Long, voluminous locks will always be in style, but some of us need help to get the added length and volume that we want. If you have thin hair or have difficulty growing out your natural hair, hair extensions can help you achieve long, full hair again. But you’ll need to know the best types of hair extensions to achieve the best results.
First, you’ll have to make sure you’re getting natural hair extensions.
Remember when selecting your extensions that more hair doesn’t always mean more volume. Adding too much hair can actually make your hair lay flat against your head.
Then, you will need to choose what type of extensions will best meet your lifestyle and are within your budget. The five most popular:
- Clip-ins are the the fastest and most affordable type of hair extension. You can apply them yourself in 10 to 15 minutes by using toupee-like clips to secure the band of hair to your scalp. Also, note that it is recommend for your hair to be at least 6-7 inches (this is around shoulder length) in order for clip-in hair extensions to blend naturally. Any shorter and you may have trouble hiding the wefts.
- Sew-ins are one of the older types of hair extensions. They are secured to the scalp by braiding the natural hair horizontally from ear to ear then sewing the weft of hair into the braid.
- Tape-ins are lighter on the scalp than their clip-in counterparts and give you picture perfect hair. They are segments of hair attached to two-inch thick double sided keratin tape. The extensions are secured by sandwiching the tape between strands of your natural hair. According to Good Housekeeping this is Priscilla Valles’ (celebrity hairstylist to red carpet regulars such as Christina Aguilera, Chrissy Teigen, and Kylie Jenner just to name a few) favorite type of extension.
- Glue-ins are a bit more expensive because of the work involved in application. They are applied by melting a plastic keratin bond the size of a grain of rice around your natural strands. Priscilla Valles describes the process as basically building a wig on the head, which can take up to three hours.
- Halo extensions are the least invasive to your hair roots. A transparent wire sits around the crown of the head like a halo. The bottom half contains the hair, while the top half remains bare so it can be easily hidden under your own hair. Since it isn’t secured to any strands, it’s super easy to do yourself.
When taken care of and not wore too often, halo extensions can last up to one year. Clip-ins, sew-ins, glue-ins, and tape-ins all last for about two months. Wearing them any longer and your real hair can be damaged. Why? As we shed up to 100 hairs per day, the amount of natural hair inside of an individual extension thins over time. If the natural hair becomes too thin it can be easily pulled out.
Find hair extensions that match your color. Some companies will help you by sending you several hair color samples for free.
If you choose to have your extensions put in by a hairstylist, ask if they have been certified by an extension company. Extensions are safe for your hair if applied correctly so you’ll want to make sure that the person doing them is knowledgeable.
Once you have your extensions in, they should be cared for the same way you care for your own real hair. Just as it is recommended to prevent hair loss of your real hair, remember to wash gently and avoid any tugging at the root where the extensions and real hair are attached to the head.
Also, keep treatments such as detanglers and hair masks away from where the extensions are attached to the hair. Keep them more toward the shaft of the hair to keep the bond strong.
Costing anywhere from $100-$500 or more, human hair extensions can be a big investment for many. Making sure that you get the right ones for you will make that investment worthwhile.
NOTE: For anyone experiencing severe hair loss we recommend to consult a doctor first prior to purchasing hair extensions to ensure it is safe for you to wear them.