Chances are, you've been thinking about getting hair extensions for a while. Whether it's seeing Molly-Mae Hague boast gorgeous long princess locks, or your best friend looking amazing with her new 24 inch weave, there are so many reasons for why you might find hair extensions tempting!
So let's get to it. Are hair extensions right for you? The most likely answer is yes. Although it is true extensions needed to be treated differently than natural hair, and you will require a good quality aftercare routine, hair extensions are easier to manage than you might think. Plus, thanks to modern times there are a range of different methods available for you to choose from, each catering to different hair types and styles.
There are a few main points to get out of the way:
Are you willing and able to put in extra time to look after your new extensions?
Do you change your hair colour a lot/dye your roots regularly?
Do you wear your hair up in tight, restrictive styles most of the time?
Would you be willing to only wash your hair once or twice a week?
Do you have any medical issues that would prevent you from getting extensions?
Are you pregnant/had a baby in the last 6 months?
It may sound like a lot of information, but the chances are, most of the above doesn't apply to you. And if it does, some compromises can usually be made to ensure you'll be happy with your new extensions. And trust me - beautiful, high-quality extensions are worth the extra compromise.
The first question you should ask yourself before getting extensions is this: 'Am I willing to put in extra time to look after my new extensions?' The main reason to ask this is because hair extensions are very different from your natural hair. They are often much longer, and thicker than your own hair, and of course are not actually attached to your head (as much as we wish they were!) and so do not receive any of the nourishing oils from your scalp.
This means they will require more time to rise as they hold a lot more product (i.e. shampoo, conditioner etc.) than regular hair, and are more vulnerable to heat and damage as they have no contact with the natural oils from your scalp.
You will also need to make sure you take the time to fully dry your hair extensions with a hairdryer after washing (use the cool setting), as extensions are not designed to be left wet for long periods of time, as this can encourage the bonds to slip, even mould, and various other nasties. Make sure you never go to sleep with wet hair. Whilst we're on the subject of washing, before getting your new extensions fitted you'll need to be prepared to wash your hair up to once or twice a week, no more. This feels difficult at first, as if you're used to washing your hair every day (like I was) you might be questioning how to avoid your hair from appearing oily. This often resolves itself in a few weeks (dry shampoo is your best friend), and it's a brilliant idea to start getting into the routine of washing your hair less often in the run-up to having your new extensions fitted.
It's also a great habit to use a hair mask on your new extensions every 7 or so days, however this is only an extra 20 minutes out of your week. Another fab habit is to tie your hair in a loose, low ponytail or plait before sleeping - this prevents any tangling or knotting of the hair extensions whilst you sleep!
A great aftercare routine is one of the most important things needed for beautiful, well-kept extensions. I provide all the information you need on my social media pages and here on my website. So if you're stuck for product recommendations, check out my Aftercare Guide. Although I understand you may be tempted to scrimp and save on aftercare products after buying your new extensions, I can assure you it's 100% worth it to go for quality products that will protect and nourish your hair extensions and ensure you get your money's worth! Included in this aftercare is heat protection spray, which is totally necessary every time you heat style your new locks (never more than once a week though!).
Just to note - a UV spray (and even just a hat) can be super helpful if you're spending a lot of time in the sun wearing your new extensions, as particularly with blondes, sun damage can turn certain shades of hair a much more brassy tone. If you're on holiday, it's also important to avoid chlorine and seawater if possible. If it's not possible, make sure you wet your hair beforehand and tie it in a ponytail/plait. And be sure to wash it thoroughly afterwards! And if we're on the subject of tans, do your best to avoid sun beds, or cover your hair extensions if you do use them!
Keep your eyes peeled... As I may be launching my own aftercare line in the near future!
Before we wrap up on this point, it's also important to know that you'll need maintenance on your hair extensions every 6-8 weeks - any longer than this and you risk matting and damage to your natural hair! You'll need to consider whether this is something you are able to keep up with time and cost wise, as it is so important!
Another point we need to touch on is hair colour. If you're the kind of person who likes to switch up their hair colour frequently, semi permanent hair extensions probably aren't for you. I would encourage you to delve into the fun, funky world of clip-ins: Beauty Works are a great option for this!
Whilst we're talking about hair colour, you need to consider if you dye your roots frequently. If this is the case, you'll either:
Need to go to a hairdresser you trust, and have them dye your roots whilst being careful to avoid the bonds of your hair extensions
Have your extensions removed by your technician, then, have your roots re-dyed, and finally have your technician refit your extensions
The choice is totally up to you, it often depends on your individual circumstances.
We need to touch lightly on lifestyle, too. Do you wear your hair up in tight, restrictive styles often? This is a big no-no for extensions. Too-tight hairstyles can put pressure on the bonds, and thus, your own hair. This can cause big problems like headaches, hair damage, and sometimes even traction alopecia, which is irreversible. This means it's extremely important not to wear your hair extensions up in tight styles for long periods, ideally not at all.
Last of all, it's extremely important to consider whether you have any medical conditions which would prevent you from wearing hair extensions. The best way to confidently assess this is by checking with your doctor. It's also very unadvisable to have hair extensions fitted either when you're pregnant, or if you've had a baby in the last six months, as changes in hormones during these times can affect the growth and shedding of your hair. Too much shedding in the bonds can cause matting.
And that's it! This is by no means the be-all, end-all guide to deciding whether hair extensions are right for you, but it's a good start. If you've read through all the information above and are confident you can put in that little bit of extra work, then go for it, and book your consultation! Your princess hair is waiting for you...