I don’t think there’s just about anything that qualifies as a full, radical, glamour makeover than getting yourself a stunning set of hair extensions. The upside is that you will have a completely different look in a matter of a few hours — the down side is that this is one of the more expensive and high maintenance looks to keep up on. But if you’re looking to make an ultra-fab, jaw-dropping impression, this certainly is the best way to do it!
Extensions are most typically sought out to add instant length to hair, but they’re also super-useful if what you’re needing is additional volume. This is a several step process, so don’t be surprised if this takes the better part of your (and my) afternoon. Also, when considering extensions, budgets are a realistic thing to look at. Be advised that you’ll be purchasing the hair as well as a possible color service on your existing hair as well as cut, on top of the cost of installing the extensions. :)
Extensions are available in just about every material possible, but if you’re wanting styling options (as well as the best blend) you’ll want to go with human hair. Length, color, and texture are all varying options and are totally up to you. Extensions can be done in either a “tab” version or in wefts — I strongly prefer the weft method as it looks the most natural and is also the lesser expensive of the two options. Yes, I did say both looks better and less expensive. Sold, right?!?!
I strongly suggest going in person (as opposed to online) to purchase your hair. Color and texture vary so much that I think it’s imperative that you be able to take it out of the package, compare the color under natural light, and make sure it feels as good as your own hair. These suckers are expensive, and once bought are seldom returnable! The best place here in Salem, in my humble opinion, is Kay’s World of Wigs. This link will take you to their online store, but I really can’t stress enough that it’s worth the trip to their shop. The sales clerks are extremely helpful and will go the extra mile for you. And if they don’t have it in stock they’re usually able to order and get your extensions within a week. You can also check them out on Facebook.
Hair wefts (the official name for the “hair curtain” that you’ll be purchasing) come in lengths all the way from 10″ to 24″ (and sometimes longer). In order to estimate cost, one 14″ weft runs around $150 here in Salem. One can curl and flat iron the wefts once they’re installed, but I can’t really vouch for how well curly wefts will perform under the use of a flat iron. My suggestion is that if you’re typically going to wear your hair either straight or with a soft curl (regardless of your natural hair’s texture), I would go for a straight weft.
Most people will want to match the hair weft to the color hair on their head, but please be advised that even with the best match possible that you will most likely need to color your existing hair to make it a seamless match. Though it is possible to color a weft of hair to match your own, I have NEVER seen that turn out well. Best case scenario the weft won’t take the color — worst case you’ve just ruined an expensive piece of hair. The best (and preferred) option is to do a color service prior to installing the extensions.
After coloring, drying, and flat ironing the existing hair, the extensions are applied in 1″ sections around the head, working up from the nape of the neck. Until the pieces start to get installed around the ears, this is going to look like one HECK of a scary, quasi-mulleted thing. I promise, all will turn out well!
Your whole look will not come together without a great haircut — without one it’s going to look like you have bad extensions. :) Extensions will typically look the best when they’re worn with a soft curl because they will blend in well with your existing hair. Your new extensions will also perform better after they’ve been washed and dried that first time — they’ll feel a little stiff until you do that. But speaking of washing and drying….
The less you can wash your hair, the better! The bond that holds the extensions in place will wear longer and stronger the less you wash it. You’ll also be less likely to accidentally loosen the wefts by brushing them out if you don’t wash it often. Investing in an excellent dry shampoo might also be something you’ll want to include in the overall budget. When you are combing out your hair, just be sure to take small sections and start at the ends of the hair, working your way up to the scalp — and then being very ginger when you get close to the roots.
Don’t be surprised of your wefts come a little loose after the first week or two. It’s a pretty steep learning curve getting used to these things, and too much vigorous combing/brushing will loosen the bond. Just give a call and it’s a quick-fix appointment.
Most extensions will have a 4-6 week shelf-life, and if you’re really careful you might get a full 8 weeks out of them. Removing them also requires an appointment, but it’s a pretty short trip in and out for that. The great thing is that the hair wefts you bought can be reused again and again — just make an appointment to have them re-installed!
All extensions are done on a case-by-case scenario because everyone’s hair (and resulting hair goal) is different. If you’re interested in this process for yourself, give me a call and we’ll schedule your free consultation!
Amazing transformation, right? Believe it or not, these are only 14″ extensions! And though she did have naturally brown hair, our model here was colored down to a neutral dark brown in order to get the best blend. Finally, though I would like to take credit for this set of extensions, I have not gotten any of my own before and after shots! This gorgeous head of hair was done by my lovely coworker Erin — but I thought these photos were too perfect to illustrate the magic of extensions to not use for examples. Thanks, Erin!!!