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I played with the idea of hair extensions for months before I pulled the trigger. All I knew was that women with them had gorgeous, long, thick hair and that I was SO jealous of that!
A little Googling on the different types of hair extensions and I learned so much, but nothing really prepared me for getting extensions. This post covers everything I WISH I would have known before getting this hair sewn onto my head.
Here are a few of the popular extension types which all have their pros and cons:
- Clip In Extensions
- Tape In Extensions
- Micro Link/Micro Bead/Loop Hair Extensions
- Weave Hair Extensions
- Pre- Bonded/Fusion Hair Extensions
I decided I wanted the beaded weft extensions. They look amazing and are easy on your hair. When I get compliments on my hair, I’m quick to tell people it’s not mine & they are shocked! In the photo below, I’m wearing Laced Hair Hand Tied Weft 22″ Extensions. We went with the rooted ones so they kind of fade from top to bottom.
The first time I had my extensions put in, I was clueless on how to take care of them. The second attempt at wearing them went much smoother. 1. I was WAY more familiar with what I was getting into & 2. The ladies at Salon West Grand Haven went above & beyond to make sure I had everything I needed to take care of my hair.
I’m a pretty low maintenance gal. I workout 3-5 times per week at night, and I would always wash my hair afterwards. Then I would go to bed with wet hair (seriously, I wouldn’t even brush it after the shower).
Pre-extensions, I probably hadn’t picked up a blow dryer for at least 2 years. With extensions, my easy, breezy hair care routine has been flipped on it’s head. That said, now that I’ve been wearing them for almost a year it’s gotten so much easier and I have a routine down.
These are all the things I wish someone would have told me before I had my extensions put in!
The Cost of the Hair & Maintenance
I knew going in that extensions are expensive. I also knew that the ones I wanted were even more expensive than the other options, but I really love the natural look of the beaded weft and that they are easy on your hair (when taken care of correctly).
The first time I ever had them put in, a few days after coming home, I realized I needed to invest in tools, accessories, and products to now take care of the hair I just paid all that money for. I did not factor those costs into the equation.
I was also aware that I would be visiting the salon every two months to get the extensions moved up, which is also costly, but come on, who doesn’t love going to the hair salon? It’s a total “treat yo self” activity which I am in favor of.
Washing Beaded Weft Extensions
I workout a lot and my head gets super gross and sweaty all week long so I like to wash my hair a lot, but leading up to getting my extensions put in, I dialed down my hair washes to twice per week. This helped ease the transition into life with extensions.
Eventually, I started getting weekly blow outs where they wash, dry and style your hair at the salon. A blow out will cost you anywhere from $35 – $75 and they are worth every penny when you have 22″ of hair sewn to your head.
At first, I tried going a full week without washing between blow outs, but my scalp did NOT like that. It got super dry, itchy and uncomfortable. Now, I wash my hair once a week myself, and then I go to the salon for the second wash of the week.
When I do wash my hair and extensions myself, I have to do a REALLY good job or else they don’t get clean. I have naturally greasy hair, so I always wash twice. The second time, you will notice the shampoo gets way more foamy.
Rinsing is even more important than washing. You have to lift up all the wefts and make sure every single spot of your scalp gets thoroughly rinsed. Once I do that, I add conditioner to the extensions and the tips of my natural hair and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.
Since you are only washing your hair once a week, one thing that I have found invaluable is using a shower cap. If you can keep your hair out of the water on the days you aren’t washing, it will stay fresh longer!
They Might Feel Heavy on Your Head
You might be thinking, “duh,” but I was so focused on the thought of having long flowing hair that I didn’t even think about the fact it would feel heavy on my head. The first night is the worst, but it gets much better as the connection relaxes.
I already suffer from headaches, so driving home from the salon that first night, I was wondering if I made a really bad decision, but I am happy to report that I haven’t suffered any headaches from the extensions! The hand tied beaded weft extensions do a good job of distributing the weight evenly across your head.
