The Ultimate Guide to Hair Extensions by The Experts
The Hair Extensions Guide: Let’s get started on our journey to amazing hair. Take some time to read what has taken us over a decade to uncover. We have broken our knowledge down into a quick, easy to read guide to make sure you don’t waste your time, your money or damage your own hair!
You have come to the right place if you are considering a change or rather a big improvement in your hair. We are going to cover the following topics in this guide:
Table of Contents of Our Hair Extensions Guide:
Just click on a question below and you will be auto-scrolled to the answer:
2.The problems with your own hair:
3.How to improve your hair?
5.What types of hair extensions are there :
14.Troubleshooting Hair Extensions
Who are Hair Extension Experts™
Hair Extension Experts™ was started by Yentl Palmer, an average consumer of hair extensions who got her fingers burnt (and her hair) while testing out the different methods of hair extensions on her own hair.
She had her first set of hair extensions installed at age 15 and in the 10 years that followed she learnt a lot about what not to do! In 2010 she set out on a mission to find the best hair quality, at the best price and the latest technology in installing hair extension.
Her travels extended from India, to China, Hong Kong, Germany, the USA and Africa. In 2013 she formed Hair Extension Experts™ and together with her team of qualified Hair Extensionists they are changing lives daily!
Do you have problems with your own hair?
Why is my hair thinning?
There are several reasons your hair has started to thin out. Here we will list the most common reason’s we have come across in our Hair extension practice:
-Age: in our teenage years our hair is usually at its best but as we go grow older and our bodies go through changes our hair changes too.
-Genes: Thin hair is often hereditary
-Diet: Yes, diet can have a huge effect on the quality of your hair in general. More specifically being undernourished or lacking certain essential nutrients can wreak havoc on the health of your hair. A lack of protein and amino acids in your diet can also be a major contributing factor to hair loss as they form the building blocks of new hair growth.
-Deficiencies: Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies like Iron amongst others can cause thinning hair
-Hormonal Imbalance: If your hormones are out of balance then your hair could be affected. There is a small percentage of women whose hair start to thin once they start taking the contraceptive pill for instance.
When women go through post-partum hormonal changes their hair often sheds and thins out. Menopause is also a potential cause of hair thinning. Hormones are a huge topic to cover and they are so intricate.
The best advice would be to see an Endocrinologist (they specialist in the endocrine system which covers hormones thoroughly) who can do a full blood profile of hormones to uncover if your hormones are out of balance. If your hormones are out of balance, then your hair is not the only thing being affected and getting your hormones balanced will benefit all your body systems.
-Thyroid Disorder: We have had several client’s with Thyroid problems who have thinning hair. From over active thyroid (Hyper-Thyroidism) to under active (Hypo-Thyroidism) both thyroid dysfunctions can influence your hair.
We have noticed an underactive thyroid can cause a coarseness (thick hair strand) to the client’s hair but often still have a thinning effect. The overactive thyroid can cause a fine, oilier hair type that sheds easily. This is not always the case with thyroid disorders but from our own experience with clients who have hair thinning and Thyroid disorders we have notice the above.
-Other Autoimmune Conditions: Many auto immune conditions can affect the body so severely that its ability to grow healthy hair can be effected. Some of these conditions include:
Systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren syndrome, Hashimoto thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile (type 1) diabetes, polymyositis, scleroderma, Addison disease, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, glomerulonephritis, and pulmonary fibrosis.
Chemotherapy causes hair to shed in most patients undergoing this treatment for Cancer.
Why is my hair shedding?
There can be multiple causes for telogen effluvium (hair shedding). It often occurs after surgery, rapid or drastic weight loss, pregnancy or high levels of stress. Hair shedding can take place every day and is most likely to happen after washing, brushing or styling your hair.
Why is my hair growing slowly?
