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Which System ?
Trying hair extensions for the first time may be confusing. You will find that different salons offer you different solutions. We have provided you with a comprehensive overview of different methods of extension application to help you decide which may be best for you. So, is it Thermal Bonding, Micro Ring, Cold Bonding, Braiding, Weaving or a Quick Fix you desire? Read on to find out!
Where do I begin? When you visit your salon, you should find out which system(s) they use to attach extensions and also whether they work with human or fibre extensions. Prior to booking your appointment for your new extensions, your salon should offer you a consultation which will help determine the type of extensions most suitable for you. You can conduct a search for salons that offer extension services on this website. Once you are completely happy and confident and that all your questions are answered go ahead and book your appointment to have your hair extensions fitted.
Before we get to the actual topic of application, its important for one to know about the utility of the technique as well, This is a technique of adding hair to your own hair by means of fusion (strand by strand), weaving, braiding or bonding. There are many variations to all of these techniques and stylists call these by different names. Now clip-ins is also called extensions. Extensions are usually applied by a stylist but many customers are doing this There are many types of hair extensions available on the market today and we are sure to see many more systems in the future. Hair extensions are thankfully here to stay. We can all have it now! the look we want when we want it.
D.I.Y / Clip ins ...
Clips have been sewn onto human extensions hair. You may clip these in and out yourself. Clip in hair extensions are very easy to use and can be done in no amount of time! Due to their versatility, they can be used at home with ease! The clip in hair extensions does not require the use of glue and are relatively safer for your original hair. Lovely clip in hair extensions can even be curled or straightened as per your desire.
Sew on Weaving ...
A technique which is used to add length and volume by applying extension wefts to the client’s natural hair. This technique is not noticeable as the natural hair is braided underneath and cannot be seen. Weaving is a safe technique that does no damage to the client’s own hair, instead protecting it and allowing natural hair growth to continue. It is manufactured with and without the weft. Wefted hair extensions are held together with a band of fine threads. Wefted hair comes in two types, machine wefted and hand tied. Due to the high cost of hand made products, most extension hair is machine wefted in fine, medium or heavy wefts. Medium wefts are used for the majority of wefted extension hair. Hand tied wefted hair is more expensive but is often preferred due to its light weight. Hand tied hair also resist shedding better.
Wefted hair may be used for strand bonding and braiding and is preferred by stylist as it allow the stylist to use only what is needed greatly reducing the amount of waste.
Hair without a weft is called BULK. Bulk hair is loose. It is used primarily for stand bonding and braiding.
Whilst a full head of weaving is often popular, clients may choose to add only a few rows of weft depending on the desired style.
There are several methods of attaching weaves. The original method, which is still used today, is by cornrowing the entire natural hair or leaving the hairline and nape of the neck loose to cover the weft. The appropriate method of weaving would be determined after assessing the client’s needs through consultation.
This is a process, which you create a cornrow or track around the head and close to the scalp. Extension hair is sewn on the tracks. Your own hair lies over the tracks for a natural look.
Tracking or Micro-Weaving ...
Positions small tracks of hair on the scalp in rows and the stylist weaves threads in a lock stitch application. Tracks of hair or woven near the scalp to provide support for the extensions. Tiny weaving thread is used to weave in the extensions. Although tracking looks good, make sure your stylist knows the technique for applying sew in hair extensions because improperly attached, the extensions can damage the scalp.
Fusion or Strand by Strand ...
This is a process done strand by strand in small sections. Using heated adhesive sticks made for extensions placed in a glue gun. Extension hair is added directly to your own hair. Your hair lies over the top for a natural look.This method is arguably the best, though the type of adhesive used is critical. Wax-based adhesives have a low melting point so a professional grade adhesive is a must. These adhesives can withstand both heat and chemical treatments. The adhesive remover that is used to remove the hair extensions dries the bonding agent to a powdery substance (rather than dissolving it through messy oil and heat). If interested in hair extensions speak to 2 or 3 professionals about your specific needs and concerns and get a written estimate of what they would do and how much it would cost. New methods will no doubt come to light and it's always wise to get more than one opinion before committing to something that will represent a substantial investment of time and money.
Weft Hair Extensions ...
Hold together through a network of tiny threads. The weft looks like a flow of hair flowing from the top. Weft hair extensions are attached to your head by sewing them into a tiny braid made out of your own hair. The effects achieved with this technique are very natural and appear as seamless human hair extensions. No one can see the braids or wefts of hair unless you show them. Weft hair extensions hold together through a network of tiny threads. The weft looks like a flow of hair flowing from the top. Weft hair extensions are attached to your head by sewing them into a tiny braid made out of your own hair. The effects achieved with this technique are very natural and appear as seamless human hair extensions. No one can see the braids or wefts of hair unless you show them.
