Find out how to maintain ageless hair with extensions...
Hair extensions have a bit of a rep, but like any good ‘work’ on your appearance, the best ones are undetectable.
More and more women in their forties and fifties are trying the technique. Thinning hair can be an issue as we get older, and good quality hair extensions could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
“They’re such an easy way to mix up your look,” Mel at leading extensions salon Beauty & Melody told us. “You can add different colours, tone, thickness and volume – it’s not all about length.”
Hair extensions can be a permanent way to thicken and lengthen your hair, or used merely as way to boost your locks for a special occasion.
Tape extensions are arguably the easiest extensions to try. Due to the easy application method, they take less time to apply and are usually less expensive than other methods. Tape in extensions are also thought to be the least damaging on the market. Due to them being so lightweight, they don’t pull on your own hair.
Clip-in extensions may be easy to use, but they’re very heavy and could even lead to bald spots if worn every day. These types of extensions are best saved for a special occasion.
So what are the tricks to maintaining your tape hair extensions effectively? It’s all about using the right products, according to Mel at Beauty & Melody. “Make sure that you use a shampoo that’s low in sulfates,” explained Mel. Sulfates are the foaming agents that turn shampoos into a thick lather in the shower, but they’ve come under fire from haircare professionals for drying locks out, promoting frizziness and damaging coloured hair. “Just search online for a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner – they’re no more expensive and your hair will thank you for it.”
These are some sulfate-free shampoos you could try…
- Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo
- VOLU shampoo and conditioner
- Bee Mine Moisturizing Shampoo
- Curls Curlicious Cleansing Cream
- Eden BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo
- L’Oreal EverStrong Sulfate-Free Fortify System
Tape extensions are so gentle, that they’re removed with oil. So that weekly oil treatment is a no go when you’ve got them fitted in your hair. “Normal hair masks are fine, and encouraged,” Mel explained. “If you’re going to use a serum, just run it through the ends before styling to ensure the extensions stay in good condition.
“And make sure you brush your extensions morning and night to keep them tangle free. A tangle teaser is a good investment!”
Keratin bond extensions
Another way to add in hair extensions is called ‘cold fusion’. Keratin bonds are wrapped around small sections of your hair then sealed on using ultrasound vibrations. There’s no heat or mixing of keratin glue with your natural hair, and it takes 90 minutes for a whole head.
“Cold fusion is kinder and, when used by a skilled technician, won’t damage the natural hair,” says Extension Professional founder Louise Bailey, who has worked her cold fusion magic on Yasmin Le Bon.
“Our hair is ethically sourced 100% human. A technician will cut them into your hair to blend.” You can expect up to 12 weeks of wear from these bonds, after which your technician uses a spray to break down the keratin and the slide off easily, with no damage.
Clip-in extensions are great if you want a bit of extra length or thickness for a special occasion.
The key to getting the most out of your extensions is maintenance. How you look after them has a direct effect on how long they last.
Here is a list of basic rules that anyone who has ever had hair extensions will know by heart.
DO Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner two or three times a week.
DO Brush gently with a Tangle Teezer (see right) to prevent the bonds matting.
DO Have your hair coloured beforehand. only top up the T-section while bonds are in.
DON’T Heat style every day, and always use heat protection when drying.
DON’T Exercise excessively – sweat can shorten the lifespan of extensions.
DON’T Use hair oil near the bonds, which can cause them to slip
Armed with this expert advice it’s time to overhaul your beauty kit with these little wonders…
Now that you have new lengths to play with you might want to experiment with different styles. Perfect this seasons ponytail, opt for Invisibobble, £3.75 for 3. These clever coils stop kinks and secure hair without tugging so your bonds stay discreet.
It’s tempting to blow dry your tresses everyday in an effort to keep all this new hair in order but believe us when we tell you this is the quickest route to frizzy, malting extensions. To extend time between salon trips keep heat to a minimum and always douse your lengths with a generous spritz of L’Oreal Professionnel Color 10 in 1 Perfecting Multipurpose Spray, £13.49 before you pull out the hairdryer.
If there’s one thing you do, make sure it’s investing in a good sulphate-free shampoo prior to getting your extensions.
Sulphate is a detergent that’s found in toothpaste, washing powder and shampoo. But it’s cleaning abilities are so thorough that along with grease, grime and dirt, it can temporally swipe all the healthy oils straight out of your hair too. Unfortunately hair extensions can’t produce and replace the hair’s natural oils once they’ve been stripped, which results in your expensive extensions becoming dry and brittle.
Our current favourite is Pureology Hydrate Shampoo, £14.85, it’s sulfate free and smells like mint.
Tangle Teezer Candy Floss, £10.60. Gently does it when brushing