One of the main reasons which can contribute to slow hair growth is poor scalp health. If you are likely to use an excessive amount of hair product or use too many hair products at once. The products can then build up and clog your hair follicles. This causes the scalp to be unnecessarily oily and causes an unhealthy environment of healthy hair growth.
Why are my ends snapping?
When noticing that there is an excessive amount of breakage on the ends of your hair, it is important to first consider that your hair may be extremely dry. Dryness can be caused by using too much heat styling such as hot curling or flat ironing.
You can also consider that your ends are lacking proper conditioning. Bleaching your hair will cause your ends to dry out and will cause snapping. Using a heat protector and professional treatments that build up the protein in your hair will help.
Solution: Use Hair extensions to thicken the ends of your hair and to protect your ends from the direct heat of your heat styling tools.
Why won’t my own hair hold a style?
If you notice that your hair is not holding a style very well or at all, it may be because your hair is too clean. If you have just washed your hair and you notice that your curls are not holding it is because completely clean hair does not hold a style well. The best solution will be to use a styling mouse or cream. These products are specifically designed to help hold styled on completely clean hair.
Why can’t I get my hair the right colour?
If you are struggling to get the right hair colour for you, there might be a few contributing factors. These are the 5 most common reasons: Your hair has too many colours or colour build up to begin with, your hair was not light enough to accept the colour level you chose, your hair was too dark to achieve the light shade you were aiming for, the colour was left on too long or not long enough or the colour you have chosen is too poor quality.
Solution: Using hair extensions to change the colour and tones in your hair is a possible solution. You can add many perfect colours and tones without damaging your hair or risking an unpredictable result.
Why is my own hair flat and limp?
If you have noticed your own hair falling flat, it could be that you are not rinsing product out properly or you are conditioning too close to the root. If you apply too much conditioner too close to the root, the gland will clog up and leave the hair flat. The same will happen if you use too much styling product or don’t wash your shampoo out properly.
Solution: Hair extensions can be used to add volume and body to your hair for an instantly glamorous result.
How to improve your hair?
Below are some of the treatments available that have shown success in reviving hair follicles that have slowed down or have stopped functioning completely:
-Blood tests and corrective treatments
-Hair Laser Treatments on the scalp
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is sometimes successful in treating hair loss and thinning hair in both men and women. A medical strength laser is used on the scalp to stimulate hair follicles to encourage the re-growth of hair in areas that have stopped growing. The laser can also assist functioning hair follicles to produce thicker, healthier hair. Low-level laser therapy is a light therapy that is non-invasive, it is painless and quick to undergo.
-Micro Needling or PRP
Micro Needling on the scalp causes the body to send white blood cells to heal and repair the area that was needled. This can often re-activate the hair follicles in the area. Usually 3 – 6 treatments are needed to get the best results.
PRP Needling is a newer method that involves drawing your blood, spinning it to separate the healthy platelets and using the platelets to inject them into your scalp to cause healing and boost hair growth activity on the scalp.
Hair Implants are an option for some people. The cost is high and not all people’s scalps accept the new hair so there is a risk of your body rejecting the implant. Much research needs to be done before considering this option as well as an appointment with an experienced surgeon to see if the Doctor would consider you a good candidate.
Depending on the reason for your hair problems taking a supplement like Iron or Folic Acid could help improve and increase the growth of your hair. Doing a full range of blood tests to check your mineral and hormone levels is a good place to start. Your GP can do this for you, or you can see a specialist like an endocrinologist.
-Hair enhancement using human hair extensions
Hair Extensions and Human Hair toppers are a quick and easy way to feel instantly better about your hair situation. If your hair is really getting you down, then consider using Hair Extensions to enhance your hair and make it look beautiful while you explore your other hair growth solutions.
Are Hair Extensions Damaging to my own hair?
It depends on which Hair Extension system you use, and it depends on your own hair type. Surprisingly the most damage hair extensions cause is in their removal process or if the extensions were not attached to a large enough piece of your own hair to fully support the hair extensions strand.
