Hair Extension Methods:
The Pros And Cons Of Every Kind, From Clip-Ins To Wigs
Skip to the end for our definitive Quick Guide!
What Are Hair Extensions vs Pieces or Wigs?
Hair extensions are pieces of hair that attach UNDER your natural hair - so in essence, they need your crown hair to cover the attachments. Hair pieces and wigs are different - in that they hide the top part of your natural hair. Hair pieces and hair extensions can be worn simultaneously to avoid the dreaded "wig look." We are often asked "What are the best types of hair extensions?" or "What are the best types of hair extensions available?" - the answers may surprise you!
But first, let's start with systems that you shouldn't use.
What are legacy hair extension systems?
Not all hair extension methods are created equal. There are SO MANY different ways to attach these tiny pieces of hair, it can make your head spin. Legacy systems are simply systems that have become outdated - replaced by modern methods which are gentler on natural hair and easier to conceal.
Most modern systems have gotten away from extensions attached to braids (because the tension is hard to adjust and will be bulky and uncomfortable). Most have also gotten away from using glues as well. Bonding is a cold glue and removing it was like removing sticky boogs from your hair... It was awful. Fusion extensions were put in with hot glue - some systems (like we used to carry) could be crushed up at the end of their life and comb out, whereas others needed to be heated back up and pulled (you tried to slide it down, but... well... it was a painful and awful process that took forever).
Modern systems tend to rely on systems that go in quickly, create a secure hold and are easy on delicate strands to remove. The system you choose should depend on your client's goals, their pocketbook and how much time they want to invest. (Time and money tend to go hand-in-hand... more on that shortly.)
What you should know about hair extensions...
How long do hair extensions last?
Your hair may or may not outlast your installation.
The installation for hair extensions can last anywhere from an evening to 3 months (and that is pushing it). Any company that tells you that you can leave an install longer than 3 months is not worth giving your hard earned money to because that simply is not true. Extensions are attached at the root. As your hair grows out - so do your extensions. Imagine if you put tiny barrettes all over your hair and then left them for three months. At that time, they would be hanging about 1.5 to 2 inches down. Under them would be impossible to brush and they would likely be getting tangled on themselves. Not to mention styling becomes a huge problem and they are going to be fairly visible.
Installations that do last the longest are strand-by-strand hair extensions, rather than panels. We will go into more details about each.
Do extensions damage your real hair?
In short, NO. Hair extensions can't damage your natural hair. In fact, they may even help protect your natural hair. The real reason behind any hair breakage and loss is either due to improper installation OR improper removal - all of which can be avoided with proper training. Your training should tell you what to do, but also... drumroll, please... what NOT to do.
Installations that are too tight (especially in systems where tension is hard to adjust easily - I'm looking at you, braided sew-ins!) or are installed with too much weight in one place can cause the hair to be pulled out. You'll know that this is happening because you will see clusters of hair with little white tips. You may also see tension bumps - which can look like an allergic reaction. Tension bumps may not appear all over. It is most commonly seen at the hairline and the nape - where most of the scalp pulling happens. If this happens, your extensions need to be installed more loosely. Have them removed, wait a few days for your scalp to calm down and try again with greater attention to detail.
Removals that go wrong... waiting too long can cause issues with the natural hair tangling and matting at the base. Make sure that they are removed on time. Even if you remove them on time, legacy systems can be difficult to remove. Fusion (strand-by-strand with hot glue) removal can pull on small sections of your hair. Any hair extension method where small sections are used need to be removed carefully without pulling on fine, delicate strands. Any system that creates a sticky mess should be avoided. You might be surprised to know that our tapes and removers don't create any of the sticky mess or residue and are not prone to these issues - more on that below.
Can you wash your hair with hair extensions?
Yes, you can shampoo your hair. While it may not be best to wash hair daily from root to tip, you do want to make sure that your extensions stay clean to keep them looking their best. When you don't wash your hair or excessively sweat, this can cause a build up of oils on the strands. This will cause the strands to grip to each other and tangle.
Clients who are unfamiliar with how build up might feel (because they haven't had long hair before), may think their hair extensions are dry and make the issue worse by using excessive conditioner. This causes even more build up. This is an easy mistake to make - especially when you are new to hair extensions are are unsure how they should behave. Make sure the training that you choose goes over how the hair should react and behave under different circumstances so you can troubleshoot quickly. You can learn from us, here for free.
What are the cheapest hair extensions?
Are they real human hair? Yes, most are. But be cautious about inexpensive human hair. It may be natural looking hair in the package, but wearing cheap extension hair may be a different story. Hair that isn't cut off as a ponytail will have a mixed cuticle direction. To combat tangling, this hair is bathed in an acid bath to remove the cuticle. This makes thicker hair and coarse hair strands into finer, more desirable hair textures, but leaves them with no protection. To mimic the sheen of the cuticle, they then will add silicone sprays. This will cause hair to self-destruct about a week after you install it.
What if hair used was cheap?
Cheap hair has a time and place. You might be able to get away with it for an event that only lasts a couple days, but after that, it will become very difficult to maintain. It may be a mix of different hair textures too - which will become noticeable after washing.
If you are working with clients, be sure to go with a brand that is reputable, like Bliss. We have been working with our stylists for over two decades. Our business is built on your successful business.
The Best Hair Extension Method For Fine Or Thinning Hair...
Will Extensions Damage Fine Hair?
Not if they are installed and removed properly. In fact, they can even help protect delicate strands.
