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Hair Extensions: The Lo-Down

Hair Extensions: The Lo-Down

Hair extensions are a great way to thicken hair; add colour if you don’t wish to colour your own; and obviously lengthen your hair, either for a new and different look or while you are growing your hair out from a shorter or tricky cut.  But if you are new to the world of hair extensions you may be wondering how they work and are they right for you.  There is a plethora of information ‘out there’ about different types of hair extensions and applications so make sure you do your research.  In the meantime here is some information to get you started:

Hair extensions are available in both human hair and synthetic hair.  Both come in a variety of colours, textures, styles, and lengths. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Natural or human hair extensions are usually significantly more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, though they are typically considered to be of higher quality. Synthetic hair is made from chemically processed fibres; although more affordable, it may not look as real and can be more difficult to style.

There are six popular application techniques:

Skin Weft: Your natural hair is sandwiched between the extensions and sealed together with a flat iron.  It lasts about 4 – 6 weeks before it will need to be removed or reapplied.  It is easy to apply, lies flat and feels natural and is best for thin, fine or short hair.

Micro-Link, I-Tip or Cold Fusion:  The hair extensions are applied strand by strand and attached to your natural hair via micro-cylinders (they look like tiny beads).  It lasts about 8 – 10 weeks before it needs to be tightened to prevent breakage.  It is easy to add highlighted extensions (without colouring your real hair), very flexible, and doesn’t require heat, glue or chemicals so it’s easier on natural hair.

Keratin, U-Tip or Hot Fusion:  The hair extensions are applied strand by strand and a heating tool is used to melt your natural hair to the extension.  It last up to 6 months, but should be removed in 8 – 10 weeks to prevent breakage, matting or stress on your new hair.  It is very flexible and blends easily with your natural hair.

Braided Sew-In or Hair Weave:  Your natural hair is woven into tiny braids against your scalp and the extensions are then sewn into the braids with a needle and thread. It lasts about 8 weeks and will need to be taken care of differently for a partial or full sew-in.

Beaded or Braidless Sew-In: Each strand of natural hair is looped through microcylinder beads (which are lined with silicone designed to cushion the lock of hair) in order to create a base against the scalp. The extensions are then sewn into the beads. It lasts
about 4–6 weeks before it needs to be tightened and it lays very flat, looks natural, allows for more flexibility in movement, and can be done in an hour. It is best for
those with medium to long hair who want to add volume or length; or those whose natural hair does not require relaxers, or excessive heat to straighten.

Clip-In Extensions: These can be done yourself.  You clip in the hairpiece to add volume or length to your natural hair and remove whenever you like. With proper care, human hair clip-in extensions can last up to a year.  They are easy to install and take out, adds volume and length to flat, thin, or short hair, and human hair clip-ins can be coloured and curled.  They are good for first-timers and those who are unsure of the length or colour they want.

Unless you’re using clip-in hair extensions, leave the installation and removal process to a professional specifically experienced in hair extensions. Otherwise, you might damage your extension—or worse, you