Apr 09, 2023
Long, flowing hair can be a huge confidence booster—celebrities, princesses, and even mermaids all have beautiful luscious locks, and everyone can relate to wanting to achieve that look themselves. But what if your hair grows slowly? Or what if you want to sport a long hairstyle for a special event, but your natural hair is on the shorter side?
Luckily, you don’t have to wait for your natural hair to catch up to your dream style. Hair extensions can be a great way to enhance your hair on a daily basis or for something fun and different every once in a while.
But because of all the different types of hair extensions, it can be super overwhelming to get started. We’re here to help: With this complete guide, you’ll get the full hair extensions 101 so you can pick the perfect kind for your hair and lifestyle.
First Things First: What is a Hair Extension?
Before we dive into all the specifics of hair extensions, let’s start with the basics: What is a hair extension anyway? Put simply, it’s a section of hair, either real or synthetic, that you attach to your head to boost the length and fullness of your natural hair.
Clip-Ins and Wigs
These hair products are a more temporary option because they don’t bond to your hair or your scalp in any way. This makes them perfect for someone who wants to experiment with different colors, textures, or lengths without causing too much damage to their natural hair. Clip-ins and wigs also don’t need to be installed by a professional, and you can find pretty affordable options that are still really nice quality.
Tape-In Hair Extensions
This option is basically what it sounds like: Extensions that are taped (or sometimes glued) into the hair, usually aligned with the roots. These are a little more expensive to install, and they do require a hairstylist to install and remove them to minimize the damage to your hair.
Bonded Hair Extensions
Sometimes called fusion extensions, these are individual keratin-tipped strands of hair that are fused to your real hair using heat. Bonded hair extensions use unprocessed human hair strands to make up their volume, which can make them look more natural, but may cause them to be more expensive.
Synthetic vs. Human Hair Extensions
If you’re doing research on what are extensions in hair, you’ve probably come across lots of talk about synthetic vs real human hair. All this comes down to is the material; some products are man-made (lots of clip-ins are usually synthetic) while some are made from real human hair.
Which one you choose comes down to your personal preference about things like the look, feel, and overall cost. If you’re having a hard time deciding, you can always talk to a professional stylist who can help you decide based on your hair type and circumstances.
How Long Do Hair Extensions Last?
Now that you have an overview of what a hair extension is, your next question may be how long they last—and the answer is it depends. Some types of extensions, like bonded extensions or sew-ins and weaves, can last up to months as long as you take care of them correctly. Others, like clip-ins, aren’t intended to be left in for as long, and only last a few weeks.
The reason you want hair extensions will help you decide how long they need to last. If you’re looking for something fun and temporary, a less long-lasting option like a clip-in is probably perfect for you. If you’re looking for a confidence boost in the long term, then a more permanent option will help you reduce costs and how much time you spend at the salon.
How Much Does it Cost to Put Hair Extensions In?
Just like how long they last vary, the cost of hair extensions can change depending on what kind you get. Human hair tends to be more expensive than synthetic hair, but it can be easier to care for and lasts longer, making it worth the investment for certain people. At the same time, the world of synthetic hair has come a long way, so you can definitely find affordable options that feel high-end.