What you need to know before you decide to get hair extensions
Celebrities like Lauren Conrad, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Beckinsale, Miley Cyrus, and every Kardashian regularly surprise the world with new and different hairstyles — changing color, style and even the length of their hair — over the course of just a couple days.
This magic is made possible with the help of hair extensions and a talented stylist.
Getting the look you always wanted
A lot of us have realized that our inner hottie has longer, thicker hair than we were actually graced with. (Consider it the follicle version of penis-envy.) My own muse has wavy hip-length locks… yet the universe taunts with me hair that, while cute, barely brushes my shoulders.
And that’s why hair extensions are so popular — and not just in Hollywood! Girls the world ’round just love to realize that it is possible to take your current look and give it a lift and have any style you desire… well, for a few months, anyhow.
“I’ve always wanted super-long and sexy hair,” says Jackie Saril of Squeakywheel Promotions, who realized that extensions were the only way she was going to get the length she desired. Her dream came true with extensions done by Tasso Megaris in Plainview, New York. “Why should celebrities and strippers have all the fun?” she laughs.
Facts about hair extensions
- Extensions don’t only to add length. You can choose to add volume instead (or in addition to length), which is perfect for fine, limp or thinning hair.
- Turn that bob into a mane! If your existing hair is at little as 3 inches long, you can get extensions, although the extent of your transformation may be limited if your hair is very short.
- Extensions can be braided in, glued in, woven in, or — if you only need a follicular boost for a special event — clipped in.
- You can also add highlights or color — with shades ranging from mild to wild — to your hair with the use of extensions.
- The process isn’t painful, so it shouldn’t hurt a bit.
How much are hair extensions?
The bad news: Hair extensions aren’t cheap. Depending on how much you get, how you get them attached and the type/grade of hair you use, the cost can range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars — and that’s not including maintenance every six to eight weeks. You will also need to make an investment of time, usually four to six hours, for the initial setup.
The specialist who will apply your extensions may be called a hair designer, an extensionist, or simply a hairdresser. No matter what title he or she uses, be sure they are experienced — and have photos to prove it. Also make sure you understand how they will be removed, and how damage to your natural hair will be minimized. (Several stars have had problems with bald spots after their extensions were taken out.)
Images: Jon Kopaloff/JB Lacroix/Francois G. Durand/Getty Images
Just a few of the many stars with hair extensions: Jennifer Lopez, Lauren Conrad, Kim Kardashian
What to look for
“A hairstyle can make or break your look,” says stylist Cesare Safieh. Safieh cautions there are some important questions to ask when selecting extensions:
- What are the extensions made from — are they synthetic or 100%-natural human hair? (Human hair is more expensive than synthetic counterparts.)
- How will the extensions be applied and removed?
- Can you choose from a variety of weights?