How to get extensions for African American hair!
Celebrities like Beyonce, Halle Berry, Alicia Keys and Brandy all look stunning with their constantly changing hairstyles. Their secret is hair extensions
and it's now easier than ever to get their style!
Extensions can take you from short to long hair, give you more volume and instant highlights! You can go curly, straight or get a new color. They can also help you after a hair disaster or hair damage.
How extensions can save your hair!
Many black women get their hair pressed and chemically relaxed to straighten it. If this is repeated regularly, it can damage the hair very badly. Black hair is particularly prone to damage as it is quite delicate and needs gentle handling.
Hair extensions can be used to hide damaged hair until the real hair grows through again. It's best to see a good stylist who can assess the amount of damage and advise you whether your hair can take extensions or not.
How would the extensions be attached?
There are many methods. Your stylist can advise on the best one for you.
- Tracks (cornrows) are braided close to the scalp and the extensions are then sewn onto them. This is the most popular method of attachment
This is ideal for growing out a chemical relaxer as your own natural hair is braided underneath the extensions and won't be seen
- A skilled stylist braids tiny strands of extension hair into your own hair. Some of the names you might hear are tree braid, braid weave, cornrows and french braid
- This is a fairly recent and very neat process. The strand of extension hair already has a very fine metal loop fixed at the end of it. Using a special tool, the stylist 'latches' the extension on and the result is very flat, undetectable clips close to the scalp
- The extension has an I-shaped piece of hard glue on the end. It's attached to your hair with a heated iron
- The same as an I-Tip…just different shaped glue!
- A glue stick in a heat gun melts and is used to attach the extension to your own hair. This can take you from a short crop to long hair in around 8-16 hours! It's one of the most expensive methods
- This is the easiest method and is used on wefts of extension hair. A weft is like a false eyelash but with long hair on it! Glue is applied to the weft and then stuck to the root of your own hair. It's a temporary method and is easy to remove with special glue remover
Many people are now turning to clip-on hair extensions
. These are kind to your hair as they just clip in and you can put them in or take them out as you like!
They come in human or synthetic hair and a variety of styles, lengths and colors.
They're ideal for special occasions as they're so easy to attach!
If your hair is badly damaged, your stylist might recommend these to you in an effort to avoid further harm being done to your hair.
The problem with cornrows...
One of the most popular styles for African Americans is cornrows which are unfortunately very damaging to hair. They have remained popular because they are very easy to maintain and can be left in for weeks.
Unfortunately - as many black people and lovers of hair extensions are discovering – cornrows can cause a form of alopecia or hair loss. This is called tension alopecia and is caused by just that – tension on the hair from tight braids or cornrows literally pulling the hair out at the roots.
The only method of treatment is to stop wearing the cornrows until your hair grows back. Clip-on hair extensions would be great for this as they won't cause any more damage.
Help for permanent damage
Some people suffer permanent damage, usually on the front hairline. It's now possible to have a fine mesh spread across the root area. This acts as a bridge though which the new extensions can be applied.
What type of extension is best?
Human hair is the best quality and gives the best results. It's also the most expensive.
Synthetic hair is used very successfully for black hair extensions - especially if they are braids as they are indistinguishable from the real thing!
The most common are Kanekalon fiber and Toyakalon fiber. They are lighter than plain synthetics and so don't pull the roots of your hair so much. You can also style them with hot irons
but keep it on the lowest, coolest setting – or you'll melt your new hair!
Watch this space...
The hot news in the world of extensions is the development of a protein fiber made from collagen. This is almost identical to human hair in texture. The protein hair is called ULTIMA and is made by a company called Kaneka. They've signed Brandy as their spokeswoman.
This 'hair' is expected to do very well so be on the lookout!