EXTENSION/NON-SURGICAL HAIR REPLACEMENT METHODS

There are many types of hair enhancements. All of the following are non-surgical methods of enhancement. Every brand name tries to convince its potential clients that they have a system unlike any other. While the quality of products used may vary by brand, there are still only a limited number of application methods on the market. As a general rule of thumb, hair enhancements fall into three main category types; Weft, Strand by Strand & Piece. Weft methods are generally for shorter wear as they are applied quickly and are not evenly weight distributed. Strand-by-Strand is a more permanent and time consuming method to apply, as weight distribution is evenly placed on the natural hair for long-term safety and the hair has a more natural flow. Pieces generally add bulk to areas where there is not enough natural hair to attach to, or where some weft and strand-by-strand methods can’t be hidden. Prices can vary between $200-$2500 depending on the method, tools and hair used. Because prices vary so dramatically throughout markets, it is hard to give a standard. Longevity can also be affected by many factors.

 

In the listing below, “Longevity” is referring to how long a bond will last without maintenance, NOT how long a client should go without maintenance! ALL hair extensions should be checked every 3-4 weeks for problems!

 

Braided Weave/Track
Type: Weft
Some Common Application Brand Names:
Application Method: Natural hair is braided against scalp. Wefts of hair are sewn or bonded with a glue to the braids
Longevity: 4-8 weeks

 

Pole Weave/Track
Type: Weft
Some Common Application Brand Names:
Application Method: A weaving thread and a small amount of natural hair are used to create a track similar to braiding but less bulky. Wefts of hair are sewn or bonded with a glue to the tracks
Longevity: 4-8 weeks

 

Cold Bond
Type: Weft
Some Common Application Brand Names: Ms. Black, Liquid Gold
Application Method: Wefts of hair are bonded directly to the natural hair
Longevity: 1-8 weeks

 

Clip-Ins/Tape-Ons
Type: Weft
Some Common Application Brand Names: Diana Hair, Glamour Hair, Raquel Welch, Revolution, HairUWear, Easilites, Diva In A Box
Application Method: Wefts or segments of hair contain elastic bands, adhesive tape or clips for attaching as needed to the natural hair
Longevity: 1 day-5 days

 

Double Hair
Type: Weft

Application Method: Double layered micro-thin wefts are secured to the natural hair in strands with a fusion bond, creating a fusion/weft hybrid (a similar method of attachment can also be done with wefts and Micro-Rings)
Longevity: 2-6 months

 

Fusion
Type: Strand by Strand
Application Method: Small weight distributed segments of extension hair are attached one by one to small sections of your own hair using a wax, polymer or keratin protein and heat
Longevity: 2-6 months

 

Ultra-Sonic Fusion/Cold Fusion
Type: Strand by Strand
Application Method: Small weight distributed segments of extension hair are attached one by one to small sections of your own hair using a polymer or keratin protein and an ultrasonic pulse instead of heat
longevity: 2-6 months

 

Loops
Type: Strand by Strand
Application Method; This is done with a plastic loop which helps put small strands of hair thru the metal clip. It is very easy to apply and easy to remove. There is no use of heat or messy glues.
Longevity: 2-6 months
Microchet
Type: Strand by Strand
Some Common Application Brand Names: Microchet Hair Extensions
Application Method: Small segments of looped extension hair are placed on a crochet hook and attached one by one to small sections of your own hair using a thread technique
Longevity: 2-3 months

 

Micro-braids/ Box-braids
Type: Strand by Strand
Some Common Application Brand Names:
Application Method: Small segments of loose hair are braided into segments of your own hair using a three strand braid
Longevity: 3 months

 

Shrink Tubes
Type: Strand by Strand
Some Common Application Brand Names: Shrinkies, Elegant Additions
Application Method: Small weight distributed segments of extension hair are attached one by one to small sections of your own hair using tiny plastic tubes (similar to Micro-Cylinders) that shrink down tight when heat is applied
Longevity: 2-6 months

 

MonoFibre
Type: Strand by Strand
Some Common Application Brand Names: ProStyle’s ProHair Extensions, Invisible Hair’s MonoFibre
Application Method: The specially formulated fiber extension segment and your own hair segment is braided into a long microbraid and the fiber is melted using heat around the braid to secure it in the hair
Longevity: 3-4 months

 

Integration/Lacing/Web
Type: Piece
Some Common Application Brand Names: Invisible Hair, Euro Hair Balmain Paris, Continental Hair, New Woman Integration
Application Method: Individual strands of hair are sewn onto a sheer nylon/polyester/skin-like or other material web-like cap. Your own hair is drawn through the web to blend with the integration and allow the natural hair to breath. Depending on the amount of hair loss the space between the webbing may vary. Can be woven daily or grafted (secured to scalp) as well for a long-term hold
Longevity: 1 day-8 weeks

 

Skin
Type: Piece
Some Common Application Brand Names: Virtual Reality, Second Skin, Thinskin, Invisible Hair
Application Method: A breathable manmade layer of skin containing individual hairs is grafted to thin or completely bald areas of the scalp for long-term hold in corrective cases
Longevity: 5-8 weeks