This is the easiest method. Bonding glue is applied onto the weft of the extension hair and then applied at the root of your hair. This is a temporary method. The extensions used for this method have a latex plug meant to be glued to your own hair for short terms use. Because this method is fast it's also inexpensive. However, to remove extensions, oil and heat must be used to dissolve the bonding agent, which messy and time consuming. If not removed with care the latex can pull your own hair out.
Bonding is when bulk or wefted hair extensions is applied by using hair bonding agent or pre-bonded tips. In this case, a special adhesive is created to help in hair bonding. Such hair extensions are glued to the tiny strands of hair. Some lovely hair extensions already have adhesive on each and every section of the hair. The difference in the two would be the amount of time you can save in gluing these hair extensions to your original hair. Such lovely hair extensions are used to add more volume and length to the hair. Bonding methods used for this process are also many to name, such as thermal bonding, liquid bonding and adhesive bonding. Here, the adhesives differ and also the methods used for their application. Please see below for detailed information about different bonding methods.
Adhesive Bonding ...
Bonded hair additions use specially formulated adhesives to attach the hair. Adhesive bonding products are usually wax based or Keratin based. The Keratin based products are harder and come in medium or hard hold. The wax based product (Fusion) come in regular hold (Pro Fusion) and in medium hard hold (French Fusion). Fusion adhesives do not require acetone to remover and tend to be easier on the hair. With proper care, the French Fusion product can hold up to 3 months. Keratin adhesives are harder and can last up to 6 months.
Liquid Bonding / Cold Bonding ...
Cold Bonding is a simple process that takes 30 to 60 minutes to attach depending on the amount of hair. A cold resin is applied to the top of the hair wefts that are then placed onto the natural hair close to but NOT touching the scalp. It is a temporary attachment method, which lasts up to a week, or until your next hair wash. Wefts of hair are attached flat and close to the natural hair line, using a cold resin, providing a smooth and comfortable finish. Cold Bonding is a less time consuming method of attaching hair, therefore less costly also, and is ideal for those that want to add extensions for a short period or special occasion.
A patch test should be conducted during your initial consultation, to check that you have no allergic reaction to the cold resin. To test, a small drop of resin is placed behind the ear and should be left on for 24 to 48 hours to confirm there is no adverse reaction.
The Process: As with all extension application methods, the client’s hair is washed clean and blow-dried with cool air before extensions are added. Heavy conditioners are omitted and there should be no grease or oil based products used, particularly close to the scalp lines where the hair extensions are attached.
Thermal Bonding / Fusion Bonding ...
The fusion bonding method is the most common method of attaching hair extensions, it is also the quickest and easiest way to fit hair extensions. Small sections of Remy human hair is cut from the weft and a small amount of warm keratian bond is applied around the strand with keratin gun. This is then placed on small sections of your own hair and rolled using a silicon pad. It is, often referred to as ‘micro-bonding’, is a popular method of applying extension hair to clients of European or Caucasian origin. This method attaches a few strands of hair at a time to the natural hair, close to the scalp but not touching it, using a special hot resin formula. It can be used to add highlight strands, increase volume and length.
The benefits of bonding are that it allows clients to run their fingers straight through giving an effect of ‘free flowing’ hair. Thermal Bonding is considered suitable for most hair types excluding extremely thick, course or brittle hair.
The Fusion method is great for any hair type, the bond size can be altered depending on how thick or thin your natural hair is. This is one of the oldest methods of attaching extensions. This hair extension can last up to 3 months with the correct after care.
Suitability:Thermal Bonding may be considered unsuitable by your technician if your hair is over-processed through chemical treatments such as bleaching, perms or relaxing/straightening, all of which can make the hair brittle, or if it has been damaged due to medical problems.
An initial consultation will determine which length of hair to go for and how much you will need depending on your requirements - whether this be to add volume, create highlights or lowlights, or to add length.
The Process: Prior to attaching any extensions, regardless of which method in used, the client’s hair is shampooed, lightly conditioned at the ends and blow-dried with cool air. Particularly for Thermal Bonding, there should be no traces of oils, moisturisers, gel or mousses on the hair, as this will soften the resin sealant that is used to attach extensions and will cause the seals to break.
Once clean and dry, the natural hair will be sectioned and a few strands will be taken at a time to which the extension hair will be attached. A resin seal is heated normally using a tool such as a ‘connector’, ‘glue gun’ or ‘hot pot’. Once melted it is used to attach the extension hair to the natural hair, close to the scalp but not touching it (normally up to 1cm away). During the application process, a plastic protector is used to ensure that the melted resin does not touch the scalp.
System Ex ...
is similar to Thermal Bonding in that it attaches a few strands of hair at a time to add highlights, volume and length. The key difference is that unlike Thermal Bonding, System Ex is completely resin-free.
System Ex, being resin-free, is considered a ‘Green’ alternative to Thermal Bonding. Whilst a popular modern method of attachment, your technician may consider it unsuitable if your hair is very brittle or damaged.
An initial consultation will determine which length of hair to go for and how much you will need, as well as the texture and colour of hair, depending on your requirements.
