This is a rough guide to follow when considering having hair extensions fitted. Although we choose to only specialise in extensions that don't require heat, chemicals or glue, this guide can be used for all methods.
Before making an appointment for a consultation with a professional hair extension technician you need to be sure they are;
- Have experience
Other factors to take into account when doing your research:
- Preferably only go to someone who has a website so that you can check for the above information before going to a consultation so your time is not wasted.
- Be wary of very low pricing or very high pricing for that matter, do your research on prices that companies are offering so you can compare what looks over-priced or too cheap.
- A consultation should always be free and there should be a 'no obligation' policy for you to not go ahead with the fitting if you decide not to do so.
What to expect from a consultation & questions you should ask to establish if this technician is right for you?
- During your consultation the technician will do a colour match using a wheel of a variety of colours. Always check which ones they have chosen for you so you can be sure you are happy with them before they are ordered. Sometimes you may find you will not be asked and could end up having it slightly darker or lighter than what you would have liked. Remember extensions can be used to create highlights or lowlights as well as for volume or length so although you will need to have a base colour to match your natural hair colour others can be added to create this effect.
- If your hair requires a few colours to be ordered as you have highlights/lowlights or would like them added into your hair, check during the consultation that these will be included in the price you were originally quoted. Some technicians will have a set price for one colour only and charge an additional fee for every other colour, however this will usually be stated on their website.
- If your hair is naturally wavy the technician could assume you will want the same hair type installed. However if it is wavy but you straighten it daily be sure to tell the technician as in this case it would be kinder to your own hair to have straight hair installed to reduce the amount your hair comes into contact with heat appliances.
- If your hair is badly damaged I would advise that you have extensions fitted that are at most, double the length of your natural hair. The weight of the extensions may weaken or damage the hair further if they are too heavy.
- If it is not stated on the website and you are not told where the hair is sourced be sure to ask, this is just to ensure you are getting what you pay for.
- If you decide to go ahead with the fitting after having the consultation you will usually be expected to pay a deposit on the day of the consultation, this usually ranges between £100-£200 and this amount should always be deducted from the total price of the fitting you were originally quoted. The deposit will be used to secure your appointment and order the hair for the day of the fitting. This is perfectly normal, a technician will not want to order the hair until the deposit has been paid. This is only because the hair is expensive to buy and cannot usually be returned if a customer changes their mind so it will be the technician that is out of pocket. If you decide to cancel your appointment later on and not reschedule most technicians will keep your deposit for this reason.
- Ask to see their portfolio as although some technicians may have experience this doesn’t necessarily mean they are an expert at colour blending or installing the extensions. Before and after photographs are a great way to see how good they are at what they do.
- Depending on whether you’re having extensions for thickness or length and how thick or thin your hair naturally is depends on how many grams of hair should be added, Ask the technician how much you will need to give you a rough idea as this will affect pricing. With the Micro Rings method I have found through my own experience of having hair extensions in the past that some ordered the minimum amount to cut costs or as it comes at a set amount. On average 150 grams for length is usually the minimum, 300 grams being the maximum this is around 200-300 individual strands however it is hard to give an exact amount as everyone’s will be different, this is just a rough guide. But by asking you can feel more reassured there won’t be any problems later down the line.
- If you are going with the micro ring method ask your technician if they stick tip the hair themselves or buy it pre-made. If they pre-make it themselves ask what type of glue they use. Keratin is a glue most commonly used to stick the strands together as this glue is a form of protein for your hair. However it is recommended to go with a technician that buys it stick tipped as this ensures the glue has had a chance to set to a solid state. If it has been glued by the technician, although it is not getting glued to your own hair, it could still damage your hair in a number of ways.
- The residue from the glue if not set properly will stick to your natural hair when it is clamped together and could cause breakage of your own hair when brushing.
- Using hair appliances such as straightners or a blow dryer could melt the bonds as they have still not had a chance to set properly which again can cause damage to your natural hair.
- They will be harder to take out when they need to be removed as the build-up of glue residue over the months will have been in contact with your natural hair causing some of the extension hair to be stuck to your natural hair even once the micro ring has been removed.
- If your technician is buying stick tipped hair you can be sure it was glued weeks or months prior to the date of your fitting rather than a few days ago.
- If you are unsure about having extensions as this is your first time or are unsure of a particular method a hair extension technician has suggested, request to have just one strand put in so you can have a feel for it. Leave it in for a week and if you find it is comfortable and you’re happy with it, go for it! Schedule an appointment for a fitting.
