Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Hair Extensions
- Written By:Alexandra Perron, Managing Editor
Want thicker hair? How about longer hair? If your thickening shampoo and keratin gummies aren’t cutting it, it might be time to look at extensions. Whether you’re looking to enhance your natural locks or want a whole new look, hair extensions can offer something for just about everyone. We caught up with Marissa Barrett, a stylist and extension specialist at Marie Robinson Salon in New York City to learn more about the extensions process, upkeep and care.
Let’s start with the basics — how many types of hair extensions are there and what are the differences?
There are a lot of different extensions! I tend to do four to five different types and the more the hair industry progresses, the more new hair extensions pop up! Each kind can serve a different purpose depending on what the client is looking for: length, volume, or fullness.
Is there a style you work with the most often?
Mainly I used Keratip Extensions—they come in a bundle in tiny pieces of real human hair, with a keratin based glue at the top of each strand, that melts on to the hair. I use a tiny hot clamp to melt the bond.
What are the benefits to hair extensions? What type of clients do you recommend them to?
Hair extensions offer women the opportunity to either add a subtle difference to enhance their hair or offer them a completely different look than what they have. I’ve noticed in the last nine years, how impactful your hair confidence can have an affect on the way you look and feel. It offers women an extra boost of confidence. I recommend extensions to people who want enhancement in the fullness of their hair, who may have thinning hair, who want a change, or just want to try something fun.
Are there any common misconceptions when it comes to hair extensions?
People always say that extensions ruin hair or cause damage, which to me is a misconception. I find myself to be somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to my application, so I always try and keep the hair as healthy as I can. Clients do have to do their part when it comes to taking care of them, which adds to the overall health of their hair. I always will do a clients extensions once, and when they come in to get them moved up, or get fresh hair, I examine what’s going on. I’m not afraid to tell someone they need to stop, or that we may need to switch to a different brand. Secondly, you have to find someone with experience. At the end of the day women want their extensions to look natural, so finding someone who can cut them properly is also very huge!
And what do people need to watch out for?
There are plenty of incredible people out there doing extensions. You have to watch out for people who also don’t know fully what they are doing. Women want healthy hair, so I always tell people it’s worth spending the money to get a good application, and finding someone with experience. I see women with a decent application and then their haircut after their application doesn’t look natural.
If you’re also not brushing your hair and taking care of the extensions properly, you will get damage, especially as they grow out. You have to make sure your hair isn’t knotting or getting tangled. And use the right products! Don’t spend $1000-$2000 on extensions and then use cheap products. It’s worth investing!
Can you treat them with the same products in your regular routine?
Different extensions require different care and upkeep. Once your stylist decides what type of extensions you need, the upkeep can be between six-eight weeks or up to three-four months.
For the most part, I usually hand out specific shampoo and conditioner from the entraining company depending what kind of hair they use. But you’re able to blow dry/style and take care of them just like your normal hair! Be gentle but don’t be afraid to style like you normally do!
Is there anyone you wouldn’t recommend extensions to?
I wouldn’t Necessarily recommend them to someone with beautiful thick hair. Why put extensions on already beautiful hair?! Also if you’re growing out damaged hair or have brittle hair, I usually like to do a test strand or will let you know that your hair won’t be able to handle the extensions.
For the most part I usually try them on people who really want them and then we assess. If you workout a lot, you can still have extensions. Different extensions require different care, so always consult with your stylist.