We all look enviously upon the lush, luxurious locks that celebrities seemingly permanently sport. How is it that they always have gorgeous, voluminously coiffed hair?
Well, other than on-call stylists, many of them employ extensions to enhance their well-tended natural locks. They don’t use just any old hair enhancement though, good extensions are like good clothes; quality is paramount.
Just like you would buy good quality fabrics and designs to make your outfits go from great to head-turning, give your hair a little extra oomph with high quality extensions. When it comes to hair extensions, good ones are often made out of human hair that is matched to your hair texture and dyed to mimic your exact coloring. Besides purchasing good quality products, your extensions should be carefully bound to your natural hair and lovingly cared for to ensure both maximum enhancement and tolerance to daily wear and tear.
Fashions Come Full Circle
Extensions are not a new phenomenon. Perhaps they are now more advanced in their application and subtler in their appearance, but the drive for hair enhancement has been popular since the Sun King was on the throne. Although Louis XIV did not use hair extensions in the manner we think of today, he did manipulate his mane by having hair fashioned into artfully constructed wigs.
The idea behind these wigs was to offer a full-bodied lustrous, healthy hair in a period when lice were common and shaved heads were hygienic. Using a wig solved both these problems. One could have “healthy” hair both in appearance and in reality. This is essentially the same effect that customers search for today; they want a new hairdo to be in fashion while embodying their style and protecting their natural hair.
Fast forward to today. Extremely full-bodied hair is now back; think The Real Housewives not the 1980s. Instead of opting for hairdos that are delicately bolstered by additions, women are choosing to echo the periwigs of the aristocracy of yore with hair extensions.Stylistic extremism exudes the confidence and independence of wearers by setting them apart from the crowd. Essentially today’s big hair embodies the philosophy “go big, or go home.” This trend is not new. It has, in fact, stood the test of time and come full circle as a reoccurring style that serves to channel ideas of wealth and health in its aficionados.
The landscape of the friseur has changed dramatically from 10 years ago. However, it will likely change again as the new haute couture collections hit the runway, so enjoy the thick locks while you can. In six months you will want new embellishments to your hair to complement the season’s latest trends.
Change is the beauty behind these extravagant hairstyles. They are not permanent and can change day-to-day or season-to-season. Your updo from that party yesterday can be easily altered to match the casual outfit you want to wear to brunch with a quick trip to your bathroom mirror or the salon.
It can be a terrifying experience to enter a salon for a major hair change. There is no question about that. Women have all hemmed and hawed, arguing with themselves over if they should dramatically alter their hair and then run out to have their ideas vetted by their friends, only to ultimately decide to go with “just a trim.” If that sounds like you, will leave the salon after all that debating, content and comfortable with your ‘do, or still have that nagging wish that you had tried something bold, something daring?
Trying to find your hairstyle will lead you down the rabbit hole of digitally trying various haircuts out on photos of yourself (Thank you technology!). Despite technology’s ability to ease our life and make options easy to compare, it can make them infinitely more difficult to settle too. Suddenly, all those hairstyles that you had written off as a bad idea look fabulous on your digital self. However, you know that you can only have one in real life and that committing to it is still a big decision that cannot be easily reversed.
When you eventually express the desire to recreate yourself to your trusted stylist, often they suggest that you try some color before you venture for an extreme cut. Since color is, you know, reversible. Although revamping your hair color can alleviate some of your desire for a drastic change, sometimes it is not radical enough.
Fortunately, there is another avenue available to you: extensions. Thank your lucky stars, now you can have the best of both worlds! Extensions make it possible for you to commit to a hairstyle without it becoming permanent. Add color, volume, texture, and length to your natural hair. Incorporate six inches of curls today and take it out tomorrow. Your hair has now become art and you, as the artist, have the license to create.
So go ahead, experiment, or don’t. Either way it can be transformed tomorrow.
How are Extensions Added?
Application is key for authentic looking extensions. Make sure that first you have good quality extensions and a trusted stylist who can perform proper application. Next work with your stylist to decide which attachment method best suits your hair type.
A popular method for adding extensions, micro linking, uses metal rings or keratin tubes to fasten natural hair to additional extensions. This method is long lasting and results in minimal damage to your natural hair since no adhesives or solvents are used. Plus, this method ensures that you will not have an adverse chemical reaction resulting in the potential removal of your new hair.
On the other hand, extensions inserted this way can be difficult to remove as well as add additional weight to your hair, which can cause the bonds to loosen, and hair to fall out. Experts usually do not recommen
d this method for clients with fine hair.
Bonding is simply gluing extensions to your natural hair. This method uses longer sections of hair than linking. With bonding, the adhesive is applied at the natural roots and can extend for up to 6 inches to adequately fix your natural hair to your extensions. Although this is a quick method of application, it is not the longest lasting.
Fusing is similar to bonding except that a special fixative is used on smaller sections of hair. Hot fusion, the most common method, involves first braiding the extensions into the natural hair and then binding them together with a wax adhesive.
