A hair extension is the technique of adding hair that isn’t your own onto your own natural hair. There are a variety of methods for adding a hair extension, including weaving, bonding, braiding and strand by strand. Some of these techniques are best performed by trained hair professionals, while others are simple enough for you to do yourself, at home.
They can be styled and washed which makes them a versatile way of achieving a new look. Hair extensions and hairpieces come in a range of hair types – wavy, curly and long straight and sleek; various textures and lengths.
Celebrities have been seen wearing hairpieces and clip in hair extensions for the past few months which has caused this hair accessory to become popular with women of all ages around the world. One of the most versatile forms of Pima is the clip on ponytail, which is simple and easy to attach to your own hair pulled back in a knot.
These are available in inexpensive synthetic as well as human hair which are both fully washable. Hair extensions are a temporary answer to achieving a different hair style whether you go to a salon and have it professionally attached or put in in yourself.
Clip in hair extensions cover a range of techniques and applications. To experience a funky modern look without damaging your hair with chemicals and dyes, try a clip in color streaks hair extension.
In 1800 fake hair was frowned upon and women left their hair to be natural until the Romantic era was in full swing when women wore elaborate Apollo knots. Come the mid Victorian era and hair pieces were used a lot more extensively. Then strangely in the early 20th century Edwardian women wore false hair additions to create the pompadour hairstyle which looked like a woman was wearing a teapot on her head. How that became fashionable I don’t really know!
Around the 1920’s less hair was the big thing so hair pieces took a dive around that time and it wasn’t until the 1940s when long hair came back into fashion and women starting indulging again. Then in the 1960’s big hair was back with a vengeance. Coils were the in thing or the updo as better known to us were seen of many women, this was created by very extravagant human hair pieces. Pima Wigs made from real or fake hair were commonly worn around this time too and carried on into the early 70’s. Come the 80’s and big hair was in but only natural hair. Famous singers wore wigs but that was about it.
If you are anything like me, you thought that the hair extension was a fairly recent invention and only affordable to the rich and famous, like your favorite celebrity. Well, call me 'surprised' to learn that hair extensions, and wigs for that matter, were used by ancient Egyptians as far back as 3400BCE5 (and if anyone can tell me what the 'E5' means, I would be most grateful!).
Back in these days they were always made from real hair, and like today, real hair was expensive to purchase. To the Egyptians, hair was such a valuable commodity that it was ranked alongside gold and incense in value and they would save the hair from their own heads to use whenever possible! Today they are made from real or synthetic hair, and also from feathers. They are affordable to almost anyone and the variety of styles and methods is wide and wonderful!
Apparently back in old Egyptian times, both the rich and poor used hair extensions to improve their styles and elaborate their hair accessories, some of which were very 'whacky' in the very least!
Although in our day and age some men wear hair pieces and wigs, and possibly hair extensions as well, the Egyptian women wore them all the time! Egyptians, male and female, hated body hair in general. Some men would shave from head to toe every day or so. While women didn't shave their heads like the men did, they wore hair extensions most of the time, often adorned with elaborate hair accessories to ornate the piece. They used hair extensions to give some thickness to thinning hair as they aged; they were sometimes braided and/or made especially elaborate for their burial. Considered so important were these 'hairy' creations, as well as wigs, that it was deemed consequential that the collection be buried with them!
Now today, our celebs in particular are great aficionados of modern hair extensions. Take a look at the hair of some of your favorite actors and you will more than likely be viewing at least one image of the wearing of the quintessential hair extension, in one form or another. There are several types and methods for securing them.
Clip on Extensions are gentle and reasonably easy to use and can be used to add highlights to your hair if you don't want to use colored dyes. Prices range from as low as $10 to as high as $400, depending on what type you choose.
Bonded and Sealed Extensions are plaited to your own hair and then bonded with a sealant. These will last up to four months. After this the bonding will start to weaken. You have many choices of hair in this method. You can have Indian, Asian, European hair etc. and they can cost as little as $5 a piece up to $100 a piece, depending on the type of hair and size of the extension required. Keeping in mind that one might need a dozen pieces to do the required job, this can be a pretty expensive method. Then the installation and maintenance are extra cost factors to consider! This hair extension method is often what you will view when your favorite star struts about with glorious, thick and flowing locks.
Weaves are braids that are very small and hold hair extensions in place against your scalp. This can cause some tension to your head and is of some concern for when you wash your hair as it is hard to dry the hair that is beneath the braids. These are really inexpensive ranging from around $8 to $100.
Feather Extensions are rooster feathers in either single or packaged bonded feathers and are a lovely way to beautify the hair in a natural way. They come in many colors and are the simplest way to add an exclusive touch to your hair. Inexpensive and easy to attach for the novice (like myself), they range from $10 to around $40.
So there you have it in a nutshell. From Egyptian Pharaohs and peasants to the likes of our new-world rich, famous, or simply stylish women, and maybe even men; the hair extension plays an underrated if elaborate part in our lives. I have yet to hear of our modern-day beauties holding their hair in such esteem that they 'will' their hair extensions, wigs, and hair accessories to the grave along with themselves. But anything is possible.
