February 12, 2021
Hello, everyone! As a San Antonio makeup artist and hair artist, I often receive questions in regards to hair extensions. With brides wanting all types of hairstyles, the topic of hair extensions gets brought up quite a lot. In most cases, the bride only wants the extensions for the day of the wedding. In that case, I always recommend higher end clip in extensions because they are cheaper than other methods and I can install them myself. However, there are many different types of hair extensions and many different methods used to install them.
What are the different methods of hair extension installation? Here are the most popular methods of hair extension installation:
How it works: With this method, individual strands of human hair are bundled to create an I-tip. The I-tip is sealed and fits into a small copper or aluminum microbead with a small piece of your natural hair. Silicone beads are slightly larger but they provide extra protection for your natural hair. They don’t slip or slide. It typically takes 100-200 beads/i-tips for a full head of extensions.
Maintenance: Depending on which stylist you go to, these can take quite a long time to install. It can sometimes take 4-5 hours for a new install. You should schedule a “move up” appointment about every eight weeks. At this appointment, the beads/hair will have to be moved back up towards the rest of your natural hair root. The better the quality of hair, the more times you can use it. Top of the line beaded extensions can last 1-2 years with the above mentioned maintenance in between.
Natural Hair Damage: This is the least damaging of extensions. There are more points of contact, meaning each one bead has a certain amount of hair that can hold it versus a weft with 100 beads per row, to support a whole row of weighted hair.
Cost: As with all methods, this depends on the quality and type of hair used, length of hair, and the amount of hair installed. Microbeads range from $600-$2500 for a first time install and between $300-$600 for maintenance.
Tape in Extensions:
How it works: Pieces of hair, called wefts, are attached to a small section of natural hair using a double sided tape. The tape is sealed so it lays flat against your head.
Maintenance: It takes about an hour to install tape in extensions to a full head of hair. You should schedule your appointment to move up the tape every 6-8 weeks. Make sure that you go to a professional to have the extensions removed because the tape is a glue like substance and can damage the hair if not removed professionally.
Cost: The cost varies on type of hair and mount of hair. Tape ins usually cost between $600-$1000 for hair and installation and $300-$ 600 for maintenance appointments.
How it works: Individual keratin tipped extensions, that initially look similar to microbeads, are attached to pieces of your natural hair by using heat. This method is very similar to microbeading. The difference is you are attaching the extensions to your natural hair by using heat instead of a bead.
Maintenance: Fusion extensions take 4-5 hours to install and maintenance can take just as long. Your stylist must remove the keratin bond, remove the extension for your hair, and move it up by reattaching it with heat.
Damage to the natural hair: Natural hair can be lost by combing the keratin bonds out of the hair for move ups and removal.
Cost: This method costs between $600-$1500 for hair and initial installation. Maintenance appointments range from $300-$600.
Hand Tied Wefts/Sew Ins:
How it works: Beads are placed around small amounts of natural hair in rows. These 5-1 beads per weft act as anchors for the row to attach to. The wefts are then tied to the bead sections.
Maintenance: This method is quick to install. It only takes about an hour to install a full head of extensions. Move up appointments should be scheduled every 8-10 weeks.
Damage to the natural hair: This method does not damage the natural hair. However, there is a lot of weight from the weft which can become heavy on your head.
Cost: The cost for sew in extensions range from $800-$1500 for hair and installation. Maintenance appointments range from $300-$600. (1)
Clip In Hair Extensions:
How it works: Pieces of hair are attached to clips. These are clipped onto pieces of your natural hair. This is the most popular method of hair extensions for my clients because, most of the time, they only want them for the day of the wedding. This is the only method of installation that I can do myself for my clients.
Maintenance: Clip in extensions are easy and fast to install and can be done by the wearer herself. A professional is not needed to do this method of installation. They provide an excellent quick fix for the occasional wearer or can be used daily.
Damage: This method does not damage the natural hair.
Cost: Synthetic hair may be $25 or less but their wearability is very limited. (2) PLEASE DO NOT buy cheap synthetic hair extensions! They will not curl or style well at all and will not blend in with your hair well. I actually refuse to install and use synthetic hair extensions on my clients for these very reasons. I charge an additional $15 per hairstyle to install clip in extensions.
How can you determine which method is right for you? Here are a few key factors that can help determine what method of hair extensions you should select:
Your goals-are you trying to create longer hair, fuller hair, or both?
Your appetite for maintenance/time-how much time do you have to keep up with your extensions?
