There are so many different type of hair extensions out there, so we decided to post a detailed overview of each class of hair extensions, as well as our opinion on each type's pros and cons.
First of all, you can imagine hair extensions as being divided up into two main categories, which are:
- Semi-permanent hair extensions; and
- Temporary and easily removable hair extensions.
Semi-Permanent Hair Extensions
Within the category of semi-permanent hair extensions, there are two further sub-classes, which are:
- Strand-by-strand hair extensions, in which small packets of hair extensions are fastened to your own hair by way of a few different techniques; and
- Wefted hair extensions, in which wefts of hair extensions are anchored in place by way of a few different techniques.
Strand by Strand
The strand-by-strand hair extension category can be further sub-divided into two sub-classes, hot fusion and cold fusion. With hot fusion hair extensions, small strands of hair extensions are literally joined to the base of person’s own strands of hair using heated keratin U-tip bonds lined with silicone. With cold fusion hair extensions (also sometimes known as “micro link”), strands of hair extensions are attached to strands of an individual’s own hair either through the use of a keratin resin, or through the use of special fasteners which are then crimped tightly around the base of the hair extension strand and the base of the individual’s own hair strand.
The semi-permanent wefted hair extension category is further divided into four sub-classes of hair extensions: tape-in, glue-in, sew-in and micro-link skin wefts. We’ll only address tape-ins and sew-ins here as they are by far the most commonly used of the various semi-permanent wefted hair extension solutions. Tape-in hair extensions are essentially wefts of hair attached to a strip of adhesive tape. They are most typically applied by attaching this strip of tape to the base of a similar sized section of the individual’s hair, followed by the application of another piece of tape on the other side of the section, in effect sandwiching the hair between these two strips of tape. Sewn-in hair extensions are achieved through creating rows of an individual’s own tightly braided hair, onto which rows of hair wefts of hair extensions are sewn in.
Temporary and Easily Removable Hair Extensions
The only genuinely temporary and easily removable method of installing hair extensions are clip-in hair extensions, as well as halo hair extensions.
PROS AND CONS OF EACH TYPE OF HAIR EXTENSION
As with anything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to all of the hair extension types described above. Let’s go through each:
Hot Fusion/Keratin Bonded Hair Extensions
Advantages: The advantages of hot fusion hair extensions are their longevity. Because of the truly seamless nature of how the strands of hair extensions are fused with your own strands of hair, these types of hair extensions can sometimes go as long as six months before needing to be removed. Because they case be strategically positioned all across the full area of your scalp, the are often seen by many as providing (at the time of their installation) the most natural look.
Disadvantages: There are several disadvantages to hot fusion hair extensions. First, these are the most expensive of all hair extensions, rarely costing less than $500 to have them competently installed, with the costs sometimes running into the thousands of dollars! Second, even in the hands of a skilled hair stylist, the heat from the tools used to fuse the hair extension strands to your own hair can often damage the hair on your own head. If that isn’t enough, hot fusion extensions sometimes come with headaches and itchy scalps in the days following their installation, and sometimes lead to the breakage of the wearer’s own hair several weeks after the hair extensions are put in, the latter related to the tension placed on the wearer’s own natural hair from the constant added weight of their hair extensions. Although they can stay in a woman’s hair for up to six months, hot fusion extensions typically cannot be re-used, and the wearer of these types of hair extensions should never go swimming with her hair extensions in, nor should she fall asleep without first drying her hair. The final problem with hot fusion hair extensions is common to all semi-permanent hair extensions; essentially, because the hair extensions are not being nourished by the natural oils from your own scalp, the hair extensions will have a tendency to dry-out and after a while look anything but soft and silky. This problem can be mitigated by giving your fusion hair extensions some regular TLC, however the exact type of hair care products used to do so (Hair Masks, silicone based conditioners, Serums or Oil Treatments) can lead to the dissolving of the keratin bonds holding the hard extension strands in place. Likewise, heavy use of products such as hair sprays, gels, mousse, or even the use of a curling iron can sometimes damage and or dissolve the keratin bonds holding together your hair extensions. Finally, the fact that these hair extensions stay in your hair day in and day out can lead to a great deal of additional stress on your hair follicles due the extra weight pulling at your hair. This constant pull on your hair has been known to lead to either hair breakage at the point of fusion, or in some cases to a woman shedding more of her own hair that would normally be the case for her, a condition medically known as Traction Alopecia.
