Hair extensions have proven to be a total game-changer. They are artificial hair integrations that look absolutely natural.
They are also known as hair weaves and they give an illusion of length and volume. The different types of hair extensions also help us in making various style statements in no time.
Related: Types of crochet hair extensions
People can now try out different hairstyles without committing to it or causing any damage to your hair.
There are different ways of attaching hair extensions:
- Glue – This process is also known as bonding. It is done with the help of a special adhesive or glue that helps in sticking the extensions into a section of wefted hair.
- Clip-Ins – Here the extensions are attached to your natural hair by a series of metal clips.
- Sew-In – The extensions are braided or crocheted into your hair with the help of a needle. These types of hair extensions are long lasting.
- Tape-Ins – These are similar to clip-ins but an adhesive tape is used instead of hair clips.
But before I get into these types of hair extensions, let’s take a look at the chief two types of hair extensions – human hair ones and synthetic extensions.
Human Hair Extensions V/s Synthetic Hair Extensions
There are two different types of hair extensions available based on their material. These are human hair extensions and synthetic hair extensions.
There have been ongoing debates about which one of them is the best.
This is one of the first choices you have to make while getting a hair extension.
Human hair extensions and synthetic hair extensions, both come with their own pros and cons. Let’s dive deeper into these two and learn more about them.
Types of Hair Extensions
Types Of Hair Extensions Based On Hair Type
Human Hair Extension
Human hair extensions, like the name, says it is made up of natural human hair. Some of the most popular human hair includes Brazilian hair and Indian hair.
These are washable hair and can be treated just as you would treat your natural hair.
The people who cut this hair directly from the humans and bundle them up are known as hair collectors.
The various textures available in human hair are coarse or smooth straight, curly wave, deep wave and kinky curly.
They are literally real human hair from top to bottom. Some of the characteristics of human hair are:
- Looks Natural- Human hair gives you a very natural look since it is not too different from a person’s natural hair. It gets a natural shine because of the cuticle which is a protective layer. It also maintains the natural moisture in the hair which contributes to the shine.
- Long-Lasting– A human hair extension is the longest lasting hair extensions. If you are a low-maintenance person like me, this would be a great option for you. It stays for up to one year or even longer if it is maintained properly.
- Heat Friendly– Virgin human hair extensions can be styled in several ways and it doesn’t get as damaged as synthetic hair. Especially when using heat tools like flat irons, hairdryers, curling tongs etc. You can treat them just like your natural hair and chemically treat them and even colour them!
- Better Quality– Human hair comprises a dead hard protein called keratin which contributes to its strength and shine. The other layers are the cortex or cuticle which protects the hair from external damages. It also strengthens your hair. So a human hair extension is of much better quality than a synthetic hair extension.
- Expensive- Because of the numerous benefits it provides, a human hair extension tends to be more expensive than a synthetic hair extension. But it gives you value for money since it lasts longer and you do not have to replace it as much as a synthetic hair extension. The price ranges from approximately 76$ to 400$.
- Gets Frizzy– Since human hair extensions are no different from natural hair, they can be vulnerable to a lot of external elements. This includes the weather and the humidity that can make it coarse or frizzy.
Synthetic Hair Extensions
Synthetic hair extensions are artificial hair that is made using materials like acrylic, nylon and polyester.
These materials are being heated pushed through a special microtube that looks similar to human hair.
They mimic a human hair extension but the difference can be clearly made out because of their look and texture.
There are new developments in the world of synthetic hair and there are materials like kanekalon, which is a high-quality synthetic hair that looks similar to human hair extensions.
This is the most commonly used hair extension because of the cost and ease of use. These are my favourite because of the little-to-no styling it requires.
They are available in a variety of styles and colours too.
Some of the most popular textures Silky straight, Yaki (relaxed Afro Caribbean hair), deep wave, loose deep wave, kinky curly, wet and wavy etc. available in synthetic hair extensions.
The top characteristics of synthetic extensions include:
- Cheap- Synthetic hair extensions are comparatively cheaper than human hair extensions. If you are on a tight budget, but still want to get extensions, you should totally go for this. It costs around 50$ to 85$.
- Cannot be styled– Most of the synthetic hair is made up of materials that are not exactly heat resistant. So it is not possible to style it or colour it as you desire. They usually come pre-styled so you can choose an extension based on the look you are going for. They are also not meant for washing since doing so could lead to tangled hair.
- Easy to maintain- Synthetic hair extensions need little to no maintenance since they are pre-style. They have memory which makes the style stay solid despite external circumstances like rain, wind, pressure etc.
