How To Choose The Best Hair Extensions


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Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a complete newbie, the world of hair extensions can be difficult to navigate. From finding the right type of hair to the ideal form of weave, not to mention learning how to care, style, and color your extensions, there’s a lot to consider when purchasing extensions! So, we spoke to some incredible hair extension specialists; Vivian Kaye Founder of Kinky, Curly, Yaki, a hair extension brand that specializes in textured hair extensions, and Lamiese Prior, Founder of Rumour Hair Extensions. They told us everything there is to know about choosing hair extensions and gave us the inside secrets to finding the right extensions regardless of your hair type or your daily styling habits. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Type of Hair Should I Buy?


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First things first, there are two types of hair extensions; natural and synthetic. Most stylists recommend natural hair as it blends in with your real hair more easily. It’s important to keep in mind that many companies mix natural and synthetic hair, so always check the hair type when purchasing.

When we asked Lamiese whether she would recommend natural or synthetic, she told us, “Human hair will always look more natural as it can be heated with tools and styled to blend into your own hair. Most synthetic hair cannot be heated or styled, and they are only good short term, hence the low cost of them.”

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If you opt to buy natural hair, there are two types of natural hair to choose from, Remy or virgin hair. Lamiese begins by explaining, “Virgin hair is raw and unprocessed hair.” Vivian explains that “Remy hair is not the same as virgin hair. This is hair that has undergone any sort of process, whether it’s color or texture.”

Virgin hair is preferred by most stylists due to its quality, however Lamiese adds that “With hair fashion changing constantly and people wanting to change their hair color/extension length and volume regularly it’s not something I would personally recommend if you like to change your hair regularly. Although it’s the best type in terms of quality, it can be very expensive.” 

What Type of Extension Attachment Will Work Best for Me?

Once you’ve decided which type of hair to purchase, you need to choose what form of attachment will work best for you. Clip-ins, as the name suggests, have clips attached, and these can be added to your natural hair easily at home (with a little practice), and are removed easily by unclipping them. Wefts do not have any attachment, and these are sometimes attached to the hair either by being sewn, taped or glued. Lamiese and Vivian explain the pros and cons to wefts and clip-ins; two of the most popular options.



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Pros: Lamiese says that clip-ins are, “Great for clients that just want to wear hair extensions on special occasions but don’t want the upkeep of wearing them permanently. They add instant volume and glam as well as confidence.” Vivian agrees, “Clip-ins are a great option as they can be easily clipped in to add length and or volume to your own hair.”

Cons: However, Lamiese does warn, “If worn every day and the rows are too heavy, it can cause thinning and breakage. Especially as most clients backcomb the area where the clips are attached.” If you’re thinking about buying clip-ins, check out our guide to fitting clip-ins here.

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If you’re looking for a quick and easy hairstyling option, Vivian recommends a clip-in ponytail. “I think they’re even easier than clip-ins and wefted hair. My go-to is my Kinky Curly Yaki My Kinks 12″ Puff Ponytail, $130, that I wear in my day-to-day. I simply put my hair into a bun and clip it in. I’m ready to go in less than five minutes.” We love the look below with the Kinky, Curly, Yaki My Coils 24” Drawstring Ponytail, which just shows how easy a ponytail is to add:

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Pros: “Wefts are used for weaves, which is a great long-term option. This style can be sewn in and worn for up to three months with care. You can opt to do a full sew in, which would protect all your hair or a partial, which would leave hair out to blend in with the weft extensions. Using hair that matches your natural texture is key for a seamless, undetectable look,” Vivian tells. She also adds, “Even after you’ve removed the weave, you can then take the wefts and create a wig for even more versatility.”

Lamiese agrees, adding that in her experience, “Wefts are becoming increasingly popular and what’s great about them is they are the only method of permanent extensions that retain the consistent volume from root to end. A weave application uses no glue and no chemicals and if fitted and maintained correctly this is actually the safest method of hair extension application.”

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Lamiese told us that “Over the years I have watched my client’s hair grow healthily and improve in condition whilst wearing a weave. It has always been such an amazing feeling when a client has their extensions fitted and you see their confidence change instantly. They leave with a bounce and a hair flick, and that feeling of satisfaction never disappears for me.”

Cons: “Unfortunately there are many stylists that do not fit this method of hair extensions properly and that give the weave a bad reputation,” says Lamiese. Another common misconception Lamiese is familiar with hearing is that “People think a weave can be bulky or heavy, but this all depends on the weft top and the application. If this method isn’t fitted correctly it can cause discomfort to the client and can damage their own hair like any poorly fitted hair extension method would.”

And if you’re wondering, there are different types of weaves too. Lamiese says that for her own extensions, she uses 100% human hair, and prefers to use “double drawn, meaning it maintains its thickness from the top right through to the ends. I decided against single drawn as most of the Dubai clientele want to gain thickness and volume at the bottom of their own hair, which single drawn doesn’t offer.”

What do I Need to Consider When Buying Extensions Online or In-Store?

Vivian insists that when buying extensions online, you have to “do your research” as you “you get what you pay for.” Vivian says the questions that you should be asking are: “Does the company support you after you’ve made your purchase? Do they provide great customer service? Are the pictures they post actually their photos?” These are all telltale signs of a good supplier.