Micro-Bead (Cold Fusion) Hair Extensions
Advantages: Cold fusion hair extensions tend to share the same advantages described earlier in connection with hot fusion hair extensions. Cold fusion hair extensions can last up to six months in a wearer’s hair, and as with hot fusion hair extensions, cold fusion hair extensions tend to move very naturally.
Disadvantages: Unfortunately, the shared advantages described above also bring with them many of the same disadvantages, along with a few more. The process of installing cold fusion hair extensions is extremely labour intensive, which drives up the cost of installation. Women with very fine or thin hair may not be good candidates for cold fusion extensions as (depending on their size) the fasteners holding the strands in place can sometimes be visible through the hair. As with all semi-permanent hair extensions, the wearer should avoid activities such as swimming, heavy sweating, falling asleep with damp hair, and be extra careful when applying any oil or silicone based products (which is essentially the entire hair care industry!), as these can lead to the extensions sliding down the hair shaft. Also, as with hot fusion hair extensions, women should be aware that Traction Alopecia is always a possibility when wearing micro-bead hair extensions. Finally, because women wearing micro-bead extensions are often unable to get in deep and properly wash and condition their hair near the micro-beads, their removal can sometimes reveal some unpleasant surprises. See here for one woman’s experience with micro-bead hair extensions.
Tape-In Hair Extensions
Advantages: Tape-in hair extensions are the least expensive of the semi-permanent types of hair extensions, and are the easiest and quickest of the semi-permanent hair extensions to install.
Disadvantages: Unlike what some sellers of tape-in extensions may claim, there are many disadvantages to tape-in extensions. To begin with, they share the same problems as all of the other semi-permanent types of hair extensions in that they somewhat restrict the activities that you can engage in without putting undue stress on your hair extensions. For example, as with hot fusion and micro-beads, and for the same reasons explained above, swimming in pools or in the ocean should be avoided, as should be falling asleep with damp hair. Also, just as with other semi-permanent solutions, being not nourished by the natural oils coming off of your scalp, tape-in hair extensions will rapidly deteriorate in quality as they are exposed to the stresses of regular shampooing. Tape-in hair extension sellers like to claim that tape-in extensions are re-usable, but after wearing them in your hair for a few months, they will usually be so damaged and degraded that no self respecting woman would want to. As with hot fusion hair extensions, the use of certain hair conditioning products (masks, hair oils or serums) can dissolve the bonding agents that are used on the tape to glue the extensions to your hair, the pieces of tape often become visible as your hair grows out, especially when you wear your hair up, and many women have damaged their own hair while trying to remove their tape-in extensions. Finally, as with all other forms of semi-permanent hair extensions, the possibility of experiencing Traction Alopecia should always be a concern of any woman considering tape-in extensions. See here for more information.
SEW-IN (aka “WEAVE”) HAIR EXTENSIONS
Advantages: Among the advantages to sew-in hair extensions is their low to moderate installation cost, the fact that the wearer typically won’t have any issues in using oil or silicone based hair products such as oil treatments, serums, styling creams or hair masks. Moreover, because there is no heat or glue used in the installation of sew-in hair extensions, the risk of damaging your own hair is reduced in comparison to other semi-permanent hair extensions.
