Indications for Hair
Hair extensions are used to add volume, add length to short
hair, add style to hair in the form of layers, or to add
color such as low or highlights, or various "trendy" colors without the
damage associated with processing your own natural hair.
Does One Usually Get Hair Extensions?
than not one gets hair extensions to supplement hair that one has
naturally or that has been broken off from environmental effects, bad-habits, chemical treatments, a combo of all
three or other hair tragedies. Another reason is that you
may want to look good for a special
event of some sort such as a wedding, photoshoot, or occasion.
Some clients just want to have better looking hair for no reason at all
other than that they are dissatisfied with their own hair.
Why did I first look into extensions? Upon moving to
Las Vegas, my locks were accosted by these very damaging factors: extreme
dryness (after all we did live in a desert), high mineral (magnesium and
calcium) concentrations in our overly-chlorinated water (I should have
used a filtering system) on top of my already fine hair being further
weakened my lightening products. I watched my hair get thinner and
thinner, not at the scalp but further down the shaft where I was most
chemically processed. Another factor: be careful of
overlapping color products. After messing around with a few home
methods, I decided to search for a good hair extension
method and a good technician to save me!
Am I A Candidate
For Hair Extensions?
Believe it or not, not everyone is a good candidate for hair
extensions. Of course most hair stylists will tell you that you are.
If you have dry, brittle, and/or chemically over processed hair, you are
not a good candidate. That doesn't mean you won't get them or a
stylist won't install them for you. I am just telling you, it can cause
more damage to your already damaged hair in the long run. But like I said before, it is a
vicious cycle. Hair extensions make your hair look better than what
you have naturally, but it may damage your hair and necessitate that you
keep getting extensions. All hair extensions will cause some sort of
damage to your hair no matter what a stylist tells you. However,
there are 3 main factors that can significantly decrease or increase the
chance of damage. The Product. The Stylist. You.
If you do not have the patience to gently brush the
tangles out of your hair, or maintain your hair with quality products, you
are also not a good candidate for hair extensions. If you don't have
the time or money to replace your extensions every three to four months,
they will become very obvious and start to look really ratty towards the
end of their life if you don't take care of them.
The last extension stylist I had anted to give me
extensions but told me that my hair was fine and would probably still be
damaged in the end. Although she was correcting an even poorer job from another
stylist so she didn't have much to work with to begin with. She did, however,
suggest many times to not lighten my hair if I was going to have
extensions. She provided the third least-damaging method for
long-term (3 months) wear. If you are wondering which method it was,
it was ProHair synthetic extensions. Unfortunately, the bond removal
process is what damages your hair. Sewn-in mini braids secured with
thread are the least damaging for installation and removal. Mini
braids secured with small rubberbands are the second least-damaging.
However, rubberband bonds do not last very long. They do tend to
slip out as the natural oils work their way down the hair shaft, as well
is with hair washings.
I used microbraids for a photo shoot or temporary
fullness with much success. I suppose clip-ins with silicone grip would actually be considered the least
damaging of them all, they are not "long-term". But even
they can cause damage if tugged on, worn for long periods, slept in or
worn too tight.
Hair Consultation Appointment
Most hair stylists require a consultation appointment
to determine your hair extension needs. Topics will include an
evaluation of your natural hair, your expectations, color and texture
matching and the amount of hair that you will require. Many times,
stylists will need to special order hair to match your own color and
texture and this may take about a week. Your installation appointment will usually take
about 3 hours on average , so this block of time will have to be scheduled
for a later date. If she can get you right in, I would be a
little suspect. Unless, of course, someone had canceled and it was
simply serendipitous. If so, good for you!
Hopefully your stylist will have a book of before
and after photos of her extension clients, or at the very least her
coworkers may have extensions, even if just a few. if a
stylist does not have hair extension client photos, I would ask why.
It is very common for an experienced stylist to have photos available for
new clients to evaluate the work product. Your stylist should have
samples of extension hair and the bonds to show you and let you touch.
Many times the stylist will have a few extension pieces in her own hair as I have never met a stylist which
did not constantly alter her hair. Okay, except for the two male
idiots I went to for extensions. Your stylist will compare you hair
to a color wheel which has sections of extension hair in various colors
and textures either on a ring or in a book.
It is important to determine if your stylist is
great with color if you will be needing root touch ups every month or so.
It is very time-consuming and expensive to go to two different stylists
all the time--one for extensions and another for color. I did
that for one method I had and I do not recommend it. My ProHair
stylist was able to do both and that was really convenient as any
extension touch ups could be done at the same time.
You should be prepared to ask your stylist questions
before committing to hair extensions. For my first few
(non-home experimental) extension methods, I didn't research much, nor did I ask them anything and
took what they said at face value. I have suggested some questions
below to ask at your consultation and have also have them available in a
PDF form so that you may print them out if you like.
Questions To Ask
Your Hair Stylist Before Taking The Plunge
Questions To Ask Your
Click Here For A Printable
______________________________ Stylist's Name:
____________________________ Salon Telephone:
Consultation Appointment Date:
______________________ Time: ________________________
AM / PM
How long have you been
installing hair extensions?
Which hair extensions methods
have you used in the past?
Which hair extension methods do
you offer your clients?
Which hair extension method do
you prefer and why?
Do you offer human hair or
Which hair type do you prefer,
and why or why not?
Do you think that I am a
candidate for hair extensions?
If so, what method would you
recommend for me?
Have you ever had hair
If so, how long did you have
them in and did you have any damage when you removed them?
Have you installed hair
extensions on any of your co-workers? Can I speak to her or
Do you have any before and
after photos of your hair extension clients?
Does hair extension or
installation or removal hurt?
How do you remove extensions?
Chemicals? Heat? Picking at the bonds? Sliding metal
tubes up the hair shaft? Can you explain the process?
What type of damage have you
seen after hair extension removal?
How often will I require
Do you offer free in-between
extension installations, such as if a few fall out within a month
What products do you recommend
for best maintaining hair extensions?
What products DON'T you
recommend for clients with hair extensions?
Do you recommend my sleeping
with a large loose braid or a satin cap to better protect my hair?
Can I swim with my extensions?
In a pool or in saltwater?
Should I do anything special to
prepare my hair for swimming such as saturating natural hair with
tap water or applying conditioners or silicone serums before
entering a pool or the ocean?
I have heard that tight braids
before swimming in salt water may be bad for my hair, what do you
Can I have my hair colored with
the method of hair extensions you offer? What about the
product being left within the braid or bond? Will the
residue damage or continue to affect my hair if it cannot be
If for metal tubes, have you
seen discoloration of the hair strands with residue from
How much will this cost me?
Hair: _______________, Installation: _______________, Touch-ups:
_______________, Other: _______________
Was the stylist personable?
[ ] Yes [ ] No
Was the stylist experienced
with her preferred method? [ ] Yes
[ ] No
Cleanliness of the salon: [
] poor [ ] fair [ ] good
[ ] exceptional
Before and after photos: [
] poor [ ] fair [ ] good
[ ] exceptional
Value: [ ] poor
[ ] fair [ ] good [
Appointment Scheduled? [
] Yes [ ] No
_______________________________ Appointment Time:
________________ AM / PM
Types of Hair Used
For Hair Extensions
You probably have heard the terms, virgin, Remy, European, raw, full
cuticle and unidirectional when researching hair extensions. I know
it sounds confusing, and quite frankly it is. I will try to break it
down as much as possible, but it is pretty much it is broken down into
only two types, Human and Synthetic. However, both very
greatly in quality.
