I wouldn't be a Barbie Doll if I didn't have Fake
And you thought I was going to say “boobs.” Not yet.
I’ve had lots of different types of fake hair. Lots. Here’s a lil info written by myself and Mike Manzo (@MikeyManzo) of Michael O’Rourke’s “Rock Your Hair.” (He rocks my life).
In the Beginning…
The first time I had extensions they were clips. And it was love at first site.
These can be purchases for between $70-$100 at Sally’s Beauty Supply. Make sure you get real human hair, and ask the people who work there to help you match it. You don’t want to look like you got your weave at a mall cart. They’re easy to apply, but take some practice. By teasing the root of your hair, they stay in better. Ask your hairdresser for some guidance! They can be curled and flat ironed (I recommend doing this BEFORE you put them in). Make sure you take these clips out before you sleep… mine make me break out. The best way to clean these is with dry shampoo (I love Bombshell). You should wash them every once and a while though with real shampoo.
Weave (Swing Wefts)
My girl Ava did some very interesting techniques with my hair (microbeading, bonding… ect). But my first step up from the clip-ins was as a model for Ava’s new technique with wire (like fishing wire… in fact… I think we went to Target and bought fishing wire). She wired wefts of fake hair into my natural hair. It looked awesome down, but was hard to put up (I only wear my hair up at the gym anyways). The hair was totally re-usable. Ava was awesome and gave me an hour long lecture on how to take care of my new hair. I was so excited I think I paid attention to half of it. 🙂 I think this counts as white-girl weave?
Oh boy, did I have a bad experience with this one. Mark from Dellaria’s in Newton convinced me they were the best thing. Guys a great salesman. But a horrible hairdresser. My friend Nikki and I both got the extensions. We both hated them. You could see tape tracks in the hair. Taking them out was a dirty gluey mess too. Don’t Do It. I’d like to thank Ava here for fixing this mess. Oh, not only did they look awful, but you couldn’t die them easily. Bad for someone like me who highlights AND lowlights.
**No pictures. Sorry. I wore a hat most of the time during this phase!
Went back to clip ins about here. Added some chemical free color.
After my tape debacle, I went back to the clip-ins. Had to let my hair recover. It was around this time where my business was taking off in Newton Center, and I realized I couldn’t have fun funky hair anymore. Or could I…
Red, blue, green, pink… clips from Sally’s for $3.99.
Whatever you do though… don’t flat iron or attempt to curl these. They are synthetic and will melt. And it smells. Bad. 🙂
Next it was time for some Classic Bondage.
When I was ready to take the financial plunge and get real extensions, I had classic bonded extensions. A tiny iron is used to melt the bond as it lies against your hair, which the stylist rolls until it cools and hardens with your own hair locked inside. It takes FOREVER. That’s why it’s so expensive. Accidental contact with a curling or flat iron could melt the bond, 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 (like the tape wefts). Also, as your natural hair grows out… it can get a lil ratty looking. And by ratty I mean dread-y.
This is the latest and the greatest. This method is one of the longest and safest for your natural hair. Strands can be customized to different sizes for the most personalized fit. A small bead is threadedaround a tiny section of your hair and a strand of extension. The tube is then flattened with a plier-type looking thing, holding the two together. It is perfect for those who like to highlight and lowlight (like me!). There is no glue or adhesive, so it doesn’t ruin your natural hair when they are removed. Removal is quick and easy with Microtubes. The now-flat tubes are popped back to their original shape and slipped right off.
Things I’ve never done… but you should know about.
Heat-Free Protein Bonds
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.
Shrink Tubes – 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 microbeading, 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.
Sewn-In Wefts – AKA “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. The hair can be re-used for many cycles, but can be difficult to blend with layered looks.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your hairdresser before spending money on extensions, and it’s also a good idea not to go cheap. If your salon doesn’t have a stylist who does extensions, ask who they recommend. It’s ok 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!