I woke up extra early to start this blog this morning because I have about four hours until I head down to the International Salon and Spa Expo in Long Beach. I’m going to have a look at the newest products coming out in the esthetic industry, as well as hair – so I’ll be able to fact check this post. One of my readers asked about hair extensions for fine hair and that is also my hair type so I’m going to write this post from that angle, but the information will be pretty applicable to most hair types. I’m going to cover the hair extensions I have had as well as a few more that just wouldn’t work for me – for example a true “weave”, and I’ll tell you why. I’ll also give you some do’s and don’ts! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
About the Hair
But first, a bit of information on the hair. Never buy synthetic – that means plastic and it doesn’t really blend with human hair. Do you remember how ratty some of your Barbies’ hair became? It’s like that. Stick with the human hair. You can get human hair extensions at a good price, I’m talking $35. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on clip-ins because the hair is almost all the same.
But if you ARE going to pay more…
I did the research and most human hair extensions are from the same source, with the exception of a handful of companies. Great Lengths, Woven Hair, Just Extensions, and Remy New York source their hair ethically. To quickly break down each company’s most important points:
- Remy New York is the Rolls Royce of hair extensions. It is ethically sourced, the cuticles are aligned, and it is virgin hair. Remy New York is the most ethical AND highest quality in my opinion. Dan did his homework and found that women were being grossly underpaid for their hair and some of them were even in danger with hair pirates. Dan pays these women a fair value and these women typically use their earnings to pay rent, buy a farm, or send their children to school. Also Remy New York is one of they only companies I’ve found that supposedly aligns the cuticles of the hair. That means that each strand is in the same direction, from root to tip, like shingles on a roof. Why is this important? In order to get each strand aligned, every other company will group the hairs, regardless of which direction they are going, cut the hair so it is the same thickness on the top and the bottom (this is called Double Drawn), and then chemically treated with acid to strip the cuticle and create a smooth bundle of hair, regardless of the original direction.
- Woven Hair uses TEMPLE HAIR ONLY. This means they are using the hair that has been shaved from folks’ heads during a religious practice called Tonsuring. It is considered to be more ethical because they are not practically robbing women of their hair for fractions of a dollar. Instead they purchase the hair through an auction. According to Woven Hair, this is where their money goes:“Given that tonsuring is a devotional practice, those donating their hair do not receive monetary payment. However, the temple does sell the hair in an auction process.The temple uses a small portion of the auction proceeds to fund regular upkeep of the temple and pays the wages of the many barbers and other employees.The remaining proceeds are invested into the local community through the funding of various charity programs that provide medical aid, education, food, and critical infrastructure projects that support those in need.”
- Great Lengths sources their hair the same way Woven Hair does. The cuticles of the hairs are not aligned, so it goes through that same acid bath.
- Just Extensions same as Great Lengths and Woven Hair, BUT owner Riqua Hales did her homework and made a documentary of her travels around the world, searching for the best quality hair, without compromising quality-of-life of a woman who is forced to donate her hair. I’d love to watch her documentary because I like her personality and her journey.
Let’s Talk Cheap Seats
I get it, not everyone can spends hundreds or thousands on hair extensions, I can’t! So I’ve made a list of the different options out there; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When I first wrote this post, I claimed that the Halo (below) was my favorite type of hair extensions. And then I received mine in the mail. Not only did it not fit the circumference of my head, but the girth of the hair piece was almost ridiculous. So I have turned my favor to the clip-ins. They are the least damaging of all the extensions and the best option for you if you have VERY THIN, FINE HAIR… Clip-ins are great because they are removed every day; please don’t sleep with these in your hair, THAT will cause damage.
