Do you dream of longer hair, thicker hair, or just the freedom to style your hair in different ways? The hair extension dates back to Ancient Egypt, but today it still transforms the way the fashion and beauty industries, and everyday people, style hair. And for those who need a one-time or long-term boost to their own hair’s length or thickness, hair extensions are the best option.

While some outlets have deemed the hair extension trend tacky or overdone, if used right they are an excellent tool to supplement your natural hair. But the key to hair extensions that look stunning rather than unfortunate is choosing the ones that suit your hair, lifestyle, and needs. You definitely can’t just pick up the first hair extension set you find and call it good.

 What are Hair Extensions?

Hair extensions are strands of human or synthetic hair collected into small bundles called wefts. These wefts vary in size, length, color, texture, and application type. The ability for a hair extension to match your hair’s natural texture and its natural color is essential. But the application type of your chosen hair extension also plays a huge role in making your extensions look like your own hair.

While various forms of hair extensions have existed for centuries, the “weave” wasn’t developed until the 1950s by a woman named Christina Jenkins. Weaves are a type of hair extension that is sewn directly into your existing hair, which is braided and completely hidden from sight. Some people use these terms interchangeably, but weaves and hair extensions are distinct from each other. In other words, not all extensions are weaves, but all weaves are hair extensions. While weaves have played a significant role in the Black community, many women have bucked this trend in favor of their natural hair. But these hair pieces are still prevalent, regardless of the role they may play in unfair beauty standards.

Who Should Consider Hair Extensions?

a woman on a salon who got her done
Image SourcePexels.com

Hair extensions are an excellent way to add instant length to your hair. If you are wondering what you would look like with long hair, but don’t want to wait or you have hair that breaks before it gets to your desired length, extensions are a great option. Those with thin hair can also use hair extensions that are similar in length to their natural hair to pump up their hair’s volume. Some people also use hair extensions to add highlights or pops of color to their natural hair without dye.

While many beauty and fashion trends highlight long, thick tresses, hair extensions aren’t for everyone. If your hair is fragile, damaged, or you have a sensitive scalp, a hair extension set could exacerbate these issues. And while hair extensions can give you the appearance of long hair, they can also cause damage if applied or removed incorrectly. If you’re trying to grow naturally long hair, breakage is the last thing you want.

A full hair extension set plus application is prohibitively expensive for many people. While hair extensions come in a wide price range, cheaper sets are almost always lower quality. If you want to maintain an attractive, high-end set of extensions, then cheap ones are a no-go. And regular maintenance appointments come at a price, too.

 Choosing the Right Hair Extension for You

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If you don’t know much about the hair extension world, even if you’ve had hair extensions before, picking the right set is difficult. Beauty supply stores have vast hair extension selections, and if you shop online the options are even more diverse. But choosing the right hair extension for you, your hair, and your lifestyle is essential to getting a beautiful final result.

When deciding on the best hair extension set for you, there are several choices to make. But the most important are the type of hair, the application type, and the color. And if you want your hair extensions to look their best, you need to make sure your extensions are applied correctly and are well-maintained.

 1. Pick between natural or synthetic

natural black hair which you can use for hair extension
Image Source: Pixabay.com

Natural hair extensions come from human hair. This hair is from women who grow out their locks and sell the fallout to hair extension companies. Many hair extension companies source their hair from India, Egypt, and China. But choosing a set made of human hair from your ethnicity will yield the best results. Synthetic hair extensions, however, are made with plastic fibers.

If you want a hair extension set that feels, looks, and styles like your own hair, natural hair extensions are likely the best option. These hair extensions also last longer than synthetic ones. Natural hair extensions will last up to one year, but synthetic ones will only last one to three months. Natural hair extensions are compatible with heat tools and can be color-treated, while synthetic hair extensions cannot. However, natural hair extensions do require more maintenance than synthetic ones. Synthetic hair extensions bounce back to their manufacturer-styled shape, while natural extensions do not. For instance, if you purchase a set of hair extensions with curls, they will remain curly throughout their lifetime. Natural hair extensions need regular styling just like your own hair.

One big difference between natural and synthetic hair extensions is the cost.

 2. Choose the right hair extension application type

Natural hair extensions come from human hair. This hair is from women who grow out their locks and sell the fallout to hair extension companies. Many hair extension companies source their hair from India, Egypt, and China. But choosing a set made of human hair from your ethnicity will yield the best results. Synthetic hair extensions, however, are made with plastic fibers.

If you want a hair extension set that feels, looks, and styles like your own hair, natural hair extensions are likely the best option. These hair extensions also last longer than synthetic ones. Natural hair extensions will last up to one year, but synthetic ones will only last one to three months. Natural hair extensions are compatible with heat tools and can be color-treated, while synthetic hair extensions cannot. However, natural hair extensions do require more maintenance than synthetic ones. Synthetic hair extensions bounce back to their manufacturer-styled shape, while natural extensions do not. For instance, if you purchase a set of hair extensions with curls, they will remain curly throughout their lifetime. Natural hair extensions need regular styling just like your own hair.

