What Are the Different Types of Hair Extensions?
Tape-ins, micro/nano link, what does it all mean? There are so many different styles of extensions and terms, that it can get overwhelming if you are new to the world of hair extensions. Extensions available are either real human hair or synthetic hair extensions.
How Are They Made?
Human hair extensions are exactly what they sound like. They are made from real, human hair from top to bottom, collected from a donor. Remy hair means all the cuticles (the outer layer of the hair) are intact, running in the same direction at the time of collection. This allows for almost no tangling and ensures that the extensions remain smooth and silky throughout their lifetime.
Synthetic hair, on the other hand, is made from various synthetic, blended fibres, and contains no human hair. These fibres are usually exceptionally fine, plastic fibres that are manufactured to imitate real human hair.
Look and Feel
Both real and synthetic extensions come in many styles, colours, and different forms of application. The quality of synthetic fibres can vary, but they are generally stiff and move differently from human hair, so they do not blend as well with your natural hair. They sometimes have a wiry or coarse feel to the touch. Real hair looks and feels real (because it is!) and therefore blends more naturally with your hair.
Colouring and Styling
Human hair extensions can be treated just like your own natural hair. You can straighten, curl, blow dry, colour them, and apply hair products. With synthetic hair, you cannot colour the hair as most dyes contain ammonia or bleach, which would destroy the synthetic hair. Additionally, you cannot style synthetic hair the same way as your real hair because heat can damage them so curling irons, straighteners and blow dryers are a no go, as they will melt or severely damage the hair. Other factors such as sun, friction, or harsh hair products can also damage synthetic hair extensions.
Quality and How Long They Last
Synthetic hair is cheaper than real hair, but of course with that, comes a trade-off. Because they are made from synthetic fibres, they do not last if human hair as they can easily be damaged by the above-mentioned factors (sun, heat, etc.) Generally, synthetic hair extensions last for a few months, whereas human hair extensions can last upwards of one year if they are well taken care of.
In summary, human hair can be treated and styled just like your own hair, and will look and feel the most natural. It will blend easily with your hair and last much longer than synthetic hair. Although they are cheaper than real hair, synthetic hair does not look as natural, cannot be styled with heating tools and do not last as long as real hair.
Tape-In Hair Extensions
What Are They
Tape hair extensions are exactly what they sound like. The extensions are pre-taped and then taped/glued together on either side of your own hair. Typically, a hairdresser would apply tape-ins for you because you need to align them with the roots and they are applied with a heated tool that heats up the glue. Additionally, you would need to have them removed (with glue remover) and then reinstalled. Naturally, when you apply heat to your roots and any adhesive product such as tape or glue, this can damage your hair. This process usually takes approximately 40 minutes - 1 hour to apply and if the extensions are in good condition, they can be re-used.
With tape-in extensions, you have to be very careful when using conditioners or hair products because this can cause the tape to come loose or slip off. This is a quite common issue with tape-ins, where the hair simply slides off. Because of this, hairdressers usually recommend you use special shampoo or conditioner and styling products that are less harsh and not as oily to ensure the glue continues to stick to your hair. You can style them any way you want because they are made with human hair, but you need to watch out for the roots where the glue or tape is.
How Long Do They Last?
Tape-ins are considered semi-permanent. Typically, they last 4 to 8 weeks before you need to remove and re-apply them. Just like any other hair, however, it depends on how well you take care of them and on how quickly your hair grows.
Micro/Nano link Hair Extensions
What Are They
Micro/Nano link hair extensions are also known as micro/Nano bead hair extensions or micro/nano loop hair extensions. These are applied by attaching tiny wefts of hair to small sections of the natural hair with a small silicone-lined bead. Then, a special tool is used to secure the bead to the hair and tightened to hold it in place. Although this method does not use heat or glue, if not installed correctly by a professional, micro link hair extensions can be damaging on the hair. The bead may be tightened too much, causing pressure, and pulling at the roots, and if not removed properly, the hair can be pulled out. This method takes approximately 2 to 4 hours to apply.
You can wash them the same way you would your natural hair and use the same styling products. Micro/nano link hair extensions need re-positioning every 2 to 3 months as the natural hair grows and the microbeads move away from the scalp.
How Long Do They Last?
Micro/Nano link hair extensions are considered semi-permanent and they generally last up to 4 months.
And that is it! We hope we have given you all the information you need to make an informed decision on which type of hair extensions will be right for you, your hair type, and your hair goals. We would love to hear about your experiences with hair extensions as well, so please contact us.