Something that has always had my interest for many years are hair extensions or artificial hair integrations. Since I first started getting interested in extensions I become more and more able to spot “bad” or unblended sets/installation and am able to admire the artistry of undetectable extensions. I feel like a lot of time hair extensions, more specifically semi permanent extensions, get a bad wrap for a few reasons:
- They have been applied improperly causing extreme damage to the hair
- The extensions applied were not the right ones for your hair type also leading to damage
- Poor quality hair was installed
- They were poorly cared for
The hair industry has been around for literally thousands of years, and hair extensions and wigs have been used since the times of ancient Egypt as a sign of social status. Extensions, much like any of the other branches of the beauty industry, are always evolving and becoming more efficient and technologically advanced. They offer many different options which cater to many different lifestyles and price points. Clip in extensions are most often the more affordable, lowest maintenance options. They also offer a low level of commitment since you can choose when and where to wear them. It’s a great way to pump up the volume and length for special occasions.
What Extensions are Right for Me?
So when you’re thinking about extensions think about what you want them for. Do you want them for a special occasion and not every day? You are a clip in kind of gal! Do you want to have longer hair everyday and are able to take the extra time to baby your hair? Semi permanent options are most likely for you!
Now that you have determined which method would suit you best put your detective hat on and do your research. You need to understand what kind of additional care your extensions will require and a knowledgeable source of information regarding sourcing your hair, installation methods, and ease of removal (very, very important to know how you will be removing extensions). There are literally tons of methods to install semi permanent extensions. For example, you’ve probably heard of weaves. This is common for women of who have the luxury of having extremely strong and resilient hair. Typically speaking women of European or Caucasian heritage do not have hair strong enough hair to support the installation of a weave without experiencing quite a bit of damage. You need to understand the method in order to make an appropriate decision as to which installation method will be right for you. Weaves can be great, protective options for people who are lucky enough to have beautiful strong hair but they can be one of the worst options for people who have normal/fine hair.
Where do I buy them? How do I know what to buy?
Getting hair extensions can seem like a huge process but it is truly an investment. A good set of clip in extensions can be anywhere from $100 to $200 depending on the seller and extensions for semi permanent installation can cost anywhere between $60 to $170 per bundle depending on length (a full head takes 2 – 3 bundles). THEN you have to source your extension tech to install them which also garners an additional fee.
Extensions come in literally all colours and manufacturers are constantly introducing new color combinations to fit current trends. Currently there is a lot of popularity around bright, colourful extensions and ombre styles. Many companies also offer custom coloring options for an additional fee. The market for hair extensions is literally based on client requests. As far as installation methods go, my personal preference is the semi permanent option of hair extensions. My reasoning for this is due to my hair type and what I’m looking to get out of the extensions:
I want long hair CONSTANTLY, I don’t want to have to worry about taking them in and out each day – it’s just not something I want to spend time doing. I have a LOT of hair – it is very thick all together but per strand is very fine. This means that my hair is more prone to damage when stress is put on smaller portions of my hair (think the clips in clip in hair extensions) and has a hard time holding in clips especially when straight. My hair is VERY curly – It has a kinky-curly or spiral curly pattern depending on the type of product I use and the level of humidity outside. ALL of these traits of my hair make semi permanent hair extensions a better option for me. I have found that my particular hair type does not do well with clip in extensions because the clips break my hair and prevent growth.
Of course, this is just a bit of introductory information as hair extensions are a vast subject.
If you are looking for an easy place to start I would suggest selecting a set of clip ins. They are typically a “gateway” extension before people move onto more permanent methods. SO I am going to wrap up this post by giving you the buying basics for clip in extensions:
- You Want Remy Hair Human Hair – the word remy indicates that all the strands of hair are laying in the same direction which means there is no friction between strands of hair. Strand-to-strand friction breaks down the hair making it dry and brittle and eventually leads to tangling and breakage effectively cutting the life of the hair in half. Also, make sure you are buying human hair and not synthetic hair.
- Standard Length of Clip ins are 18″-20″ – this is about Victoria Secret length hair. Clip in’s can be trimmed and layered to your liking also so they can easily blend with your natural hair
- Read Reviews – it’s as straight forward as it sounds. Many companies have open reviews sections for their products. BEWARE OF PAID REVIEWS – many individuals, especially beauty vloggers, are paid to review products. Typically there is an agreement which requires the product to be shown in a positive light. Only take the opinion of vloggers you trust and that you know to be truthful and not swayed by money.
- You Can Color Clip ins – if you can’t find your perfect color buy a shade lighter and you can color them (or have a professional do it) to match. DO NOT BLEACH YOUR EXTENSIONS.
- Clip Quality – you want clips that are silicone lined to ensure a firm grip on your hair to keep from slipping.
- Pay Attention to Grams – you want anywhere between 150g-200g per set of clip ins. This will ensure that the thickness of the extensions look natural when clipped into your hair.
Finally to make your search here is a list of my favourite online clip in extension retailers:
I have tried sets of clip ins from each of these companies. All were more or less a great experience. My top pick is My Pink Vanity. To this day, they had some of the best hair quality and clips of any set of extensions I have every owned. Foxy Locks and Luxy Hair extensions were good at the beginning but after a few washes they dried out to the point of no return – they are a bit more affordable than other brands so my suggestion would be to not use shampoo on them or blow dry them. If you do need to give them a rinse just use a great KERATIN FREE conditioner. Dirty Looks, formerly Head Kandy, are AMAZING but very expensive. As a brand I find their marketing a bit questionable, as of late they have been focusing less on their extension quality and more about styling the extensions. There is very little promotion of their own product on social media and it just doesn’t sell them or show how great the extensions are!