We have found the gentlest Hair Extension on the market to be Hairtalk Petit Tape in Extensions. The bonds of the Hairtalk Petit Tape are ultra-thin, they are small (3cm x 0.6mm) and they remove easily without leaving residue in your hair like many other tape extension brands.
Keratin/Bonded/Glue in single strands can be very damaging as they are difficult to remove, and acetone products are used to remove them as well as lots of picking and combing out of the bonds which causes your own hair to snap.
Micro-Ring/Nano Ring extensions are more damaging to fine hair types than to stronger hair. Medium to coarse hair can tolerate micro-ring extensions if they are installed correctly in neat v-bottomed sections to allow the strand to move around without breaking the fine hair around the section of your own hair supporting the stand.
Weave/wefts are tolerated better in coarse strong hair as your own hair needs to be braided into corn rows first and then the weft is sewn onto the corn row. In finer hair types the corn rows can pull tightly on the fine strands and can cause pain and breakage.
What types of hair extensions are there?
Tape extensions are the number one safest and easiest method of extensions. This method is the most natural and comfortable method on the market today.
The tape is attached to a thin 3cm section of hair using a hyper – allergenic tape.
We then take another tape and sandwich your hair between the two extensions.
When wearing tape extensions, you will feel and look like a million dollars.
Micro ring extension
Micro ring extensions are individual strands of hair attached with a small silicone – lined bead.
A small section of your own hair is threaded with the extension and clamped together.
Micro rings can be used on all hair types. They are durable and won’t damage your hair, if installed correctly.
Nano ring hair extensions:
Nano ring extensions are very similar to micro rings but take twice as long to install.
The one benefit of the Nano micro ring is that it is less visible as it is a smaller ring.
Clip in extensions
Clip in extensions are a long strip of weft that has clips sewn onto them.
They are great for a non-permanent solution such as a wedding or a matric dance.
Clip in extensions are not good for a permanent solution, reason being is the motion of removing and installing on a daily basis can cause balding in certain spots.
Keratin extensions are made from very thin strands of hair bonded together with a protein bond. The strand of extension is then added to a small section of your own hair and melted together with heat.
Keratin extensions are good for short hair styles as you can go high without them showing. The other benefit of keratin extensions is that maintenance is only due every 6 months.
Weft extensions are one long piece of hair sewn together on one side. The weft can be installed into your hair using a row of micro rings or they can be installed in the traditional method used in many ethnic hair salons. This method involves first braiding all your own hair into corn-rows and then the weft is sewn onto your hair with a needle and thread.
How do I cover thinning on top of my head?
There are two options to cover the top of the head with a human hair product. One method is by using a less visible hair extension bond like a single sided tape in (the gentlest and preferred method by Hair Extension Experts) or a very thin Keratin bond (this method can be damaging though if not removed carefully). The other method is by using a hair topper/closure/toupee of your preference.
Hair Extensions for scalp Coverage
If the thinning on the top of your head is minimal then the above-mentioned hair extension methods can be used. For more severe cases where your scalp is clearly visible through your hair, hair extensions will not be a good solution.
The reason why hair extensions cannot cover the scalp if it is easily visible through your hair is that the bonding on all hair extensions methods is not completely invisible, some methods (such as the single sided tape) as barely visible but they still require a bit of hair to cover the bond.
Toppers for scalp coverage
Clip in topper or closure
This can be clipped in and out daily as needed. It is not recommended to swim, exercise or sleep with a clip in topper.
Installed toupee/topper or closure
There are two main ways of installing a topper or toupee:
Shave and stick
The one method requires you to shave your own hair in the area the topper with be placed and then a type of glue or tape are used to stick the piece onto your smooth scalp.
Apply to your existing hair roots
The other method that we prefer to us at Hair Extension Experts™ is to leave your own hair intact and then we choose one of our specialized human hair closure in a shape that suits your needs. We secure the top piece onto your hair by treading pieces of your own hair through
What are the best hair extensions?