The best hair extensions for thin hair
What are the best hair extensions for thin hair? The hair extensions that are recommended for fine hair are Flex-Tip Nanos. These combine a tiny bead that slides onto the natural hair and a tiny tip that sticks out of the hair strand. Because the tip is sticking out of the bond, the bead doesn't need to fit around the entire hair extension strand. This means that the bonds can be teeny tiny! If you're looking for the best method for those suffering with hair loss, you've found it.
The best bonds are attached close to the scalp and are secured by crimping the bead with the natural hair inside. These extensions are best for thin hair or discerning hair clients. They are the most natural hair extensions because they hide very well at the root of the hair. These hair extensions are also safe for your hair! The base for the extensions simply crimp in and then crimp out. This makes them great to reuse again and again. You can learn this method here for free!
These extensions can also work well with a hair topper if one is needed for coverage or if a client would like to try bangs but doesn't want to commit. If your clients have thin hair and are looking for the most discrete solution, this set of products is the way to go.
The Best Method for Most Clients
Can you get a sew-in with thin hair?
Solid maybe. Flex-Tip Nanos are definitely the best extensions for thin hair. Sew-ins can be an extension option for thin hair but only if the user can wear extensions placed lower on their head. Recall that hair extensions are best when you have ample coverage for the attachment points.
The best hair extension method for most clients
Most clients will benefit from a beaded/hand tied weft method. A beaded extension is usually the best type because tension can be adjusted at the individual bead. When hair is braided to create the base row, it has a "fixed tension" and generally needs to grow out to release any pressure. Contrary to common belief, you cannot pull the hair and make it grow. You are just going to break it.
Extensions are secured by sewing them to the base.
Not all beaded methods are awesome. The right type of beaded row won't leave gaps between the beads. Gaps between the beads allows the weft of hair to slide up and down over the natural hair. This can cause matting and dreading under the wefts. These types of methods are also prone to slippage as they do not anchor to one another to reinforce the row.
What you NEED to know about hair extensions
In our hand tied method, we create a row that feels similar to braiding the natural hair. These are not prone to cause damage to the hair as other improperly fitted beaded methods. A properly installed row will attach to your natural hair in a way that allows all of the hair to stay on one side of the weft, not bunch up underneath, and will allow your natural strands to be brushed. They can also stay in the hair up to two months. Be wary of expensive gappy systems - and if you are currently using one of these methods, consider switching to our method. We will even teach you for free!
Another reason why beaded sew-in extensions are best for most clients is that the type of hair extension used are easily reusable. There are no glues - reinstallation can be immediate.
This only works if the hair used is a high quality extension, so make sure the hair you buy can last. Always buy from a trusted vendor. Hair extensions are big money so other companies can talk a mean game, but can't back it up. We recommend our Bliss hand tied extensions because we have found it is the best type of hair for those that want to wear extensions without breaks. It can hold up to excessive styling and its user friendly. You won't need to know about hair care in painstaking detail to have a good experience. Lower quality hair can last a long time, but it will take MUCH more effort to keep it soft and tangle free.
Best for Clients that Have Never Had Extensions?
Tape In Hair Extensions are Great For People's First Time
Tape-in extensions are great for people who have never had hair extensions before and want extensions for a short time. They are the fastest method to install, and with a little work can be reused. This makes tape-in extensions the best method for those looking to have extensions for a specific event - like a wedding or prom.
First the natural hair is shampooed and dried. Clean, dry hair is key to getting them to adhere properly to the hair. A thin slice of the natural hair is lifted and one tab is placed underneath at the root. Next, a piece is placed on top. The hair attached is like a sandwich the the natural strands of hair in the middle. Tape-in hair extensions are great for most hair types. This type of extension can be placed close to part lines (closer than wefts) which can help to make your hair easier to style - even with thick hair.
What Hair Extension Method Is Best For Me?
Can I DIY my hair extensions?
If you are self-installing there are two methods that stand above the rest. Tape-in hair extensions, if you would like something to last longer than one or two days and clip-in hair extensions, if you need them for an evening. Both have free self-installation courses which can be found here.
Clip-In Hair Extensions
Clip-in extensions make it easy to style your hair. They can be clipped in and out quickly. When getting your extensions, make sure you go with a brand you trust. Whether its clip in hair extensions or tape-ins, we recommend Bliss for several reasons. With Bliss, you can trust the quality. We have been in business for over two decades and we stand on our reputation. We have seen other sellers pop up, sell for a bit then appear to close their doors - but they just change their name! Be careful. Cheap extensions are usually mis-labeled and sold to unsuspecting buyers.
You can find a guide to hair extension quality here. In addition, with Bliss brand, you can purchase more than you need and return what you don't use (just keep it packaged). This means that your appointment will never fall short and you won't be stuck with extra product you can't use.
And stylists: its not just about saving money - you'll want to DIY hair extensions for your hair too! This is THE BEST form of advertising!
Which Method Should I Choose?
Hair extensions are the best way to create your style confidence quickly. Why wait when hair only grows on average of 6 inches per year? You could be waiting for years for your best styles! There are many different hair extensions available so it can be difficult to know which to choose.
Best type of hair extension options...(Quick Guide)
We breakdown different types of hair installations by looking at the following:
Is this a client installation or a self-installation?
If client, does the client need a solution for fine or thin hair? If yes, flex-tip nanos.
If client, does the client need an inexpensive entry level solution? If yes, tape-ins.
Every other client, hand tied beaded rows.
SELF-INSTALLATION DIY METHODS:
If self, do you want something that lasts longer than 2-3 days at a time? If yes, tape-ins.
If just 1-3 days, clip-ins.