Extensions – Which Are Right For You?

Extensions can offer an easy way to obtain the long, luxurious hair you’ve always dreamed about, but if you don’t carefully consider your options beforehand, you could end up with seriously damaged tresses. Hair salons – and, indeed, individual stylists – vary in their approach to extensions, so it’s important to determine exactly what you want before your new hair is affixed to your head. Here are a few questions to consider when you’re trying to decide which hair extensions are right for you:

* Individual strands or wefts? First, you need to understand the differences between the two. Individual strands are small groupings of hair – around 20 to 50 strands – that are attached to the natural hair via a variety of methods. These methods include weaving in, heat fusing, clamping with metal rods, or affixing with glue, wax or polymers. All of these methods can be very damaging to the hair, and individual strand extensions will only last for a few months. Wefts, on the other hand, are “curtains” of hair attached at the top, and they are integrated into the natural hair by being sewn onto a “track,” a tight braid that lies against the scalp. Higher quality wefts are handmade, and can be tailored specifically to your needs in terms of color, size and length. They also last longer than individual strands. Clearly, wefts are the superior choice.
* Synthetic or natural hair? While synthetic hair is much cheaper than natural human hair, it is not surprising that most reputable hair salons will not recommend it to their clients. This is because synthetic hair is made from plastic, which gives it an unnatural appearance and makes it much more difficult to care for properly. Natural hair is a better choice, but keep in mind that not all natural hair is created equal! European hair (from Italy or Spain) is usually preferable to hair from other parts of the world, and raw or virgin hair is the most prized of all, although it is very difficult to find – especially since U.S. law prohibits the sale of hair that has not been boiled and processed to meet importation standards.
* What does your salon specialize in? If you’re still unsure about what kinds of extensions you need, take a look around your salon during your next visit. What kinds of extensions do they specialize in? What are the most popular choices? Not all hair salons offer the same types of hair or the same attachment processes. If you have a friend with extensions that look natural and beautiful, you could also ask her where she had hers done.
* What does your stylist recommend for your particular needs? Finally, ask your regular stylist at your local beauty salon what he or she recommends for your hair. They are already familiar with the length, texture and color of your natural hair, so they should be able to offer an informed opinion about what you need when it comes to extensions.

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