HAIR EXTENSIONS 101
HAIR EXTENSIONS 101
WHAT ARE HAIR EXTENSIONS
Hair Extensions are artificial hair integrations that add thickness and length to your natural hair. Hair extensions are methods of lengthening one's hair by incorporating artificial hair or natural hair collected from other individuals. These hair techniques are advanced and are used to change the hair drastically without looking unrealistic. As a specialized stylist in this area today I am able to change your hair completely with one appointment.
LENGTH AND BASIC TEXTURE SCALE
As weaves have become a more popularized option for many over the past few years, like any other fad, it has its own "slang" or abbreviations for its common terms. To catch you up to speed, lets go over the four major terms. It is necessary to know what these terms mean because they are often used in the process of buying hair.
Virgin Hair - Hair that is cut with the cuticle going in the same direction which allows the hair to not easily tangle. This also means that the hair is in its natural state. No chemicals have been added to it whatsoever. This type of hair can come from any race and is usually more expensive because of the time it takes to grow and because it is found in less abundance.
Remy/Remi Hair - Hair that is cut with the cuticle going in the same direction which allows the hair to not easily tangle. BUT, the hair has some chemicals in it. This could mean it has been permed, colored, etc.
Single drawn is of a slightly lower quality than double-drawn hair. The hairs will have up to a 2" difference in the tips; that is, some hairs will be up to 2" shorter than their original lengths.
Double drawn indicates that the collected hair of a certain length has all of the shorter hairs in the bundle manually removed twice, hence the 'double' drawn. This means that hair extensions that are double drawn will have (nearly) as many hair strands at one end as the other and appear much thicker and not wispy at the ends. This process is very laborious, and therefore makes the extensions very expensive.
With human hair the hair shaft is made up of dead, hard protein, called keratin, in three layers. The inner layer is called the medulla and may not be present. The next layer is the cortex and the outer layer is the cuticle. The cortex makes up the majority of the hair shaft. The cuticle is formed by tightly packed scales in an overlapping structure similar to roof shingles. Most hair-conditioning products attempt to affect the cuticle. There are pigment cells that are distributed throughout the cortex, giving the hair its characteristic color. The cuticle is a hard shingle-like layer of overlapping cells, some five to twelve deep, formed from dead cells that form scales which give the hair shaft strength and protect the inner structure of the hair. The hair cuticle is the first line of defense against all forms of damage; it acts as a protective barrier for the softer inner structures, including the medulla and cortex.
Synthetic hair is made of a wide array of different [synthetic fibers]. Synthetic hair, just like human hair, comes in weave (weft) and single strands (bulk) for braids. Synthetic hair does not last as long as human hair because it gets quickly damaged by friction and heat. The quality of hair varies greatly. Depending on quality, it may never look like human hair, as it can be stiff and move differently than human hair. Synthetic hair is much less expensive than human hair. Heating appliances such as curling irons and straightening combs generally should never be used on most types of synthetic hair. There are some newer versions of synthetic hair that are more resistant, human-like hair that can be heat processed allowing for heat styling.FuturaFutura is a type of synthetic fiber that can withstand heat up to 400 degrees F, and can actually outlast human hair. It is very similar to human hair given it is tangle-free and has a natural sheen. It can be straightened or curled, however, it takes longer to set; but futura cannot be colored. It is sometimes sold as a human hair blend.
Weft - Hair held together with fine threads. This can be done with a machine or by hand. Although machine wefts are more popular (and cheaper), hand wefts are more desirable because they are more natural looking and more durable.
The most popular and commonly available form of hair is known as premium hair. It is sold in the majority of beauty supply stores worldwide. The roots and tips of hairs are interwoven in premium hair which causes tangling. This is due to the opposing cuticle layers catching onto one another. However; as it is the most inexpensive type of hair, it is a best seller.
Premium hair comes in two types:
- Regular premium hair: generally the least expensive type of hair. The cuticles are present in different directions and the hair is prone to tangling.
"Tangle-free" premium hair: this is obtained by chemically removing the cuticles using an acid bath. This process reduces the friction among hairs, leaving the remains tangle-free hair. In order to give the appearance of natural healthy hair, a laminate is applied to the hair to give it a shiny and silky look.
