As you glance across virtually every print medium such as newspapers, magazines and catalogs, there seems to be one thing in common as far as hair cut styles is concerned. The long hair cut style is everywhere.
So what are you supposed to do if you don’t have long hair and you really want the long hair cut style? Well, let’s see, human hair grows about ½” per month, so if your hair is at ear level, that would be almost two years to wait for that ‘hair cascading down your back’ look. And of course by the time you grow your hair out, the short hair cut style will be in.
In today’s society, two-year waits are OUT and immediate results are IN. The beauty industry recognized the demand for instant long natural looking hair and thus today’s hottest trend was born—Human Hair Extensions. Hair extensions are not only for lengthening your hair, according to Rod Sickler, owner of Images by Rod & Company and Sexy Hair Concepts Artistic Team Member.
“Any hair type can support hair extensions”, says Sickler. Sickler makes hair extensions easy by creating cutting-edge hair styles for his clients. Some examples include sleek and straight hair, vivacious ringlets and striking color enhancements with the use of different highlighted and lowlighted hair extensions. He describes the hair extension process as very painstaking and challenging as it requires many hours and various techniques to complete. The rewards are many as he is able to re-invent hair, tweak techniques and fulfill his clients’ needs.
One of Sicklers’ hair extension clients, Holly Leach of Rantoul, Illinois, says she wanted to get hair extensions because she was ready for a change and wanted Sickler to re-invent her look by adding thickness and length to her thinning hair with European Hair Extensions. She was absolutely amazed at the results.
“I came into the salon looking one way, and came out looking totally different”, says, Leach. Leach has had her hair extensions for about 5 months now, with absolutely no issues and no complaints. She maintains the hair extensions with non-soy based conditioning shampoo and moisturizers from Sexy Hair Concepts, and uses hair dryers and curling irons with no problems. Leach concludes,”Hair Extensions are worth the time and money, when you can get fabulous-looking long hair instantly”.
Some women are concerned or have heard that hair extensions can cause damage to their natural hair, or even loss of hair. Guinevere Werr, Manager of The Spa at the East Bank Club in Chicago, Ill, says the fusion application method Sickler uses from So.Cap., an Italian company, does not create any damage to the natural hair since it is applied ¼” from the scalp and not directly on the scalp.
Werr assisted Sickler with applying brown hair extensions with some highlight extensions to her sisters’ hair. She adds that Sicklers hair extension clients have lost almost no hair extensions and have had very little maintenance issues.
"Hair extensions are a huge self-esteem booster because they give women the opportunity to get the long hair style look without the wait", says Guinevere Werr, Manager, The Spa, East Bank Club, Chicago, Ill
So where do you start if you are thinking of getting hair extensions? You must research the different types of hair used for hair extensions, the different types of attachment methods, the hair stylists’ education and training, any maintenance schedules and of course the cost.
There are a lot of different types of hair that are used for hair extensions. There is human hair and synthetic hair. Synthetic hair is used to add the high fashion colors, such as pinks and blues. Generally speaking, if you are going for the natural, it grew out of my head, look you should go with human hair. Human hair comes in many different textures and grades. The human hair must be strong and healthy to produce extensions that will last and wear without tangling or drying. European human hair is well- known as quality human hair used for extensions.
There are three basic techniques to attach the hair. They are fusion or strand by strand, weaving and bonding. There are many variations to these techniques and they are sometimes called by different names.
Fusion/strand by strand: This process is done strand by strand in small sections using heated adhesive sticks or glue specifically made for hair extensions. Extension hair is added directly to your own hair. Sickler uses the fusion method from the Italian company So.Cap. Hair is attached about ¼ “from your scalp and looks totally natural. Sickler comments, “No one can visually see that you have hair extensions. It’s up to you if you want everyone to know”.
Weaving is a process where a corn row or track is created around the head and close to the scalp. Extension hair is sewn on the tracks. Your own hair lies over the tracks for a natural look. Bonding is a process where bonding glue is applied onto the weft of the extension hair and then applied at the root of your hair. A weft is horizontal hair strands attached together at the top of vertically flowing hair strands. Wefts can be machine-made or handmade.
There are some disadvantages to each of these methods. Sometimes if the hair extension application method is not done properly, the hair extensions will simply fall out, or cause damage to your natural hair. Also, with additional pressure to your scalp from the weight of the heavy extensions, there could be some thinning of your natural hair and/or headaches as you adapt to the new weight. There have been some reports of allergies to the chemicals that are used. You should discuss the disadvantages of hair extensions thoroughly with your hair stylist so that there are no surprises.
The hair extension training and education your hair stylist has received is very important to the success of their work. Sickler received his hair extension training from renowned expert, Joseph Accola, and he keeps up-do-date on techniques by attending beauty shows across Europe where hair extensions are more popular than in the U.S. “Hair extension education and training are paramount to successful hair extensions for any hair stylist”, says Sickler. If you are looking for a hair stylist to do hair extensions and they don’t have the proper training, you could be very disappointed with the results.
After you have your hair extensions in place, you will need to schedule regular maintenance visits to check your extensions. How often you need to go back will depend on the type of hair and the method of attachment that was used. As your hair grows out, some of the hair extensions will need to be removed and replaced or touched up.
On a day-to-day basis you should treat your human hair extensions as you would long hair. Brush, shampoo, condition and moisturize on a regular basis. Some hair stylists will recommend specific high-quality hair care products to use with your extensions. You can also use hair dryers, flat irons, curling irons on most types of human hair extensions. Color treatments can be done on the hair extensions, but you should consult with your hair stylist before considering this. Monthly color touch-ups to your roots will not be a problem, as the hair extensions will not be touched.
Although it doesn’t hurt physically to get hair extensions, it may hurt you financially. There really is no way around this factor. To get good hair extensions on your whole head, you will need quality human hair, an experienced hair stylist, at least one assistant and about 6-8 hours of time. The ticket price can vary from $150-$2000 depending on what you are having done. Adding a few highlights or lowlight hair extensions can be quite less as the time and amount of hair needed is less.
In short, here are ten tips to follow after you have decided you want to get hair extensions and have selected a beauty salon. To find beauty salons that do hair extensions, you can look in the yellow pages or search online. The beauty salon directory at www.hairresources.com will allow you to search for ‘hair extensions in your City, State.
1. After selecting a salon, schedule an initial consultation to discuss what you would like to have done and any concerns that you have.
2. Ask about what hair extension experience your hair stylist has and where they received their training.
3. Make sure the hair stylist listens and understands your needs and concerns. Does he/she communicate well with you?
4. The hair stylist should ask you about your lifestyle, health, hobbies and your normal hair routine
5. An analysis of your scalp and hair should be done at the initial consultation to make sure your hair is in a condition for successful hair extensions.
6. Ask to see before and after photos of hair extension clients
7. Ask for references and be sure to call them
8. Ask how often the average client needs to replace the hair. This is very important for anticipating future costs
9. Get a written estimate for your hair extensions with an itemized list of the services required to achieve your new look
10. Get a written maintenance plan. Plan should include recommendations for products, grooming tools, follow-up appointments and any special instructions.
Hair extensions have many advantages and several disadvantage that should be addressed, but if you want to create an instant long hair style, human hair extensions are the way to go.
About the author:
Perriann Rodriguez is the founder of http://www.hairresources.com--the place to find world class hair styles and beauty salons. She is listed in the U.S.Register of American Writers and the 2004 Edition of Who’s Who among Professionals and Executives.