Great Lengths: A Hair Extensions Manual

August 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm , by

Hair Extensions

If there’s one topic that’s sure to spark intense convo here in the Ladies’ Lounge, it’s hair. A few months ago a discussion ensued on whether or not it’s possible to get quality looking hair extensions without the celebrity price tag. We went to the experts at The Greenroom, a salon in Boca Raton, Florida for some insight:

Q. What are our options when it comes to hair extensions?
The extension selection on the market today is quite diverse both in quality and price. There are many different extension options. Clip-in wefts and ponytails will probably be priced lower than individually bonded types. There are also extensions that use tape and small metal bonds that attach to the hair. Natural human hair will always be more expensive than synthetic hair in any of these options, but there is a lot of competition in the market today, and it is easier than ever to make the right choice an affordable one.

Q: Do clip-ons appear natural?
Clip-ins can appear very natural if applied properly. The trick is getting the right shade and making sure your own hair is long enough to camouflage and blend away the attachment site.

Q. What should be considered when choosing extensions?
I think the first thing to consider is your lifestyle. Are you someone that wants some added length or volume for special occasions or weekend fun? Or, do you want a more “permanent” solution for fine hair, or longer length for a great sexy beach look? Individually bonded extensions require regular home maintenance and care. So if you are a “wash ‘n go girl”, clip-ins might be a better solution for you.

Q: With clip-ons, is it better to get human hair or synthetic hair?
Human hair is always the best choice for any extension product. Natural hair will always have a more realistic feel and appearance than its synthetic counterpart. However, a synthetic piece can be used in a pinch, the key is matching the color and texture the best you can to your natural shade.

Q: What upkeep or maintenance is needed with extensions?
For bonded types of extensions the most important thing to remember is not to be afraid to brush them. Daily brushing from root to end with a soft bristle brush will eliminate tangling or matting and remove hairs that are naturally shed from the scalp each day. Also, keeping conditioner and oils off the root area will lower the possibility of extensions slipping out. Temporary pieces should be brushed and/or washed as needed.

Q: What’s worth spending money on?
If you plan to use a clip-in piece on a regular basis a human hair selection will always last longer and wear better over time. Human hair can also be glossed or highlighted to match your own hair if you decide to make changes to your color. If you only plan to use the piece on occasion, certainly look into synthetic options as well.

Q: Can extensions be styled with hot tools?
Human or natural hair extensions can be styled with hot tools. Always be mindful of the temperature of styling tools as they can always cause damage if held on the hair too long.

Q: Can you color treat them? If so, is this something you can do at home?
Natural hair extensions can be colored, but most come in such a wide array of colors that it isn’t necessary to color them. If the colors need to be enhanced or toned slightly, I would recommend consulting with a salon professional for guidance.

Q: How can you be sure to choose the right color? Any blending techniques?
On color treated hair I find that matching your extensions to fresh color will give you the best result. On both clip in pieces and bonded extensions I recommend placing the darkest shades toward the bottom and working lighter pieces toward the top for a more natural look.

Q: What should you look for when considering clip-in extensions? How many pieces do you typically need?
Look for pieces that match your hair texture and are not too bulky. Also, make sure the clips look securely attached to the weft and the seams look flat. The bigger the pieces are the more difficult they will be to hide.

Q. What’s the best way to make clip-ons look real?
A layered haircut gives the greatest blending opportunity. As for making them look real, proper placement across the back of the head (use the top of your ears as a guide) helps to create an invisible “seam”. Using smaller pieces for each side of the head will even out the fullness and give you a great finished look.