Hair Care

By Kathryn Holl

It used to be if you wanted long, flowing locks you either had to commit painstakingly growing out your hair or dole out tons of money and invest in extensions that could ultimately ruin your natural hair. However, thanks to young Hollywood and the desire to remain youthful forever, the world of extensions has expanded along with your options. Sure you can shell out a few thousand bucks for fabulously thick, long hair but these days who has the time or the money? As we’re always looking out for your best interests here at Beauty News, we searched high and low for the best hair money can buy. In conducting our search, we learned all there is to know about clip-in extensions so you don’t have to.

If you’re in the market for a good set of clip-in hair the first thing you need to do is guarantee quality and know exactly what it is you want. Remember that synthetic hair cannot be custom-colored or styled. The tricky aspect to extensions is which “type” of hair to buy. There are many buzzwords out there such as Remi or Remy, Cuticle and Virgin hair. These are often used by advertisers to mislead consumers. We caught up with 26-year extension veteran Bevla Reeves at www.hairconspiracy.com to clear up the confusion.

According to Bevla, Remy or Remi hair is a process not a brand. True Remy hair is Virgin (mostly Indian) hair “drawn” from a single head with the cuticle layer still in tact with the ends just as they were when harvested from the grower’s head-uneven. While it is absolutely beautiful, authentic Remy hair is not for everyone, does not come in a package that can be purchased at a beauty store and is difficult to find as it is often sold overseas. Cuticle hair still has the cuticle layer in tact. The cuticle layer on the shaft resembles shingles on a roof that layer on top of each other and must all lie in the same direction after being gathered by the grower to avoid detangling. Virgin hair refers to human hair that has never been chemically processed. Cuticle and Virgin hair are sometimes wrongfully referred to as one in the same. If you want believable extensions, 100% human, tangle-free hair is best, but buyer beware, just because the label says “human hair” does not mean the best quality human hair. High-quality commercial hair that harmonizes with your natural hair is the key to believable extensions. The hair that Bevla uses is 100% human hair that she custom blends in her studio from her suppliers. The hair she uses is professionally tested for authenticity, so you can be certain you are buying the quality you’re paying for.

Application can be a bit tricky, but certainly gets easier the more you wear your faux hair. The great thing about clip-ins is that you can add as little or as much as you want to depending on the style or thickness desired. Two important tools to have on hand when applying extensions are a rat-tail comb and hair clips. Part hair into about four-to-six sections, horizontally ear-to-ear starting from the nape of the neck up; fasten sections with hair clips. Starting at the nape of the neck, attach the middle clip of the extensions first to the middle section of your parting as close to the scalp as possible; secure clip on track by adding pressure in the opposite direction and make sure the row of hair is secured tight to avoid the extension from becoming unfastened. Continue applying rows of hair until about 3/4 of an inch from the hairline around your face. If you are looking to create an up-do, you can add an extension below the crown, one behind each ear and one above the nape of your neck. A big bonus about clip-ins is that you are free to play around with different styles and desired volume and they can easily be removed whenever you like. The only disadvantage we discovered was that the extensions tend to get a bit itchy when worn for a long period of time. To avoid discomfort, take time in application in order to secure hair properly and neatly. Extensions can be styled just as your natural hair. Unless you purchase a custom-colored set you may want to take your extensions to your stylist to match your own hair color and cut. Experiment with a curling iron for runway like waves, braid hair for up-to-the minute style or place hair in a bun for a chic look that can carry you from day into night.

Once you commit to buying a set of clip-in extensions, make sure to care for them properly. Bevla suggests using a detangling shampoo and opting for a conditioner for “dry” hair. Excess water should be squeezed from each track, pat dry with a towel and carefully detangled with a pick or wide-tooth comb. Leave-in conditioner is also recommended for precautionary detangling. Do not brush when wet and never blow dry. Hair should be stored with clips closed to avoid detangling.

Cost of extensions can vary according to quality of hair purchased, time it takes to apply (if you are getting a weave, glue, etc.) or the area in which you live. Clip-in extensions from hairconspiracy.com range in price but are a modest $255.99 for a full set of high-quality clip-ins. The full set provides you with so much hair you’ll never run out of styles and options! If you are interested in glue-ins, weaves, bonds or micro-rings, ask your professional for their recommendation as they can run you anywhere from $300 – $4,000+, and remember these will cause damage to your natural hair. According to Bevla, clip-in extensions can last a year or longer depending on the quality and how often you wear, shampoo and color them. They do wear out over time and will need to be replaced. In the meantime, we don’t doubt you will be loving your new locks and the compliments you are bound to receive when you sport them.

The long and short of it: Words to the wise…

1. Realize your investment. Just as you would spend extra for a new style or dramatic color change, it’s important to spend the extra money and buy quality when shopping for clip-in extensions

2. Do your research. Make sure your vendor is reliable and trusted. As we noted, unfortunately there are many people out there who claim to sell 100% natural hair when in fact that is far from the truth.

3. Match your color and cut. Again, this is a commitment and investment. Take your extensions to your colorist and stylist for a perfect match to your natural hair.

4. Take care of your extensions. A good set will last approximately one year or longer if you care for them properly. Follow all instructions on cleaning and storing your hair.

5. Have fun! Wear your extensions in good health and feel fabulous while faking everyone out!

For more information on extensions go to http://www.hairconspiracy.com.

Originally published August 2006
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