If you fall into the category of wearing hair extensions more often than not (and by not I mean would not be seen dead without them - cue emergency oversized glasses and headscarf should they removed), then you'll understand the need for customisation.
There seems to be a glaring disparity between the mass market, buy per packet industry and the salon professional custom service, seemingly out of reach for those too intimidated to enter into a West End hair salon. Plus, if you don't know what to look for then you'll never be able to make an informed decision. Here are some key things to remember when thinking about customising your hair extensions for long term use.
1. Colour Is Key
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Never buy hair extensions without first having a colour-match consultation. Whether that is with a hair extension professional or by purchasing a colour wheel. You will absolutely need to see an accurate representation of those tones. Also bear in mind that (depending on the brand), those same tones can vary even from the colour wheel so make sure you have a contingency in place in case this happens such as ordering a few different tones or something you can further highlight or colour.
2. Source Raw Materials
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It goes without saying that if your hair has not undergone processing in any way (virgin hair), your hair extensions will have an outstanding quality and a healthy shine. Where possible (not all colours are virgin) opt for raw material hair from as few donors as possible. Hair from multiple donors is often of a much denser quality and therefore doesn't look as natural once cut.
3. Choose A Handmade Weft
Machine wefts are fantastic and easy to blend but if you want a thicker style you'll end up building up several weft layers and you'll always experience a certain amount of shedding. With a handmade weft you can put more hair on a single weft, reducing the need for multiple rows and layers which makes every-day wear far less tiresome. The wefts are also measured to fit your head so re-fits are very easy and they are suitable for both single and double drawn hair.
4. Book A Separate Cutting Appointment
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Once the extensions are applied; wash them and ideally get them cut the next day once they've settled. Granted this isn't always possible but I would always advice to wash them at the very least to allow for more integration with your own hair, in order to get the best possible cut.
Sometimes the hair extension choices we have fall below the standard of a seamless integration with your own hair; whether that be an ever so subtle difference in the tone of the hair, the way the hair falls or even the thickness of the hair itself. As we strive for enhancements that fool even the most meticulously trained eye in many aspects of our appearance; isn't it time the hair extension industry caught up?
And please don't misunderstand what I mean by the industry being behind with the times because the brands have evolved but the raw product hasn't. The marketing machine and influencers that lead the mass hair extension market are extremely effective but the products they promote really aren't suitable for anything beyond a few Instagram pictures. For something that truly looks authentic beyond the camera you have to come away from a mass market model and go back to basics with a personal touch.