Comprehensive Hair Extensions Guide! One Read to Know it All
You may have seen many different hair extension methods come and go - keratin, bonds, tape-ins…and now hand-tied. Overwhelmed by the terminology already? A 3-minutes read and you will be super clear about what's what!
2 Different Manufacture Crafts
Hand-tied Hair Extensions
Hand-tied extensions hair weft is actually handmade instead of machine-made. This makes the hair weft thinner and more natural. The application technique is completely different than tape-in extensions. Instead of the extensions getting taped to the hair, hand-tied extensions are actually sewn in (which in turn is healthier and less damaging to your natural hair). It is the most natural-looking and great for adding volume and length to your hair and provides a quick and natural way to get the fullness and length you are looking for.
Hand-tied hair extensions are the most comfortable to wear. They are exceptionally flexible and can be styled. Because they are sewn by hand, it allows the wefts to be extremely fine, making them able to conform to the natural curvature of your head. Hand-tied extensions were made to be thin, comfortable, and subtle, seamlessly blend in your natural hair.
Machine Weft Hair Extensions
Machine weft extensions are a collection of hair sewn together by a machine. The wefts themselves are thicker and weigh a bit more. As you can see from the comparison in the above picture: The rim is larger and rougher than hand-tied.
4 Major Installation Methods in Hair Extensions
Weaving/Sew-in Hair Extensions
This technique takes a small section of the client’s natural hair and uses it as an anchor braid horizontally across their scalp. Then the sections of the extension are stitched or sewn into the anchor braid using a needle and cotton thread. This makes for secure and long-lasting hair extensions, but they also require the wearer to have comparatively thick hair to properly cover the base braids.
It usually costs more to install with this method than others because it takes longer: 2 to 3 hours compared to 1 hour with tape-in extensions.
Micro Bonds or Microlink
Micro bonds use loops and beads to fix hair extensions in with the natural follicles. This hair extension technique is also referred to as micro-link, micro-bead, or micro-loop extensions. A small loop is used to pull hair through natural hair and then a metal bead is used to clamp and bundle the extensions to the client’s own hair.
This effect can create a professional blended look for the hair extension, but it has a few downsides. Depending on the texture and natural movement of the client’s hair, the bead bond can create a slight imbalance over time. The application of these micro bonds also requires heat, which can damage hair a bit at the bonding area.
Fusion bonds are the most demanding in terms of time and labor. They are also the most permanent option to extend the client’s length or enhance the hair’s volume. Bonds fuse the extension to the client’s hair with an adhesive like keratin. Fusion bonds can be done in extremely tiny portions depending on the amount of time and money a client is willing to spend and how skilled and dedicated the hairstylist. Fusion bonds also have the risk of serious breaking and can be difficult to undo.
Tap-in is the least natural-looking option, but they are also the least permanent. Taping or clipping in hair extension tracks can allow the client to try a new look without fully committing to it. It also allows the client to switch up their look more frequently while they make more permanent decisions. Tape-in or clip-in hair extensions are a low risk for severe hair damage and is easy to undo.
These methods also have their downsides, though. They require strategic blending and a lot of personal maintenance.
Remember to consider all of the factors before making a final decision with the client on which technique to go with. If they are new to extensions it might be wise to go with a more temporary option that is less commitment and easier to maintain than one of the more dedicated, demanding choices.
4 Levels of Hair Quality
Cuticle hair extensions are higher quality healthy virgin hair extensions. The cuticle on the hair is completely in-tact and this results in higher quality hair strands without unnatural roughness. Cuticle hair is smooth and super soft to touch with barely any friction when you comb it and very little tangling; it is also strong which is not brittle and hardly breaks. It usually boasts zero shedding and chemical-free, retaining the vigor and health of the natural hair itself.
Hairlaya's hair is all bouncy, shiny human hair which easily lasts for two years or longer.
Remy hair extension is real human hair. Remy hair looks and feels real (because it is genuinely human hair!) and therefore blends more naturally with your hair.
Remy extensions are sought after because of the way they are collected. Remy extensions are sourced selectively. The hair wefts come from a single person. The hair is also bundled before cut or directly after to ensure that all of the hair follicles remain laying in the same direction. This type of hair extension gives your client a more natural blend and even coloration but can be a little more expensive.
Synthetic extensions are made out of synthetic fibers, therefore they do not last as long as human hair as they can easily be damaged by the above-mentioned factors (sun, heat, etc.). You are not able to do much styling with it since curling or perming the extension might cause obvious damage. Generally, synthetic hair extensions last for a few months, whereas human hair extensions can last upwards of one year if they are well taken care of.
The quality of synthetic fibers can vary, but they are generally stiff and move differently from human hair, so they don’t blend as well with your natural hair. They sometimes have a wiry or coarse feel to the touch.
Synthetic hair is cheaper than the previous two types of hair.
Composite extensions can use a combination of hair types and material sources. They can even be blended or mixed with synthetic extension materials. There aren’t strict standards for the quality of hair accepted and fewer restrictions regarding how much chemical treatment is allowed. Hair extensions in this category come from collecting and sorting through donations of hair that have already fallen out, typically by way of a hairbrush or natural shedding. While these hair extensions may not be the most realistic option for adding length and volume to a client’s hairstyle, they don’t require a large investment as Cuticle hair does.