Have you ever fantasized about waking up to find your hair has magically transformed itself into a full, lengthy mane that seemingly grew overnight? For the skeptics out there that think these long enviable locks are too good to be true, think again. While celebrity hair and makeup artists are easily recognizable, the extension artists out there get less recognition. So we took it upon ourselves to track down Hollywood’s extension guru and Mane Master, Priscilla Valles (the woman behind Christina Aguilera and Chrissy Teigen’s long Rapunzel locks), who schooled us in hair extensions 101. From choosing the right hair extensions for you to how to maintain them, Priscilla shares a number of things you need to know about hair extensions below!
Unknown Benefits of Hair Extensions
They Can Actually Repair Your Hair
A common misconception with extensions is that they’ll damage your hair. So wrong! In fact, they can be used to easily solve many issues related to thickness, length, color, texture, and styling that might be keeping you from having the mermaid mane you’ve always wanted. Extensions have gotten a bad reputation in the past, usually due to poor application. But Priscilla promises with the proper type of extensions and application, your strands won’t even know the difference.
“The most common request I get is for thicker hair. I have so many clients that try everything to make their hair thicker but still struggle to achieve the thickness they want. In this case, I use individual or tape-in extensions, which can thicken their existing hair up to three times.”
Extensions Offer Added Length
No doubt the most traditional use for extensions, lengthy locks, is something that many women seek Priscilla’s expertise for. (Who could forget her incredible extension makeover on Emily Weiss?) With extensions, she guarantees “you can have the hair length of your dreams in a matter of hours. If you cut a bob and hate it, no problem. I would say the most common length request I get averages about 16 inches.”
They’re an Easy Way to Change Your Hair Color or Texture
Priscilla tells us another great, unexpected way to take advantage of extensions is by experimenting with color. If you’re interested in testing out highlights, lowlights, or ombre but you don’t want to commit to coloring or bleaching your hair, extensions are a great way to add a beautiful pop of color. “As for texture, if you have fine, limp, or frizzy hair, I can consume your hair with a better texture that is thicker, holds your desired style, and has no frizz.”
Hair Extensions Aren’t as High-Maintenance as You Think
Extensions provide tremendous benefits when styling your hair. “Simply put, extensions give you the luxury of having perfect to near-perfect hair at all times with minimal effort. For example, you don’t need to apply products or heat to get your hair to look good. So not only does the hair look good in less time, but it’s also less damaged.”
How to Choose the Right Extensions for You
For fine hair, Priscilla suggests tape-in extensions or fine keratin individuals. “The keratin technique is created by cutting the keratin individual in half so that it is lighter in weight.” While individual keratin can be pricey, Priscilla promises that when applied properly in clean and perfect sections, it provides the most authentic couture look. They also allow for seamless versatility when styling tight buns or updos.
However, if you’re just looking for a little added thickness and you don’t routinely wear you’re hair up, Priscilla suggests tape-ins. Of course, it’s always important to have a proper consultation with your extension specialist prior to any form of application in order to choose the best type of extensions for your hair type.
How to Maintain Your Hair Extensions Between Salon Visits
Brush, brush, brush! Really, don’t be afraid to brush. Priscilla loves her Sheila Stotts brushes, which are specifically made to detangle extension hair. Another great tip Priscilla shares is to braid the hair when working out and at night.
Also, you should never use oily products on or around the bonding method because oil can cause the extensions to slide out. Priscilla also warns that direct heat on the bonding method should be avoided since it can also reactivate the bond, which causes it to slide out.
To ensure your hair remains healthy and luscious, treat your mane to a much-needed mask at least once a week. Extension hair can be costly and usually, you’ll have it in for a few months. Priscilla stresses that the more time you invest in taking care of the hair, the longer it will last.
When to Replace Hair Extensions
“Most of my clients are on a six to 12 weeks schedule. These clients remove the extensions and get a new set every eight to 12 weeks. It also depends on the speed of your hair growth and how often you subject it to heavy styling.” She explains, “My clients who are filming or shooting tend to have their hair styled daily, which requires a more frequent application. These clients are normally on a six to eight-week schedule to better accommodate their needs.”