Are hair extensions right for me?

Are hair extensions right for me?

You want a confidence boost. Longer, fuller, shinier locks are a sign of youth. As we age, our hair thins (though some are more genetically prone to this than others). Similar to a great blowout
or a killer pair of shoes, hair extensions can give you a little pep in your step.

You want to change up your look. Bored with your strands? Extensions allow you to experiment with color without bleaching your hair. “Clip in one pink streak for the night or try ombre
without frying or permanently altering your style,” suggests Matt Fugate, senior stylist at Sally Hershberger Downtown in New York City.

You want to grow out a bob. If you have a short cut that you’re desperate to grow out, extensions will instantly add length and ease your frustration. “It’ll help get you to that ponytail stage,” says Fugate.

Are there different types of extensions?

1. Clip-in. Most women are great candidates for these temporary, reusable extensions. For those women with alopecia or psoriasis, a wig is a better option. Perfect for an event—a wedding or reunion, for example—they can be heat-styled with a curling iron or flat iron and removed the same day. When applying them yourself, the key is to tease your roots before clipping them in to ensure a secure grip. Shampoo the strands every six uses.

2. Tape. This type of extension is sandwiched between two pieces of bioadhesive tape and lasts for six to eight weeks. While wearing them, shampoo with a sulfate-free formula and refrain from applying conditioner to your roots—the oil in it will loosen the tape. Hot yoga buffs and gym rats, these are not for you. If you do exercise while wearing them, apply dry shampoo beforehand to help soak up any moisture and prevent sweat from loosening the tape.

3. Keratin. These extensions promise three to four months of good hair days and are the most discrete of the bunch. Instead of using a traditional heat application, which can damage the hair, these are applied using an ultrasound technology that turns the keratin (a glue) from a solid to a liquid and back to a solid in just a second. The process takes about two hours and is the smartest option for women who workout often, swim (since they can withstand salt water and chlorine), and often wear their hair up (since the look is the most seamless).