Most hair is processed Indian or Asian hair. Indian and Asian
women's hair grows the fastest and is thick, which may be necessary during
some processing steps. Today, Remy is used very loosely and everyone
seems to have virgin, Remy, this and that. Which for $22 bucks a 1/4
lb. That's almost impossible. Product from the Asian
hair-trade is often less expensive and many times not unidirectional, mean
it is not kept in its natural direction of growth. The hair cuticle
grows with the new cuticle
(plates) growing over the older one. Some manufacturers gather hair in bulk (from
sales, fall, salon floors, etc) so that the cuticle runs both ways when
placed parallel to each other. When this occurs, the hair can become
tangled very fast. When extension hair is multi-directional, the
hair is processed using an acid bath to remove the cuticle so that it
will not tangle. Of course, this weakens the shaft and removes the
natural shine so it must then be processed with a silicone layer to make
it look healthy and give it temporary flexibility and shine. Once
this layer washes off (only a matter of a few washings), the less healthy
it will look. In the end, cheap hair will look like straw so you get
what you pay for. But sometimes you get tricked and still get a
cheap product for a high price. This is why you should only buy hair
from reputable companies.
I personally don't like how natural hair wears over
time. Just like your own hair, the ends split and need to be cut.
Then again, I have never had true virgin hair because I am blond and
genuine, full cuticle, unprocessed blond hair is very expensive.
Finding naturally blond extension hair in a sizable amount (weight) and
length from all one donor is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Those who are naturally blond normally have low hair density and naturally
blond hair is a lot more fine than naturally dark hair. I also do
not like how human hair does not hold a style for as long as synthetic
hair does and is vulnerable to humidity, lightening from UV, etc.
I think darker haired ladies benefit far more from human hair than us
blonds, although I have seen some pretty good blond extensions.
Although their extensions were pretty much worn no more than 2 times
(about 6 months) before a new set was installed.
- Remy, 100% Remy, Remi: Remy is a
term that often defines a quality of hair or more commonly a direction
of the cuticle, such as "Remi Cuticle Direction". Unfortunately,
the term "Remy" is used very loosely by many hairtraders from
many countries but genuine Remy is commonly referred to as originating
from India. Indian hair grows very fast and also sometimes Hindu
women (and sometimes Indian Christian and Indian Muslim women, as well as some
men, although men do not normally have the lengths of hair usable by the hairtraders) will ceremoniously shave their heads (called
Tonsuring) as thanks for favors or blessings received.
Unfortunately, Hindu women do not intend that their hair (sometimes
called Indian Temple Hair in hair trade) be used for extensions and wig
hair. This hair is sacred and what is done afterwards with it by
temple keepers or other people who come into the shaved tresses, is
deplorable. But this article is not about my feelings on
unscrupulous acts with sacred hair, it is about what the word, Remy, is
often associated with. Products described as Remy or Remi, are
often unidirectional, in that it is kept in the direction of its natural
growth, with the cuticle pointing down. True Remy is hair that has
not had its cuticle removed via an acid bath. True Remy is
not lightened or colored. It should only be available in black or
dark brown and should never have silicone coatings or other additives.
True Remy is very high quality, and if you can really get genuine full
cuticle hair it will last you for years, not just one installation.
But you have to take care of it properly washing and conditioning with
high quality products, gentle brushing and sleeping with your hair
protected. Unfortunately, it is the bonding process that will
usually begin to chip away at the length of your Remy hair.
Although genuine Remy may last you, you will have to re-bond the tips
eventually so that it does not shed if you use it for extensions.
Often women who wear true Remy have it made into custom wigs, falls or
wefts for clip-in. Although in reality, most hair described
as Remy is simply unidirectional and full cuticle (one would hope).
Products described as Remy may still be sterilized and may be lightened
or colored, although this damages the hair. Some Asian
manufacturers also call their hair Asian Remy, or Southeast Asian Remy.
True Asian "Remy" should be unidirectional and untreated so it is
normally black or very dark brown. Asians and Indians do not have
naturally red or blond hair so if you see "Remy" that is blond, it has
been highly processed. Hopefully the cuticle has been left intact
as much as possible. Also, many times you will see processed hair
described as Remi when the cuticle direction is not truly the same, it
is just removed and Remy, when it has a true cuticle. Only buy
from a reputable source because companies will lie or lie by omission to
get your money.
- Virgin (Virgin Cuticle): Virgin means
un-processed hair. However, almost all hair is processed in some
way before it is made commercially available., usually being
sterilization. However, not all dealers do this. Some
handpick hair and wash it by hand. However, this hair is commonly
very expensive and still you usually do not know what you are getting.
You'd have to look at the hair under a Scanning
electron microscopy (SEM) to truly determine if the cuticle is
completely intact. Although you can generally feel a cuticle if
your fingers are sensitive by sliding up and down the hair strand, you
will feel that one direction is more rough than the other. However, a SEM is not necessary with a reputable dealer as quality hair will last
and last word of mouth on the Internet spreads fast. True virgin hair
has never been lightened, given an acid bath or treated with silicone.
It should only be found in natural colors to be truly considered virgin.
- European: Companies tend to throw
in the word "European" to define it as higher quality. European is
normally a texture or thickness description and not truly from a bunch
of European donors waiting in line to cut off their hair. While
Europe is comprised of countries where the inhabitants' hair may vary in
texture and color due to heritage (Italian, Swiss, German) the term
"European Hair" often appeals to Caucasian clients and clients
with thinner textures and sometimes lighter hair colors.
When you lighten naturally thick-textured hair (such as Indian or Asian)
this often requires a process which may reduce the diameter hair using the acid
bath. When a company sells European Hair, please inquire as to
what that really means. They will probably tell you it is from
European donors, which I fine laughable with the cost they often sell it
for. Trust me, you'll know for sure if it is truly full cuticle
and unprocessed after
you wear it for a while.
- Russian: There are not tons of beautiful,
long-locked Russian women with naturally light to dark blond hair rushing to cut their
locks off so you can have it. Also, poverty-stricken women are not
being forced to cut off their hair for the illegal hairtrade either.
Although some Russian women may be selling their hair, Russian Hair
commonly also defines a texture or diameter. They use the term,
often "100% Virgin Russian Hair" to convey that their product is very
high quality. Sure, many
manufacturers may be purchasing it through Russia, but I'd bet
natural locks the Russians are buying the majority from China and
processing it. Ergo, Russian Hair is often not truly Russian. When I was
there, there were a lot of Chinese products throughout Mongolia and the
surrounding areas. And might I add, a lot of Russian vodka in Mongolia
- Raw: MOST EXTENSION HAIR IS
PROCESSED in some way in order to be sold on the commercial market.
Unless you are going to get someone you know to donate their hair and
have control over it, you will get at least somewhat processed hair.
THEY DO NOT OFTEN SELL RAW HAIR on the open market for you or I to buy.
Raw hair is typically purchased by professionals who make hair
extensions. Raw hair is often donated to make wigs such as with
Locks of Love. However, there are a few reputable companies which
do offer true raw hair with only normal washing, that has been placed on
- Full Cuticle: This is when the
process of using an acid bath to fully or partially remove the cuticle
of the natural hair is not utilized. Full cuticle hair lasts
longer than its more processed cousin due to the protective, natural
keratin plate still being present.
