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Watching the latest celebrities go from a chic angled bob to voluminous long hair within a day can cause serious hair envy. If you’re considering adding hair extensions to your repertoire as a Sola stylist, or are simply an adventurous hair chameleon, here are the fast facts on the different types of hair extensions so you can go from shorn locks to full Rapunzel in a matter of minutes or hours.

Clip In Extensions

Favored by celebrities as a “quick fix” for adding more volume or creating hair-dos with unusual height, large buns or braids, clip ins are a quick and simple solution to creating fun new hairstyles. Easy to apply and temporary, you can find synthetic and human clip in extensions that can be worn straight, curled or wavy to transform thin or short tresses into full, fashionable hairstyles.

Advantages: affordable, easy, less long-term stress on the hair

Disadvantages: temporary, clips may show

Weave Extensions

Natural hair is braided into a cornrow on the back of the client’s hair. The weave can be glued with special hair-friendly adhesives. Women can choose to have a partial or full weave, which typically lasts one to three months before it either needs to be touched up or taken out; this depends on the chosen style and application method. Hair weaves work better for women who have coarse or thick hair because fine hair will quickly slip out of cornrows and not hold the weave tightly in place.

Advantages: good for medium to thick hair, instantly adds volume and length

Disadvantages: can be obvious in fine hair, if braids are too tight they can put stress on the client’s hair and cause hair to fall out, generally made of artificial or low-quality human hair

Pre-Bonded or Fusion Extensions

Hair extensions are bonded to the hair using various adhesives like keratin, glue or a plant-based adhesive. If hair is pre-bonded, an application device is used to soften the bond. Generally, these types of hair extensions are the most easy to blend with real hair to keep discrete. Extensions are attached one by one and melted a few millimeters from real hair; if attached properly will cause minimal to no damage and can last up to six months.

Advantages: long-lasting, natural-looking 

Disadvantages: higher cost, greater upkeep, long appointment times, damage if not applied or maintained correctly

Micro Link Extensions

A hair extension is looped through a piece of natural hair and then clamped on with pliers or a metal bead. These extensions don’t use heat, glue or any harsh chemicals. Micro links can be used in lieu of hair color for adding lowlights or highlights sans hair dye. These extensions are also called micro loop, micro-locks or micro-rings.

Advantages: micro beads can be moved up when they slip down the hair shaft and this can make them more cost effective, no glue or heat is often gentler on the hair

Disadvantages: pliers and fastening techniques can cause damage to the hair, micro links can slip down the hair and need moving up, metal micro links can be especially damaging to the hair

Taped Extensions

Being utilized more and more frequently by hair stylists, these low maintenance extensions are least likely to cause hair damage and can last for a couple months. These extensions can be applied quickly and easily as pre-taped weft hair is sandwiched between sections of natural hair. The tape also makes these hair extensions less likely to be detected than pokey beads and bonds, as the tape lies flat against the scalp.

Advantages: can last 6-12 weeks, easy to maintain as they’re washed and styled like normal hair, quick and easy to apply

Disadvantages: hair is often synthetic or low-quality human hair, tape can occasionally be seen through the hair, can make wearing hair up more challenging, as wefts need to be covered

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