Natural hair extensions can be a good way to protect your natural hair while experimenting with different lengths and styles. There are many options when it comes to hair extensions and it can be difficult to decide which is best for you. The first thing to decide is what kind of hair you want the extensions to be made of. Your choices range from straight to curly styles and from synthetic to human types of extensions.
After deciding what kind of hair best fits your needs, lifestyle, and hair goals, you can then decide how you want it to be installed. Keep in mind that the prices of each application varies and depends on the stylist and hair style you choose. Also note that the prices I mention here are simply approximate and do not include hair. Speak to your stylist about your hair goals for more accurate pricing and to better understand your style options.
Natural Hair Extension Applications Types
Whether you choose to install your extensions yourself or ask your hairstylist to do it, your install options are vast. The most important factor to consider when it comes to you hair is to ensure your style compliments your lifestyle. For example, if you find yourself in the gym Monday thru Friday a sew-in is recommended and glue or tape-in installs should be avoided.
Let's take a look at the most popular natural hair extension applications and installs types today.
Strand By Strand
This method requires you or your stylist to gather about twenty to thirty strands of your hair at a time. Once those are pulled together you attach the natural hair extensions using one of the two most popular methods: hot fusion and cold fusion. These installation methods are one of the most expensive methods of installing. They also take the longest time but appear the most natural compared to other methods.
The first strand by strand method uses Keratin U-tip bonds. These bonds are placed around your natural hair then they are heated to seal the bond. The bonds contain an inner layer of silicon to protect your hair. This application works best with thick hair and usually last for up to six months. Because it is attached by silicon bonds, you should avoid applying oils and over-styling your hair to get the most life of the style. The average application time for U-tip bonds is six to eight hours.
The other type of strand by strand is cold fusion. This method eliminates the risk of heat damage by using a special tool to clamp the bond or I-tip, closed. Cold fusion can also last for up to six months, but because it is not heated, the bonds can slip. Which means that your hair will need to be reapplied. Average application is four to six hours.
This is one of the most popular protective styles for natural hair. Because no silicon, tape, or glue is directly attached to your hair. To install your natural hair extensions, the first thing the stylist will do is cornrow braid your natural hair. Then, the extensions are sewn into your hair using a special needle and thread. This application is more affordable than other installs and usually takes between three to four hours.
Glue is applied to the weft of the hair extension. Then the weft is attached to your head. If the glue is not properly attached then it can cause painful removal and balding or thinning hair. It is best to get this application done by a professional. This is not very expensive and application only takes one to two hours on average.
The weft, also known as the track, is covered with single-sided or double-sided tape. In double-sided application, two wefts create a “sandwich” around the hair, this attaches one side to the hair and the other weft is attached to the other side of tape. Single-sided tape is only attached to the hair and is more suitable for people with thin hair. This application is simple, most affordable, and usually only takes one hour. However, it does take two hours to cure. Also, you should avoid any oily products which makes moisturizing your natural hair a challenge.
Clip or Flip In
These methods are the fastest, usually taking less than ten minute to install. They can also be done at home. Both are applied by placing a small amount of pressure to close the clips or silk wire. However, clip ins cannot be slept in and should be removed daily to avoid damaging your natural crown.
This is a fairly easy natural hair extension style that can be installed by you or by a stylist. It is also a very popular protective style. Like a sew-in, the first thing that is done is to cornrow your hair. Then the hair extensions are looped around your braids using a crochet needle. When using this method it is important to avoid over-styling so the cornrows do not become loose and cause the extensions to slip. This application takes a couple of hours to complete and can last for up to two months.
Wigs are a good option for if like to change your look often, or want to be able to take care of their natural hair daily. To apply a wig, you can either twist your natural hair back or pin it back so that the wig cap will cover it. There are three main types of wig caps.
Lace wigs. These are the most realistic and are very breathable. The cap is made of lace which gives you the flexibility to part the wig or wear your wig in an up-do without worry of detection.
Lace front wigs. These wigs only have lace in the front. The rest of the cap is made of a different, more durable, fabric. These styles are ideal for front parting styles.
Non-lace wigs. These types of are the least natural, but are the most durable. They can be made of any type of hair, unlike lace wigs, which are usually made of human hair.
When it comes to natural hair extensions choose the extension and application that best suits your needs, hair goals, and lifestyle. There are choices for everyone, but if you still cannot decide, you should consult a professional. They will be able to help you choose and install your hair extension while protecting your natural hair.