How To Apply Hair Extensions

22nd September, 2014

I’ve long subscribed to a pretty simple beauty routine. I’m generally into a fairly natural nail color and the easiest of makeup applications (an occasional smokey eye or isolated red lip when I feel like stepping things up). I feel best when I look like myself, so I don’t go for too much fuss in the morning. Because of this, I’ve mostly worn my hair either supershort or styled quite loosely throughout my life (though I have dyed it every color under the sun). But until recently I’d been harboring a growing curiosity about experimenting with hair extensions, and I always have been a ‘try anything once’ kind of girl…

Truth is, I’ve been trying to grow out my hair (from a pixie cut) for over three years ~ but once it got to just-below my shoulders, it stopped growing and started breaking. For months I tried strange vitamins and hair drops, till it became clear that I just wasn’t born with the kind of hair that ever grows long and lustrous. But I grew up in Texas, where homeowners faithfully plant and water grassy lawns in climates nature never intended them to grow. So I knew I still had options.

At a friend’s bridal shower this past summer, I’d noticed the bride-to-be’s usually thinnish hair was looking fuller and longer than ever. I asked her what the magic elixir was and she admitted to wearing a fistful of clip-in hair extensions. They looked incredible, and gave me hope that the idea could indeed be executed in real life without careening into Britney Spears territory. At my next visit to Sally Hershberger salon to get my ends trimmed, my stylist Travis Speck reinforced my friend’s conviction that extensions could be game-changing. His confidence was all the push I needed; within days I’d picked up a pack of ready-made, clip-in extensions at Wigs And Plus on 14th Street, and was back in Travis’s chair to have them trimmed to blend with my own true haircut. Turns out they are as easy as can be to apply and style. Consider me converted!
HairExtensions2ABOVE| Make sure to buy natural hair, and match it as closely as you can to your existing hair color (you’re buying real hair, so a colorist can even dye the pieces for an exact match). Choose a set with clips sewn onto the wefts, for easy at-home application. The set I purchased were already sized into four small strips and one wider strip; I had my hairdresser trim and layer these to best blend in with my true haircut.
HairExtensions3ABOVE| The clips sewn onto the backs of the extension strips literally snap into place on your roots, to fit snugly and comfortably against the scalp. Genius!HairExtensions4ABOVE| To apply, start by clipping all of your hair up, save for the exception of a thin stretch at the nape of the neck.HairExtensions5ABOVE| Using a fine-tooth comb (I like THIS ONE), tease out the top stretch of this strip of hair (about 1/2″ at the base of the roots will do).HairExtensions6ABOVE| Snap the first two smaller-width strips along this line, making sure the clips latch into the teased pieces of hair. Start each strip from the center of your scalp then clip towards either ear. HairExtensions7ABOVE| Let down another inch-tall section of hair from the portioned-off knot atop your head. This section will serve to conceal the seams of the bottom two extension strips, and provide a foundation for which to attach the widest weft of hair.

Try to start this line right above your ears, so that strip can peak out naturally from just below your temples. Tease out the hair at the roots, as before.HairExtensions8BELOW| Clip in the long strip of extensions, moving from just above one ear to the other.HairExtensions9HairExtensions10ABOVE| Let another bit of hair down above either temple. Tease as before, and clip the last two shorter strips of extensions just above and behind each temple…HairExtensions11…like so:
HairExtensions12bHairExtensions13ABOVE| Let down the remaining hair from the clip on top of your head, and tease the hair right at your crown out a bit (to cover well the extensions and also provide a bit of that Brigitte Bardot-esque oomph).HairExtensions14ABOVE| Give it all a loose once-over with a wide-barreled curling iron, both to provide movement and texture, as well as bind the shape of your natural hair to the flow of the extensions.HairExtensions15HairExtensions16ABOVE| Finish with a very light dusting of hairspray (I’ve been loving THIS ONE lately), and you’re finished! The great thing about this is it takes less than 10 minutes, so it’s as fuss-free a routine as I’d been adhering to before.

Now I’m left wondering why I waited so long to take on this experiment!HairExtensions17

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