Sleeping with Beaded Weft Extensions
The very first night I slept on my extensions it felt so weird! Now, I don’t really notice them unless they get moved up. The first couple days after a move up can make your head a little sore.
I’ve found a loose braid is the most comfortable for sleeping. It also helps keep your hair safe. Some people like to sleep with a silk head wrap or a silk pillowcase to reduce friction and keep their hair from frizzing. I personally use a pillowcase which Salon West so kindly gave me!
Products, Tools & Brushes to Help Manage Your Beaded Weft Extensions
The right tools, brushes and products will make your life with hair extensions so much easier. Salon West sent me home with a wet/dry brush, calming cream, nourishing milk and hair oil.
This brush is THE BEST. I refuse to use anything else. I tried 3 different brushes with my extensions and I hated all of them. I’ve tried soft bristle brushes, paddle brushes, and a loop brush. The wet/dry brush is the only way to go.
After I wash my extensions, I spray the nourishing milk into my hair while it’s wet. It’s probably my all time favorite hair product and it smells so good. I use the calming cream in the morning when I brush and style. It gets rid of any frizz or unwanted fluffiness.
For a real treat, this hydrating masque is my favorite. I use it every couple of weeks to restore moisture and shine. Your hair feels like you are fresh out of the salon after you rinse it out!
Dry Shampoo Will Be Your Best Friend
My stylist told me that dry shampoo would be my best friend, and she was right. It’s a game changer. I have no idea why I wasn’t using it before extensions. It REALLY helps extend time between washes.
It took me 6-7 dry shampoo products before I found the ones that really worked for me and my hair. My advice is to buy different brands in travel size and see which ones you like! I have fallen in love with R+Co. I use their dry shampoo powder and original spray.
It takes a LONG time to dry your hair.
Like I mentioned above, I never used to use a blow dryer (like ever). Well, my world is officially flipped upside down because I can’t image leaving this long hair wet. Don’t even think about washing your extensions at home if you don’t have a good blow dryer.
I’ve stayed in hotels, over at friends’ houses, and my parent’s and their blow dryers sucked. It was misery. Now, I take my blow dryer everywhere I go. Investing in a good one will save you SO much time and energy.
Ways to style THIS much hair
So, I never really played with styling my shoulder length hair. There weren’t that many options. Now, I’m left wondering what the heck to do with all of this hair?! I’ve found having the right tools and accessories gives me options for styling it.
I also never gave much thought to breakage until now. I invested in some cloth hair scrunchies for daily wear and bungee hair ties for workouts. Headbands, hair scarves, and hats are also great for when you are a couple days before your wash!
I also quickly realized I need a longer barrel curling iron. I LOVE my hot tools iron. They have a 1″ long barrel that is perfect for super long hair. The regular size 1″ iron is too small to get the 22″ extensions all the way around so you kind of have to curl half and half.
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If you are thinking about getting hair extensions (specifically the beaded weft) just keep in mind that you can’t take them out when you feel like it! All of that said, I am smitten with my choice to get extensions. I love having this much hair to play with and I’m starting to get better at managing them,
Those extensions don’t match your natural hair at all….your natural hair has warmth/brown in it, and the extensions are almost pure white…such an obvious demarcation line where they start..did you do that on purpose?
Hi Trish! We did mean to do the shadow root so that it would fade dark to light. And I think it’s just the photo editing that makes them look white. They don’t look like that in real life. In fact, people are often shocked when they compliment my hair and I tell them it’s extensions.
This was super helpful information, thank you for sharing! I just ordered my first set of extension from ABC Wigs and can’t wait to try.
So glad you found it helpful!
Thank you so much for sharing. I took screen shots of all your tools and appreciate the sharing about the hair washing and sleeping points.
Of course! There was definitely a major learning curve.
I recently got extensions and i just want them off already
They are so much work!
Thanks for sharing that the second time someone gets extensions, it is is easier to take care of them. I think I’ll get cheaper ones the first time. And then spend more the second time.
Hi! I’m a runner and recently got extensions. How do you handle post-work out sweaty hair?
Dry shampoo! My favorite is R&Co Powder