Woman with long, platinum blonde hair extensions.

Mar 29, 2024

From wefts to hair toppers, these are the types of hair extensions all stylists should be able to pull off

Picture this: you're at your salon chair, armed with your trusty shears and a client looking for a hair transformation. Whether they're dreaming of Rapunzel-like length, voluminous locks, or just a touch of extra oomph, having a solid understanding of hair extension types is essential.

But, the world of extensions can be overwhelming. With clip-ins, tape-ins, weaves, and more, it's easy to feel like you're lost in a forest of follicles. Read on for a breakdown of the extension types every stylist should have in their repertoire, so you can leave your clients feeling like the queens (and kings) they are.


What exactly are hair extensions?

Starting with the basics, hair extensions are extra strands of hair (real or synthetic) that you can add to existing hair to achieve all kinds of transformations. Whether it’s mermaid-like length, or amped-up volume, extensions can help.

One thing to definitely keep in mind: extensions aren't just for dramatic makeovers. Sure, they can give your client extreme length if that's what they’re after, but they're also perfect for adding subtle highlights, filling in thin spots, or even just switching up a style for a special occasion. So whether they’re channeling their inner Beyoncé or just want to feel like the best version of themself, hair extensions are here to make hair dreams come true.


What are hair extensions made of?

Hair extensions come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, but let's start with the OG: human hair. Just like the strands growing out of your head, human hair extensions are made from, well, human hair. These are the peak of extensions, offering the most natural look and feel. Think silky-smooth strands that blend seamlessly with hair, making it nearly impossible for anyone to spot the difference.

But if your client is looking to shake things up without breaking the bank, synthetic hair extensions are a great option. Made from synthetic fibers like polyester or acrylic, these extensions offer a wallet-friendly way to switch up a style. While they might not have the same luxurious feel as their human hair counterparts, synthetic extensions come in a rainbow of colors and textures, perfect for experimenting with different looks without the commitment.

And let's not forget about the hybrids of the extension world: blends. These combine the best of both worlds, mixing human hair with synthetic fibers to create a budget-friendly option that still looks and feels natural. 

So whether you go with human hair or synthetic, or somewhere in between, there's a hair extension material out there for everyone. 


What hair types are right for hair extensions?

First up, let's talk texture. Whether your client has poker-straight strands, bouncy curls, or something in between, there's an extension out there for them. For those with naturally sleek locks, silky-straight extensions are ideal, seamlessly blending with the hair for a flawless finish. For wavy or curly hair, curly extensions will add length and volume without sacrificing that signature style. 

Hair density is important to think about, too. If your client’s hair is on the thinner side, lightweight extensions will be your go-to, adding just the right amount of volume without weighing it down. On the flip side, if they’ve got a mane that's super thick, opt for extensions with a bit more oomph.

When it comes to color, whether you’re trying to match your client’s natural hue or switch things up, hair extensions come in just about every color in the rainbow. From beachy blonde to raven black and every shade in between, there's an extension out there for them.


Do extensions damage natural hair?

Ever since Kim Kardashian posted a look at her natural hair on social media, with it looking slightly finer than we’re used to, Google searches for “do hair extensions damage hair” have spiked. So, chances are your clients will ask you that same question.

While hair extensions do sometimes get a bad rep for damage, well-made, well-installed hair extensions shouldn’t cause any damage. If you know your stuff, and you’re able to explain the after-care to your client, their natural hair should remain healthy.

If your client is still concerned, start with something slightly less permanent to ease them in to the process. Keep reading to find out which hair extensions fit that bill, and which ones will be right for all your clients.


Woman with hair extensions in her curly hair.


What are clip-in hair extensions?

Now the fun part: all the different kinds of hair extensions, starting with clip-in hair extensions. These are like the Swiss Army knives of styling—versatile, easy to use, and effective.

So, how do they work? Each set of clip-ins comes with wefts of hair (more on this later) attached to sturdy clips. All you have to do is section the hair, pop the clips open, and secure the extensions in place. 

But it gets better. Clip-in extensions are completely customizable, allowing you to switch up a style on a whim. For quick length or volume, clip in a few extra wefts. Then, to go back to a softer look, they can be unclipped and easily removed. No commitment, no fuss—just flawless hair.

What are bond hair extensions?

