Are hair extensions realistic remedy to thinning or lackluster hair?
A Plethora of Options
Hair extensions can be a great way for anyone looking to add thickness or length to their hair. Their rise in the beauty industry has made for many available options to shop for. Hair extensions come in a variety of shades, thicknesses, and lengths – even ombre-toned strands, which are exceptionally popular given the current trend. Considering all of the methods of installation for extensions as well as the differing quality of types of extensions, there are an unfathomable combination of possibilities available.
If you’ve ever wondered about hair extensions, their cost, value, longevity, and/or quality, this article may be able to help you discover what’s available to you as the best option, by weighing the pros and cons of hair extensions.
Quality of Hair
The first source of determining your level of satisfaction with hair extensions is to note the initial choices you can make. You do have the option of going to a salon and having extensions put in for you professionally. Using this will include the beauty professional guiding you through the color and thickness options and then applying the strands (much like going to a nail salon, choosing your polish color, and sitting back and relaxing while the work is done).
Many women, however, will buy their extensions themselves as a number of retailers market differing styles and quality of material, making it easy for them to find the right set without the guidance or opinion of a hair salon. It’s important to select a higher quality extension for yourself as it will result in a more positive experience, overall. In this regard, the whole process of attaching and living with hair extensions could be a con if the material they are made out of is sub-par.
There are five basic choices for hair extensions:
- Synthetic – Hair extensions made with this material are the lowest grade available on the market. It may most closely resemble a cheap wig you would buy for Halloween. The hair is essentially made of plastic and cannot be curled or styled in any way and has a short longevity, especially after it is washed.
- Non-Remy – This quality of hair extensions is kind of like a Frankenstein package – the hair that makes up the extensions is a combination of human hair (not including cuticle) and animal hair. It’s slightly more expensive than synthetic and may appear more accurate to the real thing, but that isn’t saying too much.
- Low-Remy – These extensions represent the middle ground and are most likely what the majority are able to afford. Depending on the thickness of the pieces, a pack of low-Remy hair extensions can cost as little as $40 or twice as much. They have a longer life, lasting up to a few washes, while still maintaining their shine and softness until it eventually mats, tangles, or damages, calling for replacement.
- High-Remy – This hair is actual human hair, with the cuticles of the strands still in tact, and can last up to six months or more, with proper care. Women pay higher dollar for this quality of hair, but it is actually a good value due to both its longevity and authenticity.
- Virgin Remy – Highest on the market of hair extensions, virgin simply means the human hair comes from a donor that has never used any harsh chemicals, such as dye, on their hair. Virgin remy hair extensions can last up to a year, but are truly an investment. A wise choice for any woman who uses extensions as part of her daily beauty routine, but maybe not for you if this will be your first purchase.
Method of Attachment Now that the differing qualities of hair extensions have been discussed, we can move forward with discussing the pros and cons of methods of attaching them. Over the years, several different means of attaching hair extensions have developed. All of them seek to do at least one of three things: ensure comfort level to the wearer, ensure the attachments are discreet, easy to conceal, and ensure the extensions can last throughout the day.
The different methods of attachment are listed and discussed below:
Glues can come in different bottles that guarantee the glue dries and hardens a clear or color that matches your locks. Installment strips of the hair extension package are taken out, one at a time, and attached about two-fingertip-widths from the scalp, under a layer of hair (to hide it), and glued. This method can last up to 2-3 weeks, but you may notice some strands fall out on their own as the amount of time the glue is worn continues. This is both a pro and con, as it often means taking the extensions out is not painful (pro), but the glue may not be strong enough to keep your strands in place (con).
Hollowed beads are threaded, along with thin strands of the extension pieces, through the existing hair and tightened to the top of the scalp to ensure a stiff fit that won’t break lose or result in an embarrassing mishaps (pro). The experience, especially if you’re new to it, can be quite uncomfortable and may even result in headaches during the first few days (con). In some cases, the scalp will became very dry and irritated (con). Yet, this method will ensure the extensions are beautifully and stubbornly in their place for as long as three months, allowing for wash, as well (pro). However, once it’s time for their removal, extreme discomfort may be experienced again, and for an hour or more, as it takes awhile to extract each, delicate piece (con).
Clip-ins are a more popular option due to the fact that they include very little to no pain (pro). They also more readily allow you the option to personalize, such as adding in streaks of colors or highlights that your hair may not already have (pro). The easy-to-use silicone combs at each extension piece’s end simply pops out, to allow the grip of your existing hair, and pushes in to clamp down on the hair, not the scalp (pro). However, clip-ins aren’t comfortable, or advisable, to sleep in and must be taken out every night before laying down and then put back in again in the morning, if desired, which may be a lot of added time to your beauty routine (con).
As with every method, taped-in extensions call for the scalp to be sectioned off. Wefts (peices about one inch wide) of the hair come out of the package with the adhesive, or tape, already at its end and is simply applied at the scalp. Due to the light, translucent color of the tape, this method really only works best on blondes, which could be a pro or con, depending on your hair color. Taped-in extensions can last up to three months (pro); you can curl and wash your hair as you may usually do (pro); and the attachment method is not painful, although it is time-consuming (pro/con). This method is also one of the more expensive options (con), and people report its painfulness when removing the wefts (con).
This is similar to beaded hair extensions in that it works very closely and tightly to the scalp, which as we discussed can cause pain and headaches (con). However, this is another more common method, due to its use of creating thing, tight braids along the scalp, it requires no additional purchase of beads (pro). At first, uncomfortable to sleep on, the tight braids will no longer bother you and your extensions will truly feel as they’re a part of your hair; women report feeling they are able to freely style and work with their hair without worrying about anything coming undone (pro).