The holidays are one of the busiest seasons for hair pros — and with good reason. From family portraits to selfies, to hoping you’ll catch the eye of that particular co-worker at the office party, feeling confident comes with the territory. Hair is often a big focus, so if you’re less than pleased with your tresses — or you’re seeking a major change — consider hair extensions. Perhaps you’ve already pondered this concept but are confused by the array of options. Well, we’re putting it all on the table for you. From the different types, to crucial tips that can make or break your result, it’s all here in this handy guide.
Not looking for a big commitment or don’t have hundreds of dollars of cash to spare? Opt for clip-in extensions. The ready-to-use clips have a strip of hair attached to the base and can be installed in anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on how many you’re adding. This method is the least damaging to your natural tresses as it’s not permanent. Style your clip-ins as you would your natural tresses.
- Care: Unless you’re loading them up with product, you only need to wash them after about 15 wears. All you need to do is brush out the tangles, shampoo, condition, and let them air dry.
- Longevity: Approximately six months (give or take) depending on how well you’re taking care of your clip-ins, frequency of use, and products used.
Unlike clip-in, this option is semi-permanent. The stylist takes two pre-taped/glued sections of hair, aligns them with your roots, and fuses them together with a heated implement. The process takes anywhere from 40 minutes to approximately one hour.
- Care: As with most extensions, invest in a special brush that gets out all of the tangles without damaging the tape. Put your hair up in a loose ponytail when sleeping to avoid knotting. Only wash and condition with sulphur-free products so you don’t break down the bond.
- Longevity: The good news is that these extensions can be reused up to three times. You typically have to have the extensions moved up after four to six weeks. Don’t wait too long or you run the risk of damaging the extensions, thus decreasing longevity. Your stylist will use a glue remover and repeat the original installation process. It’s a good idea to get a deep conditioning treatment first to help repair any damage.
These pre-bonded extensions are infused to the hair via a heated clamp that melts the glue to your natural tresses. The process takes approximately three to four hours.
- Care: Clean, treat, and style your hair as usual; ask your stylist for product suggestions for optimal longevity.
- Longevity: Keep in mind that you’ll have to move the bonds up every two to three months. You can typically only reuse the extensions up to a six month period.
Otherwise known as micro bead or loop extensions, the process involves attaching small wefts of the hair from the extension to the natural hair via a tiny silicone bead. A specific tool is uses to secure the hair to the bead. The process takes about two to four hours.
- Care: Wash and style as usual.
- Longevity: The extensions need to be repositioned every two to four months with an overall lifespan of approximately four months.
Otherwise known as a weave, this method has been around for quite some time. The weave is first braided into the natural using the cornrow method before a need and thread secures everything together. This option is typically used on people with thick, coarse, and/or wavy tresses and can take several hours to accomplish.
- Care: Regular deep conditioning treatments and a protein-based shampoo are key to preventing damage. The scalp, nape, and edges of the hair also need to be moisturized at least once a week. Style with care.
- Longevity: Remove the weave every four to six weeks. Give your natural tresses a rest after a four month period so you don’t run the risk of stopping growth.
- Get A Professional Consultation: Don’t just go out and get the first extensions you read about — or even that your salon offers. It’s crucial that you choose the proper option for your hair type as all extensions can be damaging to the tune of hair loss, stunted growth, and breakage. Clip-ins are the least-damaging, followed by tape, with the others being more severe.
- Give Your Hair A Break: Don’t become extension obsessed. It’s natural to feel “naked” once the hair comes out, but refusing to take a pause can cause severe damage (even stunting growth) to your natural mane.
- Consider Color Changes: Work with a professional colorist if you want to change your color. It’s best to color your natural hair to the desired hue before settling in on an extension shade to ensure everything blends seamlessly.
BioSil: Extensions cause a lot of wear and tear on your natural tresses, but taking BioSil before, during, and after can help your hair become stronger and thicker. Make it part of your hair defense plan.