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The Hair Extension Questions You Should Ask

What hair extension questions should you ask a stylist before you let them go to work on you? Whether you are looking to lengthen or thicken, before you consider this luxury option for a beautiful head of hair, read what our extensions specialist has to say. 

When searching for an extension specialist we suggest starting with your friends and family. See if they have had successful experiences with professional additions. We strongly suggest choosing a licensed professional to apply and maintain your extensions. You should know – a license is NOT required by all states to apply extensions. In our opinion, there are a lot of things to consider before a professional chooses a system for their client.

Considerations

Things like the condition of your hair, how often you color, your lifestyle, how often you are willing to maintain or replace, hair porosity and elasticity, just to name a few. A decision must also be made as to whether or not a client is even a candidate for hair extensions. While extensions can make a huge difference in one’s appearance and level of confidence, making life just a lot easier in general, they ARE NOT appropriate for everyone.

Your licensed professional should assess the shape and length of existing hair and what shape and length are realistic in delivery.  Is there enough hair to camouflage and cover the bonding? Will this look complement or end up looking artificial or “affected”?  This is where one’s taste level comes in. With that being said, it is certainly possible to find good taste in the most unlikely places – and not all of the most “exclusive” salons have been properly trained in how to apply the best extensions products.  It’s best to be armed with the right consultation questions to determine the competency and taste of your stylist.

Hair Extension Questions to Ask During a Consultation

Do you use REMY hair?

REMY is a process that ensures all of the hair cuticles are facing the same direction. Trust us, this is important. If your service provider isn’t familiar with what REMY is, RUN! Do not walk. RUN!! They have either not been trained or have been trained by an irresponsible or uneducated brand.

How are extensions applied?

Most hair extensions on the market are applied by either a hot or cold method. The cold method uses a PVC ring insulated with silicone for the natural hair’s protection. The cold ring is squeezed shut to attach the extension. The hot method uses heat to attach a keratin bond. These are applied by hand, one at a time, or a few at a time with a multi-strand method.  This makes the application time much less of a commitment. If your stylist is versed in the art of hair additions, more than likely they will have a couple of options for application, including the taping method.

If they suggest one above the other for you, ask them why. They should be at ease with discussing their preference with you – and that is a good sign. You want someone willing to take the time to make sure you understand what it is you are having applied, how to maintain it, and why. Extensions are not an exact science. There are so many “moving parts” to consider. It is not unusual for us to use two or more techniques/systems on a client for a natural, comfortable, and lasting effect. This is a LUXURY service and should be treated as such by your stylist. They should be interested and attentive in answering your hair extension questions.

What about color?

Color is so important. Too warm, too cool = dead give away. The best partner for you is a stylist who understands that the color of your “new” hair should not just match, but also complement. Keep in mind that extensions are an easy way to add high and/or low lights without using chemicals. Agreeing on color choices before the application is essential.

How long will they last?

 Most fusion extensions will last up to three months. This also depends on how often you shampoo, how fast your hair grows, and the length and density of the natural hair you are working with to cover the bonds. Some systems are reusable, which can prove more affordable with the correct maintenance, and IF you are a candidate.

Tape extensions are another option and one that can be reused, making it an affordable option. HOWEVER, we recommend exercising more caution with this application. While tape can fill in better than individual strands and the application seems fast and simple, there remains a larger margin for error.

The taping process involves taking one’s natural hair and pressing two separate strips of extension hair set on double-sided tape around it. Depending on the quality of the product, the strength of the tape, and application technique (or lack thereof) the possibility remains that water, shampoo, conditioner, and perspiration can work its way between the strips, thus compromising the integrity of the bond. This can cause the strips to slip down or out, sometimes leaving the tape behind.

We have seen more damage during the removal of this “situation” than that of any other extensions circumstance. If you believe tape is your best option, (and superior systems DO exist) we suggest having your stylist apply one or two for you to test to determine how you and your lifestyle adapt. Also, it is recommended that you use the product prescribed by your service provider, being careful not to over condition tape attachment areas. We encourage you to set up a maintenance program with your stylist so any issues can be addressed before they become issues. This is recommended with any application.

What goes into the proper maintenance?

Ask about shampoo and conditioner and recommended styling agents to help with the manageability and longevity of your style. Ask about how to brush it out, how best to style it, and any tricks of the trade, like what to do with it when you’re sleeping.

Most high-end salons will offer a maintenance package for the life of the set. Ours traditionally consists of an aggressive brushing to untangle, followed by a shampoo, and deep conditioning treatment, then a blow-dry and style. This is usually discounted from the usual menu cost; the reason being that it is a value-added service that ensures you will enjoy your extensions. Plus, it gives us, the hairdresser, an opportunity to make sure everything is tip-top. After all, if your new additions make life easier, then you’ll surely be back to see us! Right?

DAMAGE??!!!!!

This is one of the hair extension questions that we as hairdressers tend to tire of, but it is a legitimate one, nonetheless. So here goes… Color causes damage. As does teasing or backcombing/brushing, highlighting, flat ironing, curling, blow-drying, “free radicals” and yes, extensions, too. Let’s just be honest and focus on MINIMIZING  damage.

Removal, Cost, and Maintenance

If your stylist uses a bond that slides out: Rather than allowing your natural hair to be removed with it, it is time to flee removal. Technicians should be trained to take their time during removal. Most damage is done in attempting to remove the bond (and usually in a hurry) rather than in the application or wearing of the additions. Removal is a long and tedious process and should be reserved with those who practice patience.

What’s the cost?

Depending on what your market dictates and how costly the actual hair being applied is, AND what service you are an appropriate candidate for, the price can be all over the board. Here are a few things to think about that will determine the cost of your investment:

What service is best for you?

Basic volume ($350) to full volume adds just that VOLUME. Full length and volume, glamour length and volume, and finally, divine length and volume ($3000) are all services that provide both additional length and fullness. These are some selections on many menus and the price goes up accordingly.

What are the terms and costs for maintenance if you want to include it in your beauty regimen?

I can only give the prices we charge. You’ll need to check with your preferred salon for their pricing menu. However, as a reference: Once a month for three months? ($250), once a week for 12 weeks (3 mos.) $750ish, or up to VIP status – “Never touch your hair again package. ($1400).” That’s twice a week.

NO, these are not cheap. Especially if you are looking for quality. Just keep in mind that someone had to shampoo and prep your hair, blow it dry, choose the right colors, apply it PROPERLY, without damage, cut it into your desired style, educate you on how to care for it at home, and consider what might serve you best for professional maintenance. Oh, and don’t forget – SOMEONE had to grow it!

Now, go forth and ASK QUESTIONS!

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