Hair Extensions

Myths and Fairytales vs. Fact

Hair extensions are one of the hottest trends in the beauty industry. Long full hair is often equated with youth and beauty; the ability to accomplish the effect within hours epitomizes instant gratification. Hollywood stars have been secret consumers of hair extensions for years; it is only recently that stylists to the stars admit to utilizing them, making them of interest and readily available to the rest of us.

I maintain that hair is closely tied to our identity, self-expression and confidence. There are countless reasons that clients might opt for hair extensions, including masking hair loss (genetic or illness-related), cosmetic enhancement, or simply for a special event. There are also many types, forms and applications of hair extensions, such as laser-beam, lock-method, keratin bond, fusion, seamless tape or clip-in. I suggest using only quality human hair with any extensions that are directly applied to hair. (Synthetic clip-ins are acceptable for an evening out with very sporadic use, but may be damaging with longer term or repeat use.) Poorly-applied strands or low-quality bonding techniques are easily detected by the untrained eye and may ultimately result in damage, making it critical to seek out the expertise of a trained technician.

When considering hair extensions, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of seeking out a highly trained technician that has in-depth experience with appropriate selection, application and removal. We have a large number of clients at our salons that have been wearing extensions for years without negative impact to their natural hair.

One of our most experienced technicians specializing in extensions, Brenda Bonomo, Senior Stylist at Pascal pour Elle Glencoe, emphasizes: "My primary role is to determine if a client is a candidate for extensions, then to establish what type and process best fits their desired outcome, natural texture and lifestyle." Brenda goes on to share that "I then encourage my clients to take delicate care of their naturally long hair with extensions, now that they have a long beautiful head of hair to consider and care for."

The following chart provides a basic outline of the most up-to-date offering in hair extensions.

Type Laser-Beam Lock-Method Keratin Bond/Fusion Seamless/Tape Clip-in/Tie
Best for...
  • Any hair type
  • Short on time
  • Any hair type
  • Length or thickening
  • Any hair
  • Limited scheduling needs
  • Fine hair
  • Sensitive scalp
Charac-
teristics
  • Ultra-flat and light
  • Patented laser beam application
  • Clear–nearly invisible
  • Hair can be worn up
  • Special design that locks into hair
  • No glue or bonds
  • Easy color application
  • Hair can be worn up
  • Connected via keratin bond
  • Polymer similar to human hair (cold or heat application)
  • No bonds or clips (seamless tape)
  • Natural in appearance
  • Causes no tension on the hair strands
  • Light–50% lighter than human hair
  • Virtually invisible
  • Micro-bulb attachment
Duration 3-5 months 3-5 months 3-6 months (dependent upon outgrowth) 4-8 weeks (with care) 12 weeks
Reusable Yes Yes No Yes No

As always, I advise you to conduct detailed research and ask about a technician's certification and experience prior to committing to hair extensions. This is not an area that you should ever "shop" or seek out a bargain–the risk for damage resulting from improper use is simply too high.  Extensions applied and managed properly, however,can be an amazing work of art, so I encourage you to seek out a highly trained artist to work on the most valued canvas of all, you.

Next month: Laser Hair Removal–What the Fuzz?

Please submit your questions and comments to style@pascalpourelle.com.