All About Hair Extensions

hair-extensions-weftsAs someone who loves the quick change, I have always been a great fan of hair extensions, although I have not worn them in quite some time now.  I do have a collection of them here though, just in case.  ;)  There are several different methods of putting extensions in, prior to recently they mostly required a trip to the salon, but that is no more. But just for your information, I am going to talk a little about the different types of hair extensions available to you, in the salon and at home, and share some of my experiences with them.  And let me say from the start of this also, that I am a Caucasian girl – I have seen some amazing hair extensions and pieces on some black women that I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of how to even begin helping you out with.  All I can tell you is what I know, from my experience.  If you need help finding someone to help you with your kind of hair, do let me know.  I probably can get you a good hook up.  ;)

Let me start out by explaining what a “weft” is.  A weft of hair is the basis of all hair extensions.  This is hair, either human or synthetic, that is sewn together in chains (pictured above), or might be in small clumps, either glued together or banded with a small metal band.  A single weft is very thin – you will often find wefts sewn together in double or triple thickness to make each string thicker.  The following video teaches you how to make your own wefts (this is something I might be crazy enough to try – once, but I recommend you go to your local beauty supply and just buy your own, they are surprisingly inexpensive!), and hopefully this will help make more sense out of what a hair weft is.

Coloring Your Wefts:  One more thing to consider is coloring your hair wefts.  You can only color human hair wefts – if you choose synthetic, you will want to buy the wefts in the right color from the start.  You also want to do this BEFORE putting them into your hair.  And this is not always an easy task.  Most of the human hair on the market is from Asia, is coarse and very dark brown.   Meaning that if you are blonde, its going to take some work – probably a couple of bleachings, plus actual color, and you’re going to need a little heat on it to speed up the action.  I am such a DIY’er, I would indeed, and have, attempted this at home.  If you need any help with it, please feel free to shoot me an email, I would be happy to give you some advice from my experiences.

Cutting Your Wefts:  Don’t even think about cutting them a bit til they are on your head. 

Types of Hair Extensions:

Sew in wefts – Sew in wefts are usually done at the salon, but really aren’t all that difficult to do yourself, BUT, it is necessary to have patience, lots of time and the help of a friend, hopefully a friend that is a speedy braider. What you want to do (or what will be done to you in a salon) is to create a very thin cornrow that spirals around your head, starting at about an inch off of your crown. This is the bulk of the time issue with this method, it takes sometimes quite a few hours to get the tiny cornrow put into your hair. You want several spirals – the more spirals you have, the thicker your hair will be. There is nothing uglier than hair extensions that are not quite thick enough.

Once your cornrow is complete, you simply sew (with a cross stitch – dull! – needle and some sturdy thread that matches your hair) the wefts on to the cornrow.  If you have a lot of spirals around your head, you can use a single weft, and it will look the most natural, but with fewer spirals, you will need to use the thicker single or double wefts to get enough hair in to look natural.  This method is the longest lasting and most natural looking of all of the hair extension methods, I think, but in a salon it will cost big bucks, mostly due to the time it takes your stylist. Make sure your hair extensions are dyed the proper color first, but once they are in your hair, you can cut them into the perfect style for you!

Glue In Wefts:  Another popular method of putting in hair extensions is the glue in (or bonding) method. Either hot or cold glue is used to apply wefts or very small group of strands to your hair.

This was the first method I ever tried, and used the wefts rather than the strand groups. The glue was supposed to last for around 4-6 weeks, with washing (albeit careful washing), but naturally, that never really worked, and I was always having sections reglued. That said, this method works pretty well – just expect to need a touch up every couple of weeks or so, and it depends a lot on the weight of your hair – shorter or more layered styles won’t pull so much on the glue and will stay in better.

Another type of glue in hair comes with the glue already attached to the end of small groups of hair, and a small iron melts the glue into your hair. These are probably the most permanent of the glue in type of extensions, but still will loosen up over time. I would love to hear from some of you who have used this method – this is one I would really like to try.

All in all, glue in extensions are really great product – or a do it yourself solution – all of the materials are readily available at your local beauty supply (like Sally’s Beauty), or on eBay. This method is 20 times faster than the sew in method, but again, won’t last as long, and you definitely need a friend to help you. If you go to the salon to have this done, be sure and ask what their policy is about touch ups, because I guarantee you that you will need them.

As always, with ALL hair extensions, color the wefts first, and cut them once they are in your hair.

Clip on extensions are still very hot – this is what all the celebs with long, luscious locks are using. There are a great many brands out there to choose from (will begin covering those in the next few days), and they are available in just as many styles – artificial/natural hair, long/short, straight/wavy and in just about as many colors as you can imagine.

Mostly, these clip on extensions consist of a row or two of wefts sewn together, and with clips attached. They come in different sizes and lengths for different areas of your hair. If you are the crazy DIY type – like me – you can make these yourself. Beauty supply stores, like Sally’s, carry the wefts in long strands, as well as the combs, and you can assemble them yourself, it is not that hard to do really. I will show you some photos in upcoming days of how they are put together, but really, they are so inexpensive that you won’t save that much money doing it yourself. The reason I do it is because I need an extra piece or two that didn’t come in the package.

The benefits of clip on extensions are that they are relatively inexpensive, can be done at home, are reusable, and, with a little practice, can be applied so they look totally natural. If you have very thin, fine hair, you might want to enlist the help of a hairdresser, but other than that, all you need is a rat-tail comb and some clips to hold your hair out of the way. Very easy stuff. One caveat: Do NOT sleep in them, or your hair will get so tangled up in the combs that you will have to cut them out. Ouch. The details of applying them vary a little bit between brands, so I will leave that for later.

Do you have a favorite brand of hair extensions?  Have you tried either Paris Hilton’s or Jessica Simpson’s brand of hair extensions?  I would love to hear about it if you have or do. I have tried several brands myself, but would love to know your thoughts and experiences.

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5 Responses to “All About Hair Extensions”

  1. Very informative, great post! You should know there is a new kind of extension out now from Quick Lengths. It is a pressure lock that holds the extensions in. There are no glues, bonds or crimping. That means that there is no damage done to the hair. It is basically just a little rubber bead that you slide onto the hair with a little hook and the single strand extensions just snap right in. The whole process takes just a few seconds and you could probably do it yourself saving you the time and hassle of having to go to the salon. I just posted a video on youtube of me putting in some colorful ones for fun. Check it out.

    Spirit Strands – Colorful Highlights
    Quick Lengths – Premium Single Strand Extensions

  2. Very nice information. Thanks for this. I’m a hair and beauty freak by the way:) Gotta have my perfectlocks no matter what it takes!

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