I've been a fan of hair extensions for the last 15 years. The quality and types of hair out there has come a long way, which has improved the wearability, versatility and natural look of today's extensions. They are worn not only to lengthen, but to thicken, shape/style and add colour. Extensions have been around for years, but with more celebrities and stylists talking candidly about them, they have increased in popularity as of late, and it's about time. Extensions are just another way to add to or alter our hairstyles, similar to perming, dying or cutting. What I personally like about extensions, is that they are noncommittal. I love bangs, but my hair grows slowly, so the idea of cutting bangs is a long term commitment for me. Rather than take the plunge, clip-in bang extensions are easy to use and look genuine.
There is also the great debate between real and synthetic hair. Synthetic is much more affordable but sometimes the hair doesn't have the same durability or functionality as real human hair (i.e. ability to use curling irons, ceramic irons, etc.). I've met fans of both styles and they can look equally good, you just need to take care of the hair properly.
The first extensions I ever wore, were braids. I've worn shoulder length to medium length braids, both thin and thick. Braids are a very neat and tidy look (especially if your stylist knows what he or she is doing). They are great for going away on sunny vacations because the maintenance is relatively easy and there is no humidity frizz factor. I found however, that braids took too long to put in and take out, so I only wore that style for a few years and never really looked back! Looks beautiful though doesn't it?
Extensions can be attached in a multitude of ways. You can clip them in, sew them in, even glue them in. I have also worn sewn-in extensions in the past. The bonus in wearing sewn-in extensions is that they are securely attached. No chance of having your extensions pulled out with a tug, that's for sure. Your hair is sewn in braids horizontally (picture teeny tiny horizontal french braids) and the weft of the extensions is sewn on to the braids. While I love the look of these extensions, when your hair that's braided underneath starts to grow out...you end up looking WRONG and you have to get them taken out stat. The other hinderance is that it's a bit of a pain to wash your hair. Each time you loosen the secureness of the braid.
My preferred extensions are the clip-in style. Primarily because of the easy application and the fact that at the end of the day, I can just snap them off! Bada Bing Bada Boom! Since you can apply them yourself, there is no expensive stylist cost either. Typically you can get 7 or 8 pieces in a package which is more than enough and they come in varying lengths. Check out this adorable southern belle's how to video.
For all of my hair supply needs, there are 3 stores in Edmonton that I shop at regularly. Images and Shades carries a huge array of extensions, with a variety of lengths, styles and colours in-store. There are 4 locations in Edmonton (Edmonton West, Clareview, Strathcona and Central) so regardless of where you live, there should be a shop close by! Diva Hair Superstore on 106th avenue and 124th street is another great stop for extensions. They also carry a wide range of stock and the shelves and walls are packed and brimming! Sally Beauty Supply sells not only hair products and supplies, but also general beauty supplies. If you are looking for salon or spa brands or products, they may be a good place to try first. There are now 3 locations in Edmonton (Southside, Mayfield Commom and Clareview).