This type of extension is meant for temporary use only – a night out on the town, a wedding or a special occasion. They consist of wefts of hair attached to clips which are meant to be snapped onto the hair. Typically applied to the underneath layers of the hair leaving an overlay of the clients own hair in top hiding the clips. Application and removal of these extensions is fairly easy and can be done at home by the client.
If overused or worn too often the clips can cause excessive wear on the hair if reapplied to the same spots repeatedly. This can lead to hair damage and in some instances bald spots.
Tracks/Weave & Sew-in/Glue-in Extensions
Typically lasts 1-3 months depending on clients hair type. Mainly used on ethnic hair or hair with a coarse texture. Not good on fine or thin hair because the braids tend to fall out or loosen quickly. Hair is usually braided then tracks of extensions are sewn into the braids or glued onto the scalp with an adhesive.
These types of extensions can cause damage to the hair because the braids are very tightly woven and when a needle is forced through the braid to sew-in a track of hair, breakage occurs. They can even cause tension headaches with some clients. Irritation to the scalp is also very common because of the tension from the braids.
It is very hard to properly cleanse the hair and scalp when it is in the braids, as shampoo cannot penetrate the braided hair. This leads to buildup of oil, products and dead skin cells inside of the braid. These types of extensions also tend to be more obvious because they do not move like natural hair because of the way they are applied.
They do not flow freely and usually move and act more like a hair piece. To remove braided in/weaved extensions you must cut the thread and release the track of hair and then unweave the braid. If extension tracks are glued directly to the scalp they tend to lift after short amounts of time and also cause irritation to the scalp from the glue or adhesive. These irritations can include constant itching of the scalp leading to bumps and abrasions, and flaking from the glue or adhesive often occurs.
To remove these extensions you can try to use baby oil to loosen the adhesive but this does not always help and primarily must be torn away from the scalp.
There are many different types of bead or link extensions. This type of extension typically lasts 3-6 months and are often proclaimed as “reusable”. Usually hair is free flowing or I-tipped and then secured to a small section of hair with a metal bead that is coated in silicone.
The application process consists of taking the small section of hair and looping it through the link or bead. The stylist then adds the extension hair to the section inside the bead, loops both the clients hair and extension hair around the bead again and clamps the bead down tightly onto the clients hair to secure it.
These extensions can be quite uncomfortable for some clients because every extension is secured with a bulky metal bead. After a couple weeks the beads commonly become visible because of their size (especially on fine and/or thin hair). Even though these beads are coated or sealed with silicone, the seal is broken as soon as the bead is clamped down on the hair making it more flattened and exposing the metal inside.
Certain metals when exposed to water will rust, or when combined with oils from the scalp can grow mildew inside the bead. This leads to poor health of the hair and discoloration on lighter colored hair as well. The only way to fix this is to remove all extensions and do an extensive clarifying treatment to the hair. Sometimes discoloration must be bleached out of the hair if the clarification does not remove it all. The plus side to beaded extensions is that hair is reusable. After removing the metal beads, the hair can be reused up to 3 times after the initial installation. One thing to remember is that regular wear and tear from styling and using hot tools along with the affects of free radicals like the sun, heat and humidity and minerals in the water will still occur especially if the hair is 100% human. The extensions should be cut and styled to blend properly with the clients hair after being applied.
Damage done from the beads or links can be extensive. Breakage can easily occur as soon as the bead is clamped onto the hair causing it to snap inside the bead. To remove these extensions you must clamp the bead in the opposite direction, un-loop the hair from around the bead and slide the extension hair out. This process itself can also cause damage as the hair is very fragile from the tension of the clamped bead and many times breakage occurs when trying to comb out tangles from shed hair and extension hair that can matte together.
Laser Hair Extensions
Similar to bond in extensions as they are applied in small sections, laser extensions are applied in multiples or in rows. Typically using a glue/keratin or wax/keratin bond, these extensions are applied with a laser 8-15 at a time. This offers clients less time in the chair but also a less customized service, which can lead to future problems. When the extensions are put in by multiples the sections are sometimes too big and the bonds will tend to have more hair then each individual section. This can lead to severe problems because the extensions are too heavy for the client’s hair and can cause pain, breakage and even bald spots. Also, whereas the bonds are put in by a machine and not individually by hand, the edges of the bonds are jagged and rough which can lead to discomfort and visibility as the extension grows out. Qualities of hair vary from human to synthetic and just depend on the brand of extension.
