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I had been playing with the idea of hair extensions for months before I pulled the trigger. I honestly knew nothing about them besides the fact that women with them had gorgeous, long, thick hair and that I wanted mine to look like that. I started doing research on the different types of extensions and learned so much. 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 (not so much on your hair care routine).
Now, 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, wouldn’t even brush it after the shower). I probably hadn’t picked up a blow dryer pre-extensions for at least 2 years. With extensions, my easy, breezy hair care routine has been flipped on it’s head.
I wish I would have been given a little more guidance on how these were going to feel, what tools I needed to care for and style them and what products I needed to have on deck. Thankfully, we have this thing called the Internet and I was able to learn from other lovely women who have cared for extensions.
#1 It’s not just the hair that’s expensive, so is the maintenance
I knew going in that extensions are expensive. I also knew that the ones I wanted were even more expensive from the other options, but I really loves the natural look of the beaded weft and that they are easy on your hair when taken care of correctly.
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 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.
#2 That they are going to be heavy
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 was the worst, but it’s gotten much better as the connection has relaxed. I already suffer from headaches, so driving home from the salon that 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 wait evenly across your head.
#3 You get used to sleeping with them
The very first night I slept on my extensions it felt so weird! A week later and I don’t even notice them. I’ve found a long, low braid is the most comfortable for sleeping. I’ve seen some people like to sleep with a silk head wrap or a silk pillow to reduce friction and keep their hair from frizzing, but I haven’t tried either yet, although I plan to try a pillow case.
#4 That you need special brushes/tools
When I got up the next day after getting the extensions put in, I realized my beaded paddle brush was not going to work on my hair. That night I went and bought a soft bristle brush. I wish I had thought about all of this BEFORE coming home from the salon.
The soft brush works great. It smooths the hair, but doesn’t really allow you to get down to the scalp when you are brushing your head. I asked Instagram for their tips and someone recommended an extension loop brush. I didn’t know there was a brush made for extensions!
After looking at loop brushes on Amazon and reading tons of reviews, I ordered the Spornette super looper wig brush, and now I can actually brush my scalp AND brush my hair in the shower to eliminate tangling and get nice clean rinse.
#5 It will be super hard to wash your hair/scalp
I think this is my biggest frustration with the extensions. I workout a lot and my head gets super gross and sweaty all week long. It is so hard to wash and scrub your scalp with the extensions in. You have to kind of tip toe around them when scrubbing. I also struggle to get all of the product out of my hair, but I’m hoping using less product and brushing out my hair in the shower with the Spornette looper brush will help.
Which brings me to the fact you will not want to wash your hair as much, which is good because less washing is better on your extensions! Word on the street is to wash it about once a week. Leading up to getting my extensions put in, I dialed down my hair washes to twice per week to ease into the transition and learn how to manage grease etc. One thing that I have found invaluable is using a shower cap! It makes it SO much easier to keep your hair from getting wet in the shower. I bought one with avocados jump roping (do you expect anything less from me?).
#6 Dry Shampoo Will Be Your Best Friend
Building off of #5… My stylist told me that dry shampoo would be my best friend, and she was so right! I used it throughout the week to keep my hair looking and smelling fresh. Dry shampoo is a game changer. I have no idea why I wasn’t using it before. It REALLY helps you extend time between washes. I polled Instagram on the best dry shampoos, then went out and bought four different ones. I find that what works for my hair, might not work for yours.
My dry shampoo advice is buying a bunch in travel size and seeing which one you like!
Everyone was raving about Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak, but in all honestly, it weighed my hair down and made it feel more greasy/gross (I loved the smell of it though). I’ve landed on Batiste dry shampoo (for now). It’s cheap, comes in four scents and has worked great on refreshing my hair. Below are some of the brands that my followers recommended!
#7 You need certain products to care for the hair
Extensions are expensive and now you need additional products to keep your hair in tip top shape. My hair dresser in Indianapolis got me hooked on Oribe and the salon I’m using in Grand Rapids uses their products, too. They are AMAZING. You can get them at select salons as well as Nordstrom or Niemen Marcus. Yes, they are expensive, but if you are only washing your hair once a week, they will last forever. The hydrating masque is my favorite. Your hair feels like you are fresh out of the salon when you use it.
#8 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. I add a little heat protectant and then get to work. There is so much of it that it can be hard to dry. Hair clips help to hold up the top of my wet hair while I dry underneath, and they are also super helpful for styling your hair. A good blow dryer and blow out brush will save you SO much time and energy.
#9 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 bigger barrel curling iron. I LOVE my hot tools iron, so thinking I’ll just go up a size. There is just too much hair to wrap around the 1” iron and I like the look of the bigger, loose curls.
If you are thinking about 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 still smitten with my choice to get extensions. I love having this much hair to play with and they are getting more comfortable by the day.
Photography: Sweet Lemon Drop