Have you had a bad haircut, have baby fine hair or can’t wait for your hair to grow longer? One of these is the reason you’ve opened the door to the world of hair extensions and maybe you’ve found it a bit overwhelming. You’ve seen everything from scary before and after pictures to the most beautiful ones worn by celebrities. And you want to know how to get the style you want without risking damage to your own hair.
There are hundreds of methods used to apply hair extensions and just as many types of hair. The most popular system out now is the strand by strand method made by companies such as Great Lengths, Hair Dreams and SoCap. They all use bonds made of special polymers that are pre-attached to small groups of hair to form a strand. Right now Great Lengths is considered “La crème de la crème of hair extensions.” as quoted on VH1’s The Fabulous Life. In this episode, “The Fabulous 40”, it’s called the Rolls Royce of hair extensions and is worn by celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan and Halle Barry.
The hair that is used by these companies is all 100% human hair and comes from India or Europe. Since the hair is real it can be styled just like your own hair. Blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons and round brushes can all be safely used. The correct shampoos and styling product should be recommended by your stylist. Though prices for these services can go up to $3000, it’s well worth it. You will find some salons charging a lot less but they probably aren’t experienced enough, using poor quality hair and use an older less advanced method of applying them.
These extensions are attached to your hair with polymer bonds near the root in small sections. Hair Dreams and SoCap both use a heated tool to soften their bonds so they can be rolled around the hair sections forming a round seal. Great Lengths offers Cold Fusion; which uses a special tool to create an ultra sonic vibration to soften the bond. The bond is then is folded around the sections making the individual sealed bonds small, smooth and flat. Both methods are safe if done properly by an experienced stylist, but the Great Lengths method is the most advanced. Great Lengths will soon be offering a new system that will enable the stylist to apply several strands at one time reducing the application time to an hour. Right now a full application should take about 3-5 hours.
As your hair grows out the bonds will get lower on the hair. In 4 months they will be about 2” away from the scalp. At this point they might become visible or just make styling a little difficult. So it’s time to take them out and have new ones put in. The removal process is the same for all of the companies mentioned above. A gel with a safe amount of alcohol is applied to the bond to dry it out. Then it’s pinched to break it up so it can safely slide out the hair it’s attached to. Normal wear time is 4 months but if your hair is finer 3 might be the maximum. If your hair grows slower you could wear them for up to 6 months, but any thing past that and you’re risking damage to your hair.
So if you’re tired of dealing with hair that you’re unhappy with extensions are the new way to go. The strand by strand method gives the hair a more natural look and feel. Once you have them in you won’t want to live without them. The ways to attach them keep getting better and better. Extensions are here to stay!
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