- Unidirectional (uni-directional): This
means that the hair runs all the same direction, just as it was
naturally grown, and has not been mixed loose in the process. When
the hair is cut from the donor it is kept in a band so that it does not
come apart. This hinders tangling. When the cuticle goes
both directions, hair tends to knot up more easily. Cheaper human
hair is not usually unidirectional so it must be processed in an acid
bath to remove the cuticle to make it less likely to tangle.
There is a lot of negativity about synthetic hair and I think its bad rap
is undeserved. There are several levels of synthetic hair so you
have to do your research. I have read and heard that synthetic
tangles too easily (no more than the standard medium or low quality human
hair, if you ask me). My natural hair tangles very easily anyway.
I have also heard a lot of complaints that it melts (yes, it can, you have
to be careful), that you cannot wash it or it gets ratty (that is SO not
true of good quality Kanekalon, and if it ever does get fuzzy, you can
steam it out), and that it always looks plastic (granted, it does at first
but with cellophane treatment on your own hair and a washing or two, they
tend to match a lot better. If you don't get a cellophane treatment
on your natural hair, the shine demarcation is more visible in flash
photography). I do like that synthetic hair is lighter, thereby
exerting less weight stressors on your own hair. My hair is very
fine so I welcome the lightness. Synthetic hair can usually not be
dyed, at least it cannot usually be dyed effectively. However I have
heard that one can dye synthetic hair with RIT dye and set with vinegar
after dyeing, then rinse with water. Of course, the color will
not be as bright as the color on the bottle. Synthetic absolutely
cannot be lightened. Hair bleach, hydrogen peroxide or household
bleach will damage the fibers.
- Kanekalon: Although the name is often used
to describe thermofiber synthetic extensions and wigs from many
companies, true Kanekalon modacrylic fiber is made by Kaneka Corporation
in Japan. It is made from acrylonitrile-vinyl
chloride which which is then copolymerized using emulsion
polymerization. It is processed into a thicker
liquid form which is then forced through a sieve of sorts which produces
long strands. These strands are then placed into a stabilizer
bath for hardening and you have the end product. The process is
actually far more involved than this but that's the gist of it.
These fibers are highly flame-retardant because of the chloride.
The end fiber can withstand heat around 350° F but not for
prolonged periods. It
does tangle more than natural, high-quality, full cuticle human hair, but I think it
is a good product if you like synthetic hair. The curl in the
synthetic hair (or lack thereof) is processed to be this way via heat so
repeat washings do not remove the curl (or add curl if you bought a
straight hair product). However, repeat washings in hot water will
alter this curl. Fortunately it can be restyled with flocked
rollers and steam rollers. Although some say that Kanekalon can
withstand heat higher than 350° F, that's pretty hot on its own! I do not recommend it unless you have
a lot of experience as you can melt the fiber. I would not use a
curling iron on the product or high heat from a blowdryer unless you
want it straight. Although I have accidentally curled my extension
hair with my own hair and it didn't melt, it does remove the wave that
was processed into the extension. The only way to curl it again is
to use a flocked (for protection) curler and then let it cool in the
wave that you want it to be. High heat will melt Kanekalon.
- Toyokalon: Toyokalon is made by DENKA
Group (Denki Kagaku Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha) and is also a fiber used to
make synthetic hair and is made from copolymerized polyvinyl chloride.
It seems to tangle less, but is normally used in costume wig making and
is less believable to resemble natural hair in my opinion. It has been
reported that Toyokalon is not as heat-resistant as Kanekalon, however I
have not performed any experiments to conclude any noticeable
differences. Most products I came across used Kanekalon so my
experience with Toyokalon is limited.
- Thermofiber (Thermofibre): This is a
broad term used to describe synthetic fibers which can withstand a
certain amount of heat. Most synthetic fibers, other than the
above two, cannot.
- Polypropylene: Synthetic hair made from
polypropylene is inexpensive and is NOT flame retardant.
Polypropylene is used in a lot of applications in many different
products including suture material for the human body. But for
hair, I wouldn't use it.
- Polyester: This is usually the cheapest
synthetic hair available and is made from polyester fibers. It has
a very low melting point.
- Animal Hair: What is worse than polyester
hair? Animal hair. I am not even going to comment on
this topic as I am sure you are not interested in wearing horse hair on
your head. I have heard it is out there, but I have never seen it
other than extensions made specifically for horses, (CustomTails.com).
Quite frankly I think my horses would be very upset if I put extensions
- Mixtures: There are reportedly
manufacturers who attempt to pass off Human and Synthetic mixtures, as
well as some mixtures which include animal hair (such as Horse and
Mongolian Lamb). This is a very despicable practice. The
majority of the extension may be comprised of human so they can
advertise human but an easy way to tell is to remove a few hairs and
burn with a flame source. The synthetic will melt and ball up,
human hair will ash. The scent will be different from either type
and you will also see a difference once you try to curl it with a
Types of Bonds Used
For Hair Extensions
There are many hair system brandnames on the market today but they all use
one, and sometimes two, methods of bonding the extensions to the client's
- Clips and combs
- Latex bonding
- Liquid Gold, which is said to be 5 times stronger
- Keratin bond, hot or at the very least, warm
- Metal tubes, micro rings (with and without a
- Heat-reactive plastic tubes (polystyrene or
polystyrene silicone blend shrinkies)
- Weaving thread and other types of thread
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) for heat fusion,
lower melting point)
- Melted synthetic hair product (as in ProHair)
which is wrapped around a natural hair-synthetic hair braid
Types of Hair Tips
Hair extensions usually have attachments on the actual extension hair
which keep the strands together and hinder shedding and extension hair
fall. But not all do.
- Pre-tipped bonds with various adhesives, usually
keratin based (also known as i-tips, and pre-bonded)
- Pre-tipped bonds attached by a loop
- Lack of hair tips, loose hair which is braided in
- Wefted hair which is commonly weaved and
threaded, glued, or clipped in. These can be machine or hand tied.
Sadly, this was my natural hair. Sometimes, the enemy of good is
better. I know my lips look huge but this was a few days after
Perlane injections and it was for a shoot with Self Magazine about
cosmetic enhancement. I don't usually wear this much make-up :)
August 15, 2003
Your Options In Hair
Extensions: Types and Methods
Human Hair Clip-in Extensions
(December 31, 2003)
This is not the most flattering
photo, but it is the only one I have of this night. This was outside
a casino at a Theme Party for New Year's in
Las Vegas. It was a long time ago, I do not have nails like
this (anymore) nor do I wear clothing like this. :) I was
exaggerating a pout
in the photo because I friend from YTF wasn't going to make it to
the party. I also had a bonded weft in the back (see bonding
- Clip-In Extensions
My first tinkering with hair extensions was with the homemade, clip-in variety.
I ordered some human hair which turned out to be an over-processed,
exceptionally poor quality product. I can't even recall the name. I had used Proclaim Super Bond
hair glue to attach two 1 ¼ inch sections of wefted hair together
and then sewed that to a wig/hairpiece comb snap-clip. I made
about 5 of these and they held up pretty well after setting and curling
with a large barrel hot iron. They were easy to remove and
were believable, but only if they did not slip out, which on occasion
they did! The best way to make sure they don't is to use hairspray
on your natural hair at the point of the clip-in or even slightly tease
with a soft bristle brush (not a comb) to minimize damage. Both of
which on the area where the clip will set before you put the clip-on in.
Cost: $22 for ¼ lb of human hair (with plenty left over), a few
dollars for some clips and adhesive.
