Weft or Track Hair Extensions
A weft is a track of several inches long on which the hair is already attached (a curtain of hair attached together at the top and free flowing at the bottom). The extensions are then applied by using one row (track) at the time instead of strand by strand. A weft can be made by a machine or by hand. Handmade wefts are more flexible and flatter because they are generally custom made to suit your head and match your own hair. They can also be ordered in thin to thick density. Hand wefted hair can also be ordered without a custom sizing or color blending. The only problem with this is that the hair strips cannot be cut to fit.
Machine wefted hair can be obtained in low to high quality. It is extremely important to purchase top quality hair. If low quality hair is installed, there can be terrible tangling, matting and shedding. Machine wefted hair is easily obtainable, can be cut to customize width for any head size, and comes in many lengths and textures. Machine wefted hair, installed on a track is the quickest to install, and the most cost effective way to wear.
Micro-Bead Track Extensions
Small micro-beads or clamps made of copper or aluminum are clamped to small hair strands creating a track. The wefted hair strips (hand-tied or machine wefted) are then sewn to the track. This method is somewhat flatter than the braiding method, and uses all of the clients own existing hair. This method is also very easy to maintain. Generally the micro-bead clamps can be loosened and the weft lifted and tightened without removing the entire track and re-doing it.
Strand by Strand Cold Method
This gentle attachment method does not involve glues, heat, or chemicals. Tiny metal tubes (micro-cylinders) are used to attach the strands with a special technique to your own hair. “Hairloc’s” are easy to install and easy to remove by a certified expert. The tubes can be short or long, wide or narrow, depending on the amount of hair in each strand being attached. The cylinders are tightened to create the attachment. Applied in the correct way this is a strong and safe method that will not damage your own hair. This cold strand by strand method can be a lengthy process and requires several hours. The cylinders come in aluminum or copper, different sizes and colors but also in different qualities. This method can be used with the highest hair quality and with hair of a lesser quality, it depends on the salon. Top quality hair is always recommended for longer life and less tangling possibilities. Also, this hair can be re-used if cared for properly.
Tape in Hair Extensions
These extensions are used like a sandwich where a small sliver of your own hair is sandwiched between 2 tape in extensions. The extensions are about 2 inches wide and a whole head requires approximately 20 sandwiches. The tape is medical grade and need to be redone every 6-8 weeks.
There are many good salons that do not use the name brand extension methods. I do. Hair extensions will not last forever, sometimes because the attachment loosens or breaks but mostly because the growth of your own hair. Extensions connected to your hair will get more loose as your hair grows (approximately ½” per month). Depending on how fast your hair grows and how well you take care of your extensions they have to be removed or retightened when they get too loose. Some systems last longer then others but in general I can say anywhere between 2 and 4 months. With all of the systems I provide, it is possible to reuse the hair, on average 3 times (approximately 8 months) …if the client cares for the hair properly. This also depends on the hair quality. I have very few vendors that meet the standard of quality I require. This can save my client’s serious money, as the cost of quality Human Hair is always rising. As extensions become more popular, the supply of raw goods is dropping, the demand for human hair is increasing, and it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain GOOD quality human hair.
Maintenance & Styling
Washing: Keep your hair clean. Hair tangles when dirt and sweat build up, wash your hair after exercise, swimming etc. Brush your hair and remove all tangles before washing it. Wash your hair going in a downward motion. Use a good quality shampoo, your stylist can advise you what product is best for your hair. When lots of water is added at once to very dry hair, hair can swell up and tangle. Gradually wet the hair and brush gently before you completely wash it. This is more common with less expensive extension hair.
Styling: When brushing use a vent brush or plastic hair pick. Start at the ends of your hair and gently work your way up. Always brush in a downward motion. Do not brush harshly. Brush your hair 2 or 3 times a day. Heat is your one of your hair’s biggest enemy, the more you use it, the shorter your hair extensions will last. Be careful with the use of HOT blow dryers and curling irons. It is best to let your hair dry naturally.
Exercise: Wear a cap when swimming or keep your hair out of the water. Chlorine and salt water can cause the hair to tangle and mat up. I recommended wearing your hair up or in a ponytail when you swim or exercise. Coating your hair with conditioner before swimming is also a good way to avoid tangling, and helps keep the hair soft.
Sleeping: Never sleep on wet hair, make sure your hair is completely dry before you go to bed. I also recommended loosely braiding your hair or gently tying it up to prevent tangling.
Chemical Treatments: Don’t perm, color or utilize any other chemical process to your hair extensions. Let your stylist take care of that.