Today you may see a star glide over the red carpet with shoulder-length hair. The next day, miracles of miracles, the same star sports an impressive mane that seemingly grew on her head overnight. How did that come about, by magic maybe? Not at all! As much as we love the enchanting beauty, there is no magic, which can grow hair eight inches in a few days! However, hair extensions can perform this magic trick for us. Would you like your hair to be longer, thicker and more glamorous, but are tired of using hair mousse and other thickening products everyday? No problem! There are now various methods to help out Mother Nature. Hair extensions can give you longer and thicker hair. They also help you make it through awkward transitions while your hair grows to the new length. There is absolutely no need to watch and wait for your hair to grow.
Deciding to have hair extensions is trivial. The hard part is finding the most suitable method. There are basically three types of hair extensions, clip-in hair, bonded hair and glued-in hair strands. These hair extension methods differ by time and money investment, and the results last different times. On the bright side, everybody can benefit from hair extensions as long as the hair is at least 4 inches long. On the practical side, you should first decide how long you would like to wear the extensions and whether you want flexibility in your daily styling choices.
Clip-in Hair Extension
Do you like to experiment with your hair and make daily hair style choices? Are you determined to save time and money? If you have answered ‘yes’ to either or both of the above questions then clip-in extensions are right for you. You can simply fix the clip-ins in your hair using slides and barrettes. Using clip-ins is a gentle hair extension method without large investments in time or money. Best of all, this method requires no professional help. You can do it at home. Clip-ins allow you to experiment with different styles to your heart's content. They are therefore terrific choices for all who are not quite sure whether hair extensions are the way to go. The clip-in extensions can be removed as fast as they can be fixed in the hair.
Bonded Hair Extensions
Hair bonding is a great solution for everyone who wants a longer lasting change in hair style and for all who want to change to a long hair style. In this method, individual strands of hair are bonded to the natural hair via plastic or keratin bases. This is time-consuming and has to be repeated about once every four months, dependent on the quality of the hair extensions, the growth of the natural hair and hair care. This hair extension method therefore comes dear. Of course, it also provides beautiful, long-lasting results.
There are warm and cold bonding procedures. Hair bonding using ultra-sound, compressed air or laser treatment is a commonly used high-quality technique to give hair more volume and length. In a related method, the hair strands are attached to metal or plastic sleeves. With the help of special pincers, these sleeves are then crimped to the natural hair. Weaving is another cold-bonding technique. In this very time-consuming classical hair extension technique, small or larger individual strands of hair are woven or sewn into the natural hair.
Glued-in Hair Strands
It takes a little less time to glue-in several hair strands at a time rather than bonding individual strands to the natural hair. In this method, several hair strands are glued or sewn to a band or strip. This provides a larger addition of hair in one single step. The flip-side is that these hair extensions are not quite as secure as the bonded variety. You should have enough natural hair to cover the artificial strips of hair. Of course, an entire missing strip of hair is far more noticeable than individual missing hair strands.
The hair strips are glued to the natural hair using silicone glue. This is a quick procedure but solvents are used when the hair strips have to be removed.
Hair Extensions Made from Natural or Artificial Hair?
Naturally, hair extensions should closely match the natural hair color. For Caucasians natural European or Indian hair is best suited. Indian hair is particularly valuable for this purpose because it has suffered little if any chemical treatment. We do not recommend using Chinese hair. Chinese hair is thicker than European hair and therefore it is often stripped with acid of its outer cuticle layer to make the individual hair thinner. Unfortunately, such acid treatment also makes the hair more vulnerable and less durable. It also strips the hair of its natural luster. Well-tended natural hair can definitely be re-used. While it is more costly, natural hair has its advantages. It can for example be color-treated and it is not quite as heat-sensitive as artificial hair.
Artificial hair has the advantage of being cheaper, and it is quite suitable for short-term use. Trained eyes can easily spot the high-quality variety of artificial hair extensions and achieve amazingly natural looking results while increasing the hair's length and volume. Artificial hair cannot be dyed. However, you can purchase artificial hair in many different shades. The often iridescent coloring lends artificial hair the quality of changing with the light and environment, thus making it even easier to match artificial hair with natural hair.
How to Care for Hair with Extensions
- Allow 24 hours of no shampoo, hair care or styling after the extensions are spliced into your hair.
- Do not stress the splicing between natural hair and extensions by washing your hair in the upside down position.
- Brush your hair two or three times daily from the roots to the hair ends. Be sure to use a special brush for hair with extensions. In these brushes, neighbouring bristles are of different length.
- Do not go to bed with damp or wet hair. This could lead to matted hair. Braiding your hair before bedtime works well.