How to Choose Hair Extensions
Whether you’re thinking about hair extensions because you want to drastically change your look or because you just want to spice up your ’do for one night, you have many options to choose from. As Philip James points out in their infographic, not all hair extensions are created equal.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you choose which extensions are right for you:
First, What Are Your Options?
- Fusion – Groupings of hair that are “fused” to your natural hair by heating a strip of keratin protein along the top of the extension.
- Micro link (or “micro cylinder”) – Strands of hair that are attached individually to your own hair using micro links, small tubes that squeeze shut to clamp your own hair to the extension.
- Braidless sew-in – Wefts of hair that are woven into your own hair using thread.
- Skin weft – Wefts of hair attached to a thin polyurethane strip with adhesive on one side to stick to your scalp.
- Clip-in (or “clip-on”) – Wefts of hair attached using clips; these can be put in and removed daily.
What Is Your Own Hair Like?
- Damaged or over-processed hair – Since all extensions will add stress to your hair, if your hair is severely damaged it’s best to treat your hair before adding any extensions. If you absolutely must get extensions, consider clip-ins as your first option since they can be removed daily. Avoid fusion extensions.
- Extremely slick hair – If your hair is very slick, avoid micro link extensions—they can sometimes slip off.
- Short hair – If you’re looking to add length, any of these extension options will work for you. The braidless sew-in might be your best bet since it’s gentle, easy, and cost-effective.
- Thin hair – If your main concern is adding volume, go with a skin weft or braidless sew-in.
- Perfect hair – If you’re fine with the way your hair looks but want a few extra inches every once in a while, the clip-in is definitely your best option.
How long do you want to keep your extensions?
- As long as possible – Fusion, micro link, and sew-in extensions will stay in your hair for up to four months. Micro link and sew-in extensions can also be moved closer to the scalp after two months and can be reused after they’re removed.
- A little while – Skin weft extensions will stay in for six to eight weeks, depending on how often you shampoo. These can be reused.
- Just for tonight – Clip-ins are your best option for occasional, temporary use.
How Much Maintenance Can You Handle?
- Very little –The braidless sew-in extension is probably your best bet—you can shampoo, blow dry, curl, or straighten these extensions just as you would your normal hair.
- Some – Fusion extensions are easy to maintain and can be treated like your own hair, but you have to be careful to keep curling or straightening irons away from the bonds. Micro link extensions, on the other hand, can be straightened and curled just like your normal hair, but you have to be careful to avoid using oils or slick products near the scalp.
- Some more – Skin wefts don’t require special maintenance, per se, but they do require you to be aware of them. Avoid using oily products at the attachment and use oil-free shampoo. Clip-in extensions can be curled or straightened but should be gently washed periodically.
How Much Money Are You Willing to Spend?
- As little as possible – Clip-in extensions are generally the cheapest option.
- Some – Skin wefts, braidless sew-ins, and micro link extensions are all more or less equally and moderately priced.
- A lot – Fusion extensions tend to be the most expensive.