Most people who want hair extensions just don’t understand the hair extension industry and they need to be made aware that there are many untrained people applying hair extensions with no hairdressing qualifications or proper training at all.
The main factors for good safe hair extensions are:
1. The hair quality and origin
2. How the hair is attached to the natural hair
3. How the extensions are cut
4. The quality of the hair extension training your chosen technician has undergone
With the hair extension market booming like in every industry there are many cowboys which include hair producers and people who apply the hair to the clients. People are using the industry as as a cash cow and many companies really don’t care about the quality of the hair they produce or about the clients natural hair at all. The industry is so aggressive and its about lining their pockets buy selling as much hair as possible the quickest way possible.
Hair producers are using harsh chemicals that strips the cuticle from the hair, this then leaves the hair in a state so bad that the hair then no longer behave like hair. They are also coating the hair in silicone which then wears off after a few washes leaving the extensions dry and lifeless or looking like a wig. There are so many suppliers that people use everyday that sell this type of shinny coated hair that will never create the most natural looking hair extensions. Hair with no cuticle will never be as good as hair with. Some hair producer are even processing animal hair and passing it off as human hair.
Application methods are also the cause of damage to the clients natural hair. Glues mixed into the clients hair will almost always cause deterioration of the natural hair as a tiny strand of hair cannot take the aggressive combing to get it out. Also acetone which most people use to remove products seriously damages the natural hair.
The lack of properly trained people applying products is one of the most serious problems with in the industry. A wrongly applied or removed lock will cause traction alopecia and can cause serious damage to the natural hair. One bald spot can take up to 6 months to even begin to grow back if the natural root has been ruptured.
If your hair extenisonist is not a trained hairdresser 9 times out of ten they will try to cut your natural hair too much to make them blend and also they will just make a right mess of them. Many try and create layers in the hair extensions and reduce the clients natural hair weight when doing this leaving you with half the natural hair you had in the first place!
A hairdresser that has no extension experience who tries to cut hair extensions will start elevating the locks and will cut lines in them as this is how they have been trained to cut hair. This will leave the extension looking unnatural because you have to cut extensions completely differently to natural hair for a natural look.
Any hair extensionist that tells you they can apply them but can’t cut them should raise an alarm bell as their training will be minimal. I find many girls who call them selfs hair extensionists are buying micro ring products with no training what so ever. They are then applying them up to the parting on the clients scalp above the crown area to hair that is far to short and weak to take the weight of the lock.
Most of the hair extension courses do not even teach the student how to cut the extensions after application is finished. They just teach to literally straighten up the ends! They just rely on their hairdressing experience and think they will then be ok to go of into the big wide world of hair extension producing good work and this is impossible with out the correct training. The cut of your extensions will be the determined factor of weather they look real or not. I constantly see unrealistic hair hair styles created with hair extensions that do dont connect with the natural hair because the technitian is scared to cut them as they do not know how to. There is either to much weight at the bottom or no connection to the top layers which will leave the extensions looking fake. Most brands and hair extension training courses do not even require their student to be a trained hairdresser so how can these people ever be expected to be able to cut with out the basic hair dressing training. Hair extension companies train to the bare minimum when it comes to cutting as all they are really interested in is to sell as much hair as possible. They do not care about the quality of the work comming out of their training or the damage they are causing through sloppy fast track education. The quality of the hair extension course that the technician has attended is vital. If they have attended a 4 application methods in 1 day course or something to that effect you are heading for a hair extension disaster.
Hair extensions can not be taught in 1 or 2 days, it takes a lot of practice to get really good at it. I would say it takes at least 6 months of your hair extensionist doing around 10 heads minimum with constant assessment from a qualified teacher to get to an acceptable standard to be able to charge for hair extensions. The more the technician has done the better they will be so you should always look closely at work before you choose who is going to do your hair. Any work with lots of curls is usually hiding an abundance of mess underneath.
Any long strands of hair coming out of short pieces of natural hair is a recipe for disaster. Hair extensions on the top part of the head in front of the ears will cause damage to the hair. The hair in front of the ear has a different life span to the rest of the hair on your head that is why it is always shorter. If the extension hair that you have applied is thicker or heavier than the piece of natural hair it is attached to prepare your self for damage to the natural hair. If any of your extensions hurt or feel uncomfortable it means they have not been applied properly again prepare to have damage to your natural hair.
If the hair matts the quality is of a low standard and is probably not cuticle correct. If the hair is over shinny again you have settled for low quality hair as it is coated to hide it’s real quality and you have probably paid a high price tag for it. Mongolia is right next to china so if its says it has this mixed in it the hair is still the same quality as Chinese hair so don’t be fooled again it is a low quality, cheap product and will have undergone fast processing removing the cuticle to deal with the demand.