Pima Care and Maintenance
There are plenty of different options on the market at the moment for anyone interested in longer hair, with much debate over which option makes for the best hair extensions. Here we go over the pros and cons of different types of extension so you can pick the best hair extensions for your look.
Real vs. Synthetic Hair
The first thing to understand when choosing any type of hair extensions is that they can be made of real hair or from synthetic product. Although real hair products are usually more expensive, these are definitely much better than synthetic products, which will never look quite like real hair. There only time the synthetic extensions may be the best is if:
- You're having dreadlocks put in
- You deliberately want to add in a false look for example with neon extensions
Unless either of these applies, you should always go for real hair. Even then there is often a choice of which type of hair to go for. The golden rule is to try and match your own hair type as much as possible, so if you are a Westerner then buy European hair, which is treated to be available in any natural shade. Asian hair extensions are the best extensions to go for only if you actually are Asian, or they will not look like your own.
Different Types of Salon Hair Extensions
Visiting the salon to get hair extensions remains popular, where there are basically two main choices of extensions offered:
- Individual strand extensions
- Weft extensions
Individual strand extensions involve taking small sections of your own hair and adding in the extension hair to the strands. These can look pretty good, and are the choice of many celebrities, but there can also be dire consequences if they go wrong. The fact that chemical substances are used to basically 'stick' the hair extension onto your own hair means that it is pretty difficult to remove them without damaging your hair or scalp. This method can also be expensive, since the extensions will only remain in place for a few months before they start to fall out and have to be completely reapplied.
Weft hair extensions look like a long curtain of hair, and are attached instead using corn rows. Although this is much better for your hair, you still have to visit the salon every few weeks as your own hair grows. The cornrows can also be quite uncomfortable to have against your head over long periods of time.
Hair Clip Extensions
A much newer product to the market is the hair extension clip. These too come in a choice of synthetic and real hair, and are definitely the best hair extension for anyone who likes to change their look regularly, since you can pop them in or out easily whenever you want longer or shorter hair. Hair extension clips can be used to achieve the same look as you would get from salon extensions, but are also much less expensive, since they can be used over and over again.
Overall the question of which are the best hair extensions varies from person to person, but for many who wish to simply gain a glamorous look for a special occasion, clip-in extensions made from real hair are the best choice to go for.
Wigs Vs Clip in Hair Extensions
Do you long for long thick wavy hair, or natural highlights, but you have thin, short or dull hair? You may wish to look into human hair extensions . It seems as if everywhere you look people are changing their styles overnight using hair extensions. So if you can't wait for your hair to grow, or need that thick luscious sexy hair today, or add natural highlights and thickness to change your style temporarily. Consider human hair extensions.
Once the decision to change has been made , the next thing to consider is how to achieve great looking natural hair, using what kind of hair extension..
Types of hair extensions
- 100% Natural Human Hair,
- synthetic hair - man made hair
- a combination of the real hair and synthetic hair.
Real hair is literally that, 100% natural home grown hair from another person, it will behave the same as your own hair. Synthetic hair is artificial and usually doesn't hang or move naturally. A combination contains both types of hair, so if often cheaper, but still may not hang quite the way natural hair does.
Real Human hair is the only way to go if you want the hair extension to feel real. It is 100% pure, human hair.As such it can be treated exactly as you would treat your own hair - washing, coloring, perming or straightening can all be done on human hair. Real hair is bought from Europe, Asia, or Russia. If you want the hair extensions to be color matched to your hair you can have it done, or if you want a contrasting highlights that is also possible. A good stylist will choose the best shad match for your hair and highlights. Real hair will fit in with your own hair more naturally, and behave the same as your own hair in the rain or when it is wet. Synthetic hair tends to be "set" in that it comes in a fixed style that will not change when it is wet. You can can a number of months typically 6-9 months from human hair extensions, as long as they are cared for properly. One of the big dangers to human hair extensions is heat, so it is important to provide gentle care to stop them from becoming dry and brittle. It can take a long time to attach these types of hair extensions and it is wise to have it done professionally in a salon.
Synthetic hair looks and feels different to real hair as it is "set" it doesn't hang the same as natural hair. Synthetic hair does not handle water well and can become tangled easily. This makes it hard to look after as a permanent hair extension.
When considering human hair there are different qualities available. As it is not possible to just collect cut hair from the salon floor. the highest quality providers of human hair take great care to control how it is collected and processed. The hair is carefully cut to keep the strands lined up in the growing direction. This is help with the hair hanging naturally. Hair strands are made up of a number of layers of cells,the outer layer is known as the cuticle, the cuticle cells are like roof tiles overlapping. If the cuticle is complete and undamaged the hair will lock in more moisture and last longer. In the lower grades of hair extension the cuticle is damaged in processing(often by harsh chemicals), leaving the hair brittle. An expert stylist will make sure that the hair extension and your own hair cuticle direction are matched and run in the same direction.
This is one reason the best human hair extensions are the most expensive and the best option for your own hair extensions.