One big difference between natural and synthetic hair extensions is the cost.

Clip-in

clip hair extension
Image Source: Pixabay.com

Clip-in hair extensions are the quickest and most affordable option. These extensions feature wefts of hair with a clip at the top. This clip attaches to the roots of your natural hair, and you can take it out just as quickly as you can put it in. While this type of hair extension is generally cheaper than other application types, you should still invest in a high-quality set for the best look.

This type of hair extension is temporary and non-damaging, and if properly cared for is reusable. But they are not a long-term solution to thin or short hair. Clip-in hair extensions are great for special occasions where you wish to change up your current hairstyle. And if you want to try out hair extensions without committing to a more permanent style, then these are a good entry-level choice.

Tape-in

Tape-in extensions are wefts of hair with tape at the top instead of a clip. Your hairstylist pulls the protective sheets away from this tape and sandwiches a small section of your natural hair in-between. One of the most significant benefits of this hair extension type is that the tape allows each weft to lie perfectly flat against your scalp.

This type of hair extension is a bit more permanent than clip-in extensions, but with the extra requirement of a hairstylist for the application. And while there’s always a possibility that your hair extensions will cause some damage to your hair, the risk is very low for tape-in extensions.

Sew-in

Sew-in extensions, also known as a weave, are permanently stitched into your natural hair. Normally, your hairstylist braids your hair along the scalp, providing a sturdier base to sew the extensions in to. This type of hair extension can replace your full head of hair. But some people do choose to have sew-in extensions hidden in their natural hair for added volume.

The process of applying sew-in extensions is a lengthy one, often requiring several hours in your stylist’s chair. But once they are applied, sew-in hair extensions can last up to three months. Regardless of how long you keep your sew-in hair extensions in, the most important thing you can do is care for your natural hair underneath. Sew-in extensions present a high risk for breakage, but with moisture and protection, you can keep your natural hair healthy.

Micro-link

Micro-link extensions use tiny beads, crimped around a small weft and clump of your own hair, to secure the extensions. The result easily blends with your own hair. And in many ways, you can treat these extensions like your natural hair. Unlike sew-in extensions, your natural hair remains loose instead of tightly braided. That also helps prevent damage to the hair and scalp.

One of the biggest upsides to micro-link extensions is that they are practically undetectable. You can wear your hair in a wide variety of styles, including updos, and no one will be able to see the extensions’ micro-links. Micro-link extensions last for several months and need little maintenance in-between, but don’t last as long as the sew-in ones.

 3. Get a perfect color match

While finding hair extensions that match your natural or dyed hair color can be difficult, it’s extremely important. One of the biggest giveaways that someone has hair extensions is a mismatched hair color. Even if you aren’t concerned about others knowing you’re wearing hair extensions, getting the perfect color match will make your hair look more polished and professional.

If you’re lucky, you might find natural or synthetic hair extensions that already match your hair color. But this isn’t always the case. Natural hair extensions are advantageous because you can dye them just like your own hair. A professional stylist can use dyes to match your natural hair’s color perfectly. And if you get highlights or change your hair color, you can often perform the same treatments on your natural hair extensions.

 4. Remember that less is more

When you get your first hair extension set, at first, you might want to go as big as you can. Of course, the goal of hair extensions is often to increase volume and length beyond what your natural hair offers. But there’s a point where hair extensions become too much.

If you apply too many hair extensions to your head, you’re at much higher risk of breakage. The weight of these extensions can also cause pain in your scalp and neck. Using too many wefts for your natural amount of hair also means your extensions won’t blend well with the rest of your hair. This looks clunky and unnatural and is generally undesirable.

 5. Invest in maintaining your hair extensions

You can invest in the highest quality hair extensions from the best salon. But without proper maintenance, your new extensions will be in a sorry state before you know it. And while proper maintenance isn’t as crucial for short-term extensions like clip-ins, it will definitely help your extensions last longer.

Just like with your own hair, washing and styling need to be at a minimum. If you choose synthetic extensions, then you should also invest in shampoos and styling products specifically made for synthetic hair. In many ways, you can care for natural hair extensions just like your own hair. But you should still take extra care not to pull, tug, or snag your extensions. Not only will this protect your extensions, but it will also prevent breakage of your hair.

 Get Your Dream Hair with Extensions

If you want the versatility of changing your hairstyle every day, then clip-in extensions are probably right for you. But if you want something that you can leave in long-term and completely change your look, then tape-in, sew-in, or micro-link extensions might be the best option.

But no matter what type of hair extension you choose, they are an excellent way to live out your hair dreams without significant cost or damage to your natural hair. And with hair extensions, you don’t need to worry about regretting a haircut or not being able to grow your hair long. You can just invest in a set of hair extensions instead.

 Recommended Hair Extensions For You

Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com

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