If you have
Hollywood celebrities with the length of their hair
changing within a matter of days, they are not drinking a
magic potion - they are using hair extensions.
Simpson and her sister
Ashlee Simpson have popularized them.
What are hair extensions?
Hair extensions are
hairpieces that can be attached to your natural hair or
scalp; they enhance the thickness of your hair or the
length. There are several kinds, but the most popular ones
- Strands, small clusters of
about 30 pieces of hair.
- Wefts, slightly larger
curtains of hair, joined at the top and free flowing at
the ends. The best wefts are hand-made, not
- Braids and dreadlocks,
which are pre-wound.
synthetic and some are made of human hair. The natural
hair of Caucasians is different from that of
or Afro-Caribbeans and you should, therefore, choose an
extension that will match your own hair.
come in many varieties and can be pre-colored,
pre-highlighted or pre-permed with curls or a body wave.
Depending on how it was attached, you may need to have
your hair extension re-done after 6 or 8 weeks, or it
might last up to 4 months. Re-attaching will always be
periodically necessary because our natural hair continues
to grow, the bonding agent becomes loose, and you'll need
to re-adjust and refresh your hair's appearance.
How are hair
woven, glued, or clipped to your natural hair.
If they're clipped, you can take them off easily
any time. If they're glued, various bonding
agents may be used and care must be taken to
protect your scalp and natural hair.
For wefts, your
stylist will make a small corn row or weave in
your natural hair, and sew the weft to this
weave. This method uses no chemicals.
usually woven in with your own hair and again no
chemicals are used.
What kind of
hair extension would best suit me?
a very personal matter and should be decided
between you and your stylist. There are extensions
for every kind of hair, even thin and baby-fine
hair. Your stylist will assess your hair type,
how you would like to look and whether it is
possible given your particular circumstances and
hair status, and explain alternatives. When an
extension is decided upon, she will personally
customize it to match your hair, will attach it,
explain how she's doing it, and give you
how to care for it.
How do I care for my hair extension?
extensions can be shampooed, styled and brushed the same
as your natural hair, but don't try to
alter their color. This should be professionally done.
The most important thing is to be gentle with it so as to
preserve the bond attaching it. Use a soft bristle
brush and brush out tangles from the bottom ends up
towards your head.
night, to avoid matting, tie it up or braid it if it's
fairly long, and never
with wet or damp hair. Avoid using any
silicone-based products or conditioners on the extension
where it is bonded to your natural hair, as this will make
the extension slip off. (Related:
Does it hurt to get a hair extension?
when it's properly done. In the first day or two it will
feel a little heavy perhaps (after all you just got extra
hair), and this added weight on your head may feel
slightly uncomfortable until you get used to it. The
process of attaching it should not hurt at all. If it
does, something isn't right. Sometimes if the cornrow
method is being used, the weaving might be done too
tightly, pulling too hard on your scalp. This can even
cause headaches. But you should not accept this. The
weaving doesn't have to be so tight that it's painful.
come across stories of how a person's hair was broken,
burned, or otherwise damaged by their hair extension. The
odds are that this person had it done by an untrained
stylist, or one with little experience. (Related:
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