Real Russian hair is quite thick and coarse too and can sometimes be hard to manage, it is not the best mix with European hair belive it or not!
Indian hair in my opinion is one of the best hair types to create hair extensions for the European market but only if it is processed correctly and that is a whole other story to get hair from dark to light without damaging the cuticle is a delicate procedure.
With all the above in mind ask your hair extensionsist lots of questions they should be able to give you the answers if they are educated in the product and method they use. Ask if they cut their own work, ask to see qualifications of hair dressing not just a hair extension certificate because most of them are not worth the paper they are written on. Ask how long they have been doing hair extensions for too. Make sure they attended a accredited hair extension course that way you know they will have been trained to a higher standard. Habia recently withdrew all of their hair extension accreditations in December 2012 and made them invalid. They have since introduced new criteria to clean up the industry you must check the Habia website to find out if courses are on there and they are accredited. Most of the hair extension certifications are not worth the paper they are written on with out the backing of a governing body which the certification will state clearly on it.
There are companies running hair extension courses and their teachers are not even qualified to teach. To learn properly training needs to be delivered in a professional way with assessment criteria that a trained teacher can only facilitate professionally to adhere to the governing body standards. Its not about just handing someone over a certification because they have attended a 2 day course. How do you know the quality of the work of the student that is then going to go on and be produced.
Remember you pay for what you get if you pay peanuts you will get monkeys doing the work. I get constant emails every day asking me 1 question HOW MUCH FOR HAIR EXTENSIONS?. Its like asking how long is a piece of string!! The more natural hair you have to start with the easier it is to work with. If the natural hair is supper thick then the technician needs to apply a lot more hair which will increase the cost of your tresses. The longer you go from the start of your natural hair, the price will reflect. longer hair is more expensive than shorter locks. If you call up a hair extensionist and they can give you a price over the phone with out seeing or finding out about your natural hair you should also worry. Any good technician will want to see the state of your natural hair first. They should also ask what style you want to create with the extensions as they will need to take this into consideration when pricing your extensions most hair extensionists are a one trick pony and can only create one style so check that they can actually create the look you want first.
If hair extensions are cut properly and connected to the natural hair you will never be able to reuse the hair. It would be like trying to put back together a 150 to 200 piece jigzaw puzzle as every stand applied should be cut to perfections with layers. Any good hair extensionsist would charge more to put something like this back together as it would take longer than the original set that they applied.
Hair Extension should not be left in for any longer than 3 months due to the natural hair loss that the client will suffer over the 3 months of wear. When we take a section of the clients hair and attach a lock to it that piece of natural hair will usually suffer a 10percent hair loss every month. After 3 months there is 30% less natural hair supporting the extension lock but the lock should not shed so will become to heavy for the natural hair to support it. The hair loss will sit on the top of the lock and this will stress the natural hair and cause the bond to twist until breaking point. This eventually breaks of f and you will have a lock in your hand with a big tuft of the natural hair sticking out the top where it has broken. This type of damage is irreparable the only way to fix this is to grow the natural hair back. Dont listen to the people who tell you your extensions can last for 6 months plus with out being replaced.
So really this industry hides a lot of truths and to get a good result you need to do your home work massively. Good hair extensions are not cheap and some bad ones are also really expensive. Hair is precious it takes so long to grow and if you have 6 inches of hair which usually only reaches the bottom of someones ear it will have usually taken them 1 year to grow. Hair to the top of the head to the shoulder is around 12 inches taking 2 years to grow. SO be warned if and untrained technician puts exetnsions in your hair and damages it just to grow it back to your chin will take around a year and half. That a lot of time looking in the mirror hateing your hair and feeling frustrated. This is one of the main reasons why hair extensions are so addictive and people are in a place where they have damaged their hair so much they have no choice but to keep wearing them. This becomes a really expensive habit for people who just wanted them for a special occasion. They then have to make a life long commitment to them just to make their hair look like they have natural normal hair due to the thinning or bald patches that have been cause through bad hair extensions.
My advise to you is research and find a hair extensionist who has a proven track record and does them as their main career choice not just someone who does them as part of their whole beauty package.Look at the before and afters, if the before picture looks like the clients hair is damaged ask why as the product they use should not damage the clients hair. Find out if they have been a long term client of their’s, the human hair should be healthy if they are good at what they do.
I am just sharing my views and experience and hope this helps open everyone’s eyes a little!
Good luck in your quest to find the perfect hair extensions.