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Hair extensions are just one of many services offered by professional, full-service hair salons. They're pieces of real or synthetic hair that are attached to your own hair to instantly create additional length or volume. Extensions are only semi-permanent and will either have to be replaced or reapplied periodically. There are several different methods of attaching them, which vary by personal preference of the client and the expert stylist. Whether or not you should get them is a personal decision, but you'll need to keep in mind that they can be quite expensive and require regular maintenance, which adds to the price. Putting them in can also be time consuming, and some people find certain attachment methods to be painful.
The hair used for extensions ranges from 100% natural human hair to 100% synthetic material. Human hair is the most expensive, but preferred by those who can afford it because it often looks much more natural. A client who wants extensions must have relatively healthy hair at least 3 to 5 inches (7.62 to 12.7 cm) in length. Longer hair is acceptable, but most stylists won’t attach hair extensions to shorter lengths.
Hair extensions are bonded or woven to the natural hair in small strands attached close to the scalp. The most common method of binding is with a synthetic glue-like bond that is safe for both the scalp and natural hair. Extensions can also be fused to the natural hair or sewn into braids. The methods of attachment will vary with the stylist and depend largely on how he or she was taught to perform the service.
Once the extensions have been applied, the client can often wash and style their hair as if it had grown on their head naturally. The stylist will recommend different types of hair care products, such as shampoo and conditioner, and provide a list of those that should be avoided because of their potential to chemically weaken the bonds.
Hair extensions are one of the most expensive salon services available, but many people whose natural hair is damaged or who have cut their hair short only to regret it find the cost is worthwhile. The extensions can be applied to hair of most any ethnicity. Many celebrities take advantage of this service to quickly change their look either pre- or post-movie roles.
Not every full service salon offers hair extension services so you will have to do research if you are interested. Check with a local upscale salon or look for information in your local phone book. You can also ask your current stylist if they can recommend a stylist who specializes in adding extensions.