 

Wigs/Bands/Wiglets/Lace-Front Wigs
Type: Piece
Some Common Application Brand Names: Raquel Welch, Hair U Wear, Mona Lisa, Lovely Collection, Sepia, TressAllure, Sophia Kaplan
Application Method: A full or partial hair piece that can be worn and removed daily as needed
Longevity: Daily

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HAIR TYPES & QUALITY
Extension/Enhancement hair can vary greatly in quality. Understanding what you are buying is extremely important when shopping for prices. It is available in both synthetic fibre and human hair. Good quality human hair can be treated naturally. Low quality human hair dries out more quickly and tangles. High quality fibre hair can withstand some heat, similar to human hair. Low quality fibre can withstand no heat styling. Synthetic hair should ONLY be used for short term or temporary methods.

Extension hair that is not already included as a piece can generally be broken into three categories;

 

WEFTED
Wefted hair can be machine tied or hand tied. Hand tied wefts are generally less bulky. Their size and color can be custom made to fit a clients head. They usually have a higher cost. They are often made of a higher quality hair. These are used for Wefted methods of application. In some cases a stylist may cut the hair from a weft to use in another form of extension.

 

PRE-TIPPED
Pre-tipped hair can have I-shaped tips or U-shaped tips. Both can be used for various strand-by-strand methods, however, all but the fusion method generally uses an I-tip exclusively. Often, pre-tipped hair tends to shed a great deal less than hair a stylist tips themselves. It also makes application much faster. Often pre-tipped bonding material is of a higher quality than free hand bonding materials. Unless you have a very talented stylist, pre-tipped bonds also tend to be less bulky and more consistent in size and shape. During strand-by-strand methods this leads to better weight distribution.

 

LOOSE HAIR
Loose hair comes in a loose ponytail and is often the preferred source of hair for many braiding methods and for stylists who prefer to create their own bonds. As stated above, unless a stylist is very skilled at rolling bonds, self-bonded hair tends to be less consistent and sheds easily. Self-created bonds are typically created on this hair with the use of a hot glue gun and hair glue sticks, or with the use of a melting pot and a melted down bond.

 

Low quality human hair is “Double Drawn” or “Brushed.” When the hair is removed from the head the roots and ends are mixed up, creating cuticles that do not run in the same direction. This causes tangling. Low quality hair has also gone through many more chemical treatments. Because of this, the cuticle of the hair is damaged and does not lay flat. This creates dull, dry hair. To hide this, the hair is covered with a grape seed oil or silicone. This slowly rinses off as the hair is shampooed. This sometimes also causes extension hair to slip and interferes with the bond point. The textures are created with chemical services. Dyes used on low quality hair are often fabric dyes, and because of this, the hair will not react properly if colored later. Extension hair should always be ordered in the color you need, not colored to order unless it is of very high quality. This hair is usually of Asian decent so has a thicker round cuticle. You can find higher quality dark hair of Asian decent than light hair, as it suffers less processing.

 

Good quality human hair is referred to as “Remi”, “Remin”, or “Remy.” The cuticle of the hair is facing one direction and should be fairly intact. Cheaper brands of remi hair can have some damage to the cuticle caused by processing. This hair should not be colored and will still dry out faster over time. It has longer wear than low quality hair but still will need to be rotated out on a regular basis. Again, the textures are generally created with chemical services. This hair is sometimes referred to as “European Quality Hair.” This is not actually European hair, but the best grades of Asian, Pakistani and Indian hair. The cuticle is stripped slightly down so that it resembles the feel of a European cuticle strand.

 

High quality human hair is referred to as “European Remi” and is actually of European decent. This hair has a healthy cuticle, if not fully intact. The textures of this hair are natural, some hair is straight and some is wavy. High quality hair will wear up to a year if treated properly. Again, natural colors are dark so hair goes through a stripping process to create lighter colors, therefore causing the cuticle to open a little. Try to avoid coloring. This hair is generally from Southern Italy or Spain, where the natural cuticle is thinner.

 

Very high quality human hair is Remy as well as “Virgin” or “Raw.” It has never been treated with ANY chemical process, and has usually been grown with the intent of selling. The cuticle is completely intact. Even within this category the hair comes in separate grades, with A being that of a young child’s suffering little environmental damage, and D being that of an older donor with slightly more coarseness to the hair, caused by age and the environment. It can safely be colored or permed, and is extremely expensive and rare. Many companies try to pass their hair off as this fraudulently. This hair can be worn for years with proper care. This hair is grown in areas near the Artic Circle, often by Russian and Polish families for generations to be cut and sold.

