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What You Need to Know Before Getting Hair Extensions

What You Need to Know Before Getting Hair Extensions


For those envying the long, silky locks worthy of a Pantene commercial, hair extensions are one way to instantly "grow" longer tresses. However, not all extensions are created equal and some may be more suitable than others depending on your hair type and how high (or low) maintenance you are.

For example, clip-in extensions are one way to temporarily switch up your hairstyle without committing to permanent options, like weaves or Keratin-bonded extensions. For those who want a solution that's somewhere in the middle, tape-in extensions might be the answer. Then there's the different types of human hair used in extensions, like virgin (or untreated) hair, remy hair, and non-remy hair.

To help you navigate through the basics of hair extensions, here are the top methods and types to consider.

Hair Extension Methods

Tape-In Extensions: Double-sided Keratin tape is used to attach wefts of hair onto your natural hair. They're on the affordable side and can be reused; however, they also can be more high maintenance because they need to be removed or touched up after 4 to 8 weeks.

Application time: Anywhere between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.

Sew-In or Weave Extensions: After your natural hair is braided into "tracks," the extensions are sewn in using a thread onto the braids. This method is not recommended for fine or thin hair because the extensions are heavy and may damage natural hair; they're better suited for textured hair. They typically last about 3 months.

Application time: Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.

Bonded or Fusion Extensions: Wefts of hair are fused to your natural hair using Keratin-based glue and heat. There's a risk of damage to your natural hair as some natural hair may be lost as the extensions fall out. They typically last 3 to 6 months depending on how well they're maintained and must be removed by a professional.

Application time: 1 to 2 hours.

Clip-In Extensions: Extensions are clipped into your natural hair. They're not for every day use and should not be left in the hair overnight. Since they're temporary, they can be removed and reused.

Application time: Varies depending on the number of clip-ins; each extension should take a few seconds to attach.

Types of Human Hair Extensions

100% Virgin Hair: Real human hair collected from a single donor and has never been dyed or chemically treated (e.g. permed or bleached) at the time of collection, resulting in thick and healthy hair with no split ends or gray hairs. Virgin hair typically lasts for 1 to 2 years.

Remy Hair: Real human hair collected from many donors, then combined; it may have been previously processed chemically. Remy hair usually lasts up to 1 year.

Non-Remy Hair: "Upcycled" real human hair collected from the left over hair at salons and temples.

Curious about clip-in hair extensions? Watch the episode of The SASS below to for the top tips and tricks when it comes to clip-ins.

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