When it comes to hair hacks, extensions are pretty high up there. Accidentally chopped off all your hair? Not a problem because, extensions. Need to go from 9-5 to a Victoria Secret model? Say no more, extensions. There’s nothing like a full head of perfect hair (who cares if it’s not all yours)? The question is not if, but when… and also, which? Here are the key differences in types of extensions, straight from the #manemaster queen behind literally all of Hollywood, Priscilla Valles.
(Image via Instagram)
First things first, what’s the difference between each type of extension? According to Priscilla, it’s all about how you apply. “The key differences are the methods of application,” she tells us. “Extensions have evolved so much in the time I’ve been in the game (19 years) and the methods just keep getting better!” Here’s her guide to every type of extension, so you know exactly what to ask for.
This is one of the oldest methods of extensions, and still a very popular way to add in extra hair. It’s also known as the “sew in track method,” which is exactly like it sounds. For the “original weave,” a person’s hair is braided and sewn down, with a weft of extensions then sewn onto the braid. You can do just a few rows to add fullness, or the entire head—the options are limitless with sew in’s. Tracks can also be sewn in using micro metal clamps, she tells us. This is one of the longest lasting methods, as you can leave the extensions in for about 2-3 months.
Individual Extensions (Keratin Bond)
“Imagine a tiny grain of rice (the keratin bond attachment); attached to the grain are about 100 hairs.” This, is how Priscilla describes the “individual.” The bond is attached to a tiny section of about 30 hairs, and a keratin bond is melted and rolled onto the hair, adding up to 100-200 more hairs to that section. “You can also build the color with this method,” add Priscilla. Who advises adding low lights, highlights or both. According to her, this is definitely the most tedious application. “It’s important to make sure your extension have been certified for the individual extension method,” she adds. This method can stay in for about 2-3 months, depending on how fast your hair grows. “I can get really lost in this method,” she says, adding, “It’s pretty much building a wig on a persons head. My personal favorite!!!”
This the “most current method.” Tape in’s are quick, easy and give great results, she tells us. These extensions are about 1 inch wide and usually pre taped—with your real hair getting basically sandwiched in-between the two tapes. Or as Priscilla describes, “an extensions sandwich… yes please!!” This method can last about 2 months, depending on how you take care of it.
According to one of our favorite celebrity stylists, Anh Co Tran who just launched the amazing Lived in Extensions, these are best depending on your lifestyle and hair texture—“I love that they are pre-colored and they are tapered,” he says. Best of all, these extensions won’t harm your real hair underneath. “Our Lived in Extensions are the least damaging to your hair,” he adds. “It doesn’t break your hair. The con is that it does not last as long as individuals but in the end, it saves your hair.” As if we needed a reason to get more extensions!
“Every girl should own a set pf clip in’s,” she gushes. These are a weft of hair, with about 4 clips on it. Clip in’s are definitely not permanent—you just clip them in when you need length or thickness, style them, and go. These are great for a special night out, but if you’re using them more than twice a week, “invest in a more permanent method,” advices Priscilla.
Metal Clamp or I-tip
These methods are both applied in small sections, with about 300 hairs added to each section. The metal clamp is a tiny clamp that its squeezed shut onto the hair and the sections. This is different because the hair can be re used, unlike in the previous methods. The I-tip has a similar application—it’s just a micro plastic attachment and you can also re-use the hair. However, Priscilla doesn’t offer this, so she adds that she doesn’t know as much about them. “I’m not a fan a methods where the hair can be reused,” she says—we’re definitely keeping that in mind!
Which Types of Extensions are Right for You
So when it comes to the limitless hair extension options, how do you know which is right for you? It comes down to you hair type. “If you have fine hair, I would stay away from tracks,” she says, adding, “the weight of the extension is too heavy!” Instead, she tells us to make sure we see a well-trained extension specialist and use tape-ins or individuals. However if you have medium to coarse hair, “you are pretty lucky!” because you can use any method. When she is styling, she goes for individuals and tapes, which she calls her personal favorites. “They are light weight and easy on the scalp; you can add a little for thickness or a lot for length. It’s the ultimate hair transformation,” she adds.
To know which extensions to pick, you need to do some research. “Extensions have a bad reputation because of bad applications,” Priscilla comments. Ultimately, you have to make sure your stylist has been certified to do extensions to protect your hair. “Treat the research as if you are about to have a cometic procedure,” she advises. “The whole purpose of extensions is to have less stress on your hair. When you add a full head off beautiful healthy extensions, you shouldn’t have to dry and stress your hair out to look good. You can put some leave in products and let it hair dry,” she says. Ultimately, whatever method you go with, make sure the hair texture matches your own and make sure your extensionist uses high quality hair! “You pay for what you get with extensions, its a human growing element!” she says.
Caring for Your Extensions
Once your extensions are in, they take a little maintenance to stay amazing. Make sure to brush them at least twice a day, and do NOT sleep with wet hair. Instead, try sleeping with braids as often as possible. Keep up your healthy hair regimen, and use masks and treatments—but only on the hair, NOT on the attachment. Also, be responsible about pre booking your next appointment. Regardless of the type, you don’t want to keep them in too long as that can cause damage. “Oh and just enjoy them,” adds Priscilla, they’re so good you just might get addicted. “Once you start you can’t go back!!!
See how Nina’s hair went from sad to mermaid in our very own Lived in Extensions transformation.