Before the Fitting
- After you have had your consultation and are happy to go ahead with having the extensions fitted don’t dye your hair until after the extensions have been fitted, not even the t-section (just the top of your hair). Even though color matching is done from the middle of your hair downwards it could still affect the color blending.
- Wash your hair the day before you are due to have your extensions fitted, it is advised you use only a clarifying shampoo to completely remove any styling products or residue off your hair. Do not put any conditioner in your hair or any further products in your hair afterwards as this can cause the bonds to fail. Conditioner and other after care products coat the hair in a silky substance which can cause the bond/micro ring to not stick to your own hair and slip.
- Do not have your hair trimmed just before your fitting as a natural look rather than a blunt cut will blend in better with your extensions.
- On arrival of your appointment ask to see the hair that has been ordered for you if it is not shown to you. This is just to be sure you are happy with the color, the texture and the length. Not only that but installing hair extensions can take anything from 2-8 hours so it is important that before they are fitted you can confirm you are happy with them to avoid wanting them removed afterwards as they were not what you expected as for example you wanted them longer or darker/lighter.
- If you are happy with them you are ready to go! So you should sit back, relax and enjoy the coming of the new you!
- Once your extensions have been fitted it is recommended you do not wash them for at least 48 hours. This gives the extensions a chance to sit and fall naturally on your head and own hair. After 48 hours you are free to wash them if you wish but be cautious not to put any shampoo or conditioner near the bonds.
- Always brush your hair and detangle thoroughly before you begin to wash it
- The best way to wash your hair when you have had extensions added is to wash the top of your head/scalp as you normally would but in a slower and gentler motion. Then smooth the existing shampoo down the hair rubbing gently with your hands to ensure it gets washed properly.
- When adding your conditioner you do not want to rub this into your scalp like you would have with the shampoo. Simply rub onto hands and smooth down your hair starting from your roots and working it all the way down to the ends but avoiding the bonds/micro rings attaching the hair extensions. This is just to prevent the bonds from getting greasy and either slipping down your hair and coming out or building residue underneath the micro rings causing this later on. You can then get a comb, and with one hand holding the hair from where the extension/bond has been fitted, use the other to gently brush the conditioner through your hair to detangle and ensure the conditioner has gone through all the hair.
- When drying your hair off with a towel do not rub hair vigorously as this will only cause it to tangle, simply dab or squeeze your hair dry with the towel.
- If using a blow dryer it is recommended that you don’t use it on the hottest heat setting, this is to just reduce any chance of melting the bond or causing damage to your natural hair. However it is important that where the hair extension is attached this does not get left wet or damp as it will cause the bond to become more vulnerable and at risk of breakage.
- If you always use heat appliances after washing your hair such as a blow dryer, straighteners or curling tongs, try not to wash your hair more than twice a week. In theory you can wash your hair as often as you like but the less stress you put on your hair and the extension hair the better as the less drying, straightening or curling you have to do through heat every time after washing it the better.
- You can use any heat appliance you would normally use on your own hair. All you have to remember is to be careful not to get them to close or in contact with the bond as this could melt it. With the ‘Micro Ring’ method this cannot happen as the metal ring that is clamped over your hair and the extension hair cannot melt. However putting straightners over the metal ring too often could cause it to slip down your hair and result in it falling out.
- Try to use shampoos, conditioners and aftercare products that have been recommended for hair extensions only. Normal high street brands can contain silicone based ingredients or high alcohol levels which can cause bonds to weaken and dry out the hair causing it to become very dry and coarse. Putting a leave in conditioner in is good for the hair extensions as they will still need to be given nutrients and vitamins just like your own hair. A protector spray is also strongly advised to prevent heat damage to your own hair which can cause breakage with or without hair extensions. Ask your technician what brand of products they would recommend.
- It is strongly recommended that you buy a soft bristle brush or a tangle teaser as these types of brushes will cause minimal damage to your extensions. Hard bristled brushes and brushes with balls on the end of bristles can tug on the bonds and sometimes pull the bond and hair out.
- You will lose strands of your own hair ’shedding’ whilst brushing, however this is normal taking into account an average person will naturally shred 100 hairs a days so do not feel alarmed when it looks like a lot of hair is coming off your brush. This happens by the bond or micro ring still being attached or gripped to the dead hair and it only becomes free from your hair when it has been pulled away by the brush rather than over a gradual period of time.
- Brush your extensions at least once a day but no more than 3 times a day as if you brush it too much this can cause unnecessary shedding and pulling of the bonds.
