HAIR EXTENSION APPLICATION METHODS
There are quite a lot of different ways to apply hair extensions, we would like to explain and compare them here so you are able to make an educated decision on what will be the best method for your hair.
Once again, all information here stems from our own & our clients personal experiences.
MICRO BEADS - These are our preferred method of application, as they are easy to apply and remove, don't use any heat / glue / chemicals to apply or remove, and can be less damaging on your hair than other methods.
In saying this though, you want to make sure you're getting the right type of micro beads, there are quite a few different varieties - copper tubes / screw lined / double beads / silicone lined. We personally recommend the silicone lined beads, as they have a thin silicone ring inside the bead, so that when it is clamped shut on your natural hair, it acts as a protective layer between the metal bead and your own hair.
Some of the cheaper metal beads can cause breakage at the roots from the thin edge of the bead pulling and rubbing constantly during normal wear. This also means that if you do accidentally pull your hair too hard and some extensions come loose, it is less likely to pull your own hair out.
Our beads also have a protective coating which means the colour will not chip off and leave metal bits in your hair. Micro beads come in several different colours so that your extensionist is able to match the bead colour to the colour of the roots of your hair. If the beads are positioned and applied correctly, you should not be able to see the beads at all while wearing your hair extensions.
However, for those of you with extremely thin or very blonde hair who are worried about the visibility of the micro beads, some other methods can be better suited. My hair is very thin, though when I have it dark, you are unable to see any beads at all, but when I had light blonde hair, you were able to see them through my hair, so I used a different application method.
It is recommended to have micro bead hair extensions maintained / moved up every 2 months to avoid damage or matting of your natural hair. Click Here for Hair Extension Care Info
Here is a photo of the micro bead application. © Hot Stuff Beauty
TAPE WEFT / SKIN WEFT - This method is currently becoming more and more popular. The tape weft extensions can give a much flatter feel when applied and generally have a faster application time. They can also provide a more natural look for some people with shorter or thinner hair, as the sections that are applied to your roots are wider than the individual strands of the micro bead method, and will give a less 'separated' look.
However, because the applied sections are wider, it can be more difficult to wear your hair up with the tape wefts applied. You generally need to wear your hair in a low, loose ponytail and avoid twisting or folding the tape sections when using hair bands and clips. You are unable to pull your hair back tightly at the sides as the tape sections are not as flexible / maneuverable as the beads.
The Tape wefts are good for blonde hair as they are harder to see than the beads, however, if you tone your hair a lot using a purple or blue shampoo, the tape tends to hold onto some of that colour and get a slight purple / blue tinge going on after a while, so it is important that you keep your hair clean and dry at all times and make sure none of the tape sections are showing through.
Check the back of your head in the mirror if you are worried, get your hair in the right position / style and add a little hair spray to avoid hair moving / parting at the back without your knowledge during the days.
Tape weft hair should be maintained around every 6 weeks. Since the extensions are applied to larger sections of your natural hair, if they become too grown out, you can risk pulling your hair too much at the roots and causing breakage.
Tape weft hair is also applied using heat and the tape can leave a gluey residue in your hair once the extensions are removed. To remove / maintain them a keratin disolver or acetone type chemical is used to disolve the glue on the bond and your hair. This is typically not so good for your hair, which is why we prefer to recommend the methods which don't use heat / chemicals, but the tape does also have it's good sides, so it's kind of personal preference as to which you prefer.
Here is a photo of the skin weft / tape hair extensions. © Hot Stuff Beauty
SHRINKIES - Shrinkies can be great on some people and not so great on others. Like the skin weft. Heat is still required to apply them. They can be less visible in lighter hair, but they usually require more frequent maintenance as they can slip out easier. They also tend to hold on to the colour of toning products, and are more difficult to remove than micro beads.
Shrinkies are applied like a bead, but instead of being metal, they are a thin plastic tube which generally comes in clear or black, they are heated once applied and shrink around the extension and your hair to keep it in place. This can also result in some glue (and sometimes melted plastic) staying in your hair for a while after removal.
Removal of shrinkies generally takes longer than removal of the other methods, as the tube has to be crushed to get out, which often also results in your hair extensions needing to be rebonded before you can re-use them. More time = more expensive.
Shrinkies / Shrink Tube Application
There are other methods available, which we do not personally use in our salons, although we used to provide the fusion method, but stopped a couple of years ago due to clients having too many problems with them.
Fusion Method: Hair Extensions being directly glued into your own hair. You generally leave them in much longer (months and months) before having them taken out, but usually are unable to re-use the hair, and your hair at the roots can be quite damaged from not being able to brush it while the extensions are in.
Application and removal is quite time consuming, and once again requires heat and chemicals to be used on your hair.
Sewn In Weft: Wefts are traditionally designed for thick, already long hair - such as African hair. They are applied by being sewn in to a very tight braided section of your natural hair, and are usually not able to be applied to the sides, only the back of your head.
If your hair is fine, the weight of the weft can break your natural hair at the roots, and so can the tightness of the braid. You also cannot get to the braided section of your hair to dry / wash properly, which can leave your hair quite bad upon removal.