Our resident expert on all things Brazilian Blowout and extensions, Jordana Lorraine from The Dino-Clark Salon in Santa Monica, is back with even more on extensions. Find out everything you ever wanted to know on the different type of extensions and figure out which ones are right for you. And if you have questions at the end, just drop me a note in the comments sections, and we’ll get them answered for you.
As you all know, extensions aren’t just for celebs and exotic dancers anymore. Extensions are everywhere! But if you decide to pay for your hair, how do ensure that you don’t wind up with a messed up weave ala Britney Spears or Kate Gosselin and instead get gorgeous, undetectable extensions like Kim Kardashian and Blake Lively? Certainly, these ladies all have the money to get fantastic work done, but some extensions seem to “hang out” in plain sight. So what’s the key? The answer is finding the type of extensions that are right for your hair and, of course, having them done by a skilled stylist. Here you will find the newest and most popular types of hair extensions, see photos, and hopefully find the key to your long, lovely locks!
Heat-Free Protein Bonds – This is the latest and the greatest when it comes to hair extensions. This method lasts the longest (up to 8 months) and combines the benefits of several of the other techniques. The bond is made up primarily of keratin, as is your hair. Strands can be customized to different sizes for the most personalized fit. These are the smallest fusion points available and also the hardest, yet they are as flat as a piece of paper. This makes Heat-Free Protein Bonds ideal for fine hair, because they are the least likely to cause visible bumps or be felt when running a hand over the hair.
What sets them apart from the classic protein bond is that they are applied using ultra-sonic vibration to soften them as they are attached.
This means that there is no heat applied to the hair at any time, and that it would require a much higher degree of heat to melt or damage these bonds. Blow-drying and irons are of little or no concern. (And check out that before & after! Pretty amazing. I think if I was ever to do extensions, I would go with this method.)
Classic Bonded Extensions – Brand names are Hair Dreams or Great Lengths. These individual extensions boast the advantage of coming in different sizes, so multiple sizes can be used to blend with your own hair’s patterns. They are safe for any hair color and most textures.
A tiny iron is used to melt the bond as it lies against your hair, after which the stylist rolls it until it cools and hardens with your own hair locked inside. In a variation of Classic Bonded Extensions, loose hair is dipped in glue and then attached by the same method. The bonus to this is that many colors can be blended together without streakiness, but the drawback is that it takes longer and is therefore more expensive. Because this type of extensions is bonded using heat, accidental contact with a curling or flat iron could melt it quite easily, causing two to stick together or even to slip out of the hair. Removal requires application of a solvent, which softens the bond so the stylist can loosen it and slide it off. (The accidental melting thing scares me with this one, but again that before & after knocks my socks off.)
Microtubes, Shrink Tubes, Swing Wefts, Temporary Extensions and lots more after the break!
Microtubes – This process is also called flat-tubes, i.e., Hair Locs. These type of extensions are ideal if you have black or brown hair of medium texture, which is straight or wavy, and you like to do a light to moderate amount of heat-styling.
The tubes are threaded onto your hair, an extension is inserted and then the tube is flattened, holding the two together.
Removal is quick and easy with Microtubes. The now-flat tubes are popped back to their original shape and slipped right off. However, blondes must be very careful if pursuing this method of extension, because hard water combined with metal can leave a green mark which is visible if your hair is light.
Shrink Tubes – These type of extensions are also called “Shrinkies”. This newer technology uses a clear plastic tube to attach your new hair, and is the option which allows the most hair to be added. Your hair is threaded through the tube just like it is with the microtube option, but in this case the plastic tube is heated until it shrinks to half its original size, tightly gripping the extension and your hair together.
There is room for two extensions to be sealed into each tube, if your own hair’s root is thick and strong enough to anchor that. These are great for creating a “lion’s mane” type of look, or for curly hair.
Swing Wefts – Swing weft extensions use the same quality hair as the longer-term extensions, but are more economical because they are faster to apply. They swing in a more natural way than sewn-in wefts, because they are attached a bit off the scalp, allowing for natural movement. Swing wefts are applied quickly in the salon, but need to be maintained or “tightened” every 6-8 weeks, and can also be difficult to blend with layered looks. This maintenance appointment is quick and painless. The same set of hair can be used for 6-8 months.
Temporary Extensions – These are made of natural hair are ideal if you want to have an alter-ego with glamorous hair. You can clip them in and take them back out on a whim, with no commitment.
They are less than half the price of the real deal and are also made of high-quality hair. They can be blow-dried, curled or flat-ironed, and will look and feel like your own.
But beware pre-packaged direct-sale hair extensions. You will always have better results if you let a professional match your color and texture, and cut the extensions to blend with your hairstyle. A set of these extensions can last years if well-cared for.
Taped Wefts – Also called Nordic Hair Contrast or SkinWeft, these ultra-thin strips of hair are quickly applied using tape and an iron. They are particularly popular with fine-hair ladies because they lay very flat against the head and can fill in naturally long but thin hair. Different colors can be layered for a dimensional look without any visible streaks.
Chemical-Free Highlights – Another way to use extensions? Adding flashes of color to your hair, without dying it. Let’s say you’d like some blonde chunks, but don’t want to bleach it, or some funky color, but don’t want to fully commit. Have a few extensions popped in as an accent.
This can be done using heat-free protein bonds, classic bonded extensions, microtubes, shrink tubes or clip-ins. The clip-ins are perfect for teens who aren’t allowed to color their hair, or wear funky colors to school. They just snap in when you want them, snap out when you don’t. (A great option for this is Clix Professional Clip-in 100% Human Hair Extensions and we curently have a 20% discount code through the month of April!)
Sewn-In Wefts – This is also called a “weave”. Tried and true, sewn-in extensions have been done longer than any of the methods above. They are often more cost-effective, but can be heavy and even painful when first applied. Like the swing wefts, sewn-in wefts will need to be maintained regularly. The hair can be re-used for many cycles, but can be difficult to blend with layered looks.
So! Now that you know about all of the different types of extensions, have you decided which kind is right for you? It’s always a good idea to schedule consultations with a few salons before choosing a stylist and extension method. This consultation should be free and take 15-30 minutes. You should be shown hair samples, color choices, and examples of the stylist’s work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, like how long has the stylist been doing extensions, why do they recommend this particular method for your hair, etc.
For those of you in the Los Angeles area, you’re in luck! Mention this Hair On The Brain post when booking your extensions with Jordana Lorraine, and she will comp you a shampoo and style visit within one month of having your extensions done–a $100 value! This will help you learn some styling tricks, and get you all for a big night out.