As with all beauty buys, not only is it important to know what to look for but also what to avoid. Lamiese warns against buying, “Hair that mattes, hair that is very thin at the bottom and doesn’t blend [or is simply the] incorrect color to your own hair. All of the above could be poor extension quality, poor aftercare, or a poor color match and fitting by the hairstylist.”

How Do I Make my Extensions Look Natural? 

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When purchasing extensions, you always need to consider how it will blend with your natural hair. This is why Vivian recommends to, “Find a company that provides texture samples. It’s the best way to find hair extensions that will blend seamlessly with your natural textured hair. Sometimes, what you think your hair looks like, isn’t what the hair extensions look like, so it’s important that you try before you buy.” We love that at Kinky, Curly, Yaki, you can get texture samples to help you decide and choose which extensions will work best for you.

Lamiese also says it’s important to adjust your expectations, and remember, “Hair extensions are hair that has come from someone else’s head. Therefore, it may not naturally fall and look the same as your own hair. Hair extensions always blend better with your own hair if they have been styled with heated tools. I recommend the Cloud 9 Wide Straightening Iron, $188, and for big bouncy waves, my choice would be the Diva Pro Digital Hair Tong, $49. I also smooth my hair extensions out with a serum or oil.”

How Long Should my Extensions Last?


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Vivian confirms, “With great care, extensions can last for years. Hair extensions or clips can be repurposed and sewn onto wig caps. I have wigs that are at least six years old.”

Lamiese also points out that the longevity of your hair extension is “Completely dependent on the client’s lifestyle and aftercare routine. Hair extensions need extra TLC as they do not receive the oils and goodness your scalp provides your own hair.”

It also depends on your daily routine and the climate in which you live. For example, if you live in a hotter climate like Dubai, your extensions will require extra TLC, “Hair extension aftercare in Dubai is very important due to the elements here including hard water, pool, sea, humidity, etc. If properly cared for then hair extensions can last usually around nine to 12 months, however, if clients do not follow the aftercare given then the hair can last as little as four months.”

Can I Color My Extensions After I Buy Them?

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The topic of coloring hair extensions is often debated among stylists and specialists. Vivian says that if done carefully and with caution, coloring extensions can work: “To darken hair, it’s easy to DIY. Just make sure to test the hair first. If you’re lightening, especially kinky textured hair, I would recommend having a professional colorist who specializes in textured hair color the hair. Just like your own hair, it can be susceptible to damage as well.”

Lamiese recommends buying the color of hair extension that you’re looking for, especially as most brands “will not replace hair if it has been colored or altered.” Lamiese also warns against bleaching extensions as it “could have a negative effect on the color just like with your own natural hair.” She explains, “If a dark brunette client goes to a hair colorist for the first time and asks for highlights, that stylist will want to know what color they have previously used (i.e. box dye, what color their natural hair is etc), so they know how to treat the client’s hair.”

TLDR; Try to buy the color you want, but if you do decide to die your extensions, proceed with caution, and consider contacting the supplier for their advice.

How Should I Care For my Extensions and my Scalp?

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“Care for your hair extensions as you would your own hair,” insists Vivian. Therefore, you should “Use products specifically made for the textures. Try not to use products that’ll strip the hair of moisture. Remember, there’s no scalp attached to the extensions to provide the moisture it needs, so you need to do it for the extensions.”

Scalp care is also essential, “It’s super important that you still take care of your hair underneath the extensions. Wash your scalp with a cleansing shampoo that has a nozzle tip and make sure to wash the shampoo out thoroughly so there’s no product buildup. “Do not keep your hair extensions in your hair longer than two to three months,” says Vivian.

We highly recommend the Girl + Hair collection, which works perfectly with extensions. Each clarifying and nourishing formula is conveniently designed with a nozzle applicator that allows the low-viscosity formulas to flow through a specially designed nozzle tip into the hair and onto the scalp.

Although, before you apply any treatment to your hair extensions, Vivian recommends washing them first. She explains, “Washing the hair extensions is how you’ll see the quality of the hair and see what products work with it.” We recommend the Girl + Hair CLEAR+ Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Rinse For All Hair Types, $13.

Pro Tips for First-Time Users


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If you’re considering getting hair extensions for the first time, here are Lamiese and Vivian’s pro tips:

Start slow: “You don’t need to use all the glues and such in order to wear hair extensions. Take a look at your day to day lifestyle and choose an install method that works for you, not what everyone is doing on Youtube,” says Vivian.

Find a reputable extension stylist: It’s important to “Go to someone that specializes in hair extensions,” says Lamiese. Continuing “Book a consultation and discuss the look you’re wanting to achieve with them. Make sure you understand how to look after them once you leave the salon.” If buying extensions directly from a salon, Lamiese says, “It is the hairstylist’s responsibility to educate their clients on correct aftercare and the client’s responsibility to follow that aftercare. Following the right aftercare and using the right products will completely change your hair extension experience.”

Be prepared for the lifestyle change: “Most clients jump straight in and want the thickest longest hair. I think it’s best to start with extensions for volume, so you get used to washing, styling and maintaining them gradually. Wearing hair extensions can give you confidence and can instantly change your look, however, keep in mind that if wearing them for the first time they can be a lifestyle change. They take longer to wash, blow-dry, and style,” Lamiese reminds us.

Do you have hair extensions or have been thinking about trying them but weren’t sure where to start? Let us know in the comments below.