I can guarantee that in one