In the past, hair extensions have gotten a bad rap. But, today's extensions offer you a great way to get the long hair you want without having to wait for years and without the threat of damage. Here is what you need to know to get the long, beautiful hair you want with the use of extensions.
Types of Extensions
Fusion (or Bonded) Hair Extensions: Bonded hair extensions are individual strands that are actually permanently attached to your natural hair using heat.
Tape-in Hair Extensions: Tape in hair extensions are larger than fusion extensions and are attached to the roots of segments of natural hair using double sided tape.
Weave Hair Extensions: Hairstylists will braid the natural hair down to the scalp in rows. The extensions are then sewn into the braids using thread.
The first step to finding the right hair extensions is understanding which type will work best with your natural hair type. Fusion and tape in extensions will work for just about anyone, but sewn in extensions are generally best suited for those with super tight curls. This is why they are almost exclusively used by African American women. African American hair has the strength and texture to be braided.
For those looking for a more permanent extension solution, fusion extensions last longer than tape in extensions, generally up to 3-4 months with proper maintenance. However, they are also the most time consuming and expensive, costing anywhere from
$500-$4000 per session. And, you will have to buy new hair at each session. Tape in extensions, on the other hand, only require about an hour to apply, will last around 6-8 weeks before needing to be retouched and can be reused during routine touchups. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $2000 per session for new extensions and less for maintenance sessions.
Weaves are the most cost effective solutions, costing around $100-$1000 to apply, but as mentioned previously, they aren't suitable for all hair types.
Human Versus Synthetic Hair
As with most other beauty products, you get what you pay for. Better quality extensions will cost more than poorer quality. Virgin human hair is the most expensive, yet the most natural looking while synthetic hair is significantly more affordable. The issue with synthetics is that it is often difficult to get it to blend with your natural hair and you will have to take great care when styling with heat appliances.
What to Look For
When selecting hair extensions, your goal is to find extensions that most closely resemble your natural hair's color and texture. Choose extensions that are neither too dry, as they will tangle easily, nor too shiny, as the silicone will wear off and cause dulling. And, last but not least, when choosing a stylist, stick with one that has a proven track record for success. Experience is the key when it comes to get looking extensions.