To have the best hair extensions you need to tick the following boxes:
- Good hair quality: Preferably Remy Hair or Virgin Hair.
- The right Hair Extension System for your needs (see Type of Hair Extensions)
- The perfect colour match to your own hair
- The right price for your budget. Buy the best quality hair you can afford, shop around and test the hair before you buy it. (See How to test hair extensions)
- The right amount of Hair Extensions must be used (See how many hair extensions I will need)
- A perfect installation. Choose a hair extension technician who has had more than 2-year experience with hair extensions and who does at least 10 heads of hair extensions per month to keep their skills current.
- Blend, blend, blend: End off a good installation of a good product with a blending cut. If the right amount of extensions is used in the right colour match, then blending will be minimal but it still needs to be done
- Aftercare: The correct product and aftercare will ensure your extensions keep looking great. Insist on aftercare instructions for the product you have purchased.
- Maintenance: All hair extension types require maintenance to ensure they do not damage your own hair. Stick to the recommended maintenance period to ensure your own hair stays in good condition.
How much do hair extensions cost?
The cost of hair extensions is largely dependent on the quality of the hair used and then also the attachment method. Fist let’s look at the different hair qualities available. I am going to quote USD prices as most manufacturers of hair set their pricing in USD.
An average head of hair extensions uses 100g – 150g of hair.
Synthetic Hair Extensions
Synthetic Hair Extensions can cost as little as $3 for a 100g bundle of hair.
Heat tolerant synthetic hair (up to 160 degree Celsius) costs on average $20 – $40 for a 100g bundle.
Heat resistant synthetic (up to 200 degree Celsius) can cost $40 – $80.
Manufactured Human Hair Extensions
Manufactured Human Hair is often labelled as “Processed Human Hair” or just plain “Human Hair”. It can cost between $60 and $120 for 100g.
What is Manufactured or processed Human Hair?
Human Hair offcuts are collected from various sources for a low price as the hair is usually too short to use as hair extensions. Hair swept up from Hair salon floors are a popular source of hair off cuts in China. This human hair is processed through a hair grinding machine and made into a fine powder.
The human hair powder is mixed with special raw materials that are protein based to form a resin that is run through a synthetic hair manufacturing machine. The result is a smooth hair shaft made from the materials in human hair. The manufactured hair can be colored, and heat styled. The hair is usually dipped in a heavy silicone coating giving it an unrealistic shine.
Manufactured or Processed hair has a much shorter life span than real human hair strands as it is not protected by cuticles like human hair is. The cuticles in real un-processed human hair protect the hair from drying out and becoming dull, coarse or lifeless.
Non-Remy Human hair
You can pay between $80 and $200 for 100g of Non-Remy hair. Non-Remy hair is usually labelled as “100% Human Hair” but does not include the word Remy although some manufacturers still misleadingly package non-Remy hair as Remy. There are ways to test it (see how to test Remy Hair).
Non-Remy usually means the hair is not cuticle-aligned. This means that the hair was not gathered from pony tails where all the tips and ends are kept in place. When the hair is sorted into strands it was taken from baskets of unaligned hair and strands where formed where, any of the ends are upside down on the final product. (See why Remy hair is better than Non-Remy Hair)
Cuticle free Hair
Cuticle free hair is often sold as “knot free” hair as the non-directional cuticles that were causing the knotting have been removed. The cuticles are removed by soaking the hair in a lightly acid water over a few days. The cuticle free hair is then dipped in a silicone coating to protect the hair. The silicone coating gives the hair an unnatural sign which is often a giveaway of a treated hair
Remy Human Hair
Remy hair is one of the top hair qualities available. You should pay between $200 and $1000 for 100g real Remy hair. The difference in price for this hair quality is usually determined by the system the Remy Hair has been manufactured into.