- Doesn’t last long– Unlike human hair extensions, synthetic hair extensions are not that durable and do not last long. Its average lifespan is around two months only. Most of them can only stay for up to three months with proper maintenance and care.
- Looks artificial- Most of the synthetic hair available today, except a few new materials that have just come up, looks very artificial. People can make out if you have worn wigs or not just by taking a look at your head. This is because of the texture of the materials such as acrylic, polyester and nylon which is used to make these wigs.
Both human hair and synthetic hair have their own pros and cons.
However, your choice should depend on your budget, the level of maintenance you are looking for, how often you want to spend your money on extensions and the style of wigs you wanna wear.
Now that we have ascertained the difference between real and synthetic hair, let us move to the different types of hair extensions, based on applications.
Types Of Hair Extensions Based On Application Method
This is one of the most popular types of hair extensions because of the easy installation and maintenance.
If you are looking for a hair extension that can be a part of your everyday look, these are a great option.
They are also known as clip-in wefts and come as chunks of hair that have materials like fabric or silicone attached at the base.
These contoured pieces also have clips attached to the base which enables the user to easily fix it to the hair.
Yes, you can just clip these extensions to your hair on your own! You can easily snap open the clip and just fix it to your hair.
These hair extensions are not permanent and are a great option if you are looking for something that can be changed easily since you can take them off and put them back on whenever you feel like it.
They are gentle on your hair and cause minimal damage because there is no involvement of any chemicals or pressure on your scalp while fixing them.
How To Fix Clip-in Weaves
Make sure you start fixing the extensions by brushing your hair and removing tangles if any.
Take a small section of your hair from the nape of your neck and separateth the rest of your hair using a hair clip.
Brush out the weft of hair before slipping it onto that section.
It is recommended to start clipping your hair from the bottom of your head and make your way up to the top.
This removes any tangles that might occur. To ensure that it fits perfectly, measure the weft against your head before fixing it.
It is important to clip it as close to the roots as possible.
Make sure that you pull the section of your hair away from the scalp so that the clip doesn’t slide down too far.
Hair extensions are time-consuming to fix but these types of hair extensions do not take up too much of your time and can be fixed in around 15 minutes.
At first, you might find it a bit difficult to clip in your hair but with practice, you will get a hang of it.
Clip-in hair extensions are one of the easiest hair extensions to maintain. It saves you a lot of time and effort unlike the rest of the extension application methods.
If you are using clip-in hair extensions made up of human hair, it might require some amount of maintenance.
Human hair extensions don’t have to be washed often. You just have to wash it after wearing it about 15 to 20 times.
You can treat it just like your natural hair and apply hair products including, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays and even hair masks!
You have to first brush your hair to make sure that there are no tangles. It also helps in avoiding tangles after washing your hair.
Use a wide-tooth comb or a soft bristle brush to comb your hair from bottom to top to make sure that any knots are removed.
Place one weft on top of the other to make sure that the hair doesn’t get stuck in the clips during the wash.
You can also style them just like your natural hair. This means that you can colour your hair or even use heat tools on them without worrying.
If you notice that you have product buildup on your human hair extensions, it is recommended to wash it to extend the lifespan of the extension.
Plug the drain and fill a clean sink with lukewarm water. Disperse some shampoo in the water and mix well.
Your shampoo should be free of harmful ingredients such as sulphates, parabens, alcohol, mineral oil etc to make sure that your extension is long-lasting.
Wash each weft separately to make sure that there are no tangles.
Once shampooed, you can follow up with a conditioner or even a hair mask to maintain the softness moisturisation of the hair extension.
Since these extensions do not have a natural hydration source like the hair on your head, it is important to provide moisture using conditioners, hair masks and hair sprays.
It is recommended to air dry the extensions and use a heat protectant before using any heat tools.
You should also dunk it in water and wash the tops of the tracks and clips if it gets dirty using a q-tip or a small brush.
Tape-in Hair Extensions
Tape in hair extensions, as the name says, these products use tape to fix your extensions in place. The extensions that are already taped are then glued onto both sides of your hair.
These hair extensions are semi-permanent and last 4- 8 weeks before re-application with proper maintenance.
How to Fix
This kind of extensions is best done with the help of a hairdresser or a stylist who applies the tape-ins for These extensions must bes are aligned with the roots before fixing them with a heated tool that heats the glue.
You need to use a glue remover to take them off once you are done wearing these extensions.
The process of applying these extensions can take up to 1 hour. However, the application of these extensions involves heated glue and adhesives which tends to cause some amount of damage.
Unlike clip-ins, you cannot use hair products in these types of hair extensions without proper care.
