Hair Extensions 101
What are hair extensions?
Hair extensions are methods of lengthening one's hair by adding natural or synthetic hair close to the scalp. Individuals can add extensions for extra length, volume, or highlights with the help of a talented stylist or by using temporary self-installation methods.
Depending on the type of installation, extensions last months or a few days. Extensions can be bonded, glued-in, woven-in, and clipped-in. Each method offers pros and cons so it is important to consult with your hair stylist to determine the best method for you.
Commonly known as a weave. These extensions usually lasts up to three months and it takes several hours to do the whole head. Wefts of hair extensions are sewn onto your naturally braided cornrows with a needle.
Also known as fusion hair extensions, i-tips, v-tips or u-tips, fusion hair extensions are strands of hair that are pre-bonded at the root with various type of adhesives. Some extensions use keratin, glue, or petroleum based adhesives. These tend to last up to five months.
Micro Link Installation
Hair extensions are looped through cylinders with one's natural hair and then clamped down using pliers. Some cylinders have threads on the interior to prevent slippage. Because micro links can slip down the hair as well as be moved up, they can be a cost effective option. These can last from six to twelve weeks.
Adhesive Tape-In Extensions
Tape-in extensions are wefts of hair with an adhesive strip at the roots. They can be applied quickly and removed just as easily. Pre-taped hair extensions are typically sandwiched between the natural hair and results are seamless. They are extremely easy to maintain and style. These extensions are particularly good with blonde color hair because wefts are easier to blend.
Clip-in extensions are an excellent and extremely popular way to extend your look. Clip-ins are short-term solutions that can be applied or removed in minutes without the help of a stylist because extensions have tiny combs that attach to the root of the hair.
Synthetic or natural hair?
When it comes to hair extensions there are two basic categories–synthetic hair and natural human hair. High quality human hair can be styled and cared for like your own hair whereas synthetic hair becomes damaged with heated appliances such as curling irons. There are certain types of synthetic fibers that are flame retardant such as Kanekalon.
Natural human hair can be colored with harsh chemicals and dyes while synthetic hair can not. However, because synthetic hair is manufactured, they offer unlimited of color ranges from natural to fantasy colors.
When it comes to Natural Human hair, it is best look for 100% Remi™ human hair. Pioneered by BOHYME®, Remi™ refers to the cuticle direction of the hair. Every strand is aligned in the same direction from root to tip. Having aligned cuticles is important because this helps prevent tangling and knotting.
How many kinds of extensions are there?
Hand Tied Wefts
Each individual hair is hand-tied onto the weft which creates a very strong but much thinner weft when compared to machine wefted hair extensions. The end result is that the hair extension sits closer to the head and feels more natural. The only drawback to the hand-tied wefts is because how thin the wefts are, they should not be cut when installing. They are packaged in smaller pieces while machine wefts are one long piece.
Machine Tied Wefts
Machine tied wefts are similar to a long strip of hair that is like a curtain or a grass skirt. Loose or bulk hair is fed through a triple-head sewing machine and sewn together. At the root, hair is folded and sewn and then a reinforced stitch is applied for a stronger hold to the weft. Machine wefts usually are thicker than their hand-tied weft counterpart and are available in more style and texture varieties.
Also known as I-tips or U-Tips, Pro-Tips are individual extensions which resemble the tip of a shoe lace. Each tip of hair is usually secured with micro rings or cylinders. This allows stylists to more precisely add length to specific areas.
Hand Tied skin wefts
Each individual hair is hand tied onto a thin clear weft resembling hair growing out of your scalp.
Also known as adhesive tape-in extensions, tape adhesives are wefts of hair attached to an adhesive strip. It is easier and faster to install than most methods and are meant to be worn short term.
Strips of hair attached to clips with combs for easy installation and removal. These are preferred for people who want to add or remove extensions daily or for special events.
Closures are commonly a small circular base made of silicon or mesh screen with hair attached. Closures are used as a top piece which completes a full head of extensions to make it seamless and natural. Closures can additionally be used to cover braid in methods of hair installation. They can also be used to add volume to the top of your head.
Bulk hair extensions are loose hair which comes in a bundle and tied at the top. This hair is used mainly for braiding near the scalp and fusion installation methods. The braid-in installation method is the longest lasting method due to the hair being sewn and braided to your natural hair.