Thanks to the number of different options available nowadays, it can be difficult trying to figure out which hair extensions are best. Which type is a girl supposed to go for? That’s where we come in, with our comprehensive guide to hair extensions.
As well as discussing the three most common and popular methods, we will look individually at each type of hair extension. We will discuss what is involved in applying them, the pros and cons, the amount of maintenance required and how much they cost.
This should help you decide which is the most suitable and effective option for your own hair and lifestyle.
The three methods of applying hair extensions that we are going to look at are:
Strand by Strand extensions
If you are looking for temporary hair extensions, then the clip-in method is what you need. This involves the application of wefts of hair to your existing hair using pressure-sensitive clips and silicon.
They are the perfect choice if you only want the benefits of longer and fuller hair for special occasions or if you are not ready to fully commit to more permanent options.
Easy to apply and remove, without the help of a professional
Offers you the chance to change your hair color and style regularly
Most versatile option as you can clip in and remove hair quickly and easily, as and when necessary
Not the best option for fine and thin hair as the base and clips used may be too heavy and bulky for your existing hair
Hair loss can be caused by clips being placed in the same places repeatedly
Can’t be kept in permanently and can’t be worn in bed
Will only last a long time if they are looked after diligently
These temporary hair extensions should be washed infrequently, and a deep conditioner should be applied if they become dull or too dry. It is best to use either a loop brush or wide-tooth comb to brush these kinds of extensions and you should always brush them before putting them into storage.
They should be stored in a dark place as light can cause their color to fade.
The cost for clip in hair extensions will depend on the hair type, length, weight, and brand, but you can expect to pay a total of between $150 and $600.
Strand by Strand hair extensions use around 20 to 40 different strands of hair are attached using either cold or hot application techniques involving a micro link or keratin glue-bonded point.
In these methods, the extensions are attached to your existing hair in small sections or pieces. To help differentiate between the two, we will discuss hot fusion and cold fusion strand by strand extensions separately.
For the hot fusion method of strand by strand extensions, keratin U-tip bonds are connected to your existing hair strands using a special heating tool. The heating tool helps to melt the glue so that it can harden with your hair and the extensions are attached.
It is attached very close to your existing hair roots, with some room left to ensure your hair can move as naturally as possible.
Has a very natural look and feel, hard to tell the extensions from the real hair
The most durable option, because with the right maintenance and care it can last at least 6 months
Best for thick and coarse hair
Requires specialist skill, which not all stylists possess and can easily lead to breakages and damages to the hair if it’s not carried out properly
Can cause itchiness and discomfort around the scalp for the first couple of weeks after its applied
Can’t be reused
As it involves heat, this can cause discomfort and pain for the stylist and potentially damage your hair
One of the most time-consuming methods, as it can take between 2 and 6 hours to complete
You need to be careful not to over-style this kind of extension and avoid using oil-based hair products.
As with most extensions, the cost will depend on the number of strands added, where you are having them applied (which country as well as location in that country) and the brand.
However, you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of $600 to $3,500.
This form of strand by strand hair extensions involves small sections of your own hair being pulled into a special lock or bead and being clamped in place using hair extension pliers.
This form of hair extension is reusable and any that come off or slip down out of place can be fixed very easily
There is no glue or heat used and they will still last, with proper care and maintenance, for around 6 months
The individual strands can move more freely and naturally
Like hot fusion, this is a highly specialized technique and damage and breakages to the hair can occur if it’s not done properly
It doesn’t work with fine and thin hair because the locks or beads used will be noticeable through your existing hair
Can cause itchiness and discomfort on the scalp for the first few weeks after they have been applied
Very time consuming as the application can take around 2 to 6 hours to complete
Avoid the use of silicone or oil-based products around the attachment area.
As with the others, hair extension using cold fusion and microbeads can vary in cost, depending on the location of the salon, the number of strands used and the brand. You should expect to pay between $600 and $2,500.
Weft hair extensions are one of the most widely available and popular methods of adding volume and length to your existing hair. The term weft, which may be unfamiliar to a lot of people, is what is known as an attachment consisting of a plurality of hair.
You will find there are three different types of weft used, injection-molded, hand-tied and machine-made. Wefts are available in various sizes, starting as short as 1-inch, with some of the longest commonly used measuring 60-inches.
However, there is no limit to the length that can be achieved using them as the panels are applied in rows instead of strands. There are three different methods we are going to discuss below for applying wefts:
Clips and glue
Braided or sewn-in weft hair extensions are often referred to as weaves and perfect for thicker and coarser hair. To begin, the existing hair is braided to create a base to work from and the wefts are then sewn into that foundation using a thread and a needle. This is largely associated with women of ethnic background.
Glue and heat are not required
Perfect for coarse and thick hair
Silicone or oil-based products can be used freely as no slipping will occur unless the actual braids loosen
Limited options for styling
Can cause headaches and discomfort immediately after application
Bacteria can build-up and spread if they are not washed properly and regularly
Takes several hours to complete application
Hair loss can be caused by traction or tension alopecia as a result of tight braids
Wash them regularly and avoid over-styling them. You can shampoo, straighten, curl and even blow-dry as you would with your natural hair.
The price of braided/sewn-in hair extensions comes down to the stylist’s fee and the cost of the actual hair. You can expect to pay between $250 and $600.
This is a temporary method for weft hair extensions and involves glue being applied to the weft base and it is attached to your existing hair.
Ideal for anyone interested in having hair extensions for a relatively short amount of time, who doesn’t want the hassle of removing them before going to bed
Heavy and thick wefts have been known to cause tension alopecia and headaches
The glue used can damage your hair if application or removal is not carried out properly
These hair extensions need to be reapplied after you’ve showered or every couple of days.
Again, it can depend on the stylist’s fee and the cost of the actual hair as to how much you will pay, but it is generally between $250 and $600.
This is by far the newest form of hair extension application available and involves wefts or panels coated with polyurethane and double-sided adhesive tape. Lengths of between 1 and 4-inches long are used to sandwich your existing hair between the panels.
The easiest to learn
The safest available because the panel weight is spread out across a large area of your hair
No special tools or heat is needed
Produces the most natural results
Reusable and lasts for around 6 to 8 weeks after each application
The quickest application can take 10 to 30 minutes to add volume and 40 to 60 for full-length applications
Oil and silicone-based products can cause the panels to slip
You need to avoid sweating excessively or washing your hair for at least 1 to 2 days after application
You can style your hair as normal, and you should brush it from root to tip every day but need to avoid oil and silicone-based products.
The cost for tape-in extensions varies depending on the stylist fee, the type of hair, brand, and the number of panels or boxes.
Hey! I'm Alesha - just your average girl from Ohio who has had her fair share of bad hair days...and lived to tell the tale. I started this site to help women skip my mistakes and have a positive hair experience