With every New Year brings a fresh new verve for life with resolutions abound. Pledges to find a new job, new financial wealth, new body image, new style and yes… even new hair, literally. What better way to get a new look than with hair extensions. We talked to one of our Senior Master Stylists, Ceilidh C., to get the skinny on everything extensions. First, things first… let’s talk in general about blending.
The way you blend your extensions can make or break the look. According to Ceilidh, you must blend your extensions to match your hair color, hair texture and to create natural looking length and movement. Extensions look their best when you cannot tell they are extensions at all.
Clip-on extensions are by far the most versatile and cost effective. They come in sections or ‘tracks’ so you can add as many or as little as you like to each area of your hair and layer them to blend seamlessly. Perfect for those who like to change it up, or don’t want to commit long term to a particular look. Many first time extension seekers can be discouraged with the task of finding ready-made extensions that work with their hair but don’t despair; your stylist can make it look like you’ve grown that ‘Amazon’ hair all on your own.
If you have a hard time matching your wave/curl/straight, find the closest to your natural texture. You have to purchase ‘real hair’ extensions for proper blending (we do not advocate faux hair extensions, they never work out…trust us).
There is no difference in theory when adding extensions to curly hair vs. straight; the secret is to ensure the hair you purchase is the same size curl as your own hair. If the exact curl pattern cannot be found, look for extensions that are a bit tighter and you can use a curling iron to loosen some of the curls. Not all of them though; you want to keep it looking natural. Girls with a bit of wave can find straight extensions and add more wave with a curling iron.
Having them properly fitted is also important; your hairdresser can cut them so they blend with your own curly layers and ensure a perfectly natural finish.
According to Ceilidh, thick hair is pretty tricky. She says, “no matter how few you put in, if done incorrectly, you may end up with a big heavy mess… not the best look”. When going for added length, you will more than likely have to double up on the extensions so that it matches the thickness of your natural hair. Placement is very important; each section should be very evenly spaced to avoid creating bulk. You will also have to keep a few bits for the front since super thick hair tends to look fake when the extensions do not make their way to the front sides of the head.
As for the length, Ceilidh suggests having your stylist cut the extensions to blend with your layers so that you don’t see an abrupt stop where your real hair ends and your extensions begin. If we can’t say it enough, keep it natural.
Long and Thin
Long, thin hair is why extensions work so well for so many. The intension is not always to add length, but sometimes just to add volume. When done correctly they can add fullness without looking false. The trick is to avoid clipping them too close to the crown, otherwise the clips will show through your thin hair. The first layer should be a bit longer so that the clips can begin a bit further down (about 1 ½” from the center part). You can add a bit of length but, with very fine hair, if you add too many extensions the look will not be natural.
When it comes to extra short hair clip-on extensions don’t work as well. It is very difficult to hide the clips if your hair is too short. The top layer of your natural hair should be at least 3 inches long. The goal is to avoid creating a ‘weight line’ that will be visibly noticeable once the pieces are in.
Natural hair is full of shade variants that sometimes extensions cannot duplicate. If you can’t find the right color match, find the closest color and bring it into your salon; they can dye the extensions to match to your own hair color.
If you’ve always dreamed about changing up your shade, but are a bit color shy, extensions are definitely the way to go. “You want to keep it simple so that it still looks natural”, says Ceilidh, “we suggest using two colors – your current color and a color to ‘highlight’ with”. You can also purchase smaller tracks and add them here and there for a very natural effect. If you do this make sure the extensions are the same length as your current hair.
The no-fail way to incorporate extensions into your beauty repertoire – begin by consulting your stylist. Especially if you are a first-timer.