Deciding on the type of hair extension application can be very confusing as there are so many types and technique of applying them. Below we explain in detail all the other methods of applying hair extensions including their pro’s and con’s. Each attachment technique comes under one of two main categories of hair extensions: ‘Strand-by-strand’ (individual strands of hair) and ‘Wefts’ (strips of hair sewn together by machine or hand-tied). For more information on our own technique, please refer to our application page.
Micro ring hair extensions are attached with a small metal ring. Each hair extension is pre-tipped with a plug (or i-tip). The metal ring is threaded on to a small section of the natural hair using a special needle, then the plug/tip is inserted into the micro ring. The micro ring is then clamped flat on to the hair using pliers.
The main benefit of micro ring hair extensions is the ability to create a free-flowing hair style. However, the rings only tend to be available in 2 sizes and because the hair extension strands are pre-tipped, it does not allow the technician to customise the size of the tips or thickness of the strands. It also prevents being able to blend more than one colour together in a single extension. When the rings are clamped, they become flat metal squares and can be quite uncomfortable. They are also notorious for tearing and ripping out the natural hair, and are usually unsuitable for fine hair. One of the other major drawbacks of micro rings is that they are often visible particularly in fine hair.
Pre-bonded hair extensions are ready prepared strands of hair that come with pre-tipped bonds attached to the top of the hair extensions. There are two types: U-Tips (also known as Nail Tips) and Flat Tips. The hair extension is applied by taking a small section of the client’s hair, and melting the tip on to the natural hair using a hot wand which forms a bond.
Again, pre-bonded hair extensions have the ability to create a free-flowing hair style. However, like micro rings, pre-bonded hair extensions do not allow the technician to blend different colours together or to customise the weight and size of the bond or strand – and usually the bonds are quite large. Most pre-bonded hair extensions are made from very strong adhesives that are difficult to remove without causing damage to the natural hair. Also, the direct heat on to the natural hair from the hot wand is extremely intense, and over time this method can cause the hair to weaken and break.
Hair Extension Weaves are applied by plaiting the natural hair into horizontal cornrows or tracks, and sewing strips of wefted hair on to the plaits. Weaves were originally designed for Afro-Carribean hair. The amount of tracks required depends on the natural hair type. Women with Caucasian hair usually need between 4-7 wefts to extend their hair, whereas woman with Afro hair usually need to have all their hair plaited into cornrows and a full head weave.
Weaves tend to feel very tight especially at first and can be quite uncomfortable. They also feel and appear bulky, particularly when the weaves are doubled up for extra thickness. Therefore they are not ideal for fine hair as they can be visible, and you cannot usually wear your hair up. They often have an unnatural appearance because the hair extensions are not free flowing and therefore they do not move or behave like real hair. The weaves obstruct the scalp and prevent air from circulating, and also prevent the wearer from being able to shampoo the scalp properly, and therefore are considered unhygienic. Dirt, oil and sweat continue to build up at the scalp, and when the weaves are removed many people report an unpleasant smell and have even suffered scalp problems as a result. The natural growth process is disrupted since the natural hair remains in braids for weeks or months at a time, rather than being free-flowing as with strand by strand hair extensions. Because hair extension weaves put so much tension on the hair and scalp, when worn over long periods of time, the natural hair gradually weakens and break and bald patches may start to appear.
Glue-In Wefts are attached by applying a bonding glue (usually known as Liquid Gold or equivalent) to the top of the wefts and then applying the wefts on to the hair at the scalp. Put simply, they are the worst possible type of hair extensions due to the damage they cause. The glue is extremely difficult to remove without causing stress and damage to the natural hair. They are also not the most comfortable to wear as they are quite bulky and heavy. Every one of our clients who had previously worn these types of hair extensions has always reported some form of hair loss as a result, mostly developing bald patches and hair breakage.
Clip In Hair Extensions are made up of strips of wefted hair that have clips sewn on to the top of the weft. The width of each weft differs according to which part of the head it is to be attached to. The amount of wefts needed will depend on the thickness required (usually 4-7 for length, 2-3 for thickness). The natural hair is parted into horizontal lines, then the hair where the clips will be placed are backcombed to help prevent them from slipping, and finally the clips are secured in place.
Taking into account hair safety, clip-in hair extensions are suitable for occasional wear only. Many people consider them to be completely safe since they are classed as temporary hair extensions. However, when worn daily or regularly the weight from the wefts causes strain and tension on the hair underneath the clips, and the hair starts to weaken which results in bald patches and hair breakage. Because clip in hair extensions are very bulky they are not suitable for fine hair as they can often be visible. Similarly, they are not ideal for extremely thick or very short hair as they are difficult to blend in.
Because clip in hair extensions are usually chosen as a cheaper option, they are usually made from low quality human hair, which means they will not last through many wears before they start deteriorating in quality. Also, they often look unnatural and unsightly as many women do not have them cut into shape and blended with their own hair.
A relatively new technique, Micro Ring Wefts combine both the micro ring attachment and a hair weft. The micro rings come attached to the weft, spaced out evenly along the top of the strip. Small sections of the natural hair are threaded through each micro ring, and then the micro ring is clamped flat to secure it in place. Again, the amount of wefts needed will depend on the thickness required.
The technique avoids tightly sewing in the weft (weaves) or attaching the weft using damaging glue (liquid gold). However, it does pose the problem of applying excessive weight and tension on the natural hair. Hair wefts are reasonably heavy, and since only small sections of the natural hair are used to secure the whole weft to, the natural hair takes a lot of strain to keep the weft in place. The hair is overloaded with too much weight and this can easily cause damage to the natural hair. Therefore the more micro rings attached the weft the better, as more sections of hair will be taken to secure the weft in place. The safest type of hair extensions are those applied on a weight for weight ratio.
On the plus side, micro ring wefts are very quick to apply. However, like any other type of weft attachment, they are extremely bulky, are not the most natural looking, and can be quite uncomfortable to wear. Also, as the natural hair continues to grow, the wefts will soon become ‘baggy’ and more obvious, and therefore in terms of durability they only last up to 4 weeks before they will need to be tightened/reapplied.
Skin weft hair extensions or seamless hair extensions are another form of wefted hair extensions, but rather than the hair being sewn on to a weft, the hair is attached to transparent polyurethane adhesive tape. Skin wefts are produced by threading the hair through the tape to mimic the appearance of hair growing out of the scalp. The tape can be cut to size and are usually cut to a couple of inches in length to make mini wefts. There are two ways of applying skin wefts: the sandwich technique and the single technique. By adopting the sandwich technique, a thin section of the natural hair is taken and one strip is applied underneath, and another on top, thus sandwiching the hair inbetween. When applied using the single method, only one weft is applied to a section of the natural hair.
Skin wefts are relatively quick to apply – a full head can be applied in 1-2 hours. However, like all other types of wefted hair extensions, they come with their downsides, and only last up to 4-6 weeks.