As with all extension application methods, the client’s hair is washed clean and blow-dried with cool air before applying extensions.
Once clean and dry, the natural hair is sectioned and a few strands are taken at a time to which the extension hair is attached suing a special braid and elasti-thread seal.
Micro Ring ...
Very similar to Thermal Bonding but without any resin or glue, a few strands of extension hair are attached at a time using a small ring – the Micro Ring – which is clamped to tightly hold the extension hair to the natural hair. The Micro Ring method originated in Japan in 1992. However, by 1994 the method was abandoned by hundreds of salons due to a problem with rusting rings. The original material that the rings were made of was copper or similar that, after washing, would rust, causing allergies and hair breakage on removal. Today, Micro Ring technology has advanced considerably. Re-developed using different materials the problem of rusting has been eliminated and application removal by trained technicians is perfectly safe.
: People that enjoy the free-flowing effect delivered by attaching a few extension strands at a time may find the Micro Ring suitable. Also those that have come across Thermal Bonding but are not comfortable with the idea of glue or resin seals, will find that the Micro Ring is a superb ‘Green’ alternative that offers the same results.
The Micro Ring method is suitable for all European and Asian hair types although it is not recommended for use on hair that has been overly processed, is brittle or on Afro hair.
A few strands of extension hair along with the client’s natural hair is crocheted through the Micro Ring using a small latch-hook or wire eye instrument . The ring is then closed flat using a ‘connector/disconnector’, sealing the extension and natural hair together. The rings are compact and flat and are usually a colour that matches the hair too (i.e. Brown rings would be used to attach brown hair to keep the extension connection as hidden & unnoticeable as possible). They lie flat and can be less bulky than some thermal resin bonds. Micro Rings come in up to five sizes. Normally a medium size ring is used on ‘normal’ hair. Thicker hair may use large size rings. Smaller rings may be used closer to the hair line or fringe or on thinner hair.
Micro Rings, like Thermal Bonded extensions, will last 3 months, however you should expect a few to fall out during this time. It is advised that you replace or remove your Micro Ring extensions after 8-10 weeks to keep them in their best condition and to stop them from becoming visible as the natural hair continues to grow. It is important to get your Micro Rings removed by a qualified technician as trying to pull them out yourself can cause hair breakage. Proper removal is very quick, easy and leaves minimal damage to your own hair.
Braids, Cornrows, Twists, Locks ...
Braiding is a popular method of hair styling, especially amongst Afro-Caribbean clients. Braids hold your natural hair in place and protect it from daily exposure to the weather and normal environmental factors that cause wear and tear. You'll basically be using the extension hair as strands in a braid. It is not an exact science, so please do practice to get the feel of things. You may decide to add more or less hair, or experiment with various kind of braids to get the look and the hold that you want.
Aside of synthetic or human bulk hair, you can also use yarn, wool, ribbons and other materials the same way. Often fibre extensions are added to the natural hair to make braids more durable. You can add beads if you like...just experiment and have fun.
: Braids can last up to three months when extension fibre is added and there are a number of braid styles to choose from including corn rows, micro braids, twist braids and china bumps to name a few. Braiding can be time consuming but a full head can be achieved in two to eight hours depending on the size and length of braids required and the speed of your technician.
: Prior to braiding, the natural hair is washed clean and blow dried with cool air. The amount of time taken to complete your style will vary depending on the chosen style and whether you require a full or half head of braiding and on the thickness of the braids.
1. You'll need the lock of hair that you want to extend or braid around, and a portion of bulk hair for braiding. Find the halfway point of the bulk hair.
2. Each of the halves of bulk hair will be a strand with which you will do a three strand braid. The natural hair will be the center strand, and the bulk hair will be the two outer strands.
3. You will place the halfway point of the bulk hair near the root of the natural hair
4. Then cross one side of the bulk hair over the other. (You will do this more tightly in real life than it looks in this diagram, but be mindful of braid tension when you do
5. Then, since it was is middle strand, you'll cross the natural hair between the two strands of bulk hair, and continue braiding normally.
6. When you begin to run out of natural hair, you will need to make sure you'll still have three strands with which to continue the braid. To do this, you will take some hair from one of the strands with bulk hair, and add it to what is left of the strand of natural hair
7. Then continue braiding normally.
Now you have the knowledge to do basic pinch braiding. Just be careful not to braid too tight, and to use quality hair. Also a common mistake that many beginners make is to take on too much work at once. To do a full head of individual braids with extensions will require 36 to 100 braids, and take anywhere from one to ten hours. Please, for your own sake, take plenty of breaks, and if you can, get a friend to help you. It'll go a lot faster. By learning pinch braids, you're still at the tip of the iceberg of hair extensions. If you'd like to learn more, feel free to take our course. However, you've already done alot to save money, beautify those around you, create cute or totally wicked styles, and curtail the overuse of glues and other hair damaging chemicals.
The Hair Extensions Guide - PART II
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17 January 2009
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