Bonds are like tiny little capsules that sit at the top of a hair extension filled with materials like keratin or polymer. Those little capsules get attached to small sections of natural hair, creating a strong, secure bond that holds the extensions in place.

Bond extensions come in a variety of styles to suit your needs and preferences. From classic fusion bonds that are melted onto hair for a long-lasting hold, to micro-link bonds that are clamped in place for a more temporary solution, there's a bond style out there for everyone.

Sometimes called flat-tip extensions, the bonds that use those keratin tips are some of the most discreet extension types, and the longest lasting. But, make sure you recommend your client brushes their hair every day to keep them tangle-free, and ideally only washes their hair once a week.

Nano tip extensions are another kind of bond extension, but this one is heatless. Natural hair gets threaded through a ring at the tip of each extension, and then gets clamped in place. This is a method with minimal damage, which is why it’s so popular. 

Whichever bond type you and your client choose, bond extensions are totally customizable, so you can mix and match colors, lengths, and textures to create a unique look. 

What are weft hair extensions?

Wefts are rows of hair that are sewn together at the top to create a single, continuous strip. They come in a variety of widths and lengths, so they’ll likely work no matter what results you’re trying to achieve. 

What’s special about wefts is that they can be applied in a variety of ways. Sew-in wefts (you guessed it) get sewn in for long-lasting hold and minimal fuss. Clip-in wefts have a similar structure but can easily be clipped in or out.

If you have a client looking to add highlights, but they don’t want to dye their hair, for example, this is the perfect solution. Pick the highlight color and distribute them around their head in the same way you’d choose which sections of the hair to dye. 

What are hair topper extensions?

Hair toppers sit discreetly on top of the head, adding volume and coverage exactly where it’s needed most. Whether your client is dealing with thinning hair, a pesky bald spot, or just craving a little extra volume, hair toppers have you covered—literally.

Hair toppers come in a variety of styles, from full-coverage toppers that blend seamlessly with the natural hair, to partial-coverage toppers that add volume and dimension to a specific area. 

That’s what makes them different from full wigs—they don’t cover the entire head, just the specific area you want to add more volume to. They also come in a different lengths, textures and colors to help you achieve a perfect match.

What are tape-in hair extensions?

Tape-in hair extensions are thin, lightweight strips of hair attached to adhesive tape that seamlessly blend with natural locks. They’re super easy to apply and virtually undetectable once in place.

Tape-in extensions are also designed to be reusable, meaning your client can wear them again and again. Simply remove the old tape, give the extensions a little TLC, and they'll be ready to work their magic all over again.

Because tape-ins are lightweight and they don’t pull on natural hair as much as other hair extension methods, they tend to be the most popular. But, make sure your client knows they’ll have to come back in for maintenance every six to eight weeks to keep them looking their best.


What is a weave?

A weave is a more permanent method of hair extensions, and it can involve sewing (see above) or gluing pieces of hair onto the natural hair after it’s been braided flat against the scalp. 

These tend to be more expensive, but they’ll last a solid six to eight weeks if they’re installed by a pro (that’s you!). Again, you should let your client know it’s best to avoid washing weaves too often because it can loosen that braided base and bump the weave out of place. 

How do I take care of hair extensions?

This all depends on the kind of extensions your client has chosen. If they’re human hair, bonded with keratin or medical-grade tape, they can wash their hair as they normally would. Of course, going for an extension-specific shampoo and conditioner is always a good idea to keep them looking their best.

After shampooing, which again should only be done maximum twice a week, it’s important  to brush the hair carefully. That means lightly, lighter than your client would if they only had natural hair on their head. They should brush in a downward motion, holding firmly at the attachment points so the brush doesn’t pull on them. 

How your client takes care of their extensions will directly impact how long they last, and how good they look. They should also come back and see you at the six-week mark to make sure both of you are happy with the outcome, and nothing is twisting, getting tangled, or pulling on their scalp too much.


Woman having her hair extensions brushed.

Go forth and add length and volume

No matter what kinds of extensions you and your client choose, you hopefully understand a bit more about what makes them special, and what makes different. Then, all that’s left is making your clients’ dream hair come true. 

If you have more questions about different hair extensions, or the products we have that can help, feel free to reach out to our pros anytime at 864-527-2403, or email us at contact@laurenashtyn.com.