Are you still on the fence about hair extensions? Have you found yourself reading countless websites asking, Which kind of hair extensions is right for me? Which extensions look the most natural? Which extensions are healthiest for my hair? Maybe you looked over a couple of our Before & After extensions pictures. Maybe you read our quick rundown of bonded hair extensions versus clip-ins, but that really isn’t the whole picture.
There aren’t just two different types of human hair extensions; there are actually five! So we’re going to break it down for you. Here’s how to choose which hair extension method is right for you.
The 5 methods of hair extension
First off, here’s what you need to know about each of the five types of hair extensions:
- Clip-in extensions – Everything we offer here at ProExtensions is of the clip-in variety. Basically, a weft of real human hair is attached to a clip that’s coated with a comfort polymer, which prevents the clips from tugging on your real hair during application. It gets placed along your scalp and integrated into your real hair. Easy peasy.
- Glue-ins, or bonded extensions – These are professionally attached to your hair via tiny bonds of keratin (keratin is the key protein in hair and nails!) and applied using a heated tool.
- Micro-bead / Micro-ring – At the end of each single-strand extension is a small bead that is clamped on to your own hair. Mechanically similar to glue-ins, minus the heat treatment.
- Sewn-in, or weave – These extensions are professionally sewn right into a tightly-braided section of your hair.
- Tape-in – These extensions are bonded by a long piece of tape, rather than a clip, and your actual hair is secured between two of them.
So which extension is right for me?
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to extensions, but most of it comes down to knowing yourself and knowing what you want. You need to know what kind of hair you have, how much work you’re willing to put into maintenance, and you need to know your price range.
To clip, or not to clip?
You might’ve noticed that glue-ins, sew-ins, tape-ins, and micro-beads are all more semi-permanent options. All require professional application, and will likely be staying in for weeks or months at a time. We love that clip-in extensions are quick and easy to put in and take out, and won’t ever jeopardize your healthy head of hair. Plus, there’s no commitment and no maintenance costs. You can decide to wear your hair short one day and long the next without ever setting foot in a salon. Our clip-in extensions look great and can be styled and washed just like your real hair—because they are real hair. To begin, our standard clip-in extensions cost $74.99 for a set of 12 wefts. We also offer Remy extensions: Sets of virgin, mono-directional hair, starting at $149.99. You can read more about Remy hair and the myths surrounding it right here.
Bond, Keratin Bond
Bonded extensions look great. They’re made of real hair, and they’re applied by a professional, securely glued into place with a natural compound. Because they’re placed in strands rather than wefts, they aren’t as heavy as other extensions, which is better for your scalp. Regular (monthly, give or take a few weeks) salon appointments will be required for maintenance, however, and it’s generally recommended you keep all conditioners, oils and heat away from your connections. If you condition only the lengths, and blow dry with good care, bonded extensions will last you anywhere from 3-5 months. A full head of them will cost around $1,800, however, and you can’t re-use them once they’re removed. Definitely one of the more expensive choices.
All the small things
Micro-beads, micro-links, micro-rings—all sort of synonyms for the same process. They work in a similar fashion to bonded extensions, minus the hot glue, which from the outset makes them a slightly healthier option. A small portion of your own hair is slipped through the bead/link/ring, along with the extension, and then cinched together. Because they aren’t glued in they can slip out, and they do require adjustment every six weeks or so to account for new hair growth. But it’s as simple as loosening the existing bead and sliding it up the new hair before re-cinching it. It is, quite literally, a cinch, and another advantage over the bonded extensions. Standard micro-links cost around $200, accompanied by around $150 to be applied by a hairdresser. Costs will rise with higher qualities and amounts, but as a general rule micro-bead hair extensions are less expensive than bonded extensions.
I’m quite tired, so I must weave.
Weave is a great option for women with thick, robust, coarse, or curly hair. Weave is not such a great option for women with fine hair. (Sorry!) Because the hair is sewn directly into tight braids of your own hair which loosen over time, it requires serious maintenance. We’re talking salon visits roughly every 6-8 weeks. It can be washed and conditioned, though a little extra care must be taken. Experienced users recommend dividing the hair into sections and washing in a downward motion. Sewn-in extensions, if taken care of, can actually be re-used through consecutive applications, too, which saves some cash. Standard sewn-in extensions, plus professional application, can cost anywhere from $100-300, but anywhere from $500 to $4,000 if you’re looking at a time-consuming fusion weave.
A sticky situation?
Due to variable quality, tape-in extensions catch a lot of undue flak. Though that’s true for just about any type of hair extension: You get what you pay for. If you pay for good quality tape-in extensions--like our tape-in extensions!--and treat them right, they’ll treat you just as well. Because the extensions are spread out over a wide bond, tape-ins won’t look stringy or start to separate into strands after a few washes. Their wefts are pretty comparable in weight to clip-ins, which means no extra stress on your scalp. Plus, many tape-ins are reusable! Well-maintained tape-ins will last about 2 months before removal, and can be used around 3 times, which means an overall durability of around 6 months! Elsewhere, ten wefts of standard quality tape-in hair extensions will cost around $150, but our Pro Fusion tape-ins come with 30 wefts for $199! We do recommend application by a hairdresser, though, which will cost between $50 to $150, depending on how many wefts are being applied. Generally, though, tape-ins are one of the more affordable options.
So what’s the take away?
Semi-permanent hair extensions look great, are reliable, but can get expensive, require a surprising amount of upkeep, and definitely aren’t for everyone! There are hundreds of blogs out there with mixed reviews of every method of hair extension, but the common themes are: More expensive extensions look nicer and more natural for a longer period of time; and women willing to do the extra work—like brushing their extensions every day, like washing and drying and styling in very specific ways—tend to get more mileage out of their extensions. But if something goes wrong, some hair gets tangled or matted, or a few strands fall out, it means more money spent, more salon time, maybe even a pricey removal and a loss of length in your natural hair. If you’re willing to make the investment and do the extra work, however, they’re a great option.
Clip-ins do require some maintenance—it is best to brush them and care for them—but it’s maintenance you can do at home, yourself, at a substantially lower cost (free). They offer you great versatility in style with very little commitment, and are totally affordable. If you’re looking for length and volume that’s quick, easy, and won’t empty your wallet, clip-in extensions might be the way to go!