If you want to add length or volume to your hair, hair extensions are the way to go. But what are the best hair extensions for you? Not all hair extensions work the same way and some are better suited for different types of hair or hair styles.
So, let’s have a look at the different types of hair extensions
Real vs synthetic hair
Hair extensions are made of either human hair or synthetic hair. Real human hair is donated or sold specifically to make extensions. It is typically of a better quality than synthetic hair but is more expensive.
Synthetic hair extensions vary in quality. Good-quality synthetic hair can pass for human hair and blend with the rest of your hair, but it will be more expensive than lower quality synthetics.
Semi-permanent vs temporary
Hair extensions can be temporary or semi-permanent depending on the attachment method. Both types have pros and cons, but it really comes down to what you want to do with the hair extensions.
If you want to change your look regularly, temporary extensions are better than semi-permanent. However, semi-permanent extensions tend to be of a higher quality and generally require less maintenance.
Clip-in and flip-in extensions
The most common types of temporary extensions are clip-in and flip-in. They can be a great choice if you want extra length or volume for a particular event, or you like to change your look regularly.
Clip-in extensions consist of multiple wefts of hair that you attach to your natural hair with clips. Flip-in extensions feature a single large weft of hair attached to a loop or halo. This loop then simply fits over the crown of the head and blends into your natural hair.
Clip-in and flip-in extensions are quick and easy to put in and take out, even for beginners. They do need to be removed at night before going to sleep and regular use of these kinds of extensions can damage your hair.
Tape-in extensions are a less popular semi-permanent alternative to clip-in extensions. Instead of wefts, these extensions come in small, thin tapes about 4cm wide. A piece of your hair is sandwiched between the two tapes, which are then glued together.
In general, the adhesive tape will hold for four to six weeks. However, this tape can lose its grip if you use an oil- or silicon-based hair care product regularly.
These extensions are almost invisible and very difficult to detect. However, since they are attached to your hair, the tapes will get lower as your hair grows.
While you can put these extensions in yourself with a little practice, it’s recommended that you get them fitted by a professional.
Micro loop extensions
Micro loop extensions are a strand-by-strand method where the extensions are attached to the hair using tiny rings. A small strand of your natural hair is fed through a micro ring, which is then clamped down about a centimetre from the root of the hair. This process can take between three and five hours to complete, depending on how many extensions you need.
It is possible to fit these extensions yourself, but it is difficult and time-consuming. It’s highly recommended that you consult a stylist for this type of extension. While they can be difficult to place in the hair, they will last for up to three months.
This technique isn’t recommended if you have fine or short hair. It can also be difficult to hide the metal rings if you wear your hair in a high ponytail.
Hot fusion extensions
Hot fusion extensions are another semi-permanent option. These extensions have a small keratin bond at their end. Your hair stylist will melt this bond to attach the extensions to your hair. In essence, the hair is glued to your own.
This process can take up to eight hours but the extensions last for as long as six months. You will need to return to your hair stylist regularly over this period to maintain the extensions as the rest of your hair grows around them though.
Weave-in or sew-in extensions
These semi-permanent extensions are sown or weaved into a small braid in your hair. The process is a little quicker than others, sometimes as short as two hours, and the end result lasts for up to three months.
Unfortunately, weave-in extensions are not suitable for fine hair. Some people also find getting multiple weave-in extensions can make their head feel heavy and cause headaches.
There’s no definitive best hair extension out there, only the best choice for you. Consider what you want to do with your extensions. Are they for just one day or do you want to reinvent your style? How much are you willing to pay for them?
Don’t forget to do your research and talk to a professional hair stylist before getting hair extensions.