So, if you’ve been reading my blog (you know the thing you are reading right now), you are probably aware, I’ve been having hair issues. I tried EVERYTHING from taking biotin pills like candy to walking around with a greasy head for days from castor oil. Seriously, if I didn’t work from home, I would have been escorted out of an office building because I looked like a hobo.
And while my hair improved—I still wasn’t happy. Let’s get real here for a second. I have a blog and cover freaking beauty. I should have remotely decent to extremely awesome hair and I didn’t. But now I do.
To be honest with you, ever since that woman told me how bad my hair was at BeautyCon back in August (I actually re-tell the story on the podcast Ali and I did with Abby Stern), I’ve been playing out the situation in my head over and over again. I’ve felt totally self-conscious for months. Feeling this way just isn’t productive for me. So, I wanted to find a solution to my problem and take the fastest route to Goodhairville. Enter Kristina Gibson who is an extension specialist and hair colorist in Beverly Hills. She is also a hair goddess!
When I sat down for my consultation, it wasn’t just her telling me what was wrong with my hair (I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG—EVERYTHING!), but she listened and was all about solutions. Honestly, I was worried extensions might be bad for my hair, but she explained how I was wrong. “A benefit of extensions is that, at least for me, when I have them, I don’t touch my hair that much with heat, only the extension hair. So, your hair can become healthier if you keep doing masks, etc.” YES!
Kristina also told me extensions allow you to apply less heat to your own hair, which means less damage and hopefully more growth, so perhaps one day extensions won’t be necessary.
Extensions are really for everyone who is dissatisfied with their hair in some way. Let’s say you have generally good hair, but you get a bad haircut and are trying to grow it out. If you are in that awkward, potentially mullet-ish stage, you can wear extensions for a few months until you don’t hate your hair again.
One of the first things we discussed was what kind of extensions I should have. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different kinds of hair extensions.
Tape-in extensions are taped into the hair without any heat applied. Because they are large pieces that lie flat, they don’t pull on the hair and irritate the scalp. For me, this kind made the most sense. Over the years, I’ve had every kind of extension and I found tape-ins look the best on me and last the longest. They are also more affordable than other kinds. Furthermore, if you take really good care of them (tips are below), you can re-use them, even up to a year.
Kristina is an i-Tip hair extension expert, although she can install any kind of hair extension (obviously). i-Tips are applied strand by strand and attached with a small bead, which is then clamped onto your natural hair. Because they are applied without heat, glue or chemicals, these extensions don’t damage your hair. Another benefit of i-Tips is that they have a lot more movement to them than other kinds of extensions do. You are set for 3-6 months and the hair can be re-used. i-Tip extensions are sometimes called microlink or cold fusion.
The stylist braids your hair and sews in extensions with a needle and thread. This kind of extension lasts approximately 6-8 weeks. Weaves are very easy to style and put in a ponytail, which is especially helpful if you workout a lot.
Clip-in extensions are exactly what they sound like. You clip them in like any other hair accessory. If you’ve never had extensions before and aren’t sure if you want them, consider experimenting with clip-ins first. They are great if you like to switch things up or you just don’t want to commit right now. Obviously, this just applies to hair and hopefully not other things in your life.
Sometimes clip-ins are made with synthetic hair, which is fine for clips-ins only, but do NOT install any kind of regular extension with synthetic hair because they will melt from any kind of hot tool.
Kristina also shared some of her best extension tips with me.
Use A WET Brush, Even On Dry Hair
Extensions are great, but they get tangled AF. Tangled extensions are a nightmare and don’t last as long as they potentially can. Kristina told me to use a WET Brush on both wet and dry hair because it has flexible bristles that won’t get caught on the tape.
When I’m combing conditioner or a mask into my hair, I use the WET Original Brush. I like the small, travel-sized one because it gives me more control. But when I’m blow-drying my hair or brushing it when it is dry, I use the WET EPIC Professional Quick Dry. This brush detangles really well without pulling on my extensions.
Avoid Using Products With Oil
This one is hard for me because I’m OBSESSED anything oil. But using oils make your extensions slip because it eats away at the glue. So go through your beauty stash and look for serums, oil, shampoo, conditioner or anything that is labeled “oil-based” and toss, give away or hide it from yourself. If you are going to use an oil-based product, be careful and do not get it anywhere near the installation of your extensions.
When you shampoo your hair, put some extra shampoo on your fingertips and carefully get in between each row of hair because those areas can get particularly dirty.
Don’t Go To Bed With Wet Hair
According to Kristina, this is the WORST thing you can do for your hair.
Prepare Your Hair For Zzz Time
Use a silk pillowcase and sleep with your hair in a braid, bun or ponytail. I sleep with my hair in a side braid and wake up with sexy mermaid beach waves that take just minutes to style.
Want more of my extension styling tips? Wait for Part Two of this post.