7 Best Hair Extensions | March 2017
- include three separate extensions
- come with extensive instructions
- time consuming to apply
- naturally curly style
- designed to give natural hair body
- harder to use than similar products
- will not shed or tangle
- 3 bundles of hair in one package
- lightweight for long-term wear
- feature double-weft design
- simple and reliable to use
- styled with trendy highlights
How Hair Extensions Work
Hair extensions provide a semi-permanent alternative to wigs because they attach to the wearer's existing hair, rather than sitting atop of it. Extensions are typically applied in horizontal rows below the surface layers, so as to remain discreet and allow for an authentic appearance. One of the most popular and long lasting extension types are those made from human hair because these can be washed, dyed, styled and treated just like one’s own natural hair.
Human hair versions are typically attached through the use of an adhesive that is safe to put near the scalp. This is the most expensive option and can take several hours to complete, but the extensions can last between twelve and eighteen months without needing to be replaced.
A more affordable option uses mono-fiber, which is a lightweight plastic. A stylist will use the mono-fiber to attach small sections of hair to the person’s root, securing it with a heat seal. Unfortunately, if a person has their extensions applied in this manner, the use of high heat appliances like hair irons or dryers are not recommended, as they can cause damage and lead to shedding.
It’s important to have a hair professional attach one’s extensions. Individuals who want fuller hair, but have a small budget should consider the cost of the actual extensions, as well as the price a stylist will charge to attach them. Finding a professional who is experienced in extension application can prevent problems like the hair coming off of the scalp, tangling easily, or causing skin irritation.
The History Of Extensions
Cleopatra was one of the first famous figures to use hair extensions. False hair was a staple of the many iconic fashion trends of Ancient Egyptians in 3400 BCE. People during this time would wear tufts of human hair that had been sewn or braided onto their own. They also attached dyed sheep’s wool to their heads when they wanted to change the color of their hair. Resin or beeswax - similar in texture to the adhesive seen today - was used to attach the extensions. The Egyptians favored bright extensions like gold and red, but Cleopatra’s favorite hue was peacock blue.
Europeans and Americans in the 1700s attached extensions to wigs rather than their own heads. Depending on the color and style, wigs indicated social status. When King Louis began to lose his hair, he wore a popular style at the time called the Perukes, which was a white powdered variety used by noble and high ranking members of society. At the time, the trend among royalty was wigs that were teased and styled high, like a bee hive. Wire or other stiff materials were bent into a shape that could sit on the head. This frame was filled with horse hair or wool, and hair extensions were attached on the outside.
The Romantic era ushered in the use of Apollo knots. These were tight curls attached near the scalp. By the early 1900s, clip-in extensions priced between 95 cents and $25 were on the hair product market. They were known as switch weaves and were extremely popular with consumers because of how easy they were to remove. Style icons of the 20th century took to the Pompadour look. It wasn’t until the 1940s when more natural-looking extensions, meant to be worn for months at a time, became popular.
Tips For Taking Care Of Extensions
Extensions and their application can be expensive, which is why one should take great care of them to prolong their life. Similar to how extremely tangled natural hair has to be cut out, so to do knotted extensions, which is why brushing them regularly is crucial. Soft bristle or professional style Looper brushes are best for detangling extensions because they rarely break or damage hair.
It’s also important to wash one’s extensions regularly to prevent matting or a buildup of product that can cause knotting and deterioration. Some shampoos are designed with extensions in mind. One should use a wide-tooth comb on their hair after rinsing out the shampoo. Leave in conditioners can further help prevent tangling, but one should look for light, non-greasy products so as to not make their extensions look dull and weighed down. All styling and washing should be done gently. Extension wearers should be particularly careful around the extension bonds because if these break they can lose a tuft of hair.
Heat is just as harmful to extensions as it is to one’s own hair, so wearers should refrain from using flat and curling irons when possible. These tools can damage and break the hair, which may be okay when it’s one’s own hair that will grow back, but can become expensive when it happens to extensions.
People who use clip-in styles should properly store any extensions that are not in use. This includes carefully combing out the extensions and placing them in an air-tight container. Exposing loose extensions to air could cause them to grow mold. All unused extensions should also sit in a dark room because too much light can alter their color.