What It Feels Like To Wear It: When you move and your hair
touches your shoulders, or when you toss your head from side to side
(dancing, whatever), you can feel the weight of the clip pull the
There is a fine line between having then clipped in tight enough that they
don't fall out, and not so tightly that they pull your own hair.
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: If someone were to run their
fingers through your hair, they will feel it and it does hurt.
Also, when you brush your hair with them in you must hold the clip to
your head and brush from the clip down. Not doing so both hurts
and can damage your hair. It can also cause them to slip out.
Finger-combing is better.
Lesson Learned: They work great if you don’t want anything
permanent. Braiding paste can also help keep the clip from
slipping out and is less damaging than backcombing and hairspray.
Be careful with long-term use in the same areas, as users have been
known to experience hair loss at the scalp at the point of clip
Latex-bonded double weft human hair (January 6, 2004)
- Weft Bonding (Latex)
My next experiment occurred directly before a Vegas New Year’s
Theme party (see New Year's Clip-In info for complete look) and as we all know experimentation before an important event is
usually a mistake. But I figure if it was for a theme party,
you're less likely to get flack for looking weird. I had my clip-ins on
as well but I wanted something
less apt to fly out of my head while dancing at the party. I had a
friend attach one 5-inch weft to the back of my head on a horizontal
part with Proclaim Super Bond latex-based hair glue. The problem? In my haste, I
grabbed the Dark hair glue at the beauty supply store instead of the
White. Seriously. Fortunately, this wasn’t too apparent unless I lifted the weft.
The good news? It looked pretty darn fabulous for the night! However,
as time wore on, oh let’s say no more than two weeks, it became knotty,
ratty and atrocious. In fact, it became downright intolerable. I
looked like I had a bad eighties-style teased mullet. It had
to come out. I set out to do it myself but had to call for
reinforcements. It was extremely time-consuming, and I must admit
painful, to remove all of the gummy, black adhesive with bond remover
oil. I expected it to be easier according to the directions.
Cost: $22 human hair, $3 for adhesive (I used the leftover hair
and adhesive from the clip-ins project) and bond remover oil.
What It Feels Like To Wear It: The weight of the weft bonded to
your hair is less than the metal clips, so you can't sense the weight as
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: If someone were to run
their fingers through your hair, they will feel it and it does hurt.
Also, if you flip your head over, everyone will see the wefts. You
can also see the weft line if you do not have sufficient hair to cover
it or if you wear your hair straight.
Lesson learned: Never again. Horrible.
- Metal Links, Tubes, TubeX, Locks, Beads,
PURE Extensions, etc.
Having had enough with clips and bonding mistakes I chose to
look into other systems. I have used two systems which use malleable
aluminum, copper or nickel tubes to cramp hair onto your own. You may
have heard them called locks, linkies, micro links, micro rings,
micro locks, extendtubes, flaretubes, dinky links and other terms.
A LOT Of hair systems use these tubes.
Hairlocs Human Hair Extensions (March 15, 2004)
This system utilizes small metal tubes (see photograph) and they claim "the Finest
Quality “Full Cuticle" Spanish, Russian, or Italian human hair" that has
been pre-tipped with an adhesive. It is very similar if not almost
identical to Eurolocs. Once the metal tube is threaded onto your own
hair, a lock of pre-tipped hair is inserted into the tube and then it
was clamped (flattened), so to speak, thereby adhering the extension hair to your
own without the use of hot or cold adhesive. Sounds great in theory
doesn’t it? Not if you have chemically-treated, fine textured hair it
doesn’t. I lost a considerable amount of hair with this system over a
period of about 4 months. My fine hair broke right where the thin
metal rim of the tube rubbed up against my hair. I initially had 200
locks installed and it was very heavy. Granted, back then I had the
hair to attach it to, but not after a few months of wear. I also had a lot of link slippage. I
must have lost about 30 extensions in the first 3 weeks, even with
very gentle care. I also dislike their takedown method. In order
to reuse the micro rings and hair, the stylist opens the lock using
pliers and pushes the ring and extension hair up the length of your
natural hair. I feel that this does not allow the fallen hair to
come out, I feel it roughs up your natural cuticle and it sometimes
causes some of your natural hair to bunch up above the ring.
However, when you have a complete take down, and if the bond on the
pre-tips has degraded (and it will eventually) and you need new rings.
Of course, this is expensive all over again, as if you were having your
extensions done for the first time.
Cost: $1,000 for the install fee (WUT?!), $460 for 250 locks of pre-tipped,
supposedly "Remy European hair" (200 for install, 50 for replacement) and
$30 for the, then copper tubes.
What It Feels Like To Wear It: It feels heavy and the first few
days after install are horrid. It hurts to sleep on any side of
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: When you run your fingers
through your hair near the scalp (you are required to do this near the
tubes so that you don't get dreading between each one and the surround
locks) and you have long nails (especially acrylics) you can hear a
clacking sound. I am quite serious. It sounds like clackity
clack clack clack. Not sexy. When someone else runs their
fingers though your hair, it is quite obvious that you have extensions and it
hurts. You can also see the links in thinner areas, on the sides
or if you have them installed above your ears. You must have
enough hair to cover them.
Lesson Learned: Not unless I want to go bald will I use this system
again. My hair is too fine to begin with, on top of being lightened.
It is bad news for me. When I took them out I lost a lot of
hair due to breakage. My very good friend, however, uses this system
with much luck. She has thick, dark hair and although she loses a few
every now and again, she doesn’t have much breakage that I can see.
Plus he used far too many for my hair and head size.
Microlink Comparison (open and
closed) and Oxidation on Bond
- Doctored Locks Linkies (micro ring
started looking around online and located a website which sold
thicker-rimmed, yet shorter length locks for a very fair price. They
were larger in general compared to the Hairlocs and Eurolocs, but I felt
that the thickness was necessary in preventing damage due to your hair rubbing
against the thin-walled tubes. Common sense
would tell you that if hair rubs against metal, the hair is going to be
the one to give regardless of size. I bought some 18 inch wefted
human hair which I cut into very small sections, cut off the weft,
combed out the strays, folded over strands and then used a waterproof
fabric glue (OK To Wash It Brand) to pre-tip for easy insertion into the
locks. My Hairlocs stylist refused to change over to the Dr. Locks
tubes or the self-prepared hair so of I went to find another stylist.
Incidentally, he actually said that he'd quit doing hair if I didn't
like my extensions. I told him within a week that I didn't like
them. Not that I expected or wanted him to quit, but frankly he
should. The guy is an idiot with no talent.
Cost: $179 for a ¼ lb of 18” of human hair from Glamourhair; $24.95 for a jar of XS micro rings (Linkies
from DoctoredLocks); $2.95 for the microneedle; and $5.95 for the
microclamp (both also from from DoctoredLocks). Now, however, there is a great starter kit with all that
you need. including a grooved removal clamp. I could have really used
What It Feels Like To Wear It: Same as Hairlocs.
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: Same as Hairlocs.
Lesson Learned: Use a smooth pair of pliers to install and grooved
ones to remove them. I occasionally used these up until I got
introduced to the next system. However, I was never able to do a
full head of hair because you need a second person for proper
installment on yourself.
After Hairlocs Removal, Replaced With
Fusion, Human Hair (July 28, 2004)
- Fusion (hot, Keratin Glue)
Two weeks later I found another technician in my area that does
Hairlocs and he agreed to replace my Hairlocs with Dr Locks microrings
and my own pre-tipped hair.