Pre-Bonded Extensions - Hair that is bonded at the ends with a bonding agent. The most common bonding agent is keratin. There are two types of these extensions, U-tipped and I-tipped. U-tipped pre-bonded extensions use heat when applied while I-tipped pre-bonded extensions use special devices that don't require heat.
Textures of artificial hair vary from very straight to extremely curly, or kinky. The exact names of curl patterns vary by brand, and the possibilities of curl patterns with synthetic hair are endless, but some examples of packaged textures include:
- Silky Straight - Straight and smooth, East Asian like hair.
- Yaki - Straight, usually mimicking the texture of relaxed Afro-Caribbean hair.
- European - Straight European hair; less straight than Asian hair. May have a tiny amount of wave.
- Deep Wave - While generally not a true 'wave', it can be made to look like spiral curls.
- Loose Deep Wave or Romance Wave - Looser version of the deep wave, softer, more romantic curls.
- Jheri Curl (sometimes colloquially known as 'nappy tracks') - Usually sold in very short lengths, it is often used to recreate the full 'afro' look.
- Wet and Wavy, can be packaged as Spanish Wave or Indian Wave - Usually human hair is used, and is either naturally curly or permanently waved to appear so. Characterized as having soft, natural-looking curls that revert to a curly state when wet.
is adding hair extensions by creating a foundation with nice firm braids. Then, adding wefted hair extensions by sewing it in. Synthetic hair is sometimes added to the foundation for additional support if needed.
This technique is the least permanent and can be very effective without the disadvantages such a traction alopecia associated with glue extensions. The hair weft has small toupee clips sewn onto them. Usually a set of clip-in extensions averages eight strips of human hair in varying widths from two inches to eight inches. Starting at the nape of the neck, the hair is sectioned neatly, then the weft is placed onto this section with the clips open and facing the scalp. Each clip is snapped into place. It can be helpful to lightly backcomb each section for a more secure grip. This is repeated until each clip-in weft is in place. Clip-ins can be worn all day and all night; however, they must be removed before sleeping. Some people wear clip-ins just for night life, while others wear them every day to work. This shows the versatility of this type of hair extension.
is an approach to hair weave that lasts for a shorter period of time in comparison to sew-in weave. It involves the application of hair glue to a section of wefted hair then onto a person's natural hair; special hair adhesives are used in bonding to prevent damage to one's natural hair. This technique is commonly used and does not cause damage to the hair unless taken out without proper directions from a professional. It is advised that weave bonding be installed for up to 3 weeks because the glue begins to loosen up and lessens the attractiveness of the hair. There are 2 types of bonds: soft bond which is flexible and comfortable to wear and are made using latex, acrylic or silicone and hard bond which is the professional name for super glue. Hard bond adhesives last longer than soft bond adhesives because it is not water based and therefore does not fall apart. Nonetheless, the hard bond adhesives are not as comfortable as the soft bond adhesive because they are rigid. These bond attachments generally last 4–6 weeks before a maintenance appointment is necessary.
The fusion method delivers one of the most versatile and most natural-looking weaves on the market. With this technique a machine similar to a hot glue gun is used to attach human hair extensions to individual strands of one's natural hair of about 1/8 to 1/4 inch squared sections for a truly authentic look. Another option for fusion attachments is using hair which is pre-tipped with a keratin adhesive. A heat clamp is then used to melt the adhesive to attach the extension hair to the natural hair. Fusion weave allows washing hair frequently and the use of regular hair products such as hair gels. Nonetheless this technique is very time consuming because it takes about 3 or more hours.They need repositioning every 2–3 months as the natural hair grows.Because of the glue and the heat this method is more damaging to your natural hair then other methods.
Hair Infusion Extensions are known worldwide for providing safety to the natural hair since this technique does not uses heat or any other appliances to be linked to the natural hair other than a keratin based adhesive. Hair infusion is a reusable hair extension technique.
is a technique which involves braiding natural tresses under a thin, breathable net that serves as a flat surface onto which stylists can weave extensions.This method requires the use of a hair net or cap to be placed over the person's hair that has been braided. Netting provides more flexibility than track placement because the stylist is not limited to sewing extensions to a braid. With netting there is the option of sewing the hair wefts onto the net or gluing.
