Photo by Alasdair Braxton/Pexels of woman standing against flowers

May 15, 2024

The lowdown on getting lush locks

Have you ever seen someone with hair so flawless you wonder if they woke up like this or if it's the magic of a salon visit? Well, hand-tied extensions could be the star behind the scenes. These extensions are all the rage, known for boosting both volume and length in a way that looks utterly natural. But, like any beauty trend, there's a bit more to it than just the surface appeal.

Let's explore everything hand-tied—the benefits, drawbacks, and essential details. Are you thinking about getting extensions for yourself or simply intrigued by the buzz? Either way, read on to examine the ins and outs of hand-tied extensions and get the lowdown to help you decide if it's a hit or a miss for you.


Understanding hand-tied extensions

If you’ve ever wondered how celebs like Ariana Grande and Vanessa Hudgens achieve those voluminous and lengthy hairstyles that look so natural, the answer is almost always hand-tied extensions. Unlike clip-ins or glues and bonds, hand-tied extensions seamlessly integrate a boost in both volume and length with natural looking results that contrast with more traditional methods.

Stylists tie each strand of hair in these extensions meticulously onto a tiny, inconspicuous row of your own hair. Since you’re getting a highly personalized experience, the result is natural and blends seamlessly with your hair—extensions are so flat and flexible that they mimic the organic flow and movement of your locks. 

Undergoing the extension tying process is an art form that typically takes a couple of hours in the salon chair. Hand-tied extensions are crafted in wefts, and most methods involve initially setting up a beaded row that will serve as the base where the weft is securely sewn in using nylon thread. This meticulous technique is perfect if you’re after the va-va-voom of extra volume (think Ariana or Kim K) and length that appears effortlessly natural without too much tension stressing out your scalp or hair strands.

Hand-tied hair extensions are revolutionizing the beauty industry as a delicate and gentle way to achieve your vixen hair goals. But, as usual, there are pros and cons to consider before making a decision. Below are reasons why they are an excellent choice and also the aspects to think through.


Pros of hand-tied extensions

Photo by Olena Goldman/Pexels of a woman surrounded by white flowers


Natural look and feel

Hand-tied extensions are like the undercover agents of the hair extension universe. They're so seamlessly integrated that spotting where your natural hair stops and the extensions start is almost impossible. Thanks to the hand-tied technique, these extensions lay flat and close to the scalp, guaranteeing that every weft sways just like your own locks. So, no matter if the breeze picks up or you're making a dramatic hair flip, these extensions are your discreet ally, keeping your style looking effortlessly flawless.


Customization and versatility

Hand-tied extensions can let you in on a wide range of shades, lengths, and densities to seamlessly blend with your natural tresses. Dreaming of adding a splash of color, ala Lady Gaga, without the permanence of dye? Or maybe you're longing for those enchanting mermaid lengths. Regardless, hand-tied extensions can get you closer to your ultimate hair goals.


Less scalp stress

Nobody likes feeling weighed down, especially your scalp. Traditional extensions can sometimes feel like they're pulling double duty, but hand-tied extensions are all about spreading the love—or, in this case, the weight. By distributing the extension wefts evenly across your head, they minimize tension and stress on your scalp, making them a comfy option for long-term wear.


Durability and longevity

If you want your hairstyle to last longer, taking proper care of your hair after visiting the salon is the ticket. Typically, hand-tied extensions require refreshing every six to nine weeks, but the exact timing can vary depending on your hair growth rate and how well you take care of your extensions. With proper maintenance, you can often reuse the extensions for about six to eight months.

You should expect to adjust your extensions every six to eight weeks by lifting the weft higher as your roots grow in. The hair can be reused two to three times, provided you keep it well-maintained and it retains its quality. Be sure to schedule regular maintenance appointments to reduce scalp tension—timely adjustments and removals are the best way to prevent excessive stress on your hair as it grows.


Styling flexibility

Since they mimic natural hair so closely, you can curl, straighten, and style hand-tied extensions to your heart's content (so long as you follow proper care and maintenance). If you want to rock beachy waves one day and sleek, straight locks the next, these extensions are game—you can switch up your look without skipping a beat.


Cons of hand-tied extensions 

The price tag

Let's talk dollars and sense. Hand-tied extensions can feel like you're splurging on a designer bag because they come with a heftier price tag upfront compared to clip-ins or tape-ins. This isn't just because they look fabulous but also because of the skill and time required to apply them. But they're an investment in your hair's future worth considering.


Keeping up with maintenance

Hand-tied extensions are a bit high-maintenance, as they need regular care to keep looking their best. Think salon visits every 6-8 weeks for maintenance and reapplication as your natural hair grows. Skipping these appointments can lead to matting or even damage, so if you're not one for frequent salon dates, this might be a deal-breaker.


Time is of the essence

If patience isn't your virtue, the application process for hand-tied extensions might test your limits. We're talking at least a couple of hours in the stylist's chair, which can be a significant chunk of your day. It's a meticulous process that can't be rushed since a good stylist needs to ensure each weft is perfectly placed for that seamless blend.


Potential for damage

No extension method is entirely risk-free, and hand-tied is no exception. The key to avoiding damage is the proper care and expert application you’ve been reading about so far. If your stylist isn't experienced with hand-tied extensions, or if you're lax with maintenance, you might see issues like breakage or stress on your natural hair.


Not a fit for everyone

Hand-tied extensions aren't a one-size-fits-all solution. For instance, if your hair is very fine or thinning, the extensions might not have enough natural hair to anchor to, leading to slippage or visibility issues. It's wise to have a heart-to-heart with your stylist to ensure hand-tied extensions are a good match for your hair type and lifestyle.


Tips for avoiding damage with hand-tied extensions 

– Expert application: Always have your hand-tied extensions applied by a professional stylist with certification and experience to ensure they're placed correctly and to reduce stress on your scalp.

– Proper maintenance: Stick to a maintenance routine tailored to hand-tied extensions, including regular salon visits for adjustments as your hair grows.

– Gentle handling: Be gentle when styling and brushing your extensions daily to avoid pulling and placing stress on both your natural hair and the extensions.

– Appropriate products: Use hair care products specifically designed for extensions, avoiding those with harsh chemicals that could damage the hair or weaken the bonds.

– Avoid over-washing: Wash your extensions sparingly to maintain their integrity and avoid unnecessary damage.

– Nighttime care: Sleep with your hair in a loose braid or on a silk pillowcase to minimize friction and tangling and protect your extensions from damage.

– Staying hydrated: Apply hydrating treatments and oils to the ends of your hair (steering clear of the roots and bonds) to keep both your natural hair and extensions moisturized and looking healthy.


Making an informed decision

Choosing hand-tied extensions is all about finding the right match for you, much like picking out the perfect outfit. We've covered everything from their effortlessly natural appearance and versatility in styling to the commitment they demand in both time and finances. Deciding whether or not to go for hair glory hinges on your personal hair aspirations, how you live your life, and what you're willing to spend. 

Chatting with a professional stylist is a step you shouldn't skip—they will help you ‌determine whether hand-tied extensions will work for you or if perhaps a different path might be a better fit.