 

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CARE & MAINTENANCE
The most important aspect of any hair enhancement service is proper maintenance. Although some stylists may state that certain extension methods can last up to 6 months without maintenance, or other methods may be able to “just grow out” this is NOT TRUE. This is the main reason hair enhancement services have a bad reputation, and the way hair is damaged by these types of services. When enhancements are properly maintained, both at home and in the salon by your enhancement professional, a healthy head will suffer no damage upon proper removal of your enhancement. Because many stylists make a large profit from initial applications, and because maintenance of the service is usually more time consuming and less profitable for a stylist, many establishments do not offer maintenance. Instead they will wait until a full head needs to be redone and the client will pay the entire application cost again, often every 3 to 6 months. At this point some damage has usually occurred to the natural hair. Be aware of any establishment that does not offer you a regular maintenance schedule or tells you an enhancement method does not require in salon maintenance.

 

Because of the natural growth of hair, no enhancement should be worn past 3 months without maintenance. There are non-arguable reasons for this.

 

AVERAGE GROWTH

On average hair grows .5″ per month. When hair is left untouched, at the 6-month mark bonds will be hanging approximately 3″ off the head. This tends to be aesthetically disappointing.

SHEDDING
On average a person sheds approximately 100 strands of hair a day. When hair is placed in some type of bond point, loose hair becomes entrapped in these points and unable to shed. Over time this leads to an unequal weight distribution on the natural hair causing breakage and damage. This also will lead to greater matting.

 

MATTING
Over time, hair that has naturally been shed and becomes entrapped in an enhancements bond will begin to tangle with the fresh growth of natural hair. The hair will begin to form a matt or dreadlock. When this happens, the natural hair must be patiently picked through, usually resulting in some natural breakage. If this is possible, or sometimes as a quick fix, the natural hair is above the matting. In strand-by-strand methods the strands may also begin to tangle with each other and lead to matting. It is imperative that clients practice good home care to avoid this.
With proper in-salon maintenance a client can wear hair extensions for years. Ideally extensions should be checked and problem areas rotated out or treated every 3-4 weeks. Hair extensions and additions are never truly permanent, no matter what anyone says.

 

Although some bond/hair brands state that they can be colored or permed over, this is never a good idea and will shorten the life of any brand. Ideally, chemical services should be done only on new hair growth and at the crown where most methods are usually not applied. Always chemically treat your natural hair 2 days prior to or 2 days after applying any bond, as the chemicals coating the natural hair can sometimes affect the hold of the enhancement. Only allow stylists who are familiar with enhancements to cut them. This can’t be stated firmly enough. It is very easy to cut the bulk out of an enhancement, leaving a client with a destroyed and stringy style. Ask for examples of a stylists work before letting them cut your new hair. A good specialist should be capable of cutting and coloring your new hair themselves if you wish.
Keeping extensions healthy is the responsibility of not only the salon professional, but the client. Although most home care is common sense based, some is learned and all is of the utmost importance in maintaining the integrity of both your natural hair and your enhancement.

 

Wait 48 hours before washing your hair after any application of hair to make sure bonding agents have fully set. This includes the hours following maintenance appointments. Use back and forth motion lightly at the scalp to prevent scalp build-up. Never use circular motions when washing, as this will cause hair to tangle. Use a Clarifying shampoo and conditioner on your extensions. The brand does not matter as much as the category of Clarifying. Oil free shampoo and conditioner work as well. Avoid volume and straightening lines, as these coat the hair and bonds. With lesser quality hairs, you may need to use a silicone product and or heavy conditioner, but use these only on the ends of the hair, never at the scalp. Always use lukewarm water on your enhancement. When using a towel, pat your hair dry, never rub with the towel. Always wash hair following salt water, chlorine, or heavy sweating as this can cause damage to your enhancement if left in the hair. You should be able to wash everyday as normal if needed, however, keep in mind the less frequent the washing the easier the wear on your new hair.

 

The single most important part of at home maintenance is the 100% soft bristle boar hairbrush. Boar hairbrushes are available in soft, medium and hard bristle textures. You must use a soft texture only on enhancements. Any other type of brush or comb will catch at your bond point and cause breakage or damage to the natural hair. A soft boar brush can be pressed all the way to the scalp. These brushes help to catch oils from the scalp and deposit them throughout dry enhancement hair. They also help to remove build-up from the scalp that develops from not being able to wash as thoroughly. This can cut down on an itchy scalp as well. Boar hairbrushes will remove some of the shed hairs that may result in mattes over time and separate strands from matting in strand-by-strand methods. Clip the hair up in sections and brush completely through the head at least two times per day. Once in the morning and once before bed is often most convenient. Always do this after washing the hair.
When styling, avoid direct heat on any bonded method of hair. Direct high heat can weaken some methods/brands. A hairdryer can be used, but keep it 10″ to 12″ from the head. All human hair can be curled, flat ironed, etc as normal. Avoid putting hot equipment directly on bond points. Use styling products through the hair, never at the scalp. Leaving oily products in the hair for long that might travel to the bond point may lead to slippage of the enhancement (this includes sweat left in the hair.)

 

Sleeping with a satin pillowcase causes less friction and matting on hair during the night. Always place hair into two braids or small ponytails while you sleep. This should also be done anytime you are in a windy environment, or anytime the hair is at risk of friction or tangling.

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