Disadvantages: Sew-in extensions take several hour to install, and unfortunately the braids that are created to anchor the hair extensions can often impair proper washing at the roots of your hair, and thereby become a breeding ground for bacteria whose build-up can lead to scalp infections. In addition to that, the tension of the braids can often lead to headaches, and as with all of the types of semi-permanent hair extensions, the dreaded Traction Alopecia.
Clip-In Hair Extensions
Advantages: If you want to wear hair extensions, clip-ins are your best bet for several reasons. First is the ease of use. With a little bit of practice, clip-in hair extensions can be put in your hair in 5-10 minutes, and they can be removed in less than a minute at the end of the day. Next is the price. When you consider that, Kylisstof clip-in hair extensions (depending on their weight and length) cost anywhere from USD $134.99-$249.99, and if properly cared for, can last upwards of a year, then it’s clear that hair extensions provide you with the most economical way to get lusciously long, voluminous hair. Next is the lifestyle factor. Unlike semi-permanent types of extensions which somewhat limit your choice of activities or the products you use in your hair, the easily removable nature of clip-in extensions means that you can continue doing exactly what you love doing, or using exactly the products you love using, without regard for what’s in your hair. You want to go swimming in the ocean or the pool? Take them out. You want to run a marathon and build up a crazy sweat that requires you to scrub your hair out after? Take them out. You want to use hair oils or intense hydrating masks? Go ahead! You have naturally oily hair that makes you feel the need to wash your hair almost every day but you’re worried that doing so would dry out and damage your hair extensions? No worries, because your clip-in hair extensions will be safely stored away while you’re washing your hair, and need only be washed every 15-20 wears, meaning they will last much longer (up to 12 months or more!) than every other type of hair extension on the market. And the best reason of all is that they are 100% safe, and unlike tape-ins, hot fusion, micro-beads or sew-ins, clip-in hair extensions will NOT lead to hair breakage or the feared Traction Alopecia.
Disadvantages: The disadvantages to clip-in hair extensions are the hassle that some see in having to put them in and take them out each time you want to wear them. But the reality is that they take less than a minute to remove at the end of the day, and with a little bit of practice you’ll be putting them in your hair in minutes flat. See this video for a demonstration of how easily you can clip them in. One other disadvantage to clip-in hair extensions sometimes cited is that they are harder to conceal near the top of your head than are either of hot fusion extensions or micro-bead extensions, and that this factor makes them less appealing for finer haired women. While this might have been the case with traditional forms of clip-in hair extensions using sewn fabric (usually lace), our ultra –thin seamless clip-in hair extensions eliminate this concern, allowing thick medium and fine haired women alike to enjoy the benefits that come with clip-in hair extensions.
Advantages: Advantages here are the ease with which these extensions can be put in your hair. As with clip-ins, a woman also need not concern herself with worrying about the potential long-term adverse effects of wearing semi-permanent extensions. Also, as with clip-is, halos can be taken out at a moment's notice, allowing a woman to engage in whichever activities she wants to without needing to worry about how it will affect her hair extensions.
Disadvatages: Unlike clip-ins, which can be strategically positioned in relation to any hairstyle in order to conceal them, halo wearers are not so fortunate in this regard, making halos far less attractive an option for any woman wanting to wear her hair in an undo style.
So there you have our take on each type of hair extension. At the end of the day, any woman considering buying extensions needs to first ask herself the following: (1) Will the type of hair extensions I choose blend in well with my own hair?; and (2) Will they suit my lifestyle? If she's an extremely active woman who doesn’t want to sacrifice any aspect of her own lifestyle (eg. swimming, working out), if she regularly use hair oils or serums, or deep conditioning masks, if she has particularly oily hair that makes her feel as though she needs to wash her hair very regularly, then semi-permanent hair extensions will likely be a better fit for her. If she wants to wear her hair up a lot of the time, then clip-in extensions will clearly be the best choice for her between clip-ins and halo extensions. if not, she'll likely be indifferent between the two types of temporary extensions.
'Till next time!!! XOXO