Hair Extensions

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Published: 10th October 2011
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Hair extensions have been a highly sought after fashion accessory since they were introduced. In the past, women and men with short hair had to wait for years to grow their hair long. With the availability of hair extensions, you can change your looks dramatically by wearing long beautiful hair all of a sudden. Hair extensions allow you to wear a completely different hairstyle anytime you want, giving you the freedom to experiment with various hairstyles and create the perfect look for a specific fashion identity or occasion. They are indeed an invaluable accessory for fashion-conscious people.

Hair extensions are also known as artificial hair integrations, and they are used for adding length to natural human hair. Presently, there are many different types of hair extensions that you can avail of, and they vary in terms of hair fiber, texture, color, quality, and fitting method. Since there are so many options available, you may have trouble deciding which kind of hair extensions is most suitable for you. Here is some information that can help you make the right decision.

Hair Fiber
Hair extensions are mostly made of either synthetic hair or real human hair. There are also extensions that are made of horse hair. Synthetic hair can come in the form of Kanekalon. Toyokalon, or others, and its quality varies from one brand to another. It is usually much less expensive than real human hair, and it is available in a wide range of textures and colors. It does not look as natural as real hair, and it can be easily damaged when it is exposed to high temperatures. As such, it cannot be straightened or curled like normal hair. Human hair in hair extensions can come in many different grades, and it is usually classified according to ethnic origin. India, China, and other Asian countries are the main suppliers of unprocessed hair. Human hair is dyed before it is distributed to retailers.

Color
There is a standard scale for classifying hair extensions according to their colors, with “1” denoting the darkest black. Some of the colors that are available include natural black, dark brown, ash brown, strawberry blonde, ash blonde, auburn, rich copper read, lightest blonde, and others. Colors of hair extensions vary from one manufacturer to another, and some specialty suppliers create their own signature colors.

Texture
The textures of hair extensions can range from straight to extremely curly, and different brands may have different names for curl patterns. Some of the packaged textures that you can avail of include Silky Straight, Yaki, European, Romance Wave or Loose Deep Wave, Deep Wave, Jheri Curl, and Wet and Wavy. The curl patterns for synthetic hair extensions are almost endless.

Quality
The quality of hair extensions is usually specified as virgin hair, Remy, or double drawn. Virgin hair refers to hair that has never been processed or colored in any way. When it is collected, it is tied in such a way that the direction of the cuticle is maintained and then cut off. After it is cut, the hair is either pre-bonded, sewn on wefts, turned into wigs, or just left in bulk form. Remy hair is human hair with almost every strand going in the same direction, roots on one end and tips on the other. It is high quality hair that can remain shiny and tangle-free for a longer period of time. Double drawn hair extensions are made by hand, and therefore, they are very expensive. They look much thicker than other kinds of hair extensions, because all the strands in them are equal in length.

Fitting Methods

Weave Extension
Weave extension is one of the oldest methods of fitting hair extensions, and it is the preferred method for many hair extension users. It involves separating the hair into “tracks” and braiding each section into “cornrows” in the direction that the hair will fall. The tracks can be continuous or parted, and they establish the foundation for the end result of the integration process. Then, a special needle with a blunt end is used to sew, weave, or stitch the wefts onto the cornrows. Threads come in many different colors to suit the color of the hair extensions that you are installing. Weave extensions are known to last longer than most other hair extension methods.

Glue Extension
Glue can also be used to bond wefts to natural hair. The glue used is a special keratin-based hot glue that is gentler on your hair. It can be molded at a lower temperature, and it is easily removable. The process involves gluing groupings or strands of hair extensions to your natural hair. Smaller groupings will give you a more natural look. Gluing techniques include hot glue gun, pre-bonded hair strands, heated pots, and specialty heating appliances.

Clip-In Extension
Clip-in extension is one of the easiest ways to install hair extensions. Clips are sewn to the hair extensions, and they are discreetly placed in your hair, near the scalp. Clip-in hair extensions come in many different styles, and they are a great option for those who wish to use temporary hair extensions. The best clip-in hair extensions are clip human hair extensions that come with a compact clip.

Micro Link or Ring Extension
This is a very straightforward way to install hair extensions. A grouping of natural hair and a grouping of hair extensions are slipped into a metal ring. Then, the ring is fastened to secure the attachment. This method is sometimes called “linkies”.

Shrinkies
Shrinkies are also referred to as adhesive-lined shrinkies and keratin shrinkies, and they are one of the newest hair extension methods. It is considered a more refined method than glue extension and micro links. Actually, it can be described as a combination of these two methods. Similar to the micro link technique, groupings of natural hair and hair extensions are slipped into a shrinkie, which is a short tube made of keratin-based adhesive. Once the position of the shrinkie is set, a special device is used to compress and melt it, forming a secure attachment.

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/56325071@N03/5206195075/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/52868626@N02/4909449834/


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