Hair Extensions 101
Hair extensions are lengths of real or synthetic hair attached close to the scalp, adding overall length or volume to a person’s own natural hair. There are several methods for attaching hair extensions such as fusion, tape-in, and weave installation methods.
Commonly Used Installation Methods
Fusion installation involves heating individual keratin-tipped strands to your natural hair. This method is meant more for a permanent solution of lengthening the individuals hair and can last up to a few months. Keratin-tipped strands are only able to be used or installed once due to heating the Keratin Bonds. This process is the most expensive and time-consuming. (up to 3 hours )
Tape Adhesive extensions uses wefts of hair that are attached to small sections of your natural hair using double-sided tape. These are meant to be used as temporary additions such as girls night out or be used for certain styles. These can be quickly applied and installed and are reusable.
Weave or sewn-in installation methods are the most commonly used method to install hair extensions for lengthy periods of time. Your natural hair is braided in rows from ear to ear and wefts of hair extensions are woven with thread onto the braids. Hair extensions could be removed and reapplied unlike Fusion extension methods.
Types of Hair
When it comes to hair extensions there are two basic categories – synthetic hair and natural human hair. High quality human hair can be styled and cared for like your own hair whereas synthetic hair will melt or become damaged with heated appliances such as a curling iron.
Human hair is more expensive and lasts longer but synthetic hair can be quite useful and affordable for changing up hairstyles frequently. Natural human hair can be colored while synthetic hair can not. However, because synthetic hair is manufactured, they offer unlimited of color ranges from natural to fantasy colors.
When it comes to Natural Human hair, it is best look for 100% Remi human hair. Remi refers to the cuticle direction of the hair. Every strand is aligned in the same direction from root to tip, the same direction your natural hair lies on your head. Having aligned cuticles is important because this helps prevent tangling and knotting.
Unfortunately, some brands use hair removed from hair brushes or cut hair from salons and are still labeled Remi. It is also important to note that some brands mix human hair with animal hairs and could cause confusion to shoppers.
Types of Extensions
Hand Tied Wefts - Each individual hair is hand-tied onto the weft which creates a very strong but much thinner weft when compared to machine wefted hair extensions. Click here, to learn more about the benefits of hand-tied wefts. The end result is that the hair extension sits closer to the head and feels more natural. The only drawback to the hand-tied wefts is because of how thin the wefts are, they should not be cut when installing. They are packaged in smaller pieces while machine wefts is one long piece.
Machine Tied Wefts are a long strip of hair that is like a curtain or a grass skirt. Loose or bulk hair is fed through a triple-head sewing machine and sewn together. At the root, hair is folded and sewn and then add a reinforced stitch for a stronger hold to the weft. Machine wefts usually are thicker than their hand-tied weft counter part and usually available in more variety of styles and textures.
I-Tips are individual extensions which resemble the tip of a shoe lace. Each tip of hair is usually secured with micro beads / cylinders to strands of hair. This allows stylists to more precisely add length to specific areas.
Available in both straight and wavy styles
Hand Tied skin wefts - Each individual hair is hand tied onto the thin clear weft, which resembles hair growing out of your scalp.
Skin weft adhesive - Tape Extensions are wefts of hair attached to an adhesive to attach to the hair. It is easier and faster to install than most methods.
Clip-in extensions - Strips of hair attached to clips for easy and temporary installation. These are preferred for people who want to add or remove extensions out daily.
Closure are small circular base with hair attached. Closures are used as a top piece which completes a full head of extensions to make it seamless and natural. They can be used to add volume on top of your head.
Available in both straight and curly styles
Bulk Hair are loose hair which comes in a bundle and tied at the top. This hair is used mainly for braiding near the scalp and fusion installation methods.
Wigs are a full cap of hair.