One of the most exciting things about hair extensions is the ability to instantly transform your look without committing to a haircut or color change. Whether you want more length, volume or even a temporary pop of color, extensions can help you achieve the desired result. However, not all extensions are created equal. Without the proper technique, you risk damaging your natural hair and ending up with a less-than-flattering style. In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to do extensions like a pro.
Choosing the Right Type of Extensions
Before you start installing extensions, it’s important to select the right type for your hair type and your desired look. Here are some popular options:
- Tape-in extensions: These extensions are pre-taped and sandwiched around a section of your natural hair. They lay flat against your scalp and are best for thin to medium hair.
- Clip-in extensions: These are temporary extensions that you can clip onto your natural hair for special occasions or when you want a quick change. They work for most hair types.
- Sew-in extensions: This technique involves sewing wefts of hair onto a tightly braided base. They are best for thick and coarse hair.
It’s important to consult with a stylist or do research to determine which type of extension is best for your hair type and lifestyle.
Prep Your Natural Hair
Before attaching any extensions, you should make sure that your natural hair is clean and detangled. Blow-dry your hair or let it air dry naturally. Avoid using any heavy products or oils that could make your hair slippery and difficult to work with.
Section Your Hair Properly
The key to a natural-looking extension is proper sectioning. You want to work with small, clean sections of hair and attach the extensions in a way that mimics your natural hair growth. Here’s how:
- Start by creating a horizontal parting at the nape of your neck and clip the rest of your hair away.
- Attach the extensions to this bottom section, starting with the center and working outward.
- Continue creating horizontal partings and attaching the extensions until you reach the top of your head.
Don’t Overdo It
While it can be tempting to add a lot of extensions for maximum volume, it’s important not to overdo it. The weight of the extensions can pull on your natural hair and cause breakage or discomfort. Depending on the thickness of your hair and the type of extensions, you may only need to add a few wefts for a natural-looking result.
Blend the Extensions with Your Natural Hair
The key to natural-looking extensions is to blend them seamlessly with your natural hair. Here are some tips:
- Match the extensions to your natural hair color or have them dyed to match.
- Trim the extensions to the same length as your natural hair.
- Use a blending tool like a straightener or curling iron to make any necessary adjustments.
Don’t Skimp on Maintenance
Extensions require proper maintenance to look their best and last as long as possible. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner to avoid stripping the extensions of their natural oils.
- Avoid using hot tools directly on the bonds or tapes, as this can cause them to melt or break down.
- Brush or comb the extensions gently to avoid tangling or pulling on your natural hair.
- Have the extensions removed by a professional stylist to avoid damaging your natural hair.
Getting Help from a Professional
If you’re new to extensions or unsure about doing them yourself, it’s always best to consult with a professional stylist. They can help you select the right type of extensions, install them properly and give you tips on how to care for them.
Extensions can be a great way to add length, volume, and accent to your natural hair, but it’s important to do them right. By following these tips and tricks, you can achieve a natural-looking result that will have you feeling like a pro in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I sleep with extensions?
A: It’s best to tie your hair up or braid it gently, and wear a silk or satin scarf or bonnet to protect the extensions and minimize tangling.
Q: How long do extensions last?
A: The lifespan of extensions can vary depending on the type of extension, your hair type, and how well you care for them. Generally, they can last for several weeks to several months before needing to be removed and reinstalled.
Q: Can I wash my hair with extensions?
A: Yes, you can still wash your hair with extensions, but it’s important to use a gentle shampoo and conditioner and avoid applying them directly onto the attachment point.
Q: Can I dye my extensions?
A: It depends on the type of extension you have. Some extensions can be safely dyed, while others cannot. Consult with a stylist or check the product information to determine if your extensions are dye-friendly.
Q: How do I remove my extensions?
A: It’s best to have a professional stylist remove your extensions to avoid damaging your natural hair. They will use a special solution to dissolve the tape or unravel the thread holding the extensions in place.
“The Pros and Cons of Hair Extensions.” Healthline, 29 May 2019.
“Everything You Need to Know About Getting Hair Extensions.” Cosmopolitan, 10 Jan. 2020.
“The Ultimate Guide to Hair Extensions.” Elle, 18 July 2019.