If all else fails in your hair growth efforts, hair extensions may be an option. Although we often equate that perfect coif that faux locks produce, with red-carpet looks or members of the Kardashian Clan, this technique has been used for decades. Ancient Egyptians and European Aristocrats used wigs and hair extensions as a way of beautification and show of stature in society.
Hair extensions have increased in popularity over the last decade. Supply and demand pressures have made them more accessible to the general populace. Luxurious hair has long been considered the epitome of femininity and beauty for women. Thus, extensions provide a perfect way to augment what nature did or didn’t give you.
So what do you need to know before securing your first set of Rapunzel like locks?……
Hair Preparation: strengthen the foundation of your own hair with products such as scalp stimulating shampoos (Pura D’Or, Follicure), a hair supplement, and an enriching deep conditioner such as Joico or Moroccan Oil. If you have curly, wavy, or frizzy hair, obtain a Brazilian Blow-Out before extension placement to prepare your real hair to match the texture of the extension hair.
Know The Hair: You get what you pay for. There are synthetic strands that are economical out there, but they come with challenges. Synthetic hair may become easily dry, tangled, brittle, and often you cannot use styling tools or regular hair care products on it. Although some of the newest strands come with mild heat resistant measures and technology is cultivating hair that appears more natural, albeit in the pricier range. Nonetheless, the best strands are real hair, especially “Remy” or “Virgin” hair, which will retain luster, smoothness, and look healthy over time. Among the real hair variety, you may find extensions from varying ethnic groups such as European, Latin, or Asian. There is also a specific type called “Yaki” hair which is designed to have a similar texture as relaxed African-American strands.
Maintenance: Once the extensions are in, wash and condition like normal. However, refrain from applying conditioner to the roots as it will loosen the extension bond. A hair serum applied to the ends will help keep locks moisturized. With root growth, hair extensions may need to be replaced. If using beads, tightening may be needed every 6-12 weeks.
Find The Right Placement Method For You: The bond used to secure extensions into the scalp may be partially personal preference and also based on your own hair quality. Tape, glue, clips, and braiding are all among the popular techniques for placement. It’s best to discuss what’s right for you with an experienced stylist. With fragile, unhealthy hair, beaded extensions may have a tendency to pull more and cause damage, thus the other modes would provide a better option. Clip-in extensions are great for ease of use but often the clip is more noticeable than other attachment methods. Glue in methods may also cause more damage and depending on the glue type have the possibility of causing a skin reaction.
Benefit vs Risk: With proper attachment technique, extensions can be placed with minimal damage to real hair. However, with excessive use or overly-heavy hair pieces, there is a risk for traction alopecia. This occurs when there is constant slow pulling of the hair out of the follicle and disruption of hair growth. If you are experiencing frequent headaches, rashes, bumps, breakage, receding hairline, or scalp itchiness after extension placement, its best to see you dermatology provider. Extension removal may be warranted to treat your condition and prevent permanent hair loss.
As with any beauty procedure, extensions have potential for adverse events. However, if utilized properly and in moderation, extensions can provide an exciting way to add glamour to your look.
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