I remember it like it was yesterday. When Pete and I first got married, he had a client who co-owned a hair salon in Yorkville, Toronto. It was posh, everyone in there was dripping with money, and gorgeous head-to-toe. When Peter told me that his client was going to do my hair, I was excited, of course — but i had no idea what i was walking in to. I walked in, and felt every wrinkle, every mark, every bit of dirt on my clothes from wearing it that day. My outfit felt old and frumpy, my makeup felt sub par, my jacket and purse were so ordinary. They didn’t treat me any differently for a second, and my experience there was always DIVINE. I had my hair cut, coloured, styled, and when i walked out that door — i literally was turning heads. LITERALLY.
One time, there was a client in a chair nearby and i did a double take. She had this long, blonde, lush hair that was just so perfect and voluminous. I think ever since then i’ve had that image in my head as something i’ve wanted for myself. That was a solid 10 years ago, maybe more. I’ve been on the quest for perfect blonde hair ever since. If you’ve never met me, or seen my roots (ha!)… im a solid dark brown. My hair can pull brassy, warm because my dad’s a ginger (I KNOW!). Blonding my hair is a challenge, but to add to the situation, my hair is thin. Fine. i make the tiniest ponytails. Solution? Find a blonding guru and extensions.
I’ve had three different kinds of extensions, and i’m by no means a hair pro, but here’s my experience with them:
- Tape Ins: My first go was tape ins. Pros: Easy, customizable to an extent, reusable. I’d go in every so often to have my tapes moved up, and reuse the same hair for a year. Cons: my roots were brown, my extensions were blonde. when we tried to root the tapes dark to help them blend in better, the hair under the tape was still blonde so although the hair was rooted, you could still catch blonde strips at my roots. Also i had a really hard time putting my hair in a ponytail without the tapes showing. For someone who works on clients’ faces and bodies, i need my hair tied back quite often. And these suckers would slip out once in a while leaving you with an inch gap in the length of your hair if it slipped out of a strategically important spot on your head.
- Fusions: Second round, also with a different stylist, i went with fusions! Pros: smaller adhesion points, instead of a tape an inch wide, so easier to hide. These were less likely to fall out, but even if they did — its such a small bundle, that nobody would notice. Much easier to hide these into a ponytail, and they move better with your scalp so a lot more natural than the tapes. Cons: Pricier than tapes, for me anyways. My tapes were with a new stylist so i got a steal of a deal, but in the end as we all know… you get what you pay for. I had the same issue with these as the tapes at the adhesive — my dark rooted extensions had a chunk of blonde hair under the glue. I’m not sure if my stylist couldn’t get the fusion wefts pre-rooted, or if they just don’t exist, but occasionally you could see the original blonde bits if my hair moved the right way, or if i didn’t position my hair properly in a ponytail. Lastly, and this is kind of my doing, but towards the end when my extensions were growing out, my roots’ wavy texture needed to be flat-ironed. Guess what happens when you flat-iron glue? You get a big, matted mess.
- Sew-in Beaded Wefts: Third round, and my current set of extensions, are my beaded wefts. Sew in wefts? Whatever they are, its what i’ve got. So they place a row of beads in your hair and sew the wefts into the beads. As your hair grows, the beads move down the bunch of hair they’re attached to, and the weft travels with the beads. Pros: completely customizable, right up to the roots. No adhesive, no unsightly misplaced blonde chunks that are impossible to hide. No glue or adhesive, so much less mess and no risk of melting your extensions into a matted mess. Also at my maintenance appointments, my stylist removes hair that is still cinched in the beads but not attached to my scalp (natural shedding). Cons: Most expensive of them all. As always, you pay for quality — but i’m referring to monthly maintenance appointments. You’ll need the extensions moved up every 5 weeks or so, otherwise the maintenance gets more complicated, more dead hair to remove, potentially matting… These monthly appointments cost money. Also you can’t let your hair air dry, because the moisture can cause mould to form and your scalp gets stinky.
Ten years after that experience in the Yorkville hair salon, I finally achieved #hairgoal status. I LOVE my extensions, and I LOVE the blonde that i’ve worked so hard to achieve and maintain. So obviously, i haven’t tried everything out there — i know there are other types of extensions, but this is just a recap of my experience with extensions. The biggest lesson i learned through this three year ordeal is, you get what you pay for. And that’s true for more than just hair 😉
Ok: your turn!! Have you had extensions? What’s your favourite style?