However, it was a ruse to get me into the salon where he talked me into
fusion instead. Honestly, I did not know much about it. He said it was
less damaging than Hairlocs and any other microrings and that if done by
the right person it would help me grow out my hair. Again, I learned a
lesson the hard way. The stylist would dip hair into melted keratin
bond, and then tap it on a nasty, keratin
bond-encrusted large barrel curling iron to heat it more then he would
roll it on my natural hair. Gross. After about 12 months of fusion and several take-downs later, I noticed more and more breakage and less and less hair. Not good. Apparently acetone is used to remove the bonds along with a
fine tooth comb. Basically, the acetone breaks down the bond and
makes it brittle, and they essentially crush it with piers and pick away at it with the comb. If your hair is chemically treated, or if it is
I wouldn’t use this method.
Cost: $300 per install plus another $179 per ¼ lb of 18-inch human hair
What It Feels Like To Wear It: It isn't as heavy but you
can still feel it. You have to be careful what products you use or
you can affect the bonds. You also have to be careful using heat
appliances near the bonds, such as a hairdryer.
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: It feels like you have little
cylindrical pieces of hardened glue in your hair. Which you do.
There is no getting around that reality no matter how much you sugarcoat
it with "bonded with a protein very much like your own hair".
Lesson Learned: If I cannot handle Hairlocs, I can’t handle
fusion. During my last fusion take down I barely had any hair
left. By the way, I don't care if they call it Italian
Keratin, Austrian Keratin or any other country's Keratin. It is
still hot fusion bonding which is about 266° F (130° C) when they use a
wand. Although some keratin bonds may have a lower melting point.
- Great Lengths
After a friend came over from out of town, she got me interested in
Great Lengths. Although she was in need of a re-install as hers
were really growing out. So I called around and found a stylist
who offered Great Lengths. The stylist explained they were a
strand by strand method using a protein bond but that it
is a cold fusion method. The way they made it sound was as if they
were attaching one hair to each hair on your head. So I had to go check
it out. As a test, I had a few Great Lengths installed
to see how I liked them. Okay, A. They are not a STRAND BY STRAND method,
to me a strand means ONE single hair. They use sections of strands like
most other methods (like fusion, above). And B. It is NOT cold fusion. They
use a machine which softens the pre-tipped adhesive on the extension
hair to mold around your own hair.
That's not cold. Cold is ambient temperature or colder. Also, with
take down (uninstalling them), they use a BondEx Gel. Which to
me, smelled like alcohol.
Cost: Free, it was a test to see if I wanted it. She
thought I would switch over. I did not.
What It Feels Like To Wear It: It looks similar to like the
fusion I had before but the bonds are a lot smaller. The bonds actually
look more like clear tapes. The fusion I had before used an
ungodly amount of keratin and the hair wasn't pre-tipped like Great
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: It feels like fusion.
Lesson Learned: I didn't even bother to take photos. A rose is a rose is a rose. It's fusion.
But if I HAD to choose a keratin bonding method, I would probably choose
Great Lengths. Although they only have human hair.
Two different sets of Pinchbraids
with Human Hair: straight (June 16 2005), curled (August 2, 2005)
Left: After Pinchbraid Take-down (curled from the braids).
Right: Hairloss (probably natural fall) on left, extensions on right)
So, I call my stylist and tell him I simply cannot get fusion
anymore and ask him if he knows anyone who does pinchbraids or if he
would be willing to learn. He referred me to a girl who was in the
very same salon as he was. How convenient, and he was also very understanding. Yeah, right.
Thank goodness the new stylist moved to another salon before my appointment
because it would have been awkward.
The fusion removal (with two people, acetone, a
pair of pliers and a comb) took a while and the pinchbraid install took about 3 hours and was “okay.”
The first set of braids were visibly huge, the tying string was white and did not
blend with my blond hair and she didn’t blend or cut my hair very well
either (the first pic with straight hair, on left). For the second
set I had them colored and cut by another person). I had pinchbraids for
only three months total. After take down I
noticed my hair that was within the braid seemed undamaged. However, I
was ready to move on to bigger and better salons.
Cost: $300 per install plus $179. per ¼ lb of 18 inch human hair.
What It Feels Like To Wear It: It feels like you have thick
braids in your hair. I assume it would be less noticeable if they
were smaller. I felt that my scalp was sore after install.
This is because of the tugging on the scalp. You know your stylist
is being rough if you're sore that night, but the most part it seems
that you will be sore from either the tugging, or the bond-type.
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: It feels like thick braids and
you have to be very careful when combing or running your fingers though
Lesson Learned: A good method as far as damage goes but choose
someone who can give you smaller braids and also who uses the proper
tying string for your hair color. Stylists commonly use weaving
thread (such as made by Doctored Locks) but it is really thick. Be sure if you lighten your hair
that your stylist rinses your hair out extremely well! Bleach or
other chemicals can get trapped in your braid and some may reactivate.
Along with heat and long-term exposure to residue, this can truly weaken
your hair. Get regular trims in-between installs. You can
see how much less hair I have after Pinchbraids and all the other
methods in the above pic, as compared to before.
ProHair Synthetic Hair Extensions
(September 12, 2005)
Separated so you can see braids and bonding method
- ProHair System
Prohair Fiber Extensions by ProStyles Unlimited, Inc. of
Atlanta (actually ProStyles is the distributor for Dome extensions from
the UK) was my system of choice for about 3 years. This system uses monofibre
(synthetic) hair! This synthetic hair is installed using a braiding
method similar to pinchbraids but they are secured with a heat seal of
its own material (the synthetic hair), not
string. The heat seal is made by wrapping the stand of ProHair around
near base of the braid, it is then heated with a special tool from
ProHair. The synthetic hair then melts around the braid, thereby
securing it. It does not melt or damage your own hair as much as many
systems do. But if there is considerable bond melting within your
natural hair it is similar to fusion, so care must be taken during
install. When you are ready for take down, the seal is
removed with a sort of rough twist and snap of the seal, and possibly
oil, and the braid is loosened and the extension hair slides out. If
this step us done incorrectly or your hair is damaged and weak, it CAN
break your hair at this point.
Bobbielynn from Tune-ups Salon in Las Vegas
advises “for the last ten years out of all of the methods I have worn
myself and installed on my own clients, ProHair or Dome Monofibre
Extensions systems are by far the most superior.” She believes these
two systems are the least damaging of all systems because no metal
clamps, glue or other adhesive is used to hold them in, therefore no
acetone or other chemical is used to remove them. “I prefer synthetic
hair over human hair due to less tangling, durability, plus the
attachment is very gentle on your hair. I want my clients’ hair to be
healthy, not be a slave to their hair additions.” Although Bobbilynn
exclaimed, “It doesn’t mean they won’t come back for more! I just don’t
want it to be a necessity for them.”
I really miss my hair looking like
My Own ProHair Experience
I called the company, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia and
asked for a referral. I was given two technicians’ contact numbers in
Las Vegas and chose to go to Bobbilynn. She had been installing
extensions for over 10 years, ProHair for 3 of those and was a ProHair
user herself so this got my attention. She also had
chemically-lightened hair like my own and I felt she was honest,
empathetic to my plight, reasonably priced and very
experienced. I was sold. She even came in on her day off because
she said my hair looked so bad. Um, thanks Bobbi. :)
She first had to get rid of my horrendous root
outgrowth. My roots had gone untouched up for almost 2 months because I
was trying to find a new stylist when I had pinchbraids. She used bleach with 20 volume with
no heat. All this time my other stylists were using high lift color
with 40 volume overlapping with bleach with 20 volume on the crown for
highlights, plus heat, every 4 weeks. Overlapping and over-processed hair on top of the fusion, which was a
deadly combination, essentially this ruined my hair. I also was not given
proper trims in-between take-downs (extension removals) and extension
installations so this on top of the over-processing had me near bald!
