Curly hair extensions seem like the impossible, for a few reasons. Firstly, they’re not as present in beauty stores as straight hair extensions. Second, matching a curl pattern can be more challenging than matching color. Third, as a worst-case scenario, we’re picturing basically a bird’s nest of tangles, where the extensions get caught up in your natural curls and tears are shed. However, curly hair extensions are what hair dreams are made of and way more common than you think. To find out everything about curly hair extensions we checked in with Priscilla Valles. She’s responsible for pretty much every A-lister’s extensions and the ultimate authority on length enhancement, regardless of texture.
Permed Versus Natural Curly Hair Extensions
A big curly hair extension question is whether the hair should be permed or if you can hope to find it natural. It turns out that although it may seem that curly hair extensions have all been permed, this is not necessarily the case. “You can get custom curly extensions, or you can get permed extensions,” shares Priscilla. “Some of the companies that already offer a curl are usually done with some sort of treatment. When you get them, they already have the curl. Retailers also offer extensions over the counter same day with the curl. But for the companies that don’t offer a curl, and when a client likes their color and texture, we can always perm it for them. As long as it’s human hair, we can perm it,” she explains.
If you have curly hair and want more curly hair, the quality of the hair you purchase is the most important part of the extension equation (this is really true for every hair type). “There are not a lot of companies in the market right now that have extensions with a tight curl available. If you want a loose kind of curl you can go to the hair shop and get them, or ask a vendor to order them. Otherwise, you would have to get something like Great Lengths and perm it,” says Priscilla, nothing that anything is possible.
Curly Extensions Are Generally Pricey
Unfortunately, curly hair extensions are a little more intense and, as expected, they are far from cheap. Whether you buy curly hair as-is or go through the perming process, the cost is likely to be high—though how high depends on a few factors. “Every single head is completely different. It depends on the length, how much you want, and the color. Depending on the amount that you want and what method, it could cost anywhere between $500 to $5,000,” she notes.
We ask Priscilla the type of extensions that are the most gentle and the least likely to cause damage, and she is quick to point out it’s less about the extensions and more about the extension stylist—and it kind of sounds like Botox. Whether you get good or bad Botox is less about the actual Botox chemical and more about your doctor.
It’s All About the Application
“Extensions have a bad reputation because of bad application,” she explains. “It really depends on the stylist.” To confirm you’re booking with the right person, you want to make sure that your stylist has been certified and make sure they are experienced working with extensions. “Keratin bonds have the worst reputation but those are my favorite type of extension,” she says.
“Always do research on your stylist,” continues Priscilla. If you’re still in doubt, you can’t go too wrong with tape-ins. “Tape-ins are the least damaging and safest method for extensions,” she confirms.
They Air Dry Well
Because curly hair is generally more prone to breakage on its own, it seems that curls would really break from extensions, right? Thankfully, that’s not the case. “If someone were to wear curly hair naturally it’s great because they can just let it air dry. The drying and ironing are more of the issue, not the actual extensions,” Priscilla clarifies.
How to Care for Curly Hair Extensions
If you’ve decided to go for it, there are some care tips to follow. Priscilla recommends using a heavy mask any time you have extensions in. “I know a lot of people tell you not to use masks with extensions because they’re afraid of them falling out, but a good heavy mask is good to control frizz and keep the curl nice and bouncy. I’m also a big fan of mousses for curly hair because it dries with the hair. I do think oils are also good for controlling frizz and keeping the curls silky, bouncy, and tangle-free,” she continues.
If you’re thinking of getting curly hair extensions, go for it—there’s actually a lot of room to play with because curls are so much more dynamic than stick-straight strands. “Curly extensions are actually really fun,” emphasizes Priscilla. “I have a couple of clients where I have built an afro. I use different types of curls to kind of build the shape a little more. You can put a looser curl with a tighter curl next to each other in your pattern to do it.”