If you have short hair but you'd like long hair, one way to do this is to get hair extensions. Hair extensions can also thicken your hair or simply change the style a bit depending on the type you use.
With hair extensions, you can get long hair instantly -- well, almost, since the actual process takes several hours. Hair extensions don't cause damage to your natural hair, either, despite some rumors to the contrary. You have your choice of human or synthetic hair. You'll use synthetic hair if you want to add special colors to your pate, like red, blue, green or pink. If you want a natural look, you should go with human hair.
Ways to attach the hair
There are three methods of hair attachment. The fusion or strand by strand method uses heated glue or adhesive sticks specifically made for attaching hair extensions. The hair extensions are added directly to your own hair, about 1/4" from your scalp. It looks absolutely natural and no one can tell that you have extensions.
The second method is called weaving. With weaving, a "track" or cornrow is created close your scalp around your head. Then, extension hair is sewn on these tracks. You call me or hair over the tracks so that your extensions look natural.
The third method is called bonding. Binding glue is applied to the extension hair and then applied directly to the roots of your own hair. These strands are horizontal (called a "weft"), and attach together at the top of hair strands that "flow" vertically as natural hair does.
Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages. If not done properly, every method can either damage your natural hair or simply fall out. If your hair extensions are particularly heavy, your natural hair can be pulled, can stand or fall out. You may also experience headaches from the extra weight. Finally, some people have had allergic reactions to the chemicals.
Checking out your stylist
Make sure your stylist has received proper training in hair extension application.
Hair extensions need to be maintained
Once you have hair extensions, you'll need to have regular maintenance visits. How often you'll need to do this depends on the type of hair you have and the method of attachment used. As your own hair grows out, some of your extensions will need replacement.
Other than that, you can treat your hair extensions just as you would normal long hair. You should brush, comb, shampoo and moisturize just as you would your regular hair. You can also dry your hair, curl it, and do other types of styling to it as well. You can also color it, but you should check with your stylist to make sure how to go about this best.
It can be pricey to have hair extensions. Good quality human hair and 6 to 8 hours of time each time you have extensions done fully are necessary; price varies greatly, depending on what you're having done, from about $150 to about $2000.
You should have an initial consultation with your salon first to discuss what you would like to have done before your initial appointment. During this consultation, ask about the experience your stylist has had and where they got their training.
The stylist should ask you about your own lifestyle, hobbies, and so on. This may change the method used to attach the extensions, etc. The stylist should also evaluate your scalp and air conditioned to make sure that you can have hair extensions done.
Finally, ask for references of other clients and ask for photos of their work. You should also ask how often you should need your hair extensions retouched, since this is going to determine some extent how much it's going to cost you keep it up in the future.
Get a written estimate for the first hair extension appointment, with an itemized list of services included, as well as a written maintenance plan and any follow-up or special instructions.
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