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The ultimate guide to luxury hair extensions

Many celebrities, including Blake Lively and Elle Macpherson, are well acquainted with them and have relied on clip-ins to add volume, rather than length, on the red carpet for years.

By LLM Reporters  |  July 1, 2022
Hairdresser female making hair extensions to young woman with blonde hair in beauty salon

Tumbling, Rapunzel-like locks have long been associated with femininity – but for many, it isn’t something that comes naturally. Pollution, heat styling, environmental stressors and the various different things we put our hair through in pursuit of the perfect style can often wreak havoc on its health, leading to split ends, breakage, and even shorter hair than you started with. But thanks to the constant advances in the hair extensions field, waist-length, beachy summer waves aren’t out of the question after all – in fact, now, it couldn’t be easier to get the hair you’ve always dreamed of.

It’s true that not everyone is after dramatic, flowing locks, as even those with shorter hair can benefit from the latest hair extensions beloved by celebrity fans and influencers alike. So, if all you want is to be able to put your hair up in a ponytail every once in a while or disguise your damaged ends, then don’t write them off just yet, because these days, there’s an extension type for everyone.

Actress Blake Lively attends God's Love We Deliver, Golden Heart Awards on October 16, 2014 in New York City.
Actress Blake Lively often wears clip-in hair extensions to her film premieres. Image credit: Debby Wong/Bigstock.com

Types of hair extensions

If you’re of the school of thought that getting hair extensions still leads to even more damage to the hair, then it’s time to get acquainted with today’s offerings, which not only leave you with beautiful, luscious locks, but will ensure your real hair stays protected, too. 

Temporary hair extensions

The good news is, you don’t have to fully commit until you’re absolutely certain you’re going to love your new look – so if you’re keen to find out whether a certain style or colour suits you before you go all in, then temporary hair extensions are just the ticket for giving you a little insight into what the end result might look like. There are various temporary options that can be taken out daily, weekly or anywhere in between, including clip-in pieces, weaves and wefts – and such is their versatility that if you want a show-stopping look for the weekends but need to tone things down during the working week, then you can do just that by adding and removing as you see fit.

Semi-permanent hair extensions

If you’re feeling a little more confident about getting extensions and like the idea of having beautiful, lustrous lengths every day, then semi-permanent extensions, which can be worn for between six and eight weeks, are the next step up. Often in the form of tape-in pieces, they tend to be smaller sections that you’d get with clip-ins, and thanks to the invisible bonding mechanism, are almost entirely undetectable when hair is worn up as well as down.

hair extensions
Whether you’re lusting after waist-length, beachy summer waves or just want a half decent ponytail for once in your life, hair extensions can be the instant solution to all your long hair issues

Permanent hair extensions

Finally, if you’re ready to embrace the hair extension life for the long-haul, then permanent options are your best bet. They do, however, take some time to have fitted by your hairdresser, and the same applies to having them taken out – and on top of that, they require regular care to keep them looking their best. Applied strand by strand, usually in micro ring or micro bond styles, permanent hair extensions are a commitment, but the results tend to be more than worth it. 

The big questions

To tape, or not to tape?

Of course, deciding on how permanent you’d like your new look to be isn’t the only decision you’ll need to make when choosing your hair extensions – you’ll also need to think about what type of attachment style you’d like. Tape-in extensions are becoming increasingly popular, and are a great choice for achieving a variety of different styles, particularly for those with fine hair looking to achieve a more voluminous look and feel, but they are only a semi-permanent option. Nevertheless, even those after a more permanent style are increasingly choosing them because the pros far outweigh the cons.

Invisible tape hair extensions look very natural, and are speedier to fit than individual micro rings, which makes them a great option if you’ve got a busy lifestyle. The process involves placing a piece of your own hair between the tapes and securing with an invisible clamp – no need for rings, heat or glue to seal them in.

Bundles of hair extensions on a womans head. Hair extensions to thicken your own. Individual strands of hair close-up
Semi-permanent hair extensions include tape-in pieces that last around six to eight weeks

Natural or synthetic?

If you’re after a convincingly natural look, then 100 percent human hair is the obvious choice and currently, synthetic alternatives just don’t come close. For starters, they lack the shine of natural hair and don’t lend themselves well to heat styling, which means once you’ve had them fitted, you’re limited to one style.

In terms of natural options, you do tend to get what you pay for, so the higher quality natural hair you can invest in, the better – the better the hair, the more refits it will last, which means you won’t have to keep splurging on more. If you’re looking for a multi-tonal finish as opposed to a block colour – which is advisable for a realistic finish and increased shine and lustre – then this is something that synthetics can’t offer, but real human hair extensions can.

How much do they cost?

The cost of hair extensions can vary wildly, so to get an accurate quote, it’s wise to book in for a consultation with your stylist or with your preferred salon’s resident hair extensions expert. They’ll be able to advise you of the best style and type of hair extensions to suit your hair and to ensure your desired results are achieved, and depending on the brand they use, will be able to give you a estimated figure before you decide to go ahead.