After she lightened my hair, she trimmed a lot of
the damaged length (which was a lot) and also layered my hair. In the
end my hair was thin from the damage, and the length a little above my
shoulders, but it looked a hundred times better. Then she set to
transform my hair…
It felt as though my color took longer than the
installation of my new extensions. She had an assistant help her
with the install. They take loose microfiber hair and blend it by
hand using several colors. A length of hair (longer than you'd
think because they bend it over and the added volume around the head
helps hide the other braids) hair is placed in your own hair at the
braid point. Then what they do is incredible, it's like a turbine
of arms, or an octopus, going around your head really fast for braiding
it in. It's quite crazy. Before I knew it I was a blond,
glossy-tressed woman! Monofiber hair looks a little glossier than
standard human hair if it isn’t healthy, however, believe it or not my
hair is still somewhat shiny after all of my ‘lessons learned.’ The shininess of
the monofibre hair does lessen a bit after a few washings. You can use
a silicone serum or a temporary translucent hair treatment, such as
Colourshines by Cellophane, to make your own hair look healthier if it
has lost its luster. This also seals in color. I have
purchased some for home use as well.
Washing synthetic hair is a bit different that
washing human hair. You must use warm to cool, or even better
if-you-can-stand-it, cold water, to wash and rinse. An easy way is to
step in the shower, warm up with regular hot water (but keep your hair
out of it!) then switch it to cold, get your hair well saturated, then
remove your hair from the stream and return to hot so you don’t freeze
to death. However, I have used normally warm water to wash mine this
past year and they have been fine. Apply shampoo to your scalp only and
gently massage, letting the suds run down the length of your
extensions. Switch to cold again and rinse, letting the suds again run
down the length of your extensions. Repeat process with conditioner,
although be careful about putting conditioner on your braids (or any
extensions bonds for that matter) as this can cause slippage. Washing
and rinsing in cold, or at least very tepid water, will extend the life
and luster of your synthetic hair. Using hot curling irons or flatirons
will essentially fry your synthetic hair. Stay away from them. I do,
however, use steam or flocked warm rollers to curl my hair and it is
I need to emphasize just how great good-quality
synthetic “hair” really is. It is beautiful, healthy-looking and after
extended normal wear still looks and acts so much better than any human
extension hair I have ever felt or seen. It behaves, it doesn’t frizz
up, doesn’t really knot up with your own hair as much as human hair, it
curls with the use of velvet flocked hot rollers or steamrollers, you
can blow-dry it straight using low heat as well. The best part? The
style lasts for days without the need for hairspray! Synthetic hair is
also far less expensive. Another plus to using synthetic hair is that
you are no longer contributing to the human hair trade. I honestly feel
human hair is going to fall out of favor as newer, improved synthetic
versions come out on the market. Although I thought hat years ago,
and it still hasn't happened.
Cost: Originally it was $75 for color; $375 for a half head of
extensions (although she went over that amount and I will name my first
born after her for her kindness!) Her price included the hair and she
even gave me a bottle of ProHair leave-in conditioner. However, she now
charges me about $600 for the color, low lights and the extensions.
She was like the proverbial drug dealer, she got me hooked and raised her prices.
What It Feels Like To Wear It: It definitely feels lighter and
better than any method I have used to date. The braids still can
be seen if you do not have sufficient hair to cover them or you get them
in thinner areas. You can see mine at the top when I separate my
hair, but usually it covers it when styled. I definitely loved it!
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: It felt like my own hair
because the microfiber better matched my own texture and thickness.
However you can still feel the braids if you run your fingers near your
scalp, so can others. And it hurts if you get caught. As they grow
out, you are more at risk to get a finger caught (as with any other
method). Also, my scalp did hurt for a few days after install.
Lesson Learned: The method absolutely makes a difference, as does the
skill and experience of the technician. Color matching is essential.
Bobbie hand blends using a few colors of loose ProHair and then brushes
them together. Proper hair care, coloring and maintenance on your
own natural hair is imperative and there is hope for those of us who
have been damaged by other systems. I used to travel back and forth to
Las Vegas from California to get them done but eventually it became too
much of a hassle to get it done and I decided to just go for it and let
my hair grow. But it always looked pretty as the day I first got it. The low-maintenance is
utterly refreshing and no one knows it isn’t my own hair unless they run
their fingers at my scalp or they see a braid from the wind parting it.
however, when I did venture to get extensions well above my ears, it was
visible. Careful take-down is an ABSOLUTE must or you can damage
your hair. Especially if your hair is color treated light blond.
Also, if your hair does get fuzzy at the ends or bent, you can use a
steamer at a safe distance and it straightens the hair without damage.
You can then re-curl the hair using steam rollers or flocked warm
rollers. I wore ProHair synthetic extensions for 3 years until the
end of 2008.
Braids with mini rubberbands,
Synthetic Hair (April 16, 2009)
Loose, synthetic hair that has been hand blended and
was used for braiding; close up of synthetic hair
Homemade synthetic hair clip-in. I made the
clip-ins from a Kanekalon fiber wig that I cut wefts from. This is
the clip side that will be next to your head, the other side is all
hair. I am showing this with a flash so you can see how synthetic
hair catches the light and brings out a reddish hue. You really
need to make your natural hair shiny to match.
- Braids With Rubberband Bonds: After
having my extensions out for awhile, I had to do a photo shoot for
a project and I needed hair. I had done a few shoots for the
project using clip-ins but this shoot would be a daylong project and
required better looking extensions. We hired a make-up artists friend who
also did extensions. She took
loose synthetic hair, braided it in just like Pro-Hair is done but the
"bonds" were miniature rubberbands as is used for braces. It worked out
well and it was nice to have long hair again. The braids were only
slightly larger than ProHair braids and were only slightly more visible
if the wind parted your hair or you moved wrong. The rubberbands were
grippy but she suggested spirit gum as well for longevity from slippage.
She used braiding paste instead.
Definitely not for extended wear, but it fit the bill.
What It Feels Like To Wear It: If felt like ProHair, I love
the synthetic hair she used.
What It Feels Like When You Touch It: It felt the same as
ProHair, it can be felt if you run your fingers though your hair.
Lesson Learned: Great when you're in a bind and can find someone who
knows how to do it. You will lose some extensions as the days go by. I took
mine out myself after two weeks (and with a little help sometimes for
the back pieces) with a small pair of nail scissors. I do miss
having extensions. I don't think I had any damage, but then again
I did not wear them for long enough. You could really see them as
Two Years Later: Still Extension Free
It has been a nightmare growing out my hair. I have pretty much been
in a pony-tail since I removed my ProHair. I keep getting my hair
trimmed and this photo was right after color and cut. The
damage was multi-length so the ends will look scraggly if I do not get it
cut regularly. My hair is still thin in volume and it will take a
few more years to get it back to how it was before. There is no way
I would ever get extensions again.
