How often do you see a starlet on TV and think “why doesn’t my hair look like that?” The answer is simple.
It’s not her hair! Well, not all of it, anyway.
Sure, some women are blessed with a thick mane, but most aren’t. Especially, not the kind of hair that you see on celebrities.
You can have that hair too with hair extensions. Worried that they’re too expensive or too much upkeep? That’s certainly true of some.
There are so many different types of hair extensions. You can easily find some that fit your budget and lifestyle.
Read on for a guide to each method, plus their cost and maintenance required.
Why Get Hair Extensions?
Hair extensions can help you reach most of your hair goals.
Do you want some extra length, but don’t want to wait for your hair to grow out? Extensions can help you achieve that instantly.
Extensions are also great if you want some extra fullness. Even adding a couple extension pieces above your ears can change your look completely.
Ready to have fabulous hair? Just choose from these types of hair extensions based on your budget and maintenance preference.
There are Many Types of Hair Extensions
There have been many innovations in hair extensions in the last few years. There’s a range of methods you can choose from.
But first, you’ll decide whether you want human or synthetic hair.
Human Hair vs. Synthetic Hair
With human hair, you can do anything to it that you would your own hair. If you dye your hair a new shade you can dye the pieces as well. Real hair can also be curled and straightened.
Some synthetic hair allows for heat styling. However, it won’t withstand as much as real hair.
The only reason why you would choose synthetic hair is if you’re trying to cut costs. If your budget allows, always go with human hair.
Now on to the types of hair extensions that are available to you.
Clip-in extensions come as wefts of hair in various widths. Usually, a package will contain one or two 6 inch wide pieces. Then a few 3-4 inches wefts and a couple 1-inch wefts.
At the top are small clips. The wide pieces go around the back. The small pieces go around your crown and temples.
You can put them in on your own by parting your hair horizontally. Then you just clip the hair at your roots and lay your hair on top.
Between $50-$200 depending on quality and the amount of hair.
There is very little maintenance required for these types of hair extensions. If you take care of them they will last a long time. You can probably go 2-3 years without having to purchase new ones.
Hidden crown or halo extensions are similar to clip-ins. You can take them off whenever you want and they don’t require professional installation.
However, as with clip-ins, you might want a stylist to cut them so they blend better into your hair.
Hidden crowns have hair hanging from a band instead of a bunch of pieces. You put the band on your head around the crown. Then you take a rat-tail comb and pull your hair out of the band so it lays over the extension.
$75-$350 depending on the brand.
The maintenance for hidden crowns is the same as clip-ins. Just put them in a safe spot where they won’t get messy. These types of hair extensions can last several years when taken care of.
Fusion or Bonded
Bonded extensions come in small bundles of hair. The plastic top is essentially heat fused to your own hair.
Because the hair bundles are so small, it can take a long time for the installation. They also can be tough on your hair because they pull at the root.
$400-$3,000 depending on the types of hair extensions used. For example, the Keratin brand extensions are fantastic quality, but much more expensive.
Bonded extensions last 3-6 months. As Super Hair Factory puts it, “it depends on how well you care for them.”
That means not brushing them too hard and gently shampooing and styling. These extensions can easily get knotty if you aren’t careful. They can also fall out if you pull at them too much.
After the 3-6 months, a stylist will remove the extensions and they can’t be reused.
Micro-link or Micro-loop
These types of hair extensions look similar to bonded extensions except they are attached differently. Your hair is pulled through a loop at the top and then clamped shut.
They’re a great alternative to bonds if you don’t want to use glue and chemicals.
$300-$1,000 depending on how much hair you install.
Every 6-8 weeks a stylist will have to open the loops and push the extension up to your roots. This is generally charged on an hourly basis.
If you take care of these extensions, you can keep the hair for up to 6-8 months.
Sewn “weaves” are the original hair extension. This hair trended started in African American communities.
To install, hair is tightly braided in horizontal cornrows. Then, wide wefts of hair are sewn into the braids.
The process is by far the most intricate and time-consuming. However, these types of hair extensions are the most durable.
This type of extension isn’t recommended for fine hair or sensitive scalps. The braids are so tight that it can cause breakage.
$200-$1000 depending on whether you get a full or partial weave.
Because of the stress on the scalp, you should be regularly moisturizing the skin around the braids.
Weaves can last up to 4 months if taken care of. However, they’re very damaging. After they’ve been removed, you should give your hair a break before putting them back in.
These are semi-permanent extensions. You’ll need someone else to install them for you.
Taped extensions come in about 1-2 inch wide wefts of hair. At the top is a strip of adhesive.
One strip is placed underneath a strip of your own hair. Then another strip will be applied over the top of your hair. After the desired amount of strips are applied, the stylist will cut the hair to blend it in.
Taped extensions can have a very natural look. One problem with different types of hair extensions is that you can see the “tracks.” Tracks are the top of the extension that is attached to your real hair.
Unlike bonded or micro-link extensions, taped ones lie flat and aren’t as noticeable.
$600-$800 which includes the price of the hair and the installation.
Every 6-8 weeks the extensions have to be reinstalled because of your hair growth. You use the same hair that you already have. The stylist will just replace the tape.
That means you’ll pay for the cost of tape and reinstallation. Generally, you’ll be charged an hourly rate of $60-$100 for the labor.
You don’t have to buy a full head of extensions to have fun with them. Switch up your hairstyle whenever you want with accent pieces.
Instead of getting bangs after a breakup, just get some extensions. When you start to regret them, you just unclip them!
Bang extension pieces just clip to the hair on your forehead. Then you pull your own hair forward to hide the sides.
$20-$150 depending on whether they are synthetic or real hair.
These extensions are gathered like a ponytail instead of individual pieces. You clip the piece where you want it and pull your hair and then extensions together.
Secure it with a band and then wrap an inch wide piece of hair around the hair tie. That will hide any seams in the extension.
$20-$300 depending on length and quality of hair.
Want to add some funky colored highlights but don’t want to go permanent? Colorful clip-in extensions are a great option. You can look like a wild party girl on the weekend and go to your job Monday looking professional.
You can also get more permanent extensions in colors as well. It’s a great option for brunettes who don’t want to bleach their hair so the color will show up.
The vibrancy of the color will also last a little longer than if you dyed your own hair.
The cost for colored extensions will be the same price as they would be for natural colors.
One difference is that since you’re only using them as highlights, you don’t need as many pieces. That will make the overall price for the hair and the labor less if a stylist puts them in for you.
It’s a great option if you want a hair change doesn’t have the money for a big investment.
Hair Extensions are a Worthy Investment
Though they’re expensive, hair extensions can give you an instant boost of confidence. Extensions allow you to have a lot more great hair days with way less effort.
Are you thinking of getting extensions because your hair has been looking a little thin lately? Then you might be interested in this article, “What are the Causes of Female Hair Loss (And How You Can Fix it).”