The glue in these extensions is prone to loosening and detachment when it comes to contact with hair products.
This is one of the most common issues faces by people who use clip-in hair extensions.
It is recommended to use mild shampoos that do not contain oil and are gentle on your hair to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Sew-in Hair Extensions/ Weaves
If you are someone with thick hair like me, this is a great choice for hair extensions.
This is because the extensions are sewn using a needle and thread into the hair which makes it convenient for those with thick hair.
Unlike other hair extensions that come in wefts, these come as a single piece.
This is a great option if you are looking for something long term because this is one of the most durable options.
Weaves are to be kept on your hair for six to eight weeks because they might cause a lot of pressure on your natural hair and hinder growth.
It is important to take it off in less than four months to minimise damage.
How to Fix
For fixing sew-in hair extensions, the natural hair is first braided into the cornrows. The braid is then sewn into our hair using a needle and thread.
This is a very time-consuming process and takes several hours to finish.
The process is also painful and can put immense pressure on your natural hair and scalp. This may lead to breakage on fine and thin hair.
Another reason why this type of hair extension is recommended only for thick hair!
These hair extensions should only be applied with the help of a specialist hair technician or a well-trained hairdresser since there is a lot of room for mistakes in the process of application.
Sew-in hair extensions are also available in the form of wigs which are sewn into the cornrows.
It is recommended to use special protein products to make sure that there is minimal damage and the hair doesn’t lose its strength.
You should always keep your scalp, nape, edges of your hair and roots moisturized, while using these extensions.
Weaves are usually made up of human hair so you can take care of it just as you would take care of your own hair.
Fusion And Pre-bonded Extensions
These hair extensions are also known as pre-bonded hair extensions. They are attached to the natural hair using glue and adhesives.
This is one of the most damaging ways of fixing hair extensions to your hair since it involves glueing individual strands to your natural hair.
These hair extensions are semi-permanent and stay for up to 4 months.
How to Fix
The application of these extensions involves a machine that looks like a hot glue gun.
You should only get this done from a well experienced professional hairdresser since you can seriously mess up if you try to do this yourself.
The extensions are individually attached to your hair strands using the adhesive.
Another method of fixing these extensions is by using a heated clamp that melts the glue into your natural hair.
Fusion and pre-bonded extensions should be treated just like your natural hair.
This means that you can use hair care products like shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, hair mask etc to nourish and moisturise your strands.
You have to make sure that these extensions are repositioned often, every two to three months since your natural hair grows.
However, you should be aware of the damage such as hair loss, breakage and irritations that could be caused by these extensions.
Microlink Hair Extensions
These hair extensions are popularly known as micro bead hair extensions and micro loop hair extensions.
These hair extensions are semi-permanent which means that they last for up to four months.
How to Fix
The application of micro link hair extensions involves attaching tiny wefts of hair to small sections of hair using a silicone-lined bead.
Using a special tool, the hair is secured tightly to the bead to hold it in place. The application takes around 2- 4 hours.
Even though it doesn’t involve the use of heat and adhesives, the micro link may cause some amount of damage to your hair if it is not done with the help of an experienced hair professional.
If the bead is too tight, it could lead to breakage and even pull out hair from the roots.
You can treat them just like your natural hair and use all the hair products you would normally use on them.
Wigs and Hairpieces
These are the first most common types of hair extensions to be ever used. They are pre-styled and come in a variety of colours and looks.
This is a temporary hair extension that you can use anytime with little to no professional assistance.
They come in various shapes and styles including a bun, full ponytail etc. This is also common among patients with alopecia or other chronic hair-loss or balding issues.
They can also be used in parts of your head if you notice thin hair or a bald spot.
These types of hair extensions can last for a long time with proper maintenance. Human hair wigs typically last for up to one year.
How to Fix
These types of hair extensions can be fixed by yourself at the comfort of your home within a span of minutes.
These usually cover your entire head and are attached with lace or nets that help in securely fastening it to your head.
You just have to place the pre-styled wig on top of your head and fasten it securely with the help of the lace and net attached.
It is recommended to braid your natural hair that goes underneath your wig to enable easy installation and a neat look.
These types of hair extensions are a little difficult to wash but it depends on the material they are made of. You also have to take care of the attached material while washing.
These were the different types of hair extensions. You can select the right one for your hair depending on your hair type, texture, budget, and needs.
It’s important to take care of your extensions so you can choose synthetic ones if maintenance will be a problem.
Similarly you can go for clip-in extensions if you don’t want to spend money or time on visiting a hairdresser as these are easier to use.