Long, lush hair never goes out of style.
From full old Hollywood glamor to sleek Avante-Garde looks to relaxed boho beach waves, you can style long hair into just about any aesthetic you want to explore.
But let’s admit it. Picture-perfect long hair isn’t always achievable by our natural hair alone. Maybe you don’t want to fully commit to growing it out anyway.
There can be a lot of reasons why growing out your hair naturally isn’t the best option. It can depend on your hair health, your genes, or even your general physical health.
Or it could just be a style choice for you. Maybe you just want to switch between short and long hair.
Well, that’s where hair extensions come in handy!
There are all kinds of different extensions with lasting powers that vary all across the board.
Let’s look into the most common kinds of hair extensions to see which one will work best for you!
The type of extensions you should get would mainly depend on the longevity that you prefer.
If you’re just trying out long hair for now or maybe need it for a photo shoot or a big event, there are some options out there that can serve you temporarily.
Meanwhile, if you’re in it for the long haul and want to rock long hair every day, some extensions can also last you months.
The most common type of extensions include:
Clip-on and tape-in extensions, as their names suggest, are more temporary options, while the rest involve sewing, bonding, and fusion.
These involve more advanced techniques, or strong adhesive chemicals, making them more permanent.
Clip-ins are the best for one-time uses or if you’re looking for something very temporary. In fact, of all the choices in this list, clip-ins are the easiest to put in and remove.
They work because ‘wefts’ (the hair extension equivalent of a lock of natural hair) have little fasteners attached to the band that keeps the weft together.
These are then hooked onto the roots of your hair and placed strategically to give your hair a longer, fuller look.
Clip-in extensions can be clipped in and out of your hair in a matter of minutes.
So, it should last a day if you want a quick and easy way to get long, mermaid-like locks. Clip-in extensions are the best for the DIY-savvy who want to skip going to the salon for application.
They’re also great if you want to store them. They can last you for a long time, even up to years, when stored well after use.
It’s also a good option if you want to avoid heat and glue.
However, the only downside is that it can tug and break your hair because of how it works. Your roots directly carry the weight of the extension.
So it’s advised that you only wear this kind of extension for short periods, as rarely as possible.
Now that we’ve tackled the most DIY-friendly option among hair extensions, here are your choices for extensions that are best done by a professional.
Their lasting power can range from semi-permanent, which goes up to 6-8 weeks in your hair, or permanent, which can last for months with the proper care.
Tape-in hair extensions are in-between.
They’re not as in and out as clip-ins, but they won’t last you as long as permanent options would. Unlike clip-ins that are free to remove at any time, tape-ins can last up to 6-8 weeks.
As the name suggests, they have glue or adhesive instead of hooks or fasteners holding them in place.
Two lengths of extension are used on top of and under a section of your natural hair. Think of them as layers–extension, hair, extension!
Then, they’re fixed in place with hairdressing tools. Sometimes they need a little heat!
Because the application process is a little more complex this time, you’ll have to see a professional if you want tape-in extensions.
That goes for removal too. The adhesive must be treated with a chemical that breaks down the sticky glue and makes it easier to remove.
Tape-in extensions are reusable, though! But this requires touch-ups from your stylist to replace the tapes and prevent the adhesive from getting gummy.
Without proper care, your hair can become a sticky, matted mess.
Tape-ins are a bit more high maintenance too. Heating tools or oil-based products can mess up even the best tape-in extensions.
Permanent extensions vary depending on the technique used to attach them. Some are held together by chemicals, while others require the intricate handiwork of an experienced hairdresser.
So, here’s the deep dive into some of the most common permanent hair extensions: sew-in and bonded hair extensions.
Sew-in extensions might be one of the most popularly known options besides clip-ins. If sew-in doesn’t quite ring a bell, you might be more familiar with them as weaves.
Weaves can last you around 6-8 weeks as well as it is recommended to take them out and allow your scalp some time to breathe in between. Deep conditioning is also essential in that in-between window.
Only use sew-in extensions with the help of an experienced hairdresser. The process of applying a weave can be quite time-consuming and can cause damage if not done right.
This is because your natural hair needs to be secured in tight cornrows to apply sew-in extensions. They use a needle and thread to secure the extensions to each braid.
This process can be a bit painful and can cause a lot of strain on the hair because of all the tightening required. Therefore, avoid this process if you have thin hair or are prone to hair fall.
Bonded hair extensions are the crème de la crème of hair extensions when it comes to longevity and hair health.
With the right upkeep, they can last up to twelve weeks or 3 months in your hair. At best, they can even last up to 5 months!
Unlike the others that have to be affixed with some kind of physical attachment–clips, thread, etc., bonded hair extensions actually use keratin.
Keratin is the protein that makes up the majority of our natural hair. So each little strand of hair is attached by heating the keratin and binding it with our natural hair.
The hair used in each section of a bonded extension is always untreated human hair. So, you can take care of it the way you would with your natural hair.
However, it’s best to avoid oil-based products and swimming when you have keratin-bonded hair extensions in order to preserve the bonds.
Permanent hair extensions don’t really mean forever. Depending on the process used, they can last from around 6-8 weeks to 5 months.
But it’s always recommended to have your hair extensions re-done at the end of those cycles. This is both to maintain their look and ensure your scalp and hair are healthy.
On the head, definitely not. But you can store your hair extensions in between uses to make them last longer.
Be sure to wash your hair extensions carefully and let them dry before storing them in a box or on a hanger.
Just make sure you keep them in a cool, dry place to prevent them from deteriorating.
You can even straighten your hair extensions to keep them from tangling.
But if they do end up getting tangled in storage, try soaking them in conditioner first and brushing them out to see if you can salvage them.
Yes! All hair extensions made with natural hair can be washed the way you wash your own hair.
However, it’s recommended to use lukewarm water when cleaning. It’s always a great rule of thumb to be gentle when washing at the roots.
It’s also best to use a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid frizziness from drying out your extensions.
Deep conditioning your hair and using hair masks are also great for preventing hair and scalp damage.
Double-check if your hair extensions can tolerate heat before using any hot tools when drying and styling.
However, one exception to this is clip-in extensions. It’s best to take them out when washing or only wash whenever build-up is significant.
So, if you’ve been dreaming of long luscious hair, there’s an extension out there that can work well for you.
Whether you want to have long tresses just for the day or keep them for months, just make sure to check out what type of extensions works best for your needs.
Always do a bit more research on the application methods, and see whether you’d rather have something temporary or permanent, something with adhesives, thread, or protein bonds. Then, go ahead and enjoy long hair at long last.