Methods (That I Have Not Tried)
- Shrinkie Links, Shrinkies, Shrink Tubes,
Remember Shrinky Dinks? Shrinky Dinks are made from flexible
polystyrene plastic. Same concept, except the shrinky
material is in the shape of a tube and it is a lot thinner. It is applied like a Hairloc
metal tube using a microneedle and then the tipped hair is placed in the
tube next to your own hair. But instead of being crushed onto your hair, it is heated
thereby causing the Shrinkie Link to contract to about 5/8ths of its former
size. While the shrinkie is still hot, the stylist then rolls and
crushes the shrinkie to ascertain there is no air between the shrinkie
and your hair. To remove, the stylist either uses the same heat
tool to render the shrinky pliable again or I have seen them apply remover bond (probably a solvent of some
sort or an oil) placed on the bond and the same "crunching" method
with a set of pliers is done. Any residue is combed out of your
hair with a fine tooth comb. Just like fusion type takedown
methods. Care must be taken
with product usage and brushing or they can slip out more easily.
When on, these look like Great Lengths bonds but longer.
- ExtendMagic: Some advertise this as
a cold fusion method as well. It isn't. The adhesive on the
pre-tipped extension hair is heated with either their special tool as it
lies against the natural hair or on a heat appliance such as a curling
iron or rod with a track and then laid on top of the natural hair and rolled to
distribute the bond over the natural hair.
- DreamCatchers by Paris Hilton, is simply another
metal attachment system. If you ask me, she copied Hairlocs. And we all
know I dislike metal attachment systems. I don’t care if it has a
silicone liner inside the “microcylinder” or not. And at 10 bucks a
“strand” I’d rather not. Doesn't she have enough money? By the
way the Paris Hilton's Clipn-Go Clip-ins are made from modacrylic
(synthetic) hair. She also has Clip in varieties with human hair.
- Knotting, Invisible Strands: Another method involves tying the extension hair
with a sort of Windsor knot to about 30 of your own natural hairs. They
claim you do not need touch ups or maintenance for up to a year. I somehow
find this truly hard to believe. Once your own hair grows out it is going
to be quit obvious that you have thicker hair halfway down your head. It
makes no sense whatsoever, but who am I to judge without ever having had
it. The price tag is also insanely steep (about 6 grand) and the install
takes several days, and I mean all day, for several days. But, if you
truly don’t need a fill for a year, then it MAY be worth it for those of
us who have money to burn. Which “ain’t” me.
- Invisible Extensions (Scalp Tapes): These use little
adhesive attachments that attach directly to your scalp. This is for clients who have balding areas, scars which cannot grow
hair, or a thin hair follicle line up. It takes quite a while to install
and can be pretty expensive. They are waterproof and you can shower
with them, but I wouldn't wash your hair excessively. The bond lasts
about 6 weeks.
- Silicone lined micro rings or links: There
are aluminum metal links which have a silicone sleeve inside the ring.
This is said to better prevent slippage and also damage caused by the
harsh metal rubbing up against the hair. They run about $10 for
200 pieces if you want to do these yourself. I'd be more more
inclined to recommend silicone-lined micro rings over non-lined.
Please be advised that sometimes the silicone sleeve can be pushed out
when you are inserting an extension where the pre-tips are too large for
the micro link. Once they are clamped shut, however, the silicone
usually cannot come out.
- Doctored Locks Tape: This uses
double-sided medical adhesive tape (2 cm wide) to attach extension
hair to your natural hair. It is commonly used with weft hair and
adds bulk at the scalp. A heat appliance is used to set the tape
to the extension hair and the natural hair. Removal is done with
orange oil or Gold Bond Remover oil to break down the adhesive and then
the extension slips out. The good thing about using tapes is that
the extension can be used again. However, I have seen advisement
on their site that they should not be worn longer than 2 weeks as the
adhesive will be more difficult to remove after this. But then on
the tape product page it advises it can be used from 4 to 6 weeks.
- So Cap (Ultrasonic Energy) Flat Ice: Although Flat Ice claims it is
cold fusion, their system uses ultrasonic energy which excites the
molecules in the keratin bond, thereby heating it to be moldable.
They say it uses no heat, and I realize the wand is not hot to the touch
when not activated, but ultrasonic energy simply uses sound waves which
causes vibrations which in turn causes friction heat, which causes the
bond to melt. Ultrasonic energy is also used for liposuction and
when the cannula vibrates it breaks up the fat cell, it can also cause
burns if the cannula is left in one place for too long. Clearly
ultrasonic energy does cause heat. True cold fusion is a
method which does not use any heat, nor uses methods which cause heat.
This means that a ambient chemical bond or mechanical bond is necessary
to truly be considered "cold fusion".
- Microchet: Microchet supposedly uses
Japanese Threading but it just looks like the hair extension (which has
an attachment loop) is threaded on to the natural hair using a small
crotchet type needle and then it is tied to the natural hair using about
three knots with weaving thread, and sometimes a very fine thread for
those with baby fine hair. They advise that it can be used on very fine
hair or those with low hair density. The thicker threads, such as
weaving thread, takes a few washings to lie flat and soften. I
would really hate to be the stylist that has to cut the very fine
threads on baby fine hair. I can see some natural hairs being
accidentally cut and being blamed on natural fall.
Pre-tipping Your Own Hair
I experimented with many types of bonding adhesives to
pre-tip my own extension hair to use with
Homemade Human Hair Pre-tipped
Now tutorials all over YouTube, so this has been a Godsend. Honestly,
the below video shows the best way and easiest way to make your own
pre-tipped extensions so I am just going to post the link to a video:
Although keratin usually melts thoroughly at
260° F, some keratin pots reach temperature of 350° F and above.
Synthetic Kanekalon can't handle much above 350° F, and honestly the less
the better. Just be careful when using hot keratin chips with
synthetic hair as the synthetic hair can melt or break down and become very weak at the base of
the bond. Even if it doesn't melt completely and break off during
tipping, when you brush it it may break off at the bond once it cools. It is best to
use cold fusion methods, seriously cold or ambient, not the nonsense where
they CLAIM it is cold. I have used, believe it or not, Gorilla Glue
(not good, it expands), waterproof fabric glue (takes too long to dry),
spirit gum (it does wash off eventually) and many other adhesives.
Some systems use polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) which is what Gore-Tex is
made from. It is a hot fusion method which melts the bond around your
hair. If you know of an adhesive that dries fast and doesn't cause a
chemical or heat reaction with synthetic hair, please post below in the
rating section and let us know about it?
Types of Bond
For extensions that use keratin bonds, the common product used for removal
is acetone or acetone-based gels and alcohol-based removers. For
latex bonds, an oil is normally used to break down the bond. Oils
used may include orange oil, vegetable oil and silicone oil-based removers
Do Extensions Feel Like?
As I have mentioned above in each category, at first it can be uncomfortable.
Your head may be a little sore, you may
have feelings of regret but I assure you, you get used to it in a few
days if they are done well. This does depend upon the method but if you adhere to my advice
the transition will be a lot smoother and the benefits more plentiful. It
isn’t going to feel like your own the first few days but pretty soon they
become part of you. If they are done poorly, or you have too many,
it will never feel right.
Your significant others WILL feel it if they run
their fingers through your hair. If you are self-conscious, don't let them
But if you try to keep it a secret, they’re going to find out.
After speaking with so many other hair addition enthusiasts I
have been told that one gets spoiled and rather addicted to having
extensions. While the need for them can hopefully be eliminated, the
desire for them may never be. It is true, you do get used to it and
you do not look forward to the day when you know you just need to quit.
