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 Boulder 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. Boulder 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.
Hair Extensions - Give Your Hair a New Look
As a Hairdresser and specializing in the Trading of Hair and Application of Extensions, I found that hair quality and the origin of donors is of the utmost of importance to determine quality. The quality of your hair extension hair will determine whether or not they look real, and how long the hair lasts. Please note, the following regions detail the process used to match hair extensions for people of Caucasian origin.
There are a large number of hair extension artists claiming to use virgin Russian hair for many hundreds even thousands of dollars, when in actual fact they are selling good quality European hair sourced from donors with origins in South America, Italy, Eurasian etc . This hairs cuticle has been harshly processed to strip out the very thick texture and dark colour pigments. To mimic western hair (Caucasian), the hair is re-tinted using fabric colours not hair colours to achieve the desired shade.
Hair sourced from donors of Indian, Asian and Chinese donors is a very course hair strand and grows naturally very dark and very straight. The hair is processed using the same method as European hair only more harshly. The pigments are stripped back to nothing then a short lasting silicon coating is added for a more realistic texture. For this reason Asian hair is usually the cheapest and most unnatural looking hair available on the market only lasting for the short term.
Raw Virgin Russian Hair
Raw virgin Russian hair has NEVER been chemically treated and is Caucasian hair so the cuticle is not processed and stripped unlike Asian and European hair. The hair reacts beautifully to salon products and remains silky even after lighting and colouring. Raw virgin Russian hair is widely known as the "creme de la creme" of hair and of the finest quality. The hair not only looks the most natural but also last for years not months. Russian hair is softer, finer and more compatible with western hair allowing the hair move naturally with more volume which means less extensions and less potential damage to your own hair.
Due to the scarce nature of sourcing raw virgin Russian hair the initial cost can be significantly more than European and Asian hair. People only compare prices directly, however volume and durability should also be an important consideration. You may find that over the long term you can purchase raw virgin Russian hair for the same price as Asian or European hair when allowing for how long the hair will last and how many extensions you need. Chemically treated hair is flat and lifeless needing more hair to produce the same affect as non treated hair. In addition to volume, raw virgin Russian hair will last for years not months so the only cost is the cost a hair extension artist will charge for uplifting the extensions. Many well known brands do not offer uplifting due to the poor quality and durability of the product they use. If hair extension artists or salons claim to offer raw virgin Russian hair but can only guarantee the product for less than six months it is more than likely a false claim.
Quick Facts: Asian/European hair extensions
- Hair only last in original condition for a short period
- Not recommended to colour as hair becomes even more porous
- Does not look real
- Not recommended to swim
- Frequently tangles
- Maintenance is very high
- Needs to be styled often
- Looks natural Can be coloured
- Swimming causes no damage
- Hair does not tangle
- Maintenance is very low
- Hair can be left to dry naturally
- Last for years if well cared for
- Need less as hair has more volume
Boulder Care and Maintenance
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.
Hair Extension Care and Maintenance
You see them everywhere; they allow celebrities to go from short hair to greater lengths in an instant. Some look awful while others blend so well that no one would ever suspect; but have you ever wondered where the hair used in extensions comes from? Is it from human sources? What kind of process does it go through before it is attached as an extension? This article will address some of these questions and offer a couple of other insights into the world of the hair extension industry that may interest the average, information seeking, consumer.
First, we should establish that there are many companies that send buyers out to acquire hair for hair extensions and, without sounding biased to one brand or the other, I will just say this... not all hair extensions are created equal, so, buyer beware!
There are three basic categories of hair that is used for hair extensions.
• Synthetic - Hair made from synthetic fibers that are less likely to tangle with your natural hair but is very susceptible to melting due to heat from hot dryers and irons.
• Animal - In particular, the animal hair that is widely used for extensions comes from the under-belly of the Yak. It is claimed that this type of hair, because of its texture and look, has the most suitable structure for use as a match for chemically relaxed and treated African-Ethnic hair. One major drawback is that from there are those who will experience or develop allergic reactions to the Yak hair.
• Human - This hair may come from a variety of geographical regions. A word of caution: There are companies that will claim that the product you are receiving is from a human source but on final analysis, it may be shown to contain animal hair or synthetic fibers, as well. The reason this is allowed to occur is due to the technicality that if a collection of hair joined to form an extension strand contains at least one human strand in the mix, by legal standards it can be marketed as human. So, when researching where your particular extensions come from, always make sure that you are guaranteed that what you are buying is 100% human hair.
Now that we have categorized what the basic types of hair extensions are made of, we can look a little further into how the human hair, used in hair extensions, is collected.
Human hair collected for extensions can be categorized as:
• Remy: Meaning that all the hairs still have their cuticle layers intact with each strand faced in the same direction (this creates a natural fall to the extension, keeps tangling to a minimum, and allows light reflectivity for shine). Ideally the donor of this type of hair has a long braid cut from their head so as to preserve the quality of the cuticle layers following the same direction. Because of the care taken when gathering Remy hair, it tends to be more expensive to purchase but is the most desirable and suitable hair to use.
• Non-Remy: Cuticle layers are not aligned in the same directional flow. These strands are usually collected as naturally shed, fallen hair that is collected from hairbrushes. As you can imagine, this confused mixture of hair is very prone to tangling and matting due to the cuticle layers of the individual hairs not following in the same directions. To rectify this, these hairs are often subjected to acid treatments that remove the cuticle layers from the hair shafts, leaving behind a product that is weakened and dull looking. A silicone is then added to the hair to make the dull, stripped hair shinier. Over time this silicone erodes and washes away, leaving the Non-Remy tresses in their post-chemically treated, compromised condition. Being of lesser quality, this hair is less cost prohibitive than that of Remy hair but typically, produces a less desirable result.
Hopefully, I've shed a bit of light on where hair extension hair comes from, how it's processed, and created a platform where those of you that may be interested in getting an expert hair extension service performed will be able to make thoughtful decisions about the products that are used on your head.