Tape In Extensions
Tape-in extensions are an extensions that are about a 1 1/2" in length and about 3/8" wide. They are layed onto the hair, slight pressure is applied adhering the extension to the hair, then underneath, either another extension of same size is applied or a single sided tape can be applied for guests with fine/thin hair. Tape-ins come in a variety of colors and can be a good option for certain clients. If the hair is VERY fine and/or thin, tape-ins are not a good option as they could weigh down the hair and possibly cause breakage. Tape-in extensions are reusable up to 3 times and need to be moved up the hair shaft every 5-6 weeks as they grow with the hair. There are multiple brands of tape-in extensions. Make sure the tape used in the tape in extensions is medical grade adhesive. If a lesser grade of tape is used the extensions can bend at the site of application and become noticeable and uncomfortable. For removal, an alcohol and mineral oil based solution is sprayed on the hair above the bonded tape. It sits for about 30-60 seconds and the tapes are peeled apart. A new tape is applied and the extension is moved up after the 5-6 week period. If any adhesive is left on the hair there is an oil based solution that is sprayed on the hair to remove it. The client is then shampooed with a clarifying shampoo, blown dry and the extensions may then be reapplied. Tape reside left on the hair can be caused by a few factors: Blow drying on high heat, not drying the bonds after washing, applying a hot tool to the bond itself or using improper products which caused the bond to break down.
Bonded Hair Extensions
This type of extension varies depending on the brand. The most healthy type of extensions for the hair as long as the bonds do NOT contain glue. They move the most freely and mimic the client’s hair the best and most naturally. When applied correctly, the client is able to pull the hair up and back freely, without the bonds being detected.
Bonds should never be applied to the hairline or part where they can be seen. These extensions tend to be the easiest to care for and maintain. Although many claim to be “safe”, clients should do their own research on each individual brand they are considering.
The differences between the types of bond in extensions are extensive. Mainly, clients want to look at what the bonds are made of. Most bonded hair extensions contain glue, resin, plastic or adhesive, all of which are very bad for human hair and can cause extensive or long term damage. One way to find out if the bonds have glue is to ask about the removal of the extensions. If the removal includes acetone in any way, shape or form you know the bonds contain glue. Also, bonds that contain glue must be heated at a very high temperature (between 300- 450 degrees farenheight) so ask the stylist what temperature they are bonding at and even feel free to ask to see their extension machine.
Another element you want to look into is the quality of the hair itself. Make sure the hair is remy hair, which means the cuticle of the hair moves in the same direction. If it is not remy hair it will tangle very easily causing knots and mattes. Many of these bond in hair extension companies also claim to have 100% human hair. Even though they claim to have 100% human hair, not all of their colors may be 100% human and are commonly mixed with synthetic or fiber, so make sure to ask the stylist about your colors in particular. Another aspect you should inquire about is any coating on the hair.
Many hair extension companies coat the hair with silicone making it look shiny and vibrant. This seems wonderful at the time, but once the extensions are washed after a couple weeks the hair becomes dry, gnarly and tangled, making it nearly impossible to brush through it. It can even change color and loose its shine. Once you have found a brand that you like you want to make sure you find the right stylist for you. Make sure the stylist is certified in hair extensions and have taken a class given by the brand’s company. If bond in extensions are applied improperly, like any other hair product, it can cause damage.
Ask the stylist how long they have been certified for and how often they do extensions. They should be able to tell you all about the extensions and maintenance during the consultation. If extensions are applied properly you should barely even know they are there. There should NEVER be any pain or discomfort during the application, wear or removal of the extensions. If pain is present you should consult a professional immediately. If bond in extensions are done improperly many of the following can occur: pain, headaches, red bumps on the scalp, breakage or even bald spots.
Extensions should never be applied right up to the scalp, this causes too much tension and can pull hair out at the root. Extensions should always be applied about ¼-3/8″ away from the scalp allowing it to move freely. Also, the sections to which the extensions are applied should be very small, about the size of a pea or diameter of a pencil eraser. Bigger sections cause over direction of the hair which lead to breakage.
The amount of hair that is in the bond should be equivalent to the amount of hair that is in the section. (ie- if there is about 70 hairs in a section then the stylist should cut the bond down so there are about 70 hairs in the bond.) This is VERY important! If too much hair is applied to the section breakage will occur or it could pull hair out at the root. If this happens repeatedly, it can kill the follicle causing it to be unable to regenerate hair growth.
Once you choose a stylist they should inform you of all maintenance and also should supply you with all tools and information needed to properly care for your extensions. The bond in extensions typically last 3-5 months on average and depend on the client’s hair growth. When being removed there is typically a non-acetone removal solution or oil that is placed onto the bond, worked into the bond with a removal tool and then the bond and hair extension gently slide off the hair leaving it healthy and intact.