The Skinny on Hair Extensions

September 3, 2016

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I’ve talked about my hair extensions a lot on social media, and in response I’ve gotten a lot of questions from you all regarding your curiosities on hair extensions. I believe hair extensions are a bit of a faux pas (at least they have been in the past) in that no one wants to admit that they’re wearing them, and because no one talks about them, no one knows how to buy them, style them or even care for them. I believe transparency means everything to your readers, so I try to be as candid as possible with you. I’m not going to begin using hair extensions and then never mention them because get real, you definitely notice. Am I right?

To be honest, when I started using hair extensions about two years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. No one had ever educated me because no one ever talked about it. I’m hear to clear the hair and provide you the “skinny” on hair extensions, aka hair extension 101. You all have provided questions to me over the last couple of days, and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge given that everything I’ve learned is self-taught and discovered by A LOT of trial and error. If I didn’t answer your questions in the post, please feel free to leave it in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you! 🙂

HERE is the dress I am wearing. It comes in a TON of colors and is under $50!

HOW TO BUY THEM:

What brand should I buy? The only brand of hair extensions I’ve ever purchased is Bellami Hair (I am an affiliate of Bellami Hair, but truly LOVE the quality of their hair extensions, you guys know I never support a company that isn’t true to my own brand). My hair dresser told me that they have some of the best “real” hair extensions, and hence they look the most natural. I’ve been extremely impressed with the quality, so I’ve never had to venture out and try another brand. I’m also a huge fan of the variety that they offer. Last year, I purchased a brunette highlighted pair of extensions, but when I dyed my hair a lighter color this year, they didn’t blend well. I recently received another set (c/o Bellami Hair), and they’re perfect for my balayage hair color. If you color your hair, you will find that it is very hair to match your color with extensions. Bellami Hair clears the air by offering a lot of options. They’re offering HTS readers $$ off your own pair by using promo code BAILEY5!

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What comes in my box of Bellami Hair extensions? Bellami Hair clearly notes on the description of each pair of hair extensions what comes in your box. Clip-in hair extensions are organized as “wefts.” Wefts are the clips that are attached to hair extensions that allow the the extensions to connect and remain in your hair. You can have anywhere from one-weft to four-weft hair extensions, and that generally denotes the length of each piece. The more wefts, the longer in inches that piece of hair extensions is. My balayage box came with 4 one-wefts, 2 two-wefts, 2 three-wefts, and 2 four-weft pieces (denoted in the photo below) as well as a bellami hair brush. If your box doesn’t not come with a hair extension hanger to store your extensions, I recommend you purchase one as it organizes your wefts and keeps them nice while you’re storing them.

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How do I make sure the hair extensions match and blend with my hair? If you are unsure what color you should order, I recommend you take a couple of photos of your hair outdoors in the sunlight and send to a Bellami representative. They will respond with their recommendation on what pair of hair extensions they think will blend best with your hair. If you’re still unsure, no worries. When your extensions arrive in the mail, Bellami includes a “test piece” of hair (it is a one-weft hair extension) on the outside of the package. Use this piece to determine if that is the correct color for your hair. WARNING: if you do not think the color matches, DO NOT open the package and try the rest of the pieces, that will void your return. I recommend you get opinions from friends/family and if you still don’t think they blend, return them and get the next closest color and try again.

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What length/thickness should I buy? Bellami has a chart on the homepage of their site that shows you what they recommend for the length of hair extensions you should buy. If you have short and very thin hair, they’ll recommend the shortest length of hair extensions. If you have overly thick hair, they may recommend longer extensions. I personally don’t recommend you go over 22″ for your first pair. The 24″ inch pair is a little extreme. My first set of hair extensions were 20″ and I thought they were perfect, but I decided to go up a length on my second pair to the 22″ for added drama and I have to admit they were a little long. I chose to keep them and asked my hair dresser to cut the extensions so that they naturally blend into the cut/style of my hair and I absolutely LOVE them! I think that is the way to go. Order one length up from what you think you need and cut your hair extensions to blend to your hair for a natural look. I’m shocked by how many people compliment my hair thinking it is real and I kindly let them know that they are hair extensions. 🙂

HOW TO WEAR/STYLE THEM:

How many hair extensions “wefts” do you wear at one time? I personally don’t wear all my hair extensions at one time because I think it is a bit of an overload how many extensions they provide you with. At any time, I never wear more than 2 three-wefts and 2 four-wefts. Somtimes I mix the variety depending on their hair style. I may do more shorter length pieces if I’m doing a braid, or less longer-length pieces if I don’t want to overheat (hair extensions are heavy and HOT!). It generally just depends on the occasion. I recommend you try a couple of different combinations and decide what you like that works best with your hair.

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What is the best way to wear them to make them look most natural? As I mentioned above, I think having your hair extensions cut by your hair dresser so that they naturally blend with the cut/style of your hair is the way to go. You also want to make sure you clip you hair extensions in to the lower part of your hair an tease around the extensions so that the wefts don’t show through. Last but not least, I don’t recommend that you wear your entire set of hair extensions at one time. Pick and choose how many and what sizes look best in your hair for the most natural look.

