If you are like the majority of people, you probably aren’t boasting “movie star” locks with volume for miles. Fortunately though, beauty science has come up with a varied selection of hair extensions for more than a decade and now you can opt for fuller and longer hair with just a trip to your local salon — or even from home.
There are so many types of hair extensions that are destined for a large group of people, from those who just want a quick temporary fix for important events to those who want long lasting results. There are also numerous ways to go about applying your hair extensions and most people find themselves lost in this abundance of options. So to make things easier, here are the most important types and the differences between hair extensions.
Clip On Hair Extensions
Clip On extensions are the easiest to use and probably the cheapest option when you want to give your hair that extra boost of volume. They can be applied without the help of a specialist and they last for about a day or two, just enough so that you can look fabulous for whatever important event you have planned. They are usually attached with a bobby pin, a clip or a comb which usually has to be concealed with your natural hair; and when it comes to matching them with your hair colour, there are many options out there for natural coloured hair. The advantage of wearing clip on hair extensions is the fact that you can easily take them off and just wear them without any prior preparation; however, they generally have to be removed before going to bed.
Micro beads, micro rings or micro loop hair extensions involve metal rings made from aluminium that have been lined with silicone. These rings can sometimes come in durable plastic as well. They are fixed to the hair and tightened using a special tool. They will need maintenance every 2-3 months but other than that they are a long lasting procedure and they don’t cause too much damage on the scalp since there is no adhesive or heat used.
Bonding is a method that implies weaving but is not as durable as classic weaving methods. The method involves applying glue to an extension and adding it to a person’s hair. This doesn’t cause as much damage to the hair as other application techniques as long as it is removed by a professional. The Tape In method is similar to bonding but the extensions come with an already applied tape that will stick to the hair. There are two types of bonding: soft bond which is a little more delicate on your hair and a hard bond that is usually done when the soft bond doesn’t hold the hair properly. These are semi-permanent bonds and they usually last about 4-6 weeks.
Lace Fronts is one of the newest methods when it comes to weave in extensions. They are made with a nylon mesh material that has been formed into a cap; onto the cap the stylist knots single strands of hair, a method that allows for a more natural look than other extension application techniques. These can be either woven in or attached with special adhesives.
Fusion is like bonding but it’s much more time consuming and expensive; however, the effects are long lasting and the overall look and feel is more natural. To apply hair extensions with a fusion method the specialist uses an appliance similar to a glue gun that allows them to literally glue strands of hair on a person’s natural hair. This allows for a natural look and the person opting for this can easily wash their hair every week and use various styling products. There are also cold fusion techniques that don’t require any heating treatment on the glue, but they are even more expensive than the hot technique. This is a great way to achieve amazing volume but there are some disadvantages when using this method: you need a specialist to apply the extensions, the procedure takes between 5 to 8 hours, and it is very expensive. People should never try to apply these on their own because they can easily damage their skin and hair.
Tracking is a method that allows the braids to be sewn together while adding the extensions to the braids; this method is long lasting and will require a lot of hours because the hair will be braided in concentric circles and usually eight to fifteen tracks are needed to achieve a great amount of volume. The advantages to this style is that it is long lasting and you can care for it like you would with normal hair. The “track and sew” method is one of the most popular methods people choose when they opt for hair extensions because they are low maintenance and come for a decent price. If you are just starting with hair extensions and want something more permanent than clip-ons, this method is one of the best choices.
The reason why this technique is called netting is because it involves a net that serves as a surface to weave extensions on. This allows for a fuller hair and can last up to three months if it is cared for correctly. One of the downfalls of this style is the fact that mildew might form under the net if you don’t completely dry it every time it’s wet.
Cornrows or cornrowing is probably one of the most popular methods to apply hair extensions by using a braid on the scalp on a longer and rectangular section. The hair extension is intertwined with your natural hair and the braids may go around the head or from front to back. The effects are long lasting and the hair looks beautiful but a disadvantage of this method is that it is very tight. Some people might even experience headaches in the first days and prolonged use might cause problems. Those who wish to opt for this method should also discuss whether it is the right type of technique for their hair type as it may work best with coarser hair.
This is a popular style among those who want long lasting results and a natural look. The hair is separated and weaved into smaller sections creating small braids. This can take up to 15 hours so it’s extremely time consuming even as maintenance on an already braided hair. An important aspect you should take into consideration before option for Micro Braiding is whether your hair can sustain such a technique.
The Ponytail or Bun Extensions
Very similar to the clip-ons and quite inexpensive, these extensions are great for a quick fix and can be even found in supermarkets. They are applied over your hair and will add colour or a new texture; they are temporary and you can only apply them when you go out for a nice twist to your hairstyle. Before trying the more permanent methods, you can experiment with various clip-ons and see how they feel.
Hair Extension Grading
There’s also a way to rate hair extensions according to the type of hair they use and these are usually measured in Grades as follows:
Non Remy mixed human is usually a temporary solution as it contains natural hair mixed with animal hair that has been treated with a silicone coating.
This type of hair is one of the top sellers in the industry as it offers decent quality for a lower price as well as a long lasting effect. If you maintain it correctly, the hair can last between two and three months.
Is processed to create a better looking hair and long lasting results for at least 3 -4 months if cared for correctly.
Grade AAAA hair is one of the softest, shiniest and tangle free types of hair used for extensions and can last for 5-6 months.
Grade AAAAA hair is one of the best processed hair types and it is similar in looks and condition with Virgin hair. This type of hair is virgin hair that has been coloured and remains soft and healthy looking for more than a year.
Virgin hair is the best quality hair and as its title suggests, the hair hasn’t been processed in any way, except for cleaning. The hair can look amazing for 1-2 years if treated correctly and it’s the best option when it comes to natural looking extensions out there.
So when it comes to the quality of hair, you get what you paid for as price can vary a lot based on how good the hair is. In virgin hair, the hair cuticles are preserved and the hair maintains the natural soft texture as the hairs run in the same direction.