When it comes to hair extensions there is seemingly no-end to the choices you face, in this guide we attempt to simplify the process and talk you through the options out there so you can make an informed decision on which hair extensions to buy.
The texture of hair extensions can range from bone straight to spring curls; another option is wavy – which features a slight curl and bounce. Matching the texture of a hair extension to the hair on your head is essential if you are to create a natural fall to the extension once it’s attached.
When it comes to the colour of hair extensions, the shades available usually range from the fairest of blonde to the darkest shade of black. Most brands arrange the colour spectrum of hair extensions similar to the way hair dyes are organised, providing a good reference point with which to match your hair. Additionally most retailers will offer a colour matching service.
Real hair extensions: Generally are of an extremely high quality and tend to last a long time. However, they can be difficult to find outside of a hair salon or professional hair supplier. Some of the benefits of real hair extensions are that they can be washed, conditioned, dried and coloured like your own hair. Real extensions also provide more freedom when it comes to styling as they can withstand heat styling of up to 220 degrees Celsius – 430 degrees Fahrenheit – without being damaged. As a result styles can be achieved quicker and last longer, as well as having more shine.
Synthetic hair extensions: In contrast to real extensions, synthetic ones are made up of artificial fibres rather than actual hair; they are also much more readily available for purchase. When it comes to synthetic extensions quality can vary greatly. The two most common types of material used are Toyokalon and Kanekalon fibres. The Kanekalon fibre is the more heat resistant of the two and can be styled using straighteners/curling irons that reach 110 degrees Celsius – 230 degrees Fahrenheit. While Toyokalon offers less heat resistance it tangles less and lasts longer.
Hair extensions can be applied in a number of ways, varying from the casual option that can be changed every day to the more complex and semi-permanent options. Listed below are some of the choices available:
Clip-in extensions: Can be placed in the hair each day and removed whenever you want. Clip-in extensions can come in full falls that clip in along the back side of the head or in smaller pieces that can be used to create length and fullness in specific spots.
Tie-in extensions: Tend to be ponytail pieces that can swiftly be tied in to hair that has been pulled back into a ponytail or knot. Tie-ins can easily be switched everyday and placed wherever your hair has been tied.
Heat fusion extensions: Are applied to the hair using heated adhesives which can be wax, glue or keratin based. This method can be complicated and damage your hair. Additionally heat fusion extensions can’t be blow dried or curled without a heated device once in place.
Cold fusion extensions: Are bonded to your hair using an ultrasound device. Since no heat is required for the application process, cold fusion extensions can be much easier on your hair. They also tend to last for a long time, staying in place for up to six months.
Weft extensions: Come in sections that are either taped or glued to your hair near to the scalp. This means they can be hard to spot; they can also be as easy to apply as clip-in extensions in the right hands.
Microbead/Mircoloop extensions: Are small locks of hair that are bonded to natural hair using a tiny bead. These types of extension are very gentle as the natural hair is threaded through the bead, and they can be used multiple times once removed.
When it comes to buying extensions there are again a number of different options available to you, although they will vary depending on the type of hair extension you want. Generally clip-in extensions are the most readily available. They can be found in department stores, pharmacies (Boots, Superdrug), accessory shops, wig outlets and salons. Quality extensions shouldn't cause damage to your hair.
Although salons can be expensive, they are the best place to go if you’re planning on having any sort of permanent hair extension applied. The best way to keep costs down in this situation is to discuss the process and price with your hairdresser/stylist before making a final decision. Fitting them in is not a long job and you will be out of the salon with beautiful swishable hair.
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