The price of Remy hair is also dependent on where in the supply chain you are purchasing the hair. For example, if you are purchasing directly from the factory or from a wholesaler you will pay less than purchasing from a retailer in an upmarket location.
Remy hair is very similar to virgin hair but the hair has been colored so it cannot qualify as virgin hair as it has been through a chemical process.
Virgin Hair prices vary purely based on supplier. On average Virgin hair should cost between $150 and $500. Virgin hair still needs to be coloured and made into a system that can be installed into your own hair, so the prices of pure virgin hair are sometimes lower than Remy hair that has already been coloured and manufactured into a system.
Virgin hair is hair that is still in a ponytail from the original donor of the hair. The hair has not been put through any chemical process and is therefore in it’s natural colour, it has all the cuticles intact and aligned. Virgin hair can offer have some grey hair strands in them which is a good sign that the hair has not been coloured or processed.
What is entailed in Hair Extension Maintenance
All Hair Extension Systems require Maintenance. Each system will have its own maintenance period. Below are some general maintenance periods, cost and time taken to do the maintenance:
Tape Hair Extensions
When is Tape Hair Extensions Maintenance Due: Every 6-8 weeks
How long Does Maintenance Take: 60-90min
How Much does maintenance Cost: $80 -$100
Micro Ring/Micro Loop/Nano Ring Extensions
When is Micro Ring/Micro Loop/Nano Ring Hair Extensions Maintenance Due: Every 6-10 weeks
How long Does Maintenance Take: 90-180min
How Much does maintenance Cost: $100 – $200
Keratin/Bonded/Glue Bond Hair Extensions
When is Keratin/Bonded/Glue Bond Hair Extensions Maintenance Due: Every 8-12 weeks
How long Does Maintenance Take: 180-300min
Who should I contact for Hair Extensions?
It is best to use a qualified Hair Extension Technician who has a minimum of 2 years experience or who has installed over 50 heads of Hair Extensions. The reason this is important is everyone has a different scalp shape and size, hair style and extension requirements. The technician needs to have installed extensions on a few different people to be sure she has the experience to meet your unique needs.
It’s important to check that the technician is current in their knowledge by checking if they are still actively installing hair extensions every month. Hair Extensions need to be practiced and perfected and having a break from doing them for more than a few months will possible effect the accuracy and speed of the hair extension technician.
If you are based in Gauteng, South Africa please contact Hair Extension Experts™ (link to website)! We specialize in Hair Extension Installations and use the best Hair Extension brands available.
11.How to care for Hair extensions?
- Do not wash or wet your hair extensions for 12 hours after installation
- Do not use any products on or near the bonds besides a recommended shampoo. Nothing is to touch your bonding except a recommended shampoo.
- Always use a high heat protection product thoroughly on the hair before heat styling.
- Use a alcohol and sulfate free shampoo that has no moisturizing properties (NO nourishing shampoos for dry hair, treating colour hair, repair shampoos)
- If your hair is oily, use a shampoo for oily hair and wash more frequently.
- A recommended moisturizing conditioner is essential to keep the hair extensions soft.
- When washing, ensure that your hair is properly cleansed. Wash twice if necessary. Hair should feel clean in between bonds as an oil build up can cause bonds to become slippery.
- Be conservative with heat exposure on your Hair Extensions. Use a recommended heat protection product. Limit the heat of your straightening iron to a maximum of 180 degrees or a medium heat setting.
- Tie hair extensions into a loose ponytail when sleeping
- Plait hair extensions into a braid when swimming
- Brush all knots out daily (2-3 times a day including brushing over the bonds)
- Avoid tight ponytails that pull on the bonds
- Maintenance done by a qualified HITCH technician is due every 6-8 weeks
- Loss of 1 or 2 extensions is not abnormal but if more are lost please contact your stylist to arrange a follow up appointment for the bonds to be examined.
- After your first wash your hair extensions will expand by up to 30% and return to a natural texture with a slight wave and frizz until blow dried or styled.