I also like versatility of them, you can throw a row in at the widest part of your head and wear a low pony or a low bun, you throw a couple rows in and wear your favorite hat, or my favorite trick, you can put some of the single pieces at the top of your head, and make a top knot. Just make sure you hide the evidence by backcombing YOUR natural hair that covers the clips. Give it a little backcomb underneath (nothing crazy or it looks ratty), smooth the top and no one will ever know, unless a man comes up to lay one on you and runs his fingers through your hair (maybe guilty). Choose the color that is most like your own and then take them to your hairdresser to perfect the color if necessary .
PRO TIP: I suggest choosing hair that is multicolored and multidimensional, because most peoples’ hair is more than one color – not everyone, but most. Just keep that in mind when choosing your color.
I looked at several different companies for the best option and WindTouch on Amazon has the best looking color options in my opinion and it is sold in a 70 gram pack, which is much better than a 120 gram pack. The 120 gram pack is too thick and heavy and it would be very obvious. Also, this company recommends that you buy at least two packs, I completely disagree. One is enough.
I’ve made a video showing you how to place your hair extensions so they look the most natural and least obvious. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
This is a good option for hair extensions. It’s not as versatile as the clips or natural as the clip-ins, this could be a good option for you if you have VERY THIN, FINE HAIR – but there is a good chance these are going to be more obvious than just wearing a row of clip-ins. I went to the International Salon & Spa Expo and spoke with a halo company, and this is how I would customize the halo to my hair:
In my opinion, the best Halo is Sunny Hair because of the color, the grams, and finally they have a little clip-in option to help keep the halo in place if you want.
My own hair length is considered long, so I would choose 16” or 18” – no shorter because I’m going to want to trim the sides and add a FEW layers to the back – otherwise it’s a dead giveaway that you’re wearing extensions. If I choose any shorter I would not have much length to work with. I would also get the hair thinned out so it doesn’t look too “big”, thick, or obvious compared to my natural hair. The pieces need some texture or else they don’t mix and blend with your hair and everyone is able to see the difference between your hair and the glossy hair piece. Awkward.
That being said, if you have a shorter blunt cut, like a bob, I do recommend getting a shorter halo (12 inches) if you’re purchasing it to get you through that awkward stage of growing out your hair. Get the hair trimmed to blend a bit more with your bob. Blunt bobs do not go well with a longer halo because there is too much of a noticeable difference in lengths. It will give you a weird mullet. Side note: mullets are coming back, mark my words – they are making a comeback.
PRO TIP: Do NOT swing your hair back and forth, the halo will fly off your head and onto the dance floor. Ask Brittney Spears.
In My Opinion
NOTE: I didn’t include links for any of the hair extensions discussed below because I believe you should have a professional consultation, as these can cause a lot of damage if done improperly.
A lot of my friends swear by the tape, and I understand why; it lays flatter than most pieces, therefore it’s the least noticeable and because the wefts are wide sections, it doesn’t give you that spaghetti hair, like the bonds or the beads do. Also, you can easily pull your hair into a ponytail or bun with the tape in.
Imagine a sandwich: two pieces of bread, some mayo on both sides and a piece of turkey. The tape extensions are the bread, the adhesive is the mayonnaise and your hair is the turkey. That’s kind of how tape works.
But let me be clear – it causes damage. I don’t care what anyone says, I watched Kathy Hilton (yes that Hilton) get her tapes removed and replaced every few weeks and I watched a good portion of her natural hair come with it. When your hair tech is removing two pieces of adhesive which are stuck to your hair, let me tell you, some of your hair is going to come out with it. Another friend of mine gets the tape extensions and she says she can’t take them out because she’s too bald without them. She has taped herself into a corner. Just look up pictures of tape gone wrong, you’ll find plenty of results.
Now listen, I’m not a hairdresser, but I am an esthetician and I’ve been around a salon of some sort since 2004. So while I may not know the chemical makeup of the bonds and what the tool is called that is used to heat up the protein stuff, I still get the premise and that’s why you’re here. I am able to explain it to you as if we are at the bar, sipping a chilly glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Also, I’ve done these, so I know a little bit about them. With the protein or keratin bonds, you get a “pack” of hair and you can buy anywhere from 25 to 100 tips. These U tips cradle your hair like a little tiny taco (another food reference) and then your little heat clamper squeezes around the taco to soften the keratin, making it pliable enough to be worked around the hair. Ladies, don’t try this at home. It’s difficult. And you will burn yourself. I had blisters on my thumbs for weeks.