I removed my extensions
as m natural hair kept breaking off once it got to a certain length. I believe this
to be caused from the lightening and the brushing of my hair roughly when
it is knotted. The synthetic hair is stronger than your own hair, when
it is knotted, the natural hair will give far faster than the synthetic
hair. Take caution. I truly recommend a Denman brush and just
Tips For Great Hair Extensions
- Choose a stylist who cares about you and your
hair and not just his or her pocket book.
- Choose someone with experience and knowledge with
many extension systems, not just ONE. Or at least has had past
experience with many methods.
- If you lighten your hair, or if it is fine
and thin, you very well may get more damage than you hoped for.
Your stylist should not offer you a method which is not suitable for
very fine or brittle hair method . It is up to you to be informed and know when they are just
trying to make the sale.
- Good quality hair, either human or synthetic, is
a must! You only look as good as the quality of your additions.
- Use quality hair products. This means using
the correct styling tools like synthetic non-ball tipped brushes (a good
one is Denman), quality shampoos, conditioners and leave-ins. If
you can’t take care of it, don’t expect it to look great for long.
- Proper maintenance is essential. Your hair
extension bonds will become more noticeable over time. If you
don't make your regularly scheduled maintenance appointments it will
look rattier closer to three months and beyond. Your brush
and fingers will also start getting caught at the junction above the
hair bond as well. This will cause discomfort and damage.
- Treat your new hair with respect! I personally
liked to sleep with a low ponytail behind one of my ears so I could sleep
comfortably on my back. I used several mini scrunchies (*gasp*)
secured down its length to keep it from getting thrashed while I sleep.
While my stylist feels it is not necessary with synthetic hair, it keeps
morning brushing sessions at a very low minimum and I feel it helps
minimize bending of the hair shaft. Swimming with a
ponytail in this fashion is also a good idea. While the repeat chlorine
won’t help your tresses, keeping it from tangling as much while you swim
is a good idea.
Complications & Contraindications of Hair Extensions
Having hair extensions increases your risks of the following:
Hair breakage at any point of the hair
strand, from root to tip.
Temporary Hairloss at the scalp from weight
or volume loss from breakage
Permanent Hairloss from Traction allopecia (bald areas)
Visibility of hair bonds, which
increases with the more natural hair breakage you have
A huge dent in your bank account.
Extensions aren't cheap and you will find that you will sacrifice other
things to have nice hair. Especially when the want becomes a
necessity due to breakage.
Depression over hair loss and hair
breakage (or your now deficient bank account)
Anger with the hair stylist who will
not usually tell you these risks
How Much Do Hair Extensions
The cost of hair extensions varies greatly due to the quality of hair
and the bonding method, as well as the stylist. Cost can range from
home jobs or commercial clip-ins ranging from $22 to $200, to the most
expensive systems and application averaging around the $1,500 range.
Asked Questions About Hair Extensions
- Are hair extensions reversible?
All hair extensions which are secured to the natural hair using commercially available
methods are reversible, although the damage is not.
- What is the most damaging hair extension
Commonly the most damaging method reported is fusion with hot
- What is the least damaging hair extension method?
In my experience, mini braids where the hair is braided into a natural hair braid and sewn
using fine thread seems to be the least damaging.
However, the damage is dependent upon the tightness of the braid at the
scalp as well as the condition of the recipients natural hair and the
weight of the extension.
Thread my be more visible, although not as visible as metal links, rubberbands and fusion bonds. The color matching of the thread is
important and there aren't many natural looking thread colors.
- Would you recommend hair extensions?
From experience, no. If you absolutely need them and can afford
the upkeep and will be diligent in proper care, I suppose you are better
off than most. But I do know that all hair extensions damage hair,
it is nonsense if they say it doesn't. There are only varying
degrees of damage related to each method and the experience and care of
- What is your favorite method for hair
My favorite hair extension method and the hair extension method which is
less damaging is not synonymous. I love ProHair but the bond
removal and the bond melted to your own hair can damage your hair.
- What is your least favorite method for hair
That is a tough one. I dislike metal links and hot keratin fusion
equally and regret them both.
- Why do you prefer synthetic hair over human
Other than the creepy-gross factor, there are several reasons why I
prefer synthetic hair over human extension hair. One, being the
hair trade. Two, being the processing of human hair and the
whole charade involved with hair grading. But the biggest reason
is that human hair is heavier than synthetic hair. For personal
reasons, the thickness (diameter) of synthetic hair matches my own hair
better. I also like how permanent the barrel curls are in
synthetic hair. They are always perfect. The problem with
synthetic hair is that you must know how to care for it or you can ruin
it faster than you can ruin human hair. It just takes a little
effort in knowing the routine which works best and then it becomes
- Why did you stop wearing extensions?
I found it incredibly expensive and inconvenient to wear extensions for
so long. I was embarrassed when people found out, the expense
was incredible and I really like being able to run my fingers through my
hair, or have my S.O. do it. My hair is also lightened on top of being
naturally fine so it is weaker than most. I like the freedom to
not have to worry about the upkeep.
It may interest you to know that I also took my
acrylics off the same month I took my extensions out. However I
did have acrylics for the same photo shoot as I had braid extensions in
2009, I took them off soon after as well. I cannot tell you how
thrilled I am not to always have to spend so much time and money on
upkeep. I felt like a prisoner sometimes.
The Least You Need To Know
- What Are Hair Extensions? Hair extensions
are wefts or collections of about 30 to 50 strands of hair (or more) that are
attached at the base of your own hair using various methods.
They add length, texture, fullness and general body to your own existing
- What Are Hair Extensions Made Of:
Most hair extensions are made human hair,
usually processed Indian or Asian hair. There are also synthetic
versions such as Kanekalon and Toyokalon which are essentially made
from a polymerized monomers such as
acrylonitrile-vinyl chloride and
polyvinyl chloride, respectively.
There are variations, but the average hair extension
client requests human hair, and a lot of wigs are
synthetic. Natural, human hair wigs are very expensive.
- Indications: To add volume for those with low density heads of hair, to
add wave to hair which is mostly straight, to add
length to short hair.
- Good for: Those with healthy, thicker
diameter hair. Also good for adding trendy colors or highlights /
lowlights where overall fullness is not desired. Damage is less
- Not recommended for: Those who have
highly processed, very light blond, thin (diameter) or damaged hair.
Those who do not have enough natural hair to cover the bonds. Those who
do not have the patience or diligence the upkeep extensions require.
- Installation Time: This depends upon the
amount of extensions and the method, and also the experience of the
stylist. Installation time averages anywhere from a few minutes for highlights /
lowlights to over several days for more involved methods.
- Maintenance: Extensions usually have to be
removed and re-installed every 3 months. The natural growth of
hair is approximately 1/2 inch per month and 1 1/2 inches of growth will
be obvious. Special brushes, products and hygiene routines are
- Does it hurt? The day of and a few
days after installation, your scalp can hurt. It may feel tight.
Tt may be difficult to get a good night's sleep the night of your
installation. Although care should be taken so that the braid or
hair is not pulled too tightly above the bond, if it is too loose it can
slip out. Repeat tightness during installs can cause baldness from
- Risks, Complications & Contraindications:
Hair loss, damage, breakage, baldness, addiction,
being broke from spending so much money on your hair. Contraindicated in
those who have damaged, chemically processed hair.
Anywhere from $22 to $1,500. for average installations, to $6,000 for
novel, obscure, time-intensive methods that no one truly gets.
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