An In-Depth Look at Different Types of Hair Extensions,

and Which Kind are Right For You

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The options have really opened up in the past 5 years or so.  Extensions don’t have to be a 10-hour ordeal or involve painful braiding or sewing.  In fact, people with fine, delicate hair are the ones who crave extensions the most, and the old-fashioned methods could cause breakage or hair loss.  Thanks to modern technology, the process can be gentle and quick, and could last anywhere from 8 hours to 8 months.  So whether you want to look hot for your reunion, feel ultra-feminine for your wedding, correct a bad haircut or be mistaken for a Victoria’s Secret Angel, the solution is now widely available. 



Heat-free protein bonds The cream of the crop, the latest and the greatest, the absolute top of the heap when it comes to hair extensions!  This method lasts the longest (up to 8 months) and combines the benefits of several of the other techniques.  The bond is made up primarily of keratin, as is your hair. Jordana personally sizes each strand and therefore they are the most customized. These are the smallest fusion points available and also the hardest, yet they are as flat as a piece of paper.  This makes them ideal for fine hair, because they are the least likely to cause visible bumps or be felt when running a hand over the hair.  What sets them apart from the classic protein bond is that they are applied using ultra-sonic vibration to soften them as they are attached.  This is not only gentler, but it also means that there is no heat applied to the hair at any time, and that it would require a much higher degree of heat to melt or damage these bonds (blow-drying and irons are of little or no concern).


Hair Dreams nylon bonded extensions  These individual extensions boast the advantage of coming in different sizes, so multiple sizes can be used to blend with your own hair’s patterns. They are safe for any hair color and most textures.  A tiny iron is used to melt the bond as it lies against your hair, after which the stylist rolls it until it cools and hardens with your own hair locked inside.  In a variation of this technique, loose hair is dipped in glue and then attached by the same method; the bonus to this is that many colors can be blended together without streakiness, but the drawback is that it takes longer and is therefore more expensive.  Because this type of extensions is bonded using heat, accidental contact with a curling or flat iron could melt it quite easily, causing two to stick together or even to slip out of the hair.  Removal requires application of a solvent, which softens the bond so the stylist can loosen it and slide it off.


Microtubes  (also called flat-tubes) are ideal if you have black or brown hair of medium texture, which is straight or wavy, and you like to do a light to moderate amount of heat-styling.  The tubes are threaded onto your hair, an extension is inserted and then the tube is flattened, holding the two together.  Removal is quick and easy; the now-flat tubes are popped back to their original shape and slipped right off.  However, “Blondes should avoid this method of extension,” warns Jordana (who is a blonde), “hard water combined with metal can leave a green mark which is visible if your hair is light”.


Shrink tubes This newer technology uses a clear plastic tube to attach your new hair, and is the option which allows the most hair to be added.  Your hair is threaded through the tube just like it is with the microtube option, but in this case the plastic tube is heated until it shrinks to half its original size, tightly gripping the extension and your hair together.  There is room for two extensions to be sealed into each tube, if your own hair’s root is thick and strong enough to anchor that.  Jordana advises that these are great on curly hair.


Swing Wefts Swing weft extensions use the same quality hair as the longer-term extensions, but are more  economical because they are faster to apply.  They swing in a more natural way than sewn-in wefts, because they are attached a bit off the scalp, allowing for natural movement.  Swing wefts are applied in the salon, but need to be maintained (“tightened”) every 6-8 weeks.  This maintenance appointment is quick and painless.  The same set of hair can be used for 6-8 months!


Temporary extensions  made of natural hair are ideal if you want to have an alter-ego with glamorous hair.   You can clip them in and take them back out on a whim, with no commitment.  They are less than half the price of the real deal and are also made of high-quality hair.  They can be blow-dried, curled or flat-ironed, and will look and feel like your own.  When Jordana makes clip-in extensions for her clients, she color-matches them in advance and then custom-orders the hair to achieve a perfect match, even for colored or highlighted hair.   She attaches the extensions (generally 5-10 pieces) and cuts them to match the haircut, giving the client a lesson on how to attach them and store them safely between uses, to maintain texture and body.   Styling appointments are also available for a completely polished look; bring in your extensions, and Jordana will style them seamlessly!