I also had some of these in my hair. They ripped my hair out. I never did it again.
This is a great story; I used to work in a fancy schmancy hair salon in Beverly Hills 90210 and I worked with this wonderful, hilarious woman who was a mad scientist at coloring hair extensions. She loved the hair. She would hang it in trees in her back yard to get natural highlights from the sun, she would color different sections with different products, she would make bangs for J.Lo., and she had the best stories about old Hollywood and Los Angeles in the 90s.
But we’re talking about hair today. So this hairdresser had this really nice piece of hair that she wanted to use on me (alllll the cuticles in the same direction!) and she wanted to attach it with these metal beads, coated with silicon. It looked very natural once she was finished, but the problem was, over the next few weeks, I couldn’t see underneath the weft to know that my hair was becoming ratted and dreaded. I tried to brush it, but I couldn’t see what I was doing. In the end another one of the hairdressers had to cut the weft of hair out of my head and remove the beads. A lot of my hair was broken. I never did it again.
Y’all I did this. Can you believe that??? I remember, it was 2006 and I was sitting on Claude Welcome’s living room floor, rubbing globs of oil into my hair to try to break down the glue. It’s like a bunch of strip lashes on steroids, stuck to the back of your head. Thank you, next.
I’ve never had a weave because my hair is too slick and fine to hold the braids. It would eventually slip out and all that tiny braiding would cause breakage. See a theme here, ladies? However, my friend Marissa used to get weaves all.the.time. and she would let me feel hers and look at how it was braided and weaved in. They literally braided her hair in horizontal rows and then sowed the tracks into the braid. Isn’t that genius? One problem, actually two: she couldn’t put her hair into a ponytail, which is my own personal nightmare, and she couldn’t go swimming or get it wet because it took so long to dry because she ALSO HAD TO DRY THE HAIR UNDERNEATH THE HAIR. I Can’t.
I believe I have discussed the most common hair extension products, so now I will tell you how to care for your hair.
Do’s and Don’ts
· Wash the hair extensions or the hair pieces
· Get the correct brush for hair extensions. I still really like the Denman Brush from my Healthy Hair Tips blog.
· Hold down your natural hair AND the extensions with your other hand while brushing, this will reduce pulling your hair out and reduce breakage.
· If you get the halo or the clip-ins, I recommend getting this extension holder or this one to help dry and style your hair.
· Keep up with your hair extension appointments. If you’re getting professional hair extensions, they must be kept up, just like nails, just like lashes, just like highlights.
· Don’t get the bun pieces or the ponytail pieces. They’re kind of (very) obvious. I know it’s practice but it’s best to work with the clip-ins or a halo to perfect your bun or pony.
· Don’t sleep in your clip-ins or your halo. The other extensions don’t really give you a choice but I do recommend your brush and braid your hair at night before bed. It will keep things smooth and healthy.
· Don’t get “curly” extensions, buy the straight ones and curl them yourself – which is also why you should buy real hair, not synthetic hair
· I don’t recommend you buy the balayage extensions, the color job is not…ideal.
There’s so much more to hair than what I covered here, but I just went over what I know. There are lace fronts and top pieces and a bunch of other methods I’ve never heard of. But the thing I experienced the most was damage. Almost all these methods caused damage to my hair. Everyone says “you need to go to someone who is good with hair extensions.” Well I did, and it still did damage, that is my honest review for hair extensions. Some people have the extra hair to waste and they’re not bothered by some breakage, but I don’t have that luxury so fortunately I’ve come to really like my hair exactly as it is today. The most I would do is the clip-ins and I plan on ordering one as soon as I finish this post.
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