If you cant shell out for salon extensions that you wear full time (one row of weaving costs about $100, lasting six weeks), clip-in pieces are affordable and easy, and almost any brand will work, says Tina McIntosh, a hair extension and replacement artist at Shear Art Salon in Tampa, Florida. Follow these tips for natural-looking locks:
1. Know your options. Extensions can be made of either human or synthetic hair. Synthetic hair is less expensive, usually cant be styled with heat, and needs to be replaced after two to three months of everyday wear. Human hair, on the other hand, costs about two to three times as much, but it also lasts longer with everyday wear (six months to a year) and can be styled normally.
2. Shop smart. Match the hue to the very ends of your hair, and be sure the diameter and thickness of the hair strands is close to your own too.
3. Take it to your stylist. To really make your extensions work with your own style, take them to your next hair appointment, and ask your stylist to clip them in after she finishes cutting your hair. That way, she can shape them so they blend seamlessly with your haircut. It might cost extra, so call first to negotiate a price.
4. Clip it in correctly. Take your fingertips and divide out a section of hair from your eyes to the back of your head. Tie that section on top of your head, then tease the hair just below it to create traction; next, secure the clip on top (most simply snap on to hair). Drop hair down and gently comb to blend.
5. Keep it looking healthy. Wash synthetic hair with a gentle laundry soap, and for human hair, put a quarter-size drop of shampoo in a large bowl and fill it with warm water to dilute. Gently dip to cleanse, then place it in a bowl of clean water to rinse. Repeat with conditioner.
TRY: Your Best Hair Extensions!
- Luxy Hair is a budget-friendly source for shiny clip-in pieces made from Remy Human Hair ($129.95 and up for fine hair; 11 shades; luxyhair.com).
- Hairdo by Ken Paves makes wavy, tousled clip-in extensions from polyester fibers ($79 for a mid-length piece; 6 shades; qvc.com).
- Ultratress is a line of 100 percent Remy Human Hair extensions, available at salons nationwide (prices vary; go to ultratess.com to find a participating stylist).