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  • Stephanie Karns

Hair Extensions - Are they worth the investment?

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Hair extensions look gorgeous, when done properly. And as with anything you pay for what you get. As we peruse through fashion magazines we see female celebrities sporting beautiful flowing coiffed mains as they glide down the red carpet, making us envious to want their look. But it seems these days selecting extensions is like ordering a specialty coffee. Real, animal, or synthetic hair? Curly, wavy, or straight? Short, medium or long? Clip in, sewn in, rivets, tape in, or glued in? And then there's colored, not colored, can they be colored... Are you overwhelmed yet? Hopefully I can provide some assistance in helping you with your decision from my past experiences.

Many years ago I worked at a nail technician for a very busy salon. We gals in the beauty industry go through dramatic shifts in what we want for our hair on a monthly if not weekly basis. One particular week, I decided I wanted a dramatic change. Usually I go with shorter cut or change in color but this time I wanted a fresh new do. Something I've never had before that involved long flowing locks. And the only way to do that was to buy them. At that time there weren't very many options for extensions. In fact the most popular were sewn in weaves. The process if fairly simple but very time consuming. It involves braiding tiny cornrows at the scalp spaced every few inches along the back of the head. These will be use to sew the hair track to. The first image is what I was expecting but the second image is what I got.

Wefts are extremely thin tracks of hair so try to imagine a single track sewn into a 1/2" braid. Yea, I looked like the guy from Silence of the Lambs, "it puts the lotion on the skin" shit! And she thought that is what I wanted! Seriously, a professional would know better. To her defense she did tell me she was experience from living in Oklahoma. In the end it cost me $250, which according to her that was a "good deal". I was only able to endure hideousness of the weave for about four hours and had my friend cut them out that night.

Long story short, my experience was unique to my hair. I am by no means telling you to not get them. I still want extensions very badly I just have to settle for the clip in kind. Are extensions worth getting them done by a salon? Of course, if you have the right kind of hair, understand the commitment, and find the right professional. I have never found a person who can handle my hair and the last quote to get rivets was about $900, take 8 hours of my life, add 20 pounds to my already heavy head and required scheduled maintenance every 4-6 weeks. No, thank you!

My advice is if your thinking about getting extensions there are many temporary options to try out before handing over hundreds of dollars. Ulta Beauty and Sally's Beauty both have a few clip in options that are very affordable. Ulta takes returns if you don't like it. Check them out at ULTA Beauty here or at Sally's Beauty here.

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