For those ladies (and men) out there looking to add some length to your ‘do, and who don’t wanna wait around for it to grow out, never fear! The next best option for your own home-grown flowing follicles are hair extensions, and because many of them look so natural these days, no one has to know, except for you and your hair dresser. There are many choices out there for you to consider when getting hair extensions, and we’re here to help you wade through all of the options, explaining not only what they are, but why people like and don’t like them. If you or someone you know is considering hair extensions for prom, we have a few things they might be interested in: first, this article on prom hair will help you properly style your coiffure, be it natural or not, and this course on prom makeup will have you looking your best for that special night.
Human Hair vs. Synthetic Hair
Before taking the plunge and getting extensions, there’s another option to consider: what type of hair to get. Your personal preferences, as well as the size of your wallet, should help determine which is best for you.
- Time Frame: Human hair extensions should last up to a year, while synthetic extensions will go anywhere from one to three months. If you have trouble sticking with one hairstyle, then synthetic may be your best bet, but if you have a good idea of what you want and think you’ll want to keep it, human hair might be for you.
- Cost: Synthetic extensions are going to cost you less than $100, while real hair can cost upwards of $400. If you’re on a budget, but still insist on looking fabulous, you may just have to go with the synthetic hair.
- Color Treatment: Besides cost, another big difference between synthetic and real hair extensions are the ability to color them. Real hair may be color treated, but can the risk of heavy damage if done too much, as it’s already been treated. Synthetic hair may not be color treated at all, as it will irreparably damage the extensions. This course on creating a personal budget will help you figure out if you can pay for your extensions or not.
- Maintenance: Human hair requires a bit more maintenance than synthetic hair, and will fall in rain or humidity. Synthetic hair, on the other hand, has a “memory” and will adhere to the preset style given to it, and will not fall in rain or humidity.
- Look: Finally, both styles look completely natural, and will blend seamlessly with your hair, giving you a great new look.
Hair Extension Options
Most things that fall under the banner of “fashion” has tons of options to choose from. Take a walk down the makeup and hair aisles of any supermarket, and you’ll be inundated with scores of conditioners, nail polishes, and eye liners, among a plethora of other products, and hair extensions are no different. The option that suits you best may depend on many factors: cost, comfort, time, and how safe it is for your hair. Below are the most popular types of hair extensions and what’s so great (and not great) about them.
- Fusion Hair Extensions
These extensions may be done in one of two methods: either hot or cold. Hot is the more classic of the two, with the cold being introduced fairly recently. The way the hot fusion method is done is that a keratin bond is heated up, then applied to the ends of a strands of hair, via a hot glue gun-type of applicator, then the extension is attached to the hair near the scalp. The newer cold method melts the keratin with ultrasonic waves rather than heat, but otherwise is the same as the hot method.
The fusion method results in the most natural look, with hair that moves like your normal hair, is virtually undetectable, and can be styled and washed regularly, and also lasts the longest of the other methods, going for anywhere between three to six months before removal. It is also the safest and healthiest type of extension for your natural hair. However, the fusion method is the most expensive of all the methods, costing anywhere from $800 to $1,800, and also being the most time-consuming, taking between 8 to 16 hours to complete.
These type of extensions use wefts, rather than strands, and are long strips of hair made up many strands. The micro-rings are tiny rings that attach one strand of the client’s hair with one strand of the weft, and are done in succession across the length of the entire weft. This option may be best if you intend to dye your extensions in the future, and they will not damage your own hair at all.
- Taped Hair Extensions
Another option used to put weft extensions in, tape is a way to apply two wefts at a time, resulting in a fuller look for the client. Two-sided tape is added to the top and bottom of the client’s hair, and a weft is then attached to each side. This method may not be preferred because sometimes people have allergies to the tape, and it may also leave a residue on the hair, in addition to being very expensive. Also, the tape has a tendency to show through the hair, and some have complained that it’s tougher to tie up their hair with taped extensions in. On a more positive note, they last anywhere from 6-12 weeks, are easy to maintain, and are quickly applied.
Instead of a weft being connected to the hair by adhering it, it may also be sewn into the hair, with the weft simply being braided into the already existing hairstyle. Sometimes the extension is bonded to the hair with some type of material, and sometimes it’s simply braided in naturally. There are many different ways to sew in extensions, including bonding, tracking, fusion, and netting, among others. This type of extension is quite extensive, and could warrant its own article, and comes in many different styles. If you’re interested in these types of extensions, but aren’t quite up on your braiding and weaving skills, this course on hair braiding and twisting will help you out.
The least permanent of all the hair extensions, the clip-on hair extension is easy to apply, and even can be done at home. They are cheap, convenient, and natural looking, being able to be styled to the already-existing hair in order to achieve a seamless look. On the downside, clip-ons may fall out of hair, especially if applied by someone with little experience, and if low-quality extensions are used, they might be quite noticeable, and may even damage the already-existing hair.
After weighing your options, and there’s a lot of them, hopefully you can find a hot new hairstyle that no one has to know isn’t all you. There are options for all budgets and time constraints, so take your time picking the right hair extensions for you, and if you can’t quite decide what’s best, you can always try clip-ons in order to be totally sure what will look best for you. If you’re looking to combine all aspects of beauty into one smokin’ package, this course on hair, makeup, and beauty tips will have you turning heads in no time.