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How to Apply Hair Extensions

Whether you want to add some length and drama to your short locks or some volume to your flat hair, hair extensions have long been a popular choice — especially for those who can’t or are too impatient to grow long, luscious locks. And the options are endless when it comes to style, texture, color, length, and type.


Hair dress adding extension to a woman's hair


When done right, hair extensions are natural looking. It takes a certified hair stylist or cosmetologist and high-quality extensions. Here’s how to apply hair extensions.


1. Choose your extensions.


First, you must decide on the kind of hair you want: synthetic (fake) or human hair. Synthetic hair is made with plastics and keratin, with the appearance of natural human hair. In contrast, human hair is donated and repurposed into extensions. Of course, human hair looks more natural and is, naturally, more expensive, but there are high-quality synthetic options that seamlessly blend with your natural hair. Another thing to remember: If you want to style your extensions with heat tools, color them, or wash them, it’s best to go with human hair for your extensions.

You must also decide if you want temporary extensions or more permanent ones. Clip-in hair extensions can be an excellent option for a specific event or one-day wear. Plus: they are also the cheapest and easiest option.

Long-lasting hair extensions use a special glue or keratin wax melted into your hair to fuse the extensions to your natural hair. These are known as fusion hair extensions. Or there are sew in hair extensions that weave into your hair for longer-lasting wear. Many people opt for micro link hair extensions for an even more natural-looking hairdo. These typically last longer and are attached with a microbead or a microtube to a strand of hair one by one. They are easy to style and don’t lose their shape when washed. It’s no wonder they are one of the latest trends in hair extensions.

There are perks to different types of hair and methods. To decide, ask yourself if you’re looking for a short-term or long-term hair solution and how natural you care about them looking.

Now that you know the type of hair extensions you want, you must choose the texture and color. Wavy, curly, or straight? Blonde, brunette, black, gray, or color in the rainbow? If you have naturally curly hair, you want to be sure those extensions match your texture, or they won’t blend as well.


2. Attach your hair extensions.

Okay — your hardest decisions are over! Now it’s time to put them in. it can be easy to clip in extensions yourself. Or maybe you consult a licensed hair stylist to attach more intricate extensions such as micro link hair extensions.

Don’t know how to put in clip in extensions? Don’t stress. Section off your hair by pulling the majority of your hair to the top of your head and clipping it up. Then add in those extensions layer by layer, dropping more sections of hair as you go. Tease your hair with a teasing comb or dry shampoo to hide the hair extension base or clip. This also helps your extensions stick better.

You don’t want your extensions too thick, too long, or too dramatic. Don’t be afraid to go in with a pair of hairstyling scissors.

Finally, style your hair how you want for your best result.


3. Care for your extensions.

Now that your extensions are locked in and ready to rock, they can easily get tangled or matted. Aftercare is crucial.

If you opted for human hair extensions, care for your hair as usual: wash your hair once every other day at maximum and use dry shampoo.

And don’t forget about your hair when you are sleeping. Use a silk pillowcase or a bonnet to protect your hair. If you are using clip-ins, take them out when you sleep.

When in doubt, consult an expert cosmetologist for your questions.

Or, want to learn more and have what it takes to go to cosmetology school? Apply to our program at the Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers today.


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