Hair extension guide

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Hair extensions are every good stylist’s hack to faking thick and voluminous locks that look natural. The only problem is applying, concealing, and caring for hair extensions takes skill and a lot of dedication. So we decided it was time to consult with celeb hairstylist Eduardo Bravo for all the tricks of the trade because if anyone knows about dealing with hair extensions, it’s him. He filled us in on all his secrets; from how to style your extensions, how to apply them, he even spilled one of his favorite hacks that’ll transform your old extensions. Here’s everything you need to know:

How To Buy The Best Hair Extensions For Your Hair    

Eduardo says that he, “Always recommend using natural hair.” Although he adds “With that in mind, many companies mix natural and synthetic hair, so pay attention when ordering or buying. The most important thing to remember is that amazing extensions blend seamlessly with your hair. For example, if you have curly hair look for human hair extensions that have been curled to match your curl pattern. Also, look out for density, which simply means how much hair you have. I think it’s a total disaster when I see girls with fine-textured hair on top and massive amounts of hair on the ends or vice versa… A natural blend is vital! The type of hair I recommend is called Remy, like the Bellami extensions; this means the hair cuticles are all going in the same direction so when you wash and brush them, they won’t tangle up.”

Okay, so number one thing to remember: when you’re buying hair extensions, you’ve got to think about texture, density, and hair type.

 

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How To Transform Your Extensions:

Okay, while we realize this may sound a little unorthodox, Eduardo recommends that the best way to check that your hair extensions are real is to boil them for 5 to 10 minutes. He says “Boiling the hair reveals not only the authenticity but also cleanses all the silicones and coatings that are used to treat the hair, giving the extensions a more natural look and feel.” Here’s how:

Step 1: “To boil your extensions, start by boiling water in a kettle and have a separate metal bowl (like a salad bowl) to put the water in once it is boiling. Once you have poured the water into the bowl, gently dip the extensions in and out of the water until thoroughly soaked.”

Step 2: “Once the boiling is complete, pour the extensions into the sink and rinse with cold water. Using a wide-tooth comb, start at the bottom of the hair and work your way up to untangle the hair. Then blot (do not rub) the extensions in a cotton towel to dry. You can choose to let the extensions air dry, which will have a beautiful natural texture, or you can add mouse and blow dry them out.”

“Also, don’t be alarmed if there’s some residue coming from your extensions” Eduardo explains; “Blonde extensions will leave a whitish look in the water, which is the silicones coming right off. If the extensions are dark, you will notice the water turn brownish, let the extension soak under the water for five minutes and repeat until the water is clear.”

Be warned: do not do this step if you are buying synthetic hair, this step should only be done for 100% real hair.

How To Apply Clip In Extensions

 

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Learning how to clip in your hair extensions takes practice but once you’ve got the technique down, it can be easily executed in less than five minutes. Here’s Eduardo’s step-by-step guide:

Step 1: “When using clip in extensions, it’s a good idea to have a “map” on your head as to where they will be clipped in. I always like to start at the nape (the back of the head) first. Clean sections not only make the extensions look natural because they are flat to the head but also, they are less likely to be seen.”

Step 2: “Once you have your clean section isolated, look to see where the clip will go.”

Step 3: “Spray that section with hairspray and gently tease the root, so the clips have an anchor and do not slide out when you are brushing and styling.”

Step 4: “Work your way up the head but be careful not to clip the hair above the crown (round of the head). A good rule of thumb is to leave three fingers length around the hairline.”

How To Apply Hair Extensions To Short Hair

 

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According to Eduardo, “Short hair girls that want to use extensions need to think about the final look they want to achieve.” Here’s a quick breakdown on his top tips, depending on your desired final look:

For thickness: “If you like your length but want thickness, then you will need a couple of rows: one from ear to ear and the other from eyebrow to eyebrow.”

For bangs: “Alternatively, if you wish to lengthen your fringe, you will decide the direction of your parting, then clip the hair in the same direction to give you a thicker side-swept fringe.”

For a full transformation: “Now if you’re looking for a full makeover from a bob to mermaid locks, I recommend buying two sets of extensions. One set that is long for the length, for example, 22 inches, and another set that is in between your current length, 16-18 inches. Different length extensions will give [your] hair layers, giving a more natural look. The key is always natural, no matter how long you go!”

How To Style Your Extensions

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For a natural finished look, Eduardo insists that “You have to cut the extensions and style them to blend with your hair. I would suggest you take your new extensions with you to the salon and have your stylist do a dry cut with the extensions in your hair. Taking your extensions to a professional is a sure-fire way to make them look amazing, and then ask your stylist to glam your hair out with a curling iron for some soft movement.”

How To Remove Your Extensions

According to Eduardo,  one of the most important rules is to “Always take out your extensions before sleeping! Of course, if the extensions are glued in or sewed in, that’s another story. However, if they’re clipped in, not only are they uncomfortable to sleep in, they will damage your hair by pulling it out as you toss and turn!”

For daily use: “If you are planning on using your extensions the next day, take them out from top to bottom and brush with a boar bristle brush like the Mason Pearson brush, $170, [find its $20 dupe here] and lay them down in that order. That way the “last” extension you took out will be the first one you put on the next day.” Advises Eduardo.

How To Take Care Of Your Extensions

sisley hair mask Source: Sisley

“The most integral product to make sure your extensions last as long as possible is heat protecting spray. Plus, using deep conditioning masks regularly (find our faves here); once a week, if you use your extensions daily or once a month for the occasional users.” Eduardo explains. “I currently love using Sisley Hair Paris Regenerating Hair Care Mask, $120, on my wigs and extensions, and they look like new after one use!”

How to store your extensions: Storing your extensions with the TLC they deserve is also essential if you want to keep them in top condition. Eduardo suggests “If you are traveling or storing them for later use, I recommend that you color code the clips with nail polish, so you know which extension belongs where on your head. Once that is done, brush the hair out and place in a silk pillowcase. Most hair extension companies come with a pouch or sleeve to store your hair, but in case they don’t, silky fabric is always the best way to save your hair.”

 

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What To Avoid…

As hair extensions can be quite taxing on your natural hair, you need to take extra care with your locks to avoid permanent hair damage. This means never “brushing the extensions without holding the hair at the roots as otherwise, it’ll pull your natural hair out.”

Also, bear in mind that “Hair extensions are real hair, so be careful not to burn the hair with excess heat or using a curling iron or flat iron when hair is wet. If you are going out dancing, be mindful that your hairspray is not flammable, since people can be reckless with their cigarettes and trust me you don’t want your extensions in flames!

Do you guys wear hair extensions? If you’re still not sure if clip-in extensions are for you, check out this post to see all the other types of hair extension you could try.