The most recent development in weave extensions are lace fronts. Lace fronts are made from a nylon mesh material formed into a cap that is then hand-ventilated by knotting single strands of hair into the tiny openings of the cap, giving the hair a more natural and authentic continuity than typical extensions. Furthermore,the extension units can be woven in or attached to a person's hairline with special adhesives. To ensure a proper fit, head measurements are taken into account with this type of weave. A lace frontal is best placed by a professional since more advanced weaving and hair extensions are used. This method is commonly used by women around the world because it makes it possible to have access to a certain part of their scalp and at the same time giving a natural and attractive look.
Weaves get a bad rep for the damage they can cause. But if you properly care for your hair underneath,
weaves can be a great way to add fullness and length, change up your look or give your natural hair a break from styling.
Following these simple tips at home will help you minimize damage and optimize growth!
It’s crucial that you deep condition your hair before attaching a weave. Apply a product like Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak to damp hair then sit under a hooded dryer wearing a plastic cap for 20 minutes. No hooded dryer? No problem. Leave the conditioner in for 45 minutes to 1 hour with just the plastic cap. Then rinse. We offer this Service at the salon to ensure that you get the best results. So just ask.
Because of the build-up that occurs between the tracks and under the braids from shampoo and condtioner, I do not recommend a fully soaked wash. Also with my years of experience, I can tell you that your natural hair underneath no matter how long you sit under the hair drier, never dries properly, causing your hair to have a stench when extensions are later removed. In addition, the constant rubbing and friction caused while shampooing and rinsing causes your natural hair to become tangled from the roots. This causes more breakage to your natural hair when you now have to detangle this matted hair that you have not touched in over 2 months. There is a technique called the dry wash or dry clean. It is a three step process that cleans, conditions, and moisturizes your scalp, carefully maneuvering between tracks and under the braids without a full soak. Then we go to the next process to clean the extentions with shampoo and conditioner Saturate each section then massaging the products into the hair as you would your natural hair. We then rinse section by section, loosely wrapping it back up in a knot when moving onto the next section. When all product is removed you sit under a hooded dryer so that the extension hair can thoroughly dry. This is all done with out a full soak which protects your natural hair underneath. You should also make sure you do not skip regular tightening touch-ups, which should be done at least every 2 weeks.
Depending on the brand and the quality of hair, some extentions may tangle or shed more than others. Especially in the nape area. This is because of the friction caused by the hair resting on the back of your neck. To detangle excessive tangles, part your weave into four quadrants. Create loose knots and secure with clips to reduce tangling. Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the extensions. Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle section by section starting from your ends gradually moving up to the nape. For moderate tangles you can get away with just finger combing your tresses. Just run your fingers through your hair through out the day. This will be less stress on the extensions which reduces the chance of excessive tangling and shedding.
The #1 rule I always tell clients: DO NOT SLEEP ON THE HAIR at night! It is extremely important that you wrap the hair in a sleeping cap, head tie, scarf, durag, stocking cap, anything. Anything is better than nothing before you lay down at night. Sleeping on your tresses will cause excessive tangling and shedding. The hair will begin to look trashy no matter what the quality. If you are wearing a straight weave you should wrap the hair before tieing it up. If you have manufactured curls most likely you're safe to just throw your hair in a bonnet. Thats because the curls were made to stay that way if over time you start to loose some of your curls you can use flexy rods or rollers. For non manufactured curls, meaning your extension was straight or wavey when you bought it, but we added some curls to it at the salon using an iron, you can section off the hair finger roll each section then use a bobby pin to hold the curl in place. Use of cotton pillowcases and sheets may adversely affect the shine of your hair so it's better to use a silk or satin scarf or bonnet to wrap up your hair. Clients always tell me..." I tried to put the bonnet on but it fell off during the night. Well here's a trick that sometimes works:
- 1st put on a hair net to hold your style in place
- 2nd put on scarf, bonnet, or durag
Straight Hair- Wrap
Finger Rolled- Pin Curls
Steer clear of curling and flat irons on a regular basis. Bantu knots or jumbo braids at night can create beautiful curls and waves in the morning. Just lightly finger-comb. The less you manipulate your weave, the less stress you’re applying to the hair.