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What is your process for putting your hair extensions in? When putting in my hair extensions, I generally wear 2-four wefts at the bottom most part of my hair, and 1 three-weft on each side of my head. This is very important: when clipping in your hair extensions, you want to make sure you use dry texturizing spray (I LOVE this brand of texturizing spray HERE) and a teasing brush (this is my go-to teasing brush HERE), to tease the root of your hair where you play to clip your hair extensions in. I use THESE clips to hold my hair up and they’re great for sectioning off your hair. This helps make sure your hair extensions stay in your hair throughout the day and allow for you to tug and pull at them when curling and styling them.

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What do you use to style your hair extensions? You can style your hair extensions just like you would your normal hair. The only think I wouldn’t do is blow dry your hair extensions, you should let them air dry instead. When using heat products, make sure they are tourmaline barrels. This protects your hair extensions and makes sure you don’t damage them (or your own hair). I use this curling wand HERE and this straightener HERE. They’re expensive heat styling tools, but last forever and won’t damage your hair as much.

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HOW TO CARE FOR THEM:

How do you protect your hair extensions and make sure they last? I use this heat protector product HERE to ensure that my extensions do not get damaged when I use heat products on them. Simply spray it across your set of extensions and let them air dry before stying them. In addition, I think it’s important not to wash your extensions often, if you choose to wash them at all. Washing them deteriorates them over time so they won’t style as well or look as polished. I personally have never washed my extensions because I think they style better with built up product on them. I also don’t wear them enough that they get extremely dirty, either. Last but not least, you want to make sure you store them correctly. Using the Bellami Hair hanger or the box they come in is the best way so that dust does not collect on them.

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Can you wash your hair extensions? You can, but I don’t recommend you do it often. If you wash them, use a shampoo that doesn’t lather and is high quality, generally they’re called sulfate-free shampoos/conditioners. This brand HERE is one of my favorite shampoos. Lathering is an indication that there are other byproducts in the shampoo and they can create a non-visible wax coating on your hair extensions (and hair) that weighs it down and damages the extensions over time. Also, if you shampoo them, do not blow dry them, lay them flat to dry and brush them straight. I also recommend you spray THIS product through the extensions when they’re wet to help make it easier to brush them out. It’s the best!

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What do you use to brush your hair extensions? I use the included Bellami brush that comes in your hair extension box, or you can use a plastic brush with bristles that are placed wide apart that won’t break and pull the hair extensions, which can damage them. This is a great detangling brush HERE that I love. I don’t like using brushes that have bristles with tiny circles on the end (if you have a brush like this, you know what I’m talking about) as it can pull and rip at the extensions.

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OTHER QUESTIONS/MISC.:

Can you travel with hair extensions in your hair? I’ve traveled with hair extensions and walked through the metal detector with them. One time the metal detector went off and the other time it did not. TSA will simply do a check and feel the top of your head revealing you’re wearing hair extensions and then you are on your way. I will say that because they are heavy and can make you hot, I don’t like to travel with mine in.

Do hair extensions damage your hair? In my experience, the clip-in ones do not damage your hair. Although they do clip to your hair, it’s just as if wearing a hair clip that has something attached to it. I have heard horror stories of the glue-in and lace-in hair extension types, so I think clip-in extensions are the way to go. Also, it’s much less maintenance because you don’t have to go into the salon every couple of weeks to get them adjusted.

How often/when do you wear them? I usually wear hair extensions when I am going out with friends, going on a date, doing blog photos, or want to be really dressed up. When I am keeping it casual, I generally don’t want to add the extra get-ready work to my plate so I will just style my normal hair.

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Can you do updos with hair extensions in? Yes, you can! In fact, I love doing updos with hair extensions because they give your hair more volume and you can do different styles due to the extra thickness and length that you normally wouldn’t be able to do.

I hope that answers all your questions! If I missed anything, don’t forget to leave it in the comment section below! Have a great weekend!

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Comments

How long do hair extensions last before you have to buy new ones? I wouldn’t wear them everyday, but I would wear them 4/days per week..
Thanks!

Hi Cindy! I’m the same way, I don’t wear my extensions everyday. Generally just for special occasions and when I really want to dress up my look. To be honest, it’s a lot of work just to grab a quick dinner. If you purchase high quality extensions, they will last a long time. I would just make sure you take care of them as mentioned in my post and I imagine they could last nearly 2 years if not longer. If you are like me, you’ll need a new pair just because you’ve changed your hair color, not because of them deteriorating, lol! I’ve only been wearing mine for about a year and they’re still in great condition! Hope this helps! 🙂

I love Bellami’s! They’re the only hair extensions I wear after wearing clip ins for 8 years! (Lol)

PS. The ombre looks AMAZING on you!

xo, jess

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