- When brushing with a soft bristle brush or tangle teaser you should brush gently from the root to get rid of natural hair shredding. If this is not done the natural hair that shreds will build up and could cause matting later on. With micro rings unlike glue they are easier to brush over, therefore they don’t get stuck or attached to the brush, they merely just brush over the metal surface. At the beginning of having extensions fitted you may want to use the same method you would have used in applying the conditioner. Hold one hand at the root of your hair and brush your hair with the other until you have got the hang of doing it naturally.
- Never leave your hair extensions wet after washing and not brush them as this can cause them to get extremely matted and tangled. In some cases the hair extensions have to be removed and a new set has to be installed where the extensions have been left to dry but have not been brushed.
- Before going to bed it is better to either leave your hair tied loose in a pony tail or plaited to prevent tangling & minimizing knots during sleep.
- If you dye your natural hair colour you can still keep having your t section or roots done during the duration you wear the extensions.
- You can dye all of your hair if you wish whilst wearing hair extensions but you would need to have a strand test done before hand on your own hair and the extension hair as they may colour different. This is because the extension hair is a different type of hair to your own and may not dye the same shade because of this. However if you are getting the extensions removed shortly afterwards it is advisable to wait as you do not want a different shade of color left on your hair where the extension was attached if you are not getting extensions reapplied.
- If you just wanted to have some more colours put in your hair whilst you have your extensions in, you can always have some of your extensions removed and replaced with different colors rather than to chemically dye your hair. Most technicians will offer this service and do this for you at your maintance appointment if you request this, some technicians may add on an extra charge for this service on top of the maitanance charge. However this is not unusual and this will be cheaper or the same price as going to a salon and having it coloured.
- Depending on the hair extension method you have decided to use, hair extensions in general can normally be worn up to 3 months maximum. Some people will wear them for longer, however it can cause your own hair to become damaged. Not only that but hair tends to grow on average half an inch a month so by 3 months your hair has grown an inch and a half. In turn this can leave tiny knots in the root of your hair to however far the bond of the extension has moved down due to the hair growth This is because of the natural shredding process combined with natural hair growth, together these can cause matting between the root area of your hair and where the extension has been fitted. The bonds are also likely to now be more noticible.
- With Micro Rings some technicians say you can leave them in for up to 4 months however this will be different for everyone. It all depends on how quick your hair grows, how you have treated the hair and if you have had any maintenance appointments to move the micro rings back up towards the root in this time. We would recommend not leaving them in for any longer than 3 months.
- With most extension methods you will need to spend some time separating the bonds after wearing them for so long. As your hair grows alongside the extensions your hair will naturally be shedding (dead hair that you lose from your scalp) and this can sometimes cause the hair extensions to get stuck next to each other. Therefore after wearing extensions for a few weeks you should then start to check them every few days until you feel that you are having to pull them away from each other as they feel stuck at the root. You should do this by slowly pulling one away from the other. This prevnts them from becoming matted and allows them to be removed later on without causing any stress to your own natural hair. You will not need to do this so much with micro rings as no glue or chemicals have been used so they don’t stick together as much as other methods.
- There is no activity, sport or hobby you can’t do with hair extensions. But you will need to follow a different regime to how you would treat your own hair in order to keep them looking as good and has healthy as possible.
- Always brush your hair before swimming and then tie it back in a tight ponytail or a plait to prevent knotting and tangling.
- Always wash your hair straight after swimming, the chemical ‘chloride’ that they put in swimming pools can dry out the hair and cause matting. This goes for your own hair, not only does it dry it out and make it brittle but in some cases can cause it too change colour.
- After washing your hair put a leave in spray conditioner if possible, this is just to restore the condition of your hair it may have lost after swimming.
- If you are swimming in the ocean try and avoid getting the hair in the salt water if you can. Salt water strips the hair of moisture more than chlorine does and can make it become very tangled. If this isn’t possible braid your hair very tightly back or wear your hair in a very high pony tail.
Active Sports -
Any sport or activity that causes you to sweat; such as gym, outdoor activities, sunbeds, saunas or steam rooms, you will need to take a few safety measures.
The same procedure follows as with swimming; brush your hair firstly, tie your hair up or plait it if possible.
If your hair gets wet from excessive sweating you MUST wash it straight away afterwards, this is to prevent the bonds from slipping down your hair. With activities that have caused sweating if you also wear a headband as well as tying it back this will help to prevent the sweat reaching the hair, so you are less likely to wont have to wash it afterwards.
- Providing you treat your hair extensions as advised and follow the precautions, guidelines and all the safety measures mentioned above your hair extensions shouldn’t cause damage to your own hair and should stay looking healthy and as natural looking for as long as possible.