Hair extensions are an incredibly popular way to add thickness, length and weight to the hair, allowing women and men alike to immediately transform their locks.
However, it is widely acknowledged that hair extensions can damage your hair if they are not properly fitted and cared for. Different types of hair extensions can have different potential effects on your hair and scalp, so we have outlined the most popular types of hair extensions and how to avoid damage to your natural hair.
Hair weaves are applied by braiding the natural hair before wefts of synthetic or real human hair are sewn onto the braids. As the wefts are applied to your own hair, high-density weaves can put a strain on the natural hair, potentially causing breakage if they are too heavy. Plus, whilst synthetic extensions are the cheaper option, they can cause scalp irritation.
If you are considering hair waves, make sure to do your research and visit a reputable salon that offers high-quality products. It may cost a bit more, but it will be worth it to reduce the risk of damage to your hair.
Clip-in hair extensions are popular due to their convenience – they can be clipped in and taken out in just a matter of minutes, using small clips that are applied directly to the root of the hair. Clip-in extensions aren’t as secure as other extension methods, so can easily fall out if not applied carefully, and the bulky clips can often be seen through thinner hair. Similarly to weaves, if the clip-ins are too heavy, the tension can cause the hair to break.
To minimise the damage of clip-in hair extensions, make sure to take them out before you go to sleep and only wear them occasionally.
Micro-ring hair extensions are applied near the root of the hair and are clamped to secure them. Compared to other types of extensions, micro-ring extensions are the least damaging when fitted by an experienced hair extension technician, as they don’t use glue or any other harsh chemicals. When cared for properly, micro-rings can last three or four months.
A disadvantage of micro-ring extensions is that they do have a tendency to slip down the natural hair, creating an uneven look. Poor placement also means that the extensions are visible through the hair.
Glue-in extensions involves glue being applied to the hair wefts and attached to the base of the hair. It may be a quick and easy method of applying hair extensions, but if done incorrectly, it can cause severe damage to the hair and scalp, possibly leading to tension alopecia. Also, if the glue is applied to the scalp rather than the hair, it can clog the hair follicles and cause scalp infection.
Alternatives to hair extensions
With proper application and aftercare, hair extensions can be a great way to achieve thicker, longer hair. However, extensions are only a short-term solution, and if there are any problems you may end up with thinner hair than you started with. Before taking the plunge, make sure to research different types of extensions so that you can make an informed decision.
Removing hair extensions incorrectly can also result in bald patches, whilst some people find that the weight of the extensions can lead to traction alopecia, particularly for Afro-Caribbean hair types. If you are struggling with traction alopecia, get in touch for a consultation