Hair extensions are back in vogue. I saw the hairdressers backstage at the shows busy with hair pieces. Do not think that all long, full hair styles that you see on the catwalks are all natural. Extensions are great to have, but not to talk about. Extensions are super popular with Hollywood celebs, and all too often they have been expertly placed in their beautiful hairdos

Hair extensions at fashion shows

As I always look backstage at the shows, I’m only too happy to learn the latest hair styling tricks. How do hairdressers get the hairpieces they’re styling for mannequins finished in such a short time? It soon became clear to me that the hairdressers doing up-styles often use a ponytail as the basis for the up-do. It’s easier to pull tight than prefabricated elastic hair.

But for hair to be worn loose is a different story. To my surprise, I saw that the hairdressers securing wide hair pieces with a sort of glue (“hair glue” was written on the bottle). At the end of the show, the hair piece was then removed with a special liquid that dissolved the glue.

Hair extensions at the hairdresser

To learn more about the hair extensions and the various ways of securing them, we interviewed Silvia Pagani, owner of the trendy hair salon Bewitch Milan. Silvia and her team showed us some ways of applying hair extensions and explained the pros and cons of the different types of hair extensions.

Hair extensions with keratin bonding

This method is probably the most well-known with the keratin bond or wax. The strands are attached to the hair with keratin wax. They melt, as it were. “The advantage of this method is that the extensions are left (for up to three months) and are quite long. This type of extension requires little maintenance. The downside is that the removal of the extensions can be harmful,” Silvia explained. “To get the extensions removed, a fairly aggressive fluid should be used, and you have to pull the extensions to get them out. If your hair is not strong and robust, it may be that you are what gets pulled. For this method, you must have your own strong, healthy hair.”

Extensions that are attached with needle and thread

Extensions can also be secured with needle and thread. They are sewn to your own hair strands. “Naomi Campbell has her hair extensions traditionally applied this way,” says Silvia Pagan. “The removal of these extensions will not damage the hair. You just have to cut the wires loose.”

The clip-in method

The clip-in method is ideal for do-it-yourselfers (or for those who have someone at home who can lend a helping hand). The hairpieces are equipped with clips that are attached to your own hair. “Of course you have to know how and where to clip the extension to achieve a natural result, but the advantage is that it is fast and practical. The clip-in method is ideal for a quick and remarkable party hair style for a night out. Before going to bed, they simply unclip again. Unclip, and you can re-use them again,” explains Silvia.

The system rings

Another gentle way is to use the rings hair extensions system. Silvia shows how the extensions are attached. She takes a model’s lock of hair, then takes a sort of hook and pulls the hair through the ring, and then plugs the extension to the real tress through the ring. Then the ring is squeezed with pliers until it locks. “It is very easy to remove extensions. You open the ring again and the lock is released. Because the hair where the ring is attached grows, the ring slowly sinks down. After about a month, the rings must be detached and replaced again. The advantage is that you use the same hair strands and the rings can be used again. You only have the cost of the hairdresser’s time.”

Double-sided tape

A method that Silvia is particularly excited about is double-sided tape. It is very easy to apply the extensions. To put it all together, a plastic band is used. It’s easy as long as you remember to stick a piece of double-sided tape stuck (with the protective layer removed) and press the sticky side to the desired location on the hair. “It is important that you do not fasten the tape directly on the scalp, but just below it on the hair, otherwise it can irritate the scalp.” The locks with double-sided tape can stay put for about a month. “You can just wash your hair and style it, but it is logical that the tape will eventually lose its stickiness. The extensions are removed with a mild solution to remove dust, and they can be re-used with new tape.”

For real hair

For extensions you want to wear for a long time, use real hair. “Extensions made of real hair can be treated in the same way as your own hair, blow drying and styling it the same way. Moreover, it is much easier to choose colors and paints that match much better with your own hair.”

Choose the method that suits your hair type

You can use hair extensions not only to lengthen your hair, but also to give it volume. “Always turn yourself over to an experienced hairdresser for a beautiful and natural result. Not everyone knows exactly how and where to put the extensions. It is an art in itself. Moreover, not everyone can wear extensions. It is always good to have a consult about whether or not extensions will work for you. Have your stylist check your hair, especially your scalp, for example. If your hair is thin in the scalp then it might be better to just aim for renewal that begins halfway down the head. Discuss with your stylist the method of application that’s right for you. If you have fragile and brittle hair, you should make sure that you choose an extension that is suitable for your hair type and a hair-friendly application method. You may even wonder whether it is a good idea for you to have hair extensions installed at all.

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