage your extensions quicker. For this reason, it may be best to invest in less permanent extension options. Additionally, if you are someone who likes to experiment with hair and colour it often or use heat tools regularly, then you also may be better off using a less permanent option that you can take in and out of your hair effortlessly.
As extensions can be quite pricey, these types of activities can cause them to be damaged much quicker.
Consider the Maintenance
To keep extensions looking natural, they require maintenance to maintain their quality.
When you leave the salon, your extensions should look flawless and natural. But, it’s now up to you to keep it looking this way. For this to work a proper hair care regime that is tailored to your extension type is essential.
If you are the kind of person who just rolls out of bed in the morning and gathers all your hair together in a bun on top of your head, this will need to change. This is due to extensions tangling easily, so you need to make sure you give them a little extra TLC. This can include brushing them properly to remove any tangles, ensuring that they’ll last as long as possible.
What Types of Hair Extensions Are There?
The right type of extensions will blend seamlessly with your natural hair type. Importantly, knowing the difference between different types of hair extensions can make it easier for you to choose the most natural one for you.
So, consider picking a method and style that will work on how you treat your hair.
Note: Manufacturers can produce hair extensions from either synthetic materials or real human hair. However, the price and quality of both will vary greatly based on the type of hair you choose.
Manufacturers produce synthetic hair extensions out of soft plastic fibres. In turn, this can make them much more fragile, along with being lower quality than human hair. Due to it being made of this material, the strands have an unnatural shine, which means that they can look fake and cannot be dyed or styled with heat appliances. Furthermore, they can also get tangled much more easily than human hair extensions.
Due to their short life-span and lower quality, it is a cheaper alternative if you only plan to wear them once in a while. However, if you take great care of them, these extensions can last around four to five months.
Tip: When going for the natural look, it is best to avoid going to synthetic extensions.
Human Hair Extensions
Nothing replicates the look and feel of human hair like real human hair.
As they are significantly more durable than synthetic extensions, you can style them and treat them in the same way as you would your own hair! Furthermore, whilst they are more expensive, extensions made of human hair are the highest quality of extensions available. So, they last much longer than synthetic extensions along with there being the elimination of additional maintenance requirements, as they only need to be looked after to the same extent as your existing hair.
Tip: When attempting to get the most natural look possible, human hair extensions are the way forward.
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What Type of Extension Application Should You Go for?
After choosing the right time of extensions for your hair type and lifestyle, you will need to decide how you want them to be applied.
There are a few different ways that hair extensions can be combined with your real hair. However, the best application method for you should be determined on your hair type and how long you want the extensions to stay in your hair.
You can apply tape-in extensions by using single or double-sided tape. They then apply the extension to the hair by sandwiching the hair and extensions together. The tapes here are typically super-lightweight and stick flat to the head. Which is perfect for those with fine or thin hair who want to add a little thickness and volume to the hair.
With good care, this type of extensions can last from six to eight weeks.
If you are looking for short-term extensions to use for a special occasion, then glue-in extensions are the best option for you. These type of extensions are applied to the hair through applying glue to the track of the extensions, then attaching it to the hair.
If applied well, these glue-in extensions can last around four to eight weeks before they need to be taken out.
Sew-in extensions, also commonly known as a weave, are particularly great for those who want added fullness to their hair.
The application process involves braiding the hair tightly to allow the extensions to have a place to sew into. It is then sewn in using a threaded needle to secure the extensions into place with the real hair. Sew-in extensions should typically last from six to eight weeks with good care.
Note: However, if your hair is on the thinner side, then this type of extension can weigh it down. Therefore this type may not be the best option for you.
If you want to add dramatic length to your hair to take it from short to long, micro-ring extensions are the way to go.
Micro-ring or micro-bead extensions attach using a metal ring in which your natural hairs loop through along with the extensions. This is then pulled up to the scalp to secure it into place.
Note: This is a gentle application that is great for all hair types.
If you are looking for a more permanent option, then these extensions can last you from six to nine months.
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If you are a commitment-phobic with your hair but want to add a bit of length or volume, this is the option for you.
Clip-in extensions are a non-permanent and are actually the most cost-effective option. Which is great for occasional wear to enhance your look for a special event or occasion.
Clip-ins are hair-pieces with tiny combs that attach to the root of the hair. These are applied by being clipped into the hair and can be easily styled and removed just as easily after. However, this option is best for those with thick hair they tend to be bulky and can weigh down thin hair.
High-quality clip-in extensions can last you anywhere from three to six months. Additionally, they could last for a year or longer depending on how often you wear them. Their shelf-life also depends on how well you treat them too.
How to Pick Hair Extensions Based on Your Hair Type
Consider Your Hair Colour
Colour co-ordination is essential for natural-looking extensions.
The perfect colour-match will ensure that your extensions blend seamlessly into the hair. If the colour of the extensions is even a little off, it can be extremely noticeable that hair extensions are in place. To get the closest match possible, it is best to compare your hair colour to the extensions in natural lighting.
Importantly, if your hair isn’t just one solid colour, don’t worry. Many salons will offer dual or tri-blended hair extensions to ensure that it matches your hair seamlessly.
Consider Your Hair Texture
Hair extensions that don’t match your hair type or texture, won’t blend with your real hair. This can cause them to appear unnatural. So, try and find one that is as close to your natural hair type as possible.
If you go to a hair salon, your hairdresser can help you choose what most suits your hair texture. Additionally, doing so can help you cut down on styling, which can damage extensions and won’t let them last as long.
Consider the Thickness of Your Hair
One thing to not forget when choosing extensions is the thickness of your natural hair.
Heavier hair extensions will suit those with thicker hair types without putting a strain on the hair. If they are quite heavy, they can often lead the hair to breakage too, which can cause already thin hair to become even thinner. Therefore it is important that hair that is thinner hair needs lighter/thinner extensions.
Consider the Length of Your Hair
As it is for most things, less is more when it comes to your extensions.
Before deciding what length of hair extensions to go for, you need to ensure that it blends in with your real hair. As a general rule, the shorter your hair, the shorter the length of the extension should be in order to make it appear natural. As tempting as it may be to go for Rapunzel long hair is it best to keep things short and sweet. A full head of bulky extensions can make it obvious that you are wearing extensions. So, the best thing to do is to go for a length that is a couple of inches longer than your natural hair.
While you may not think this is enough, the extra few inches will make a big difference to your hair and blend in better.
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How to Ensure that the Extensions Blend Naturally into the Hair
Trim Your Hair
Your current hair should match your extensions for it to look natural, this includes the ends of the hair.
Most new extensions will come with blunt, straight ends, so try and opt for a fresh new trim once complete. Additionally, it is best to get a dry haircut once you have the extensions in your hair so as to help the two blend together perfectly. Doing so will reduce any disproportion of the extensions with your natural hair.
Wash them before Wear
Most clip-in extensions will have an ultra-glossy finish to them when you first purchase them.
This shine can cause them to have an unnatural, plastic look. This can give away the fact that you are wearing extensions. So, the trick is to wash the extensions before wearing them to eliminate the shine. All you need to do is use a gentle shampoo and conditioner to wash them and let them dry fully before putting it back on.
Curl Your Hair
Curly hair blends together better than straight hair. This is because when the hair is curled, it naturally forms spirals and layers that blend your extensions and your real hair together neatly.
Don’t forget to use a heat protectant spray on the human hair extensions before styling. This is to ensure that the heat of the curler or straighter causes minimal damage to the hair. Do not use styling products or tools on synthetic hair extensions.
So, before committing to expensive extensions, pay a visit to your hairstylist. They can give you more information on what type of extensions are best for you.