The Hair Extensions Diary: part 1.

After trying lash extensions {great for a week til I picked them all off while watching TV one night} and nail extensions {not so great when you can’t scratch an itch} I decided I may as well do as my hairdresser had been begging me to do for months and try hair extensions. The real-human-hair-cost-a-fortune-but-can-last-up-to-six-months ones sold under the brand Great Lengths. Here were the facts that finally convinced me:

  • made of human hair so no nasty synthetic strands
  • bonded with keratin and vibration, and not likely to damage my own hair
  • with proper care they can last up to six months
  • they grow with your hair and don’t need to be moved up like tape extensions
  • volume volume volume

The looking after them part involves:

  • brushing them twice a day
  • plaiting or braiding before bed
  • using a silk pillowcase to avoid too much friction on the bonds
  • using sulfate and paraben free shampoo and conditioner
  • not using straighteners directly on the bonds

All pretty doable, and I was already using the right hair products. Swapping my Egyptian cotton for a silk pillowcase is hardly a chore, and I am hoping to not have to use a straightener as often anyway.

The downside?

The cost.

Depending on where you go to have them put in you’re looking at a starting price of at least $300 for around half a head {30 to 40 pieces}. It can go up to a cool thousand for a whole head in some places. I decided on a half head as I mostly wanted some volume, rather than the rapunzel locks favoured in almost every picture of hair extensions. The salon I went to also threw in a free brush. A leopard print one at that.

Plus I figure that if you can get up to six months out of them {or even five} it doesn’t actually seem too bad.

But then I can justify anything if I want it badly enough.

😉

So: day one.

After a quick shampoo {and the now customary head and scalp massage where I silently beg them not to mess up my makeup} and a blow dry it’s time to start. The hairdresser doing my extensions is also an instructor in applying hair extensions, who has been doing them for over a decade, so in about forty minutes they’re all in. He takes a tiny section of hair and uses what looks like a tiny clamp to bond the extensions to my hair. The bond itself is made of keratin, the same as all human hair. There is a tiny vibration as it seals the bond and he makes sure the join is smooth and flat. I’ve opted for 40 pieces, so he places 20 around the back, not too low so that I’m able to tie my hair back, and 10 each around the sides, a tiny bit higher so there is a bit more volume around my face. He then uses a straightener on the ends to smooth it out before trimming the ends so they blend in with my own hair. The extensions he chose for me were 30cm in length and he manages to blend it all while leaving some of the length too. Bonus.

If you’re interested here’s a video from Great Lengths UK showing the exact process:

Initial impressions:

  • On the side of my head where I part my hair and where there’s less of my fine hair to blend with, it feels like the bonds are poking through my hair. I ask my daughter to check as I swing my head around in an attempt to simulate natural movement and wind {I’m a dumbass I know}. She assures me it’s fine and that I’m just aware of the bonds being there.
  • The colour match is, I hate to say, just a tiny bit off, but since my hair fades like a shocker and they were ordered a couple of weeks ago I had a feeling this would be the case. Plus my hair throws a lot of red but then fades to a lightish ash brown making it a huge pain in the ass. And to be honest it’s not as noticeable as I am OCD.
  • As soon as I get to my car I take a bunch of selfies and absolutely love how it looks. The length is PERFECT, and even if I wanted to add more pieces in the future it wouldn’t be for any extra length. I feel like this is exactly how I love my hair to look.
  • I forget a few times and go to run my fingers through my hair and they catch on the bonds, ditto when I go to put it up in a clip. Not a problem though, just something I have to get used to.

The before and after shot:

And just a few of the many day one selfies I took, including one of the side of my head to make sure bonds weren’t peeking through which shows the very slight colour mis-match:

So it’s safe to say I’m happy. I also think I’ll be able to get away with less colouring, just the regrowth and a toner to blend the ends next time I go. The extensions will grow with my hair, but unfortunately they are not re-usable. Although to be honest I think that hair extensions are much better value than something like lash extensions, which are around $100 for a full set with $65 infills needed fortnightly, or even nail extensions at $40 every fortnight which adds up to the same cost as hair extensions anyway over six months. And not to mention that your hair is so much more noticeable than your lashes and nails. And the after care is all fairly straight forward and not too hard, unlike the brow extensions where the beautician advised I should try to wash my hair on my tip toes with my head tilted back. That bit of insanity and brow obsessiveness set me back over $200 for about three weeks worth of brows that were VERY high maintenance. So in comparison to all that, I’d say that hair extensions should be a walk in the park.

Either way I’ll keep you posted.

-Ana.

*Obviously not a sponsored post.

** Big thank you to Steven at Toni and Guy Cronulla.

Update: I braided them for bed and again it felt like the bonds were poking out but again my daughter checked and they weren’t. Sleeping proved a bit trickier than expected because I was super aware of the extensions and felt like I had to be careful not to toss and turn. I am, however, assuming that I will become accustomed to having them and stop noticing them so much.

  1. They look fantastic! Honestly the different shades just looks like natural tonal changes. You look amazing and all glammed for Chrissy! I love that colour lippy on you too! xoxo

    Reply

    1. I’m a bit of a sook bc I’m super aware of them and seem to think that I shouldn’t feel them at all, lol. The colour is fine, just me being OCD as usual. And the lippie is a vibrant orange-red from Nars called Lana. After Lana Turner I think, I needed something bright but not as bold or full on as the reds. 👍

      Reply

  2. When I was sixteen, I so badly wanted long hair without having to wait for mine to grow. I bought a wig. It was hot and tight and I wore it for a day before tossing it. Hope yours last. Enjoy, Ana.

    Reply

    1. Haha! The things we try! Extensions definitely feel better than a wig!

      Reply

  3. Ooooh I love them! Blame the 80s but I love lots and lots of hair volume 🙂 xo

    Reply

    1. I do blame the 80s: all the teasing and hairspray! But it does feel strange having so much more hair. And at this stage I’m desperate to wash it bc it’s starting to feel a bit itchy but I have to wait til the morning. He also said my own hair would somehow blend with the bonds better after a wash, bc they really feel heaps noticeable. I feel like a broken record on that, maybe I just need to get used to how it feels.

      Reply

      1. Can’t wait to hear how they go. Super jealous – now I want some LOL! xo

        Reply

        1. I’ve wanted them for ages, let’s hope I don’t regret it!

          Reply

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