Read Lauren Conrad's crash course on hair extensions 101

For the majority of my life I have always had long hair. Last year when I made the big decision to chop it off, I knew that I would eventually want to make the transition back into longer, fuller locks. Let me bring you in on a little secret of mine: I wear extensions more often than not, even when I have shorter hair. While I wish that my hair could grow five inches overnight, I’ve come to terms with the fact that extensions are the only way to make this dream a reality. Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing my hair natural too. But what I’m lacking in volume and length I make up for by wearing extensions.

If you’ve never had extensions and are considering getting them, or if you’re looking for tips on how to manage the ones you currently have, this post is for you. Because I’ve been wearing extensions for quite some time, I thought it would be beneficial to compile all of my tips and tricks into one blog post. From the different techniques to how to apply and care for them, consider this your comprehensive guide to hair extensions. Let’s get started…

Technique

There are a few different techniques that are used to put extensions in. I am personally a fan of clip-in extensions but everyone has their own personal preference. If you’re still deciding which technique will be right for you, here’s the low down on each one: 

Bonded hair extensions: This is where individual keratin strands are fused to your natural hair using heat.

Tape-in hair extensions: This is where wefts, or small strips of hair, are attached to small sections of your natural hair using double-sided tape.

Weave (or sew-in) hair extensions: Your natural hair is braided in rows across your scalp and wefts of hair are woven onto the braids using thread.

Clip-in hair extensions: These are pretty self-explanatory. Clip-ins are easy to put in and take out at your convenience. I recommend using the silicon-covered clips to avoid unwanted hair damage.

Type of Hair

Fun fact: not all hair extensions are made the same. There’s a huge difference between real human hair and synthetic hair. You’re going to pay more for human hair. I consider extensions an investment and you want the highest quality out there otherwise your locks won’t be fooling anyone. Extensions made from untreated human hair will give you natural results and will easily blend. You also have the ability to dye human hair extensions so that they match your current ‘do. Something else to consider: Match your hair density when shopping for extensions. If they’re too heavy they could cause breakage at your roots. Yikes! You will also want to make sure your extensions come from ethical source. If you are working with a professional stylist, they should be able to advise you on this matter.

Hair Care

First and foremost, always be gentle. Treat your extensions as you would your natural hair. For optimal longevity, try not to wash them too often or coat them with hair products. If you have to use product, keep oils away from the roots or else you could find yourself with your extensions slipping out. Avoid excessive tugging when brushing them and always detangle from the bottom up. If you have to blow dry your extensions, roughdry your hair with your fingers before having to use a brush. Do not tease your hair before putting in your extensions! This will not only break your hair but also potentially cause hair loss. Lastly, if you have to sleep in them, loosely braid them so that they don’t get tangled.

Styling Tips

The whole point of having extensions is to make them look like your natural hair. If you have stick straight hair or a blunt haircut, most likely your extensions will be pretty obvious. I recommend a layered haircut or getting used to curling your hair on a regular basis. That way you’re less likely to show the world your extension secrets! Be prepared to spend a little more time on your hair than usual if you want your extensions to look seamless. Tip: For extension longevity, go light on the hair products.

And there you have it! This may be a mouthful, but I promise that if you follow these tips your extensions will look beautiful and last a long time.

Do you have any hair extension tips that I didn’t cover above?

Let me know your tips and tricks in the comments!

XO Lauren

Photos: Steve Erle/Kohl’s
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