Hair extensions can be a scary conquest, and lord knows I’ve done my share of damage with them in the past. I always thought it’d be a cold day in hell before I’d try them again.
Well girls, pull out your parkas because here I am, with brand new tape in extensions.
My Experience with Hair Extensions
If you have any inkling of a thought about getting hair extensions, I guarantee you that I am more than qualified to tell you what’s what. I’ve had my adventures with several different types, both with good and bad experiences, so I can definitely give you the straight up lowdown.
First, I tried heat bonded hair extensions (aka Keratin bonded hair extensions) and they looked great but took 5 hours to put in, cost about $1200 and you could only use them once. I actually did that twice.
But then there’s a whole other animal – tape in hair extensions.
What are Tape In Hair Extensions?
If you’ve read about my sad experience with cold fusion hair extensions then your probably wondering, does this bitch ever learn? I do! I swear. But, post traumatic stress aside, I still had to try these happy little hair pieces.
Tape in hair extensions are exactly how they sound. They are hair extensions that use a surgical adhesive on a polyurathane base to literally be taped onto your natural hair. They come in sections, take minutes to apply, are reusable and last 8 to 10 weeks (or however fast your hair grows).
And they really aren’t as ghetto as they sound, I promise.
Why Tape In Hair Extensions?
People get hair extensions for a whole range of reasons. Maybe they got a bad layered haircut and want to put length back in on the sides. Perhaps, like me, they have thin, straggly ends and want to fill them out.
Also, as we age, our hair tends to get thinner in general. Tape in hair extensions are a quick, easy, and affordable way to fill in your hair and make it fuller. Another reason to would be to add more dimension to the color of your hair without having to dye it. Or – maybe you just want to channel your inner Repunzel.
But whatever the reason you decide to get hair extensions. There are several reasons to choose tape ins.
- Less Time – They take minutes to put in as opposed to hours as do other types of extensions. Think of them as the long term answer to clip-ins, but way more natural looking.
- Less Damaging – Since the extensions aren’t bonded with the hair, nor coiled around your hair, there is less likelihood of breakage in your natural hair when it’s time for removal.
- Less Expensive – Depending on your goal, you can use as little as 2 (to correct an overzealous haircut) to as many as 16 (if you’ve got a pixie and want Kardashian things upl). At $35 for the 12″, $35 for the 16″, and $45 for the 20″, they are super affordable. I used six 16″ panels to fill in my bottom layer for $240.
- Less Maintenance – Once your hair grows out to the point that you want to redo them, it only runs $20 each to remove, re-glue, and re-apply. Chachinnng!
So, you’re considering getting tape in extensions. How does it go down?
How it Goes Down
As your resident guinea pig, you know I had to try these. Plus, I was headed to Mexico for vacation and I needed some assistance taming my frizzy frantic white girl fro (but not as cool). I figured if I blended some silky, well-behaved, tresses to my current cotton ball coif, it would be lower maintenance in the humid climate.
The ones my stylist Emily at Steven Paul Salon recommended were by Easihair. But there are several brands out there such as Hotheads, Glam and Invisitab, but it really just depends on the ones your stylist feels comfortable working with.
Here’s a short video of my experience, but I’ll also step-by-step it below.
Pretty easy right?
Just 5 quick easy steps!
Separate your clean, dry hair a couple of inches from the bottom of the hairline, smoothing out all the flyaway hairs as you go.
Each hair panel consists of a ‘sandwich’, two rows of hair sandwiched, one on top of the other. So, next you take the top side of the sandwich and adhere it to the hair, as close to the scalp as possible, without actually touching it.
Next, gather the newly adhered extension, along with a small section of the hair underneath, and clip it up for better access.
Emily used what she called a booster on the bottom part of the sandwich, then dried it a bit with the blowdryer to make it tacky. Some tape ins come with a booster on the tab but even then your stylist may use extra to increase the longevity of the adhesive.
Finally, apply the sticky bottom layer to the underneath of the hair that is pinned up, essentially making a sandwich with the piece already there.
Repeat for each hair panel and tadaaaaa….
Before and After Tape In Hair Extensions
I got six 16″ sandwiches then had them trimmed to the natural length of my hair. It looks longer because my longest layer was so thin. Check out the difference.
I like them! What do you think?
They are so versatile. At first I was concerned that they would show with different hair styles and I’m here to tell you, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get them to show.
Messy high pony tail…
You can clip them…
Put them in a messy beach braid…
And since it made my ends thicker I could do a cool side braid. And nope, they didn’t show then either…
My hair was super low maintenance on my trip to Mexico. The extensions blended with my natural frizzy hair and made it so much smoother looking. So I’m a total thumbs up on the tape in hair extensions for now.
Maintenance for Tape In Hair Extensions
As long as you follow a few simple rules, your extensions will stay in for as long as it takes for them to grow out. Easihair said 6 to 8 weeks, which is probably in their best interest, however Emily has experienced from 8 to 10 weeks on average and, if your hair grows slow, maybe even twelve.
Once they have grown out enough to where they no longer feel uncomfortable, all your stylist can do one of two things. If you don’t want to put them back in she will use an oil based product to remove them.
If you want to put them back in, then she will dissolve the glue with an alcohol based product and for $20 each she will re tape them and put them back in. It only takes a few minutes to re tape each but keep in mind that your hair should be clean and dry so expect a shampoo and blowdry too.
So, I mentioned simple rules. Rules, tips, or common sense, whatever you call them they are just as invaluable:
- Make sure that whatever brand you use, the hair is Remy. Remy is the finest quality hair since the cuticles are kept intact helping them lay flat, smooth and natural in appearance. (you don’t want Barbie hair girlfriends!) – tip
- Use a Boar Bristle Brush or Wet Brush to avoid pulling at the base of the extensions which will pull them down and you will have to re-tape them sooner. – rule
- Do not apply conditioner or really any creamy, oily, hair products to the roots of your hair. These will make the extensions slippery causing them to move down a bit. – tip
- Don’t apply direct heat to the base of your hair extensions or the adhesive will breakdown or melt. – common sense
- Use a sulfate free shampoo in order to keep your extensions silky and smooth. – tip
- Stock up on the dry shampoo. Dry shampoo allows you to wash your hair less helping your extensions stay strong – some say it actually strengthens the adhesive (sign up to win a free one!) – tip
To sum it up, I’m loving mine. They’re light and make my daily routine much faster since they look good no matter how I style them. I’ll get back to you with more when I go through the re taping process.
The re taping process was a cinch! The extensions stayed strong so I really only went every 8 to 9 weeks, about 1″ growth. The appointment, which also included a wash and blow dry, took about 75mins, but it depends on how long your hair is and how many bundles you use.
When I had the tape-in’s removed there was no breakage whatsoever! The brand I used was Easihair, which is important to keep in mind as different brands us different glues!
PUMP UP THE VOLUME BY M.A.R.R.S