The condition of your natural hair-in order to minimize damage to your natural hair, you should consider if it is brittle, blonde, broken, or in pretty good shape.
Affordability/cost-what is your budget for hair extensions? You should always mention your budget up front when shopping for hair extensions so you can find something that works for you. (1)
How do I choose which hair type and hair extension brand is best for me? According to Kat Lewis, hairstylist and head of education at Bellami Hair, the best quality of hair is 100% Remy hair. Remy hair is a term used for hair that still has it’s cuticles intact and the cuticles are all facing the same way like when they do when they grow out of your head. Remy hair has never been dyed or processed.
Here are a few of the top brands of hair extensions and their types according to Cosmopolitan Magazine:
The top brand for Remy hair extensions is Mayvenn. They carry bundles, closures, lace frontals, wigs, and extensions. Another top brand is Ballami Hair. They offer 100% Remy hair and also some very high end synthetic hair. They carry long lengths, bangs, ponytails, sew ins, tape ins, keratin tips, and I-tip extensions.
The best brand for halo extensions is the Hidden Hair Crown Halo Extensions. Prices range from $199-$499.
The best ethical hair extensions are by Remy NY. They buy their hair at a high price directly from women in Vietnam while helping to provide them with work opportunities. Remy NY offers clip ins, keratin tips, ponytails, and wefts.
The best sew in hair extensions are made by True Indian Hair. Rihanna and Serena Williams both use True Indian Hair. True Indian Hair obtains their hair directly from donors in the East Indian Temples and from Brazil. They offer bundles, silk and lace top closures, clip ins, ponytails, ect. The True Signature wefts can be sewn in by a stylist. You can also try the EZ Clips clip in extensions which range from $180-$300.
The top brand for tape in extensions is Glam Seamless. Both Khloe Kardashian and Ashley Graham have worn these tape in extensions. Glam Seamless is best known for their tape in extensions but they also offer clip ins, halos, wigs, and wefts. You can get 20 tape in wefts for $130.
The top brand for clip in extensions is the Hair Shop. The starting price for extensions is $41.
The best wavy hair extensions are offered by Just Extensions. This LA based brand and salon offers 100% virgin Indian Remy hair in textures such as wavy, curly, coily, and straight. The Water Wave clip ins start at $200 for 16 inches. (4)
How do I care for my hair extensions at home?
Use Sulphate free hair care products that are safe to use on extensions in order to extend their life span. Sulphates are in many different hair products but they are not good for your hair. Sulphates contain salts. The only purpose of these salts is to produce foam. Due to the high level of salt, sulphates strip your hair of its natural oils, making it extremely dehydrated. Also steer clear of hair care products that contain isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is known for stripping the oils from your hair. This chemical is so strong that it is also used in antifreeze, wood finish, and in shellac. You should also avoid Behentrimonium Chloride because it can irritate the eyes and skin.
When it comes to washing your hair extensions, treat them as if they were your natural hair. You should wash your hair 1-2 times a week. Washing too frequently will damage the hair and cause it to become dry and brittle. (3)
Here are the top shampoos and conditioners for hair extensions as recommended by the Angel Hair Extension Company:
Beauty Works Pearl Nourishing Argan Oil Shampoo
OGX Shampoo Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Retention Shampoo
Pureology Hydrate Shampoo
Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo
Beauty Works Pearl Nourishing Argan Oil Conditioner
Tony and Guy Smooth Definition Conditioner
Tresemme Luxurious Moisture Conditioner
Kerastase Reflection Fondant Chromatique Conditioner (3)
Please keep in mind when looking at Pinterest, Google, ect. for bridal hair inspiration, a lot of the photos that you see do have hair extensions installed. I suggest sending me your inspiration photo and a photo of your natural hair so that I can help you to determine if the look is achievable with or without hair extensions. Nothing is worse than on the day of the wedding having to drop the bomb that the inspiration photo has tons of hair extensions whereas the bride has none and her hair is not long enough to achieve the look in the photo exactly.
I hope you learned a lot about the different types of hair extensions and methods of installation that are available! Till next time!
“Hair Extensions: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know”. Lauren Haughton. www.beautydisclosed.com.
“How Much Do Hair Extensions Cost?” www.bellamihair.com
“The Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Hair Extensions. Rachel. www.angelhairextensions.co.uk.
“Best Hair Extensions of 2021: Your Official Guide to Fake (and Real) Hair”. Chloe Metzger. www.cosmopolitian.com.