Hair extensions are a great way to play around with different styles and lengths without permanently manipulating your own locks. However, with so many options, it can be tricky to know which extension type might be best for your hair. The wrong extension type and application can damage your tresses, which runs counter to why you are using them in the first place.
So here is a run-down of what you need to know before you embark on a hair extension journey. From different extension types to care tips to making them last, this ultimate buying guide will ensure you choose the best extensions for your hair type.
Types of Hair Extensions
As is the case with many style tools, there are various types of hair extensions. Some are temporary, giving you volume for a specific style, while others are worn around the clock for extended periods.
Clip-In Hair Extensions
Clip-in extensions are just what they imply: wefts of hair clipped onto your natural locks. This is one of the fastest and easiest options for a change of style and requires little to no real commitment.
Clip them in before a night out on the town or a big presentation at work and remove them upon returning home. The best part is that they are much less likely to cause any damage to your hair because you aren't using any chemicals or harsh processes to secure the clips to your hair.
Ponytail Hair Extensions
Ponytail hair extensions, similar to clip-ins, are traditionally used to buoy temporary styles. For instance, this is an ideal option if you want to show off a nice thick ponytail but your hair is too short or thin. You can also use ponytail extensions to lengthen your existing ponytail with hair similar in texture to your own.
You can either layer the ponytail extensions with your natural hair, or put your hair in a bun or braid and cover it with the ponytail hairpiece entirely. This is one of the reasons that this type of hair extension is so versatile because you can play with it in any number of ways.
Tape-In Hair Extensions
Tape-in hair extensions consist of strands of hair on a thin cloth strip, which is adhered to the roots of your hair using heated glue. This is an easy method to manage and has the quickest installation of the semi-permanent application options.
The strands being applied have to be relatively thin so that the glue binds together. However, while this is a painstaking process, it leaves you with a more natural look.
Wefts (Bundles) Hair Extensions
Weft hair extensions, also known as bundles, are strands of hair sewn onto a very thin piece of cloth that your stylist can attach to your hairline. There are various means of attachment, though common methods include using a needle to sew the hair into your natural hair after it has been braided into cornrows. This can be one of the more extensive processes, depending on the size of the bundles and the number of braids.
This style allows for the longest wear of the various hair extension options, though. Sew-ins using wefts can last up to 10 weeks before you have to remove them. This is an ideal option for someone looking to change up their style in a more dramatic way while maintaining it as they would their natural tresses.
How Often Should I Replace My Hair Extensions? FAQs Explained
While purchasing hair extensions can be quite the investment, understanding how to best care for your extensions can help them last longer than they might otherwise. Here are some FAQs you need to know.
How long do tape-in extensions last?
Tape-in hair extensions can last from 8 to 12 weeks with proper care, depending on your hair type and maintenance. If you are using hair products that keep your hair and the extensions themselves properly moisturized, you will certainly get longer wear out of them.
How long should I keep clip-ins in my hair?
Clip-ins are a more temporary solution. Most people keep their clip-ins in place for the duration of an immediate style, taking them out at night before going to bed and putting them back on the next morning.
Can I shower with my extensions?
You can shower with your hair extensions, though the frequency depends on the application and hair type. For instance, you would care for your tape-ins and sewn-in styles just as you would your natural hair, shampooing it (with oil-free and sulfate-free products).
For clip-in and ponytail extensions, you might have better results washing them separately. For this reason, you might do well to wear a shower cap when in the shower.
Can hair extensions ruin my hair?
If your hair extensions are not applied properly, or you don't take care of them, they can absolutely ruin your hair. This is especially true if you keep them in too long or you glue the extensions directly to your scalp.
Clip-ins and ponytail extensions can also ruin your hair if you sleep with them in place, as the metal teeth of the clips can pull at your hair while you toss and turn in your sleep.
Can you keep hair extensions in permanently?
No, you shouldn't keep hair extensions in permanently. Rather, you may opt to wear them continuously. However, it would be best if you still had each application removed after the eight to 12-week mark so you can also wash, condition and trim your natural hair.
Caring for your natural hair is extremely important, even if you decide to wear hair extensions much of the time.
How can I make my hair extensions last longer?
You can make your hair extensions last longer by taking care of them properly. Wash the hair routinely using sulfate and oil-free shampoo. Condition extensions weekly and separate the bonds daily. Brush out the hair daily, and never sleep with wet hair extensions.
Minimize the heat you use, even though choosing heat-safe extensions gives you more styling versatility.