NEWS : THE CURLY GIRLS´ GUIDE TO HAIR EXTENSIONS
From human hair to synthetic, wefts to single strand and Mongolian to Indian, the hair extension world can get a bit “tangled,” but don’t despair ‘cause we’re covering everything you need to know about the quality and types of extensions for all of you curlfriends out there. A note to the wise: You get what you pay for. Investing in high quality extensions will actually end up saving you money as they only need to be replaced once a year compared to every few months with sub-par hair. Our advice? Don’t cut corners. Save up for the best quality hair extensions that you can afford to get the lusted-after locks you’ve always wanted. Let’s get started!
What’s the big difference between natural and synthetic extensions?
1. Natural Hair: This is real human hair and it can be styled, cleansed and dyed just like the hair on your head. The look and feel of natural extensions are ultra believable, which makes these more costly, but if you care for them properly, they’ll last you up to one full year.
2. Synthetic Hair: These extensions have come a long way in recent years and in some cases it’s difficult to tell the difference between natural and synthetic but it stops there. Synthetic hair is generally made from fine plastic fibers that mimic human hair, but won’t behave or feel like it. These can be worn straight outta the box, making them super easy and quick, however, maintenance is tricky as they don’t always wash and style the same way as regular hair and they are less durable than natural hair, so they won’t last as long — about three to six months.
Remy hair, virgin hair… What does it all mean?
Getty Images via Tony Hutchings
1. Virgin Hair: This is 100% human hair that is cut off of a single hair donor in one ponytail and has never been chemically processed. All of the cuticles are intact and lay in the same direction just like the hair on your head. It is the highest quality natural hair available on the market, hence it’s super spendy, but with proper care it can last a long, long time. Basically this is the gold standard in extensions.
2. Remy Hair: This is natural hair that is collected from several different hair donors and is processed to align all of the cuticles in the same direction to mimic the hair on your head. This process eliminates tangling problems that are common with synthetic types.
3. Non-remy Hair: This is natural hair that is collected from random suppliers, resulting in the cuticles lying in all different directions which can lead to tangles and matting. To combat this, non-remy hair is chemically treated to remove the cuticle and then dipped in silicone to add shine, this adds weight to the hair and over time the silicone washes away and the hair loses its luster. It also cannot tolerate heat or hair dye, so styling options are limited.
What’s the difference between weft and single strand?
1. Wefted Hair: This is hair that comes attached to a track in long pieces. It can either be attached by machine or by hand. Here’s the difference:
–Hand tied wefts are made by meticulously tying strands of hair around a strong weaving thread by hand. These wefts are thinner and more flexible than machine-tied wefts and lay closer to the head creating a very natural look. They are more difficult to apply and utilize a lot more hair to make which adds to the price tag on these extensions.
–Machine wefts are made by sewing strands of hair onto the track with a hair sewing machine. They are the most common wefts due to their lower cost and because they are easier to put in. The tracks can also be cut which allows for more hairstyle options.
2. Single Strand: Also known as stick extensions, these literally come piece by piece and are pre-bonded at the tips with wax or keratin. They are applied by using the Micro-Loop or Fusion technique which uses heat to bond the extensions to your natural hair.
What’s the difference between virgin hair origins?
One of the things you have to take into consideration when purchasing natural hair extensions, is hair origin. To drop a pretty penny on Mongolian hair that doesn’t hold a natural wave pattern is going to look anything but natural on the average curly girl. Bottom line ? Choose a texture that most closely matches your hair in its natural state — the goal is to shock others that you have extensions.
1. Brazilian: This the most sought after hair on the market and blends well with all types of ethnicities.
-Soft, thick, bouncy hair with medium coarseness
-Varies from light brown to dark brown or black
-Has a natural wave pattern when wet, so it can be styled straight, wavy or curly
2. Mongolian: This hair type is rare in comparison to other hair origins making it more costly.
-Fine and slightly coarse in texture
-Does not have a natural wave pattern when wet, so it’s best suited for straight styles.
-Diverse color range makes this hair sought after for those looking for something other than
3. Indian: There is an abundance of Indian hair, so it’s commonly used for making extensions. It is often known as “temple hair” because most of it is sourced from Hindu temples where hair is donated for religious practices.
-Thick, coarse and sleek in texture
-Dries wavy and mimics most hair patterns, so it can be styled wavy, curly or straight
-Sought out for its untreated qualities, as well as its long length
4. Malaysian: Celebrities seek this hair type because of it’s soft and silky texture.
-Resembles very healthy hair because of it’s sheen
-Great for wavy and curly girls as it comes in a variety of natural hair patterns
-Colors range from dark brown to black
5. Russian: This is like the top shelf caviar of hair extensions as it’s hard to source, making it quite pricey.
-Finer and thinner in texture which does not always blend well with Afro-Caribbean hair textures.
-Is very versatile when it comes to styling and works with most hair patterns
-Colors range from light blonde to medium brown
How To Care For Your Hair Extensions
Extension hair should be cared for just like your natural hair: gently. You can use all of your favorite hair products, but keep oils away from the roots in order to prevent the bond, tape, or weave from slipping. At bedtime, put your hair in a loose braid so it doesn´t get matted or tangled while you sleep.
1. Cleanse: Perform a co-wash at least once every 2-3 weeks.
2. Condition: Try to always use a moisturizing leave-in conditioner. Avoid having to use any
other styling products between washes.
3. Style: Use alcohol-free serums or products on hair to avoid drying out the hair and making it
4. Dry: Air drying is highly recommended after washing and conditioning, however, real hair can
take the heat from a blow-dryer, flat iron or curling iron, but just like your own hair, it’s best to
keep heat styling at a minimum to beat frizz and maintain the quality and durability of your
5. Storage: Storage isn’t something we usually think about when choosing our extensions, but it
can extend the life of your faux locks. When you’re packing away them away they should be
clean, conditioned, dry and tangle free. An air-tight container works great or use a clip clothes
hanger to store the hair without losing shape.
Okay curlfriends! We hope this gives you all the information you need to get the luscious locks
you’ve always wanted.