Hair extensions might seem like a new invention but in reality hair additions have been around as far back as the Egyptian times when both men and women work wigs. Since then hair pieces have been in and out of fashion ever since.
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. Oxley 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.
The History of Oxley
Hair extensions started being used in the 1980s, but because of poor results and high expense, were abandoned until about 5 years ago. Their popularity has been boosted by all the celebrities who now use them.
What are hair extensions?
Hair extensions are hairpieces that can be attached to your natural hair or scalp; they enhance the thickness of your hair or the length. There are several kinds, but the most popular ones are
· Strands, small clusters of about 30 pieces of hair
· Wefts, slightly larger curtains of hair, joined at the top and free flowing at the ends. The best wefts are hand-made, not machine-made.
· Braids and dreadlocks, which are pre-wound.
Some are synthetic and some are made of human hair. The natural hair of Caucasians is different from that of Asians or Afro-Caribbeans and you should choose an extension that will match your own hair.
They come in many varieties and can be pre-colored, pre-highlighted or pre-permed with curls or a body wave. Depending on how it was attached, you may need to have your hair extension re-done after 6 or 8 weeks, or it might last up to 4 months. Re-attaching will always be periodically necessary because our natural hair continues to grow, the bonding agent becomes loose, life happens, and you'll need to re-adjust and refresh your hair's appearance.
How are hair extensions attached?
· Strands are woven, glued, or clipped to your natural hair. If they're clipped, you can take them off easily any time. If they're glued, various bonding agents may be used and care must be taken to protect your scalp and natural hair.
· For wefts, your stylist will make a small corn row or weave in your natural hair, and sew the weft to this weave. This method uses no chemicals.
· Braids are usually woven in with your own hair and again no chemicals are used.
What kind of hair extension would best suit me?
That's a very personal matter and should be decided between you and your stylist. There are extensions for every kind of hair, even thin and baby-fine hair. Your stylist will assess your hair type, discuss how you would like to look and whether it's possible given your particular circumstances and hair status, and explain alternatives. When an extension is decided upon, she will personally customize it to match your hair, will attach it, explain how she's doing it, and give you information on how to care for it.
How do I care for my hair extension?
· Hair extensions can be shampooed, styled and brushed the same as your natural hair, but don't try to alter their color. This should be professionally done.
· The most important thing is to be gentle with it so as to preserve the bond attaching it.
· Use a soft bristle brush and brush out tangles from the bottom ends up towards your head.
· At night, to avoid matting, tie it up or braid it if it's fairly long, and never sleep with wet or damp hair.
· Avoid using any silicone-based products or conditioners on the extension where it is bonded to your natural hair, as this will make the extension slip off.
Does it hurt to get a hair extension?
No, not when it's properly done. In the first day or two it will feel a little heavy perhaps, and this added weight on your head may feel slightly uncomfortable until you get used to it. The process of attaching it should not hurt at all. If it does, something isn't right. Sometimes if the cornrow method is being used, the weaving might be done too tightly, pulling too hard on your scalp. This can even cause headaches. But you should not accept this. The weaving doesn't have to be so tight that it's painful.
You may come across stories of how a person's hair was broken, burned, or otherwise damaged by their hair extension. The odds are that this person had it done by an untrained stylist, or one with little experience.
Do your homework
Since the demand for hair extensions is growing, more varieties will become available and research will give us more methods of creating and using them. The hair styling industry is not regulated, so do some checking and reading. Many websites recount personal experiences and have Frequently Asked Question pages.
Choose a stylist with training specifically in hair extensions, and with plenty of experience using them. Ask to speak to other clients who have purchased hair extensions, to hear what their experiences were like.
Hair Extensions: Synthetic or Human - What's Better?
The bottom line is, synthetic hair extensions comprise a variety of kinds of materials woven together to resemble real hair. However, because it's synthetic and not real, it'll never look the same. It's great for several different reasons though.
*Synthetic locks are less costly
*Less time intensive. Since getting extensions from the salon requires money and time, so many people are finding clip-in synthetic extensions to become the quickest, simplest, and least expensive method to have multiple looks.
*Synthetic locks are more fragile, and really should be worn because they come, with little tinkering about or styling. You shouldn't use warmth (hair dryers, curling irons, or hair straighteners) or apply an excessive amount of styling items to your synthetic locks.
Synthetic extensions are made of man-made materials and may be produced with hardly any variation. It may be formed into styles using the steam from boiling water to create your hair. Also, the synthetic colors usually come in darker more vibrant shades. Synthetic type extensions may be easily employed for vibrant, funky fashion colors, for example pinks, vegetables and blues. In most cases, if you wish to achieve natural a natural look, then you definitely should go for 100% real hair extensions. however extensions produced from real locks often provide a better result, naturally.
Synthetic extensions are extremely simple to put on, and require little maintenance. Unlike real locks the synthetic materials need minimal or no styling after washing. It is made of materials for example nylon material, polyester, kankalon or modacrylic and won't respond well to warmth or friction. Synthetic locks are also employed for manufacturing hairpieces, wigs and for piece pony tails.
Real hair extensions, usually of Asian descent, are easily the most versatile types of hair. It comes in a lot of colors, measures and grades. It also haves the benefit of looking more realistic in your own hair but they are a great deal more costly. This is because it's been grown and cut particularly for this function, therefore it's worth more than synthetic. It's then washed, and processed ready available. Real hair extensions can differ in quality because the locks are categorized into grades. The standard is dependent about the origin from the hair, and age the individual it's originate from. The least expensive hair generally originates from China along with other Asian nations, and it is thick and initially very dark, just before processing and coloring.
It's suggested to determine both hair types before proceeding with extensions to determine which you prefer. Whether you select natural or synthetic hair extensions putting some thought and research in to the decision will be beneficial.