As a young image-conscious female, I always need to look good in order to feel great. For me, having hair that looks fabulous plays a big part in looking good and is equally as important as looking after my health and my skin. I’ve always been a lover of clip-in hair extensions – I find they are an excellent quick-fix to “glam hair” as they add length and volume as well as being cost-effective. The best thing about clip-ins is being able to take them out after a night out, or special occasion, and go back to my own low maintenance hair that I can stick into a ponytail for day-to-day life.
In the last 12 months I’ve become involved with the entertainment industry and there has been a requirement for me to have “glam hair” on a regular basis ““ rather than just for the occasional night out. So I decided to look into a more permanent fix.
I spent several days researching the different types of hair extensions available. Keratin bonds and micro rings are the two most popular methods in the UK at present and I read a number of pros and cons for both methods on the internet. On speaking to girls who had tried both types, the general feeling was that keratin bonds had more pros than cons and seemed to be the kindest method to your natural hair. Unlike the old glue methods used in primitive hair extensions, keratin is a natural protein substance that forms the basis of our own hair. So I thought I’d give them a try!
I popped into a local hair salon who were doing keratin bonded extensions at a very reasonable price. They told me that if cared for properly, the extensions would last for about three months. Indian hair was their hair of choice to use, as it is naturally strong, silky, straight and less prone to tangling. If you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Indian women always seem to have long, strong, thick, poker-straight hair and of course in their culture, they never tend to dye their hair and they do’t over-wash it either. So the hair is kept healthy in its natural oils. I was happy to go with their recommendation so I chose my colours – a sort of chestnut brown with some baby blondes to add lighter tones. I booked my appointment, which they said would take about 2hours, 30minutes for a full head.
I had a nice lady do my extensions and she had keratin bonded ones in herself. She was very experienced and had quick, nimble fingers. She fused each bond to a few strands of my own hair using a hot iron, then twisted the bond between her finger and thumb to secure it. Two and a half hours and two cups of tea later, I’d read a couple of gossip mags from front to back and back to front, and had terrible neckache. But”¦ I had beautiful long, thick, vibrant-looking hair! The lady at the salon gave me an aftercare sheet and warned me that I might have a sore head for a few nights whilst my scalp was getting used to the extra weight. She also said to expect some itchiness in the first week or so while the bonds were settling down. She told me every night I had to brush the extensions carefully before going to bed (but avoid the bonds on the scalp) and put my hair in a loose plait to prevent them from getting matted or tangled.
I followed my aftercare sheet religiously and looked after my fantastic new hair very well. As per the aftercare sheet I did’t apply conditioner or heat to the bonds and I only brushed through the lengths of the hair, avoiding the scalp area. It was strange getting used to the bonds, as I could feel them on my head and they look like little lumps of candle wax. They were well hidden however, as the hair on the crown was left untouched and it fell nicely over the bonds. My hair is naturally quite fine so it did take a few weeks to adjust to having thick hair down to the small of my back. During that time there was the odd occasion when I felt that having so much hair all of the time was a nuisance, as I constantly had to plait it to keep it out of the way whilst doing day-to-day tasks.
After the first two months I noticed the extensions starting to thin out and lots of the hairs would come out in the brush. They also went quite dry and started to get split ends so I had to use a lot of conditioner each time I washed my hair. A lot of brushing and plaiting was required at this stage as they were prone to tangling. The good thing about them thinning however was that it meant the hair was easier to manage on a day to day basis, and all I needed to do was have them trimmed a couple of times to lose the split ends and keep the extensions looking good. I am now at the end of my three months and booked in this weekend to have my old extensions taken out and a new lot put in. I am going for different shades as I fancy a slight change of colour.
I’ve accepted that if I want “glam hair” all of the time, I’ll have to live with it being a little high maintenance. I am used to it now however so it does’t cause me a problem. In my eyes, having gorgeous hair that makes that me look and feel fabulous far outweighs any slight niggles that come with having bonded hair extensions. So if you’re considering having yours done, I’d say go for it! I totally recommend keratin bonded extensions and believe them to be the kindest to your own hair, providing you are sensible and invest a little time into following the aftercare properly. And if you do’t like them or find them too uncomfortable, just return to wherever you got them done and they will remove them carefully for you, it takes about an hour and with keratin the risk of damage to your own hair is minimal.
The photo you see is a snapshot of me with my keratin bonded hair extensions, the very same day they were put in.
Featured Article Writer for the MakeupTalk blog