Less commonly used is cold fusion where a keratin-based polymer is attached to the roots of the hair and is fused using ultrasound waves to crystalize the bond. Since this method does not use any heat, it allows for bonds to occur closer to the scalp creating a more invisible link. Cold fusion is said to be gentler on hair and therefore is a good option for clients with fine or thin hair.
Fusing normally requires several hours in a salon for both application and removal. Although the same method can be recreated at home, professionally fused extensions tend to last longer and offer a more streamlined appearance.
Another option to add extensions is weaving whereby a stylist sews new hair into natural hair. To do this, the hair is braided tightly at the scalp in cornrows and then the extensions are sewn into the braid. A very long lasting method, it can take quite a while to execute since all the natural hair must first be braided before the new hair can be sewn in.
Maintenance of your extensions may be the most critical part of the process. Hair extensions can remain beautifully in place for 3-4 months if the proper care is taken. Before even beginning your care routine, invest in a shampoo and conditioner designed for hair extensions as they contain no oils that can damage their bonds. Also buy a good heat protecting spray to defend your locks against hairdryers and styling tools.
Brushing should be done delicately and regularly. Start at the bottom and work out all the tangles before moving up toward the roots of your hair. Do not get frustrated and yank as this can cause your hair to fall out. Be especially careful after washing or styling since heat can cause the bonds to become tacky.
The rules for washing are fairly straightforward. Firstly hair must be washed regularly as the oils from your scalp can compromise the bonds and cause them to weaken. However, only expose your extensions to water for short periods of time. When shampooing, use long strokes instead of a scrubbing motion to suds up and only apply conditioner to the ends of your hair. Pat your hair dry with a towel. Again do not scrub as this can damage the bonds.
Keep serums and mousses away from your roots! Always make sure that your hair is tangle-free before beginning to style. When using your hot tools, use them on the coolest setting possible so as not to reheat and separate your bonds.
Feel free to color your own natural roots but be very careful to keep colorant away from the extensions and their bonds.
Be conscious that you don’t sleep with wet hair, as the bonds can be sticky which will cause them to come out as you snooze. For the best protection keep your dry hair safe and secure in a loose ponytail or braid.
At Home Options
Outside of professionally applied hair enhancement, you can find at-home options that you can easily insert for a fun night out. Opting for ready-to-wear or clip-in extensions infinitely simplifies the application and care process. Essentially, it is just clip and go. These extensions are perfect for creating instant volume or for when you want a drastically new look at a party or a wedding. They are also great for experimentation and quick replications of “it” looks.
Looking after these hairpieces is easy. How often you wear them determines how often you wash them (just like real hair). Outside of the occasional wash, this removable hair only requires regular gentle brushing. Ready to wear hair is so easy to use and maintain that there is no reason you shouldn’t give it a try just for fun. On the scale of commitment, it is the most non-committal alteration you can make to your hair. Perfect if you change your mind on your hairstyle as often as you change your outfits.
Extensions Allow You to Try Out New Longer Styles
Just as seasons pass so do fashion and hairstyles. Open any Vogue magazine and you cannot escape this fact. Now the question is, how do you play with the new “in” looks and not spend exorbitant amounts of money or commit too permanently to one style? Your answer could be in extensions.
Hair is one of the best expressions of your personality. Solutions to your every hair design whim are now available for you to use at home with little effort and maximum impact. This is a wonderful trick to have in your arsenal when you live in a world of ever-changing fashions. Edgy bangs can complement the fashion world’s new fetish for leather or voluminous waves can underscore the undulating lines of breezy summer silhouettes. Unfortunately, hair doesn’t grow as fast as seasons change, and that is where instant implementation comes in handy in the form of clip-on hair extensions.
By now you’re acquainted with all the fabulous benefits that extensions can offer your hair styling routine. In fact, extensions themselves take routine out of the equation. Being able to quickly alter all the aspects of your hair opens up the door to new fashion statements. Imagine being able to transform your hair’s color, texture, length, and volume at the drop of a hat with no damage to your real hair.
Fashion is art, and art is about expression with style.
As with any form of art, practice makes perfect. Thankfully, hair design is now an art form available to the masses to play with and express themselves. Wednesday could become double hair day and Fridays could be for perky ponytails even though you normally sport a bob. Regina George of Mean Girls would even be impressed with your coordination efforts and adherence to the “now” trends. With so many options available to you there is now an unprecedented variety of hairdos that you can try out for the day. No longer are hair enthusiasts chained to the expensive wigs of yesteryear with new semi-permanent salon hair options.
Traditional salon hair extensions are wonderful for their authenticity and permanency.
Clip-ons, however, offer you the opportunity to change your mind as often as you change your shoes, until you settle on your best look. Consult your friends, your stylist, and the Internet. Find a look that reflects your personality and complements your versatile lifestyle, then go for it. Those initial removable extensions give you time to sort out what you want before you make that leap to a more permanent commitment. But once you commit, the new long-lasting semi-permanent extensions can give you the luxurious hair you’ve always wished you could have.