As a long time lover and full-time wearer of stenos, Denise Curtin shares all you need to know about getting hair extensions.
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With the help of Ireland’s hair extension experts, here’s five things you should know before you book an appointment.
1. Bonds Vs Tapes
The two most popular choices of hair extensions are bonds and tapes.
Bonds are a permanent type of hair extension. Worn continuously for months, these are added strand-by-stand and bonded to the natural hair.
Hair extension specialist Edel Hunter has worked in the business over 13 years and explains, “bonded hair extensions when done right are the most natural looking as they sit like strands of your own hair and can be blended to match your colour perfectly.” In her salon in Greystones, Edel offers a variety of brands, but explains that Gold Fever hair extensions are a major favourite with her clients. “Gold Fever are of the highest quality you can find. The hair is Indian ritual so, 100 percent ethically sourced and 100 percent traceable. Each pack even comes with a certificate to verify this” Continuing, Edel noted that bonded extensions can last three to five months and take anything between one to four hours to apply. This all “depends on how many bonds you need to achieve the look you want.”
Tape extensions on the other hand are semi permanent tape-in pieces of hair, lasting for a shorter time period of six to eight weeks.
“Tape extensions are really gentle on your hair and scalp as there’s no tugging or sewing during the application and removal,”reveals Easilocks founder, Shane O’Sullivan. “Tapes are especially good for those with thin or damaged hair and want to add length and thickness.” Explaining that they’re comfortable to wear and damage free, Shane also added that the great thing about tapes is that the hair can be reused. “When you return for a reinstallation, your stylist will simply replace the old tape on the wefts with new tape and put it back in your hair. As long as you take excellent care of them, you can reuse your extensions for an average of 12 months.”
It’s important to note that having hair extensions is an investment of your time and money. Although it’s difficult to state a specific price tag, hair extensions can vary from €200 – €900 depending on the quantity you get and the brand you choose. Make sure that you do your research. Choose a reputable salon and book a consultation first. Usually, consultations are free and during them, the salon specialist will be able to guide you on the best extensions for you, plus give you an exact quote on cost.
Although often tedious, taking proper care of your hair extensions is key. Not only will the look new and shiny for longer, but it will also help prevent damage to your natural hair. Firstly, it’s important to stay away from shampoos containing sodium laurel sulfates (SLS), these harsh chemicals can dry out your hair extensions and strip them of their colour so, it’s an important one to look out for. Usually, when a shampoo doesn’t contain SLS, it will say “sulfate-free” on the bottle and you’ll know you’re on to a winner. Popular extension-friendly shampoos include the Kevin Murphy range and L’Oreal’s Pureology.
It’s also important to invest in the right type of hairbrush. Normal hairbrushes will rip through your extensions and often break your natural hair while doing so. Instead, you need a soft bristle brush specifically designed for hair extensions to glide through the hair and prevent tangling.
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Make sure you get your hair extensions taken out the same way as you got them put in, by an expert. Never attempt to remove your own hair extensions. Explaining that removal is “damage free when done right”, Edel noted that proper removal can take up to two hours depending on the volume of hair and should always be completed by a professional. Those who wish can also get their old extensions removed and a new set put in during the same appointment.
5. Alternative Options
Lastly, if in doubt there’s always clip ins. Temporary hair extensions are a great place to start for any steno newbie plus, as Easilock’s Shane O’Sullivan explained, they’re cost effective and perfect for special occasions. “Clip in pieces deliver instant glamour at a really affordable price without having to go to the salon. They’re a great edition to the beauty locker and can be a real saviour for a last-minute-date or a night out when you want to look fabulous but you don’t have a lot of time,” revealed Shane. “They’re also really popular with those who want to mix up their look regularly but don’t want the damage and expense of dyeing and re-dyeing,” he added.
So remember, clip ins are a good start, consultations are vital and don’t be afraid to ask your stylist lots of questions. Gorge hair awaits and you’re going to be totally obsessed!