Oil Your Edges and Scalp
Rosemary herb combined with an oil like jojoba or almond can condition hair and stimulate growth. Mix in a squirt bottle so that you can direct the oil to your scalp and avoid the contact with your weave. Try Aura Cacia 100% Pure Essential Oil.
Dirt, sweat, styling products and natural oils are some of the ingredients that interfere with clean hair condition. To keep the hair clean you should avoid excessive use of styling products. Products with heavy oils attract dirt to the hair which have shown to shorten the longevity of hair extensions. If the hair becomes dry just lightly spray a light oil sheen on the hair and put on a silk bonnet this should restore the shine back into the hair. You should not use gels, creams, or excessive mouse, over time they will damage the hair.
If you are on a seaside and wish to swim, either use a swim cap or saturate and rinse the hair by applying a cream rinse before plunging in.
If you excercise on a daily basis. Wrap your hair before excerisising or put it up in a high pony tail this will help the hair stay off your back for your comfort, and will keep the hair from getting saturated in sweat. After excercising and shower put your back out so it can properly air dry. those who excercise on a regular basis may require to get a "Dry Clean" at least every 2 weeks.
Giving your hair a rest from weaves doesn’t necessarily mean your locks have to go from long and curly to cropped and relaxed overnight. If you want to keep up one consistent look even in between weaves, try faux ponies or half-wigs. A few of my faves: Milky Way Human Hair Weave Master Ponytail – French Super (Black Hairspray, $20.99), Outre “Polly” Quick Weave, $15.99 and Shake N Go Freetress Afro Drawstring Ponytail (Amazon, $9.98). Or be creative with your natural hair wether it's relaxed or not. Your strands will thank you later! Use this time to Deep-Condition your natural hair and don't for get to get your dead ends trimed before your next install.
Naturally Yours- Natural Hair
Naturally Yours- Relaxed Hair
WHY I SHOULD
So now that you know the basics of weave, lets discuss why you SHOULD consider a weave.
Reason #1: The Variety.
Weave comes in all different shades and lengths. Also, the hair comes from different types of donors of many different races and ethnicities. Can you instantly grow Indian, European, Brazilian, etc. hair? Didn't think so.
Reason #2: Quick & Easy.
Imagine how long it would take for you to grow your own hair to the length that you want. Now, imagine going to your trusted stylist, sitting in a chair for a few hours or less, and walking out with the length of hair you've always desired. Your choice.
Reason #3: Durable.
It is very possible and very realistic to be able to have your weave in for up to 3 months and depending on how well you maintain it, your weave can still look just as fabulous as it did the day you got it.
Reason #4: Give your natural hair a break!
Blow Drying. Straightening. Curling. Your hair sees a lot of heat through the week-month-year. Give it a rest without sacrificing your good looks. Get weave!
Reason #5: Yourself.
It's YOUR hair. You have the power to look glamourous and turn heads where ever you go. You've been dying to have fabulous hair. Do what makes YOU happy.
So now that you have everything you need to survive in the world of weave, there's nothing left to do but choose the hair and find a stye. Of course, I am not going to leave you on your own to carry out this task!
Step 1: Assess your own hair.
What's you hair color? What's the texture of your hair? This will all come in to play when choosing your hair.
Step 2: What do you want?
How long do you want your weave to be? Do you want a two-tone weave? You can't choose the right hair for yourself unless you know what you want. Along with colors and length, Hair comes from all different types of ethnicities, you have many to choose from.
Step 3: Don't be scared.Try new things and try new styles. Your hair is a medium for expressing yourself
*For the beginners, try the regular Sew-In or the Net Weave Sew-In method first.
WHERE DO I GET THE HAIR?
I wish you the best of luck as you embark on your weave journey, have fun!