14.Troubleshooting Hair Extensions?
-Why are my hair extensions falling out?
If you are finding that your extensions are falling out quickly, it could be because of several reasons. With micro rings it could be because of the low quality or incorrect installation which causes the rings to not close tightly enough to secure the extensions to your hair. With tape extensions, it can be because of product that is touching and weakening the bonds or incorrect installation.
-Why are my hair extensions dry?
If you are finding that your extensions are excessively dry, it is always a good idea to check that the shampoo you are using is free of sulphates. If your shampoo contains sulphate it will dry out your extensions and strip them of colour. If you are washing your extensions more than 3 times a week, it could also contribute to the dryness or the slippage of the extensions.
-Why are my hair extensions knotting?
If you are finding that your extensions are knotting excessively it could be because they are not being brushed enough times or thoroughly enough, this is very important. If you are washing your hair and going to bed with your hair extensions still wet, this will cause them to knot and tangle. Always dry and brush your extensions before going to sleep and make sure to tie them up loosely to avoid knotting.
-Why are my hair extensions shedding?
When you notice that your hair extensions are shedding an abnormal amount, it could be due to low quality bonds. Strands of hair may fall out of the bonds and can be seen on your clothes or on the floor. It is a good idea to test your extensions first. Brush through them and give a slight pull to see if any strands of hair have fallen out easily.
-Why are my blonde hair extensions turning orange/pink?
Blonde Hair Extensions are more porous than normal hair. This is largely due to the colour process they need to go through to become blonde. Hair Extensions also do not receive a natural nourishment supply of vitamins and oils from your scalp so that add to their dryness and porous nature.
Our tap water contains a mixture of fine particles of chlorine, minerals, salts and metals. The blonde extensions can absorb these elements when washed and after a few washes a slight orange or pink build up can occur. Special shampoos and treatments can be used to combat this, and Hairtalk Extensions makes a mask called Hairtalk Repair Plus that completely removes these mineral deposits from the hair in 1 hour.
-Why are my hair extensions making my own hair thinner?
If your hair extensions are starting to thin out your natural hair, it could be because of poor installation or poor quality extensions. If your own hair is coming out with the micro ring extensions, it could be because not enough hair was used to secure the extension to. If it is becoming thinner with the tape extensions it could be because maintenance is overdue. If the tape extensions are left in for too long and grow out too far it will cause knotting and matting and can possibly pull out your natural hair as a result.
-Why are my hair extensions not blending?
- To ensure a prefect blend is achieve with your natural hair and the hair extensions, the follows needs to be done:
- A perfect colour match between your own hair and the extensions needs to be achieved
- Hair Extensions need to be installed correctly to ensure they blend
- The right amount of hair extensions needs to be used extensions, too little will certainly result in a badly blended look that will look un-natural.
- A good Blending Cut needs to be done once the extensions are installed. A blending cut needs to be done on dry hair to ensure it is blended perfectly.
Heat resistant synthetic hair is often misleadingly labelled as Human Hair by dishonest suppliers and sold for a lower price than human hair. A way to test if hair is synthetic is to take 1 strand and burn it. If it ravels up and lets off a blue smoke with a synthetic smell and then leaves a little melted ball at the end of the burnt strand, then it is most likely synthetic hair. Human hair has a lighter smoke and a burnt smell, and the end will turn into a powder.
Why is Remy hair better than Non-Remy hair?
Non-Remy hair is bound to knot more easily and the multi directional cuticles conflict with each other and form friction and knotting even shortly after brushing out all the knots. It also has a tendency of looking dull and not holding a style as well.
Hair extensions has become a huge part of woman’s life nowadays. For most women, hair is an extremely important part of their total self-image. Most woman today are spending countless hours trying to find ways to cover their thinning hair, improve their short hair style or to simple improve their self-image and self- esteem. This is where the hair extension guild comes in.