Hair Extensions: My Experience
Last week I had my hair extensions removed after around six weeks so I thought it best to write up this post before I forget all about my days as a long-haired mermaid type. Before we get started a little disclaimer: the hair and the fitting of the extensions were #gifted to me by the lovely Vixen and Blush. I knew I wanted extensions for ages (I must've mentioned it on my channel way back at the end of last year) and V&B were my first choice; after finding them on Instagram I was very impressed with the way they managed to make their extensions look natural and sensed that the quality of the hair and fitting would be great, which of course they were. I'm not obliged to write this post for them or anything, but as you'll see I would highly recommend them.
I wanted extensions because I've had short(ish) hair since 2014 when I chopped off my bleached ends, and I haven't really looked back since. I feel that short hair suits me best not only style wise (I've got a tiny pea head), but also because if there's one beauty ~thing~ I'm lazy with, it's my hair. I'm pretty much useless at styling it, I think because I'm massively impatient and massively lacking in the skills to do it. However, whilst I didn't want to go through the whole process of growing my hair long knowing that I would probably chop it a few months later, I did want to experiment with long hair again just for a little while. Enter the extensions plan.
Now of course Vixen & Blush had a bit of a challenge on their hands; it's obviously much harder to go from a bob (I believe my hair was just about touching my shoulders when I went in) to super long hair than it would be if it was even just a little longer. Also, I had/have a strip of dark dye in my hair that is still growing out, so I was also making colour matching tough for them, though I think they did a great job considering. I do think that if I had planned to have the extensions in for a lot longer, I would have gone to get what Sarah (the founder of V&B) calls a 'gloss' (this may be a familiar term to many of you but to a person ignorant to the ins and outs of hair I have no idea) over my roots, natural hair and extensions just to even out the colour a bit. However, it's also possible it was more noticeable to me in general just because I take pictures for a living. I digress.
Now I do have fine hair, but as every hairdresser I've ever seen has said to me, I have a lot of it. This meant that in order to make the extensions look convincing we had to use a heck of a lot of hair, and because I was looking for lots of added length, we had to do a full head. Obviously if you had hair longer than mine and were looking for length but also just more thickness at the ends, you could maybe do a half head. I think there are lots of options, but a consultation at your salon should be able to give you an idea of what you need to get the look you want.
I decided on the Micro Ring method, though I wonder whether I might have preferred Micro Bonding (though for the amount of hair they were putting in, this would have taken ages and would have been more of a pain to remove I think). I'll link to V&B's page where they explain the different types of extensions here, because honestly they'll do a better job than I can at explaining the differences. With the Micro Ring, they essentially take a weft of extension, a little bit of your hair, and secure the two together using a little metal ring. It can last up to three months and the hair can be reused (which it can't be with Micro Bonding), so it could be worth the investment. I don’t know precisely what length we went to, especially because they then cut it like they normally would, but I do know that it was very long.
The process of having them put in is really simple (as long as you're the one sat in the salon chair), but I noticed the added weight immediately. Because they take little tiny sections of your own hair, it's natural (and not the fault of your stylist!) that sometimes one or two of the strands can be pulled a little tight. It feels similar to when you've had your hair in a too-tight ponytail for too long, and this sensation lasted for a good few days after I had the extensions fitted. And because I had a bob, they had to take the rings quite close to the nape of the neck where I find it is particularly sensitive for me, so I reckon it took a little longer for my scalp to adjust than it would in most cases. However, your scalp will adjust, don't worry. And of course, you'll get used to sleeping with them in too. Because they are little metal rings, it can feel a bit odd not just when you're running your hands through your hair but when you're lying on them too, but it all becomes normal pretty quickly. After two weeks I was definitely fully adjusted to my new hair.
In terms of the look I was super impressed with how well V&B blended my bob. As part of this process they did have to thin the ends of my natural hair because it was cut so bluntly, so be warned if you're wanting a quick fix because your natural hair will look different after. With any transformation like this, you are always going to have those tiny bits of hair just at the nape of the neck that peek round and can make it more obvious that you have extensions in (I mean they never stay in any buns or ponytails either), but these are kind of unavoidable. When I was on set with Sarah (we did a little shoot so you will probably see a few pictures of me pop up on their Instagram), she plaited these or pinned them to keep them out the way, but you will need two sets of hands to do that - one to hold the hair up and one to do the plaiting or pinning.
Washing and drying was a lot more of a process with so much long hair, and it also required styling in a way my natural hair doesn't just to make sure all the layers looked fully blended. However, if you can get away with washing your hair every 3+ days, the style will stay in much more easily than it will in your natural hair, so you only have to go through the process (think: 2 hours start to finish) once or twice a week. Nonetheless, as a person that usually air dries their hair this was very new to me, but I also had fun experimenting with it and styling it in ways I couldn't normally. I did miss being able to put it up properly, though. I sometimes had it in a bun tottering on top of my head in the house but any up-do revealed the rings and was uncomfortable for long periods because it was very heavy. In the end I decided that I was ready for them to come out and return to normal, partly because of all the maintenance that the extensions required but also as we are getting into summer proper and holiday season the hair was just a little too heavy and hot to keep in. However, don't let this put you off if you want to try out long hair, as I'm really glad I did it and I had a lot of fun swishing it about.
When my hair came out I noticed the thinned ends immediately, which I'm actually really enjoying . Because I have so much hair normally, it's making even my shoulder-length hair now easier to style and less bulky at the ends than it can be. I do also feel that there is slightly less hair on my head in general - but don't panic! I sense that because my hair is fine, it is slightly more liable to shedding especially when so much weight is added to it. Also I obviously got used to having about ten times the hair, so part of that feeling will just be the contrast between the extensions and my natural hair. However, if you have fine hair and you also don't have a lot of it, I think you might find this more noticeable, and you could be better off with tape-ins or Micro Bonds which are lighter, or just far fewer rings, i.e. don't go from a bob to eighteen inches. And also looking after it and letting it rest between extensions if you want something long term, of course. I have no doubt my hair will return to normal soon, and for now I'm quite enjoying how much flatter it's sitting to my head (no more triangle head).
Would I do extensions again? I think I would if I had mid-length hair and wanted more volume through the ends. My hair doesn't do long very well naturally; its fine-ness is revealed by the time it gets past my chest and it gets straggly and thin at the ends. I think a half head would be much more attainable for me, as a lazy hair person. And because I did Micro Rings, I now have the hair should I ever want to do that!
With that, I think I have answered most of the questions you guys sent over on Instagram and gone through the whole process, but do let me know if I've missed something important and I'll update. For now I'll go back to running my fingers through my ring-less hair.