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Hair Extensions - Let's Talk

This past weekend I opened, brushed out, applied, blended and/or curled no less than 6 boxes of clip in hair extensions. I feel like I have a love hate relationship with them at this point. I know that they provide opportunity for styles you may not get with the hair you have, however, they are not a great fix for everyone. Also, some hair extensions can cost more than a mortgage payment so you should weigh your options carefully before taking the leap into this world. Read on to see when the situation calls for extensions and what your other options are.

When It's A Good Idea:

For added length : if you choose a style that goes cascading down to your waist and your hair falls short of your bra strap - extensions are a good idea. Adding length is one of the best things about adding hair. Half up or loose, swooped in ponytail looking styles are best for this application.

This was done a really long time ago. It's a good example of a style with added length down the back.

For added fullness: If you have fine to medium hair and you want to look thicker or fuller in your wedding style, extensions can do this for you. Keep in mind that you will need some hair to help hide the clip in wefts. If you are super thin on top - then it's not going to do what you expect - see below for super thin on top. Half up, all down, maybe add a braid, loose swoopy styles work well for this application.

This style is made of all extensions. She had fine, thin hair. Full pack used.

For added color: I've said it a million times to brides and maids all over the state, there's a reason why most updo and special occasion photos (staged ones at least) are done on blonde hair. When there are multiple colors going through the hair, you can see the twists, braids, loops, swoops and overall definition better. If this is something that interests you, try purchasing a pack of hair that is a shade or two lighter than your own. When added and combined, it gives you instant high lights without the commitment. For my sister's wedding a few years ago, we bough two wefts of hair, one her color and one two shades lighter. We sewed them onto the clips back to back and the result was gorgeous.

My sister Jill. Brielle sewed two colors onto each clip set to create this look. It was super full and cascaded down her back. Almost two full wefts were used.

When It's Not A Good Idea:

If you're super thin on top: if you fall into this category then extensions are not for you. The idea is to make it look like you're not wearing any extra hair and it's a dead give away when you can see the clip or solid piece of weft poking through your hair. As mentioned above, extensions are full added length and fullness, but they will not give you scalp coverage on top of your head. We will need some of your own hair to disguise the extensions so we can only go so far up your scalp before they will be noticeable. See other options below for some things we can do for scalp coverage.

When you want a full updo: The clips are bent at an angle to sit snugly against the head and the hair is sewn on to hang from there. Clipping in extensions and then pulling the hair upwards goes against the grain and can result in a bulky area where the clips are located. If you don't mind this then there is no issue but it makes for a pretty loose up sweep. It is possible to clip them in another direction but this only works if you have enough hair and length at the bottom of your head to provide even coverage. Most of the time people are adding hair because they don't have enough of their own to complete the look so this could be an issue. If you want you hair all pulled up and just need more on top - see below for other options.

This is all her hair. We can add foam or things underneath to add bulk or height.

If the color isn't a good match: more than likely by the time all the hair is added to your head, the majority of it will be fake and if it's the wrong color - completely noticeable and cheesy looking. It's important to match the color as closely as possible to your own hair color. Human hair extensions can be dyed to match but they are already available in so many colors it may not be necessary. They come pre high lighted as well and usually the ones with multiple colors blend the best. You can do the trick I mentioned above with blending a different shade but that works best when you have enough of your own hair to match the density so it actually looks blended.

Other Options:

Super thin on top: if this is your issue in addition to or instead of a pack of clip in hair extensions, you may need a fuller piece of hair, something like a partial wig to give you complete coverage. They sell all shapes and sizes that will allow you to add a full part or a bang that can then be easily blended down into your own hair or pack of extensions. These pieces look like a dead animal laying on your dresser but they can really be useful in adding the hair you need to the top of your head.

Thin in the part or at the hair line: especially my dark haired ladies out there, I'm sure the sight of your white scalp screaming through your dark hair really puts you off. Often, even though the hairstyle looks great, it's all the client can see because their eye goes right there. For this issue, we usually use a keratin powder in the color that matches your hair, an eye shadow or our air brush make up machines. Yup, that's right, we just fill in the sparse areas with color and it's like it never existed.

You want a big hump or hair piled on top: if the style you choose needs to be bigger on the top we can usually add some things up there to make it happen. We use foam donuts, pieces of netting, hair nets full of cheap hair, big hair powders, sprays and more to make it happen. The point is that a pack of clip in hair extensions is not always the answer.

In short, hair extensions do have their place in the wedding hair biz but you must be prepared to accept that they are not always the answer. A good bridal stylist will be able to get you as close to that hair dream as possible, but it may take some time and some fancy additions. You can always schedule a meet up or a phone call to see what the plan should be before you go out and buy things you don't need. There is another whole category of semi permanent hair extensions including I-tips, K-tips, tape ins, sew ins and more but that's a different article! Look for that coming soon. I hope this helps you all and please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Peace, Love and Beauty - Allison

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