Having thick, glimmering and wavy hair is every woman’s desire, because this is one of our most admired features, and it can severely influence the way we look. Unfortunately, nature hasn’t endowed us all with hair like Rapunzel’s, and genetics have a major say in what our hair will look like. So when you’re born with thin, lusterless hair, what can you do? Are there any solutions? And what happens to the people – mostly women – who treat their hair with so many dyes and hair products and tools that they ruin their healthy and beautiful hair? Well, there are several solutions, such as getting a new, shorter haircut and waiting for the hair to regenerate, or using natural treatments to nourish the roots and hair follicles. But these are all long-term solutions; for immediate results, the only answer is getting hair extensions.
Getting hair extensions is not a new practice, and it probably goes back thousands of years; we know Cleopatra and other Egyptian pharaohs wore wigs, and making your hairdo look thicker and better has been a common practice for nobility around the world. In Hugo’s Les Miserables, we find out that Cosette’s mother had sold her hair for food, so even then utilizing hair from other sources was practiced by women. Today, the technology has evolved a lot, and there are several types of hair extensions; they differ both in the materials they use, and in the way they are attached. That being said, the cheapest extensions are those made from artificial hair, because they don’t quite have that natural look, and they are usually attached temporarily. Even Rihanna, who has been famous for her numerous short haircuts in the past few years, has been recently seen sporting some very long black extensions that define her features. So if you like very short haircuts for women, but would enjoy longer locks from time to time, perhaps getting some extensions is the solution for you.
There are also types of hair extensions which can be attached permanently, but here permanently means for a longer period of time, such as six months or a year. It is safe to wash your hair with them on, and you can even style it. For more information about the various types of extensions, read further on:
- Clip-in hair extensions – This is one of the most common types of extensions, and they are also the least-lasting ones. You can use them if you can’t afford any better, or just apply them when you want to achieve a special hairstyle that requires more hair. They have these special clips that you secure them with at the roots of your own hair; you can add several, depending on their length, thickness or width, and they can be just as easily removed. They are not suitable for long term, you can’t wash your hair with them on, and you can style them, but with more care.
- Pre-bonded hair extensions – They’re also called fusion extensions, because they are glued to your own hair with some type of adhesive such as glue, keratin, or other plant-based glue that doesn’t damage your hair. The advantages is that they look very natural, and they are attached in close-up strands of hair; they are considered a permanent type of extensions, because they can last up to six months. The disadvantage is that you need to have them put on and removed by a professional, otherwise you risk damaging your own hair. It will take 4 or more hours to attach them all, depending on how long or thick/thin your hair is, and you have to make sure that the glue used is not petroleum-based. Moreover, they can be expensive, especially if made from real hair.
- Weave hair extensions – This type of extensions is not really recommended for those with very thin hair, but rather for those with normal, medium hair who want to add some volume or length. The method is quite simple, but you have to get someone else to do it: a corn row, or more, are weaved in and through your hair, and then the hair extensions you chose are sewn into the corn row. This too should be done by a professional, because if the corn row is too thick, it will take too much from your own hair, and if the extensions are too thick as well, they will feel heavy. Removing them is also tricky, and you have to make sure you’re not cutting your own locks are you remove the stitching.
- Tape hair extensions – One of the less beautiful types of hair extensions, tape extensions are short-term and in theory you could apply them yourself at home. They are usually artificial or made from lower quality human hair, precisely because they do not last more than 6 to 12 weeks. The advantages are that you can apply them quite quickly, and you can even wash them with your own hair; the disadvantages are that the bonds can sometimes be seen through your hair, and you have the same concerns when tying it up or styling it.
- Micro Link extensions – These can look very natural, and the bonds don’t show; here, the hair extension is looped through your own hair and then held together by a metal bead, using a pair of special pliers. One of the advantages is that you can move them up as your hair grows, so you won’t have to remove them too soon, but the downside is that they can slip down on their own too, so then you must pull them back up and tighten them again. We don’t really recommend this type of extensions because the metal beads can damage your roots, and because the hair used is artificial or very low quality. This means that in just a couple of months, the extensions will start looking odd and you’ll have to remove them.
These are the main types of hair extensions; weigh the pros and cons before deciding on one particular type, and figure out which would be best for your type of hair. Finally, don’t use them unless it’s really necessary, or if you only use them for special occasions because otherwise, the long term effects can translate into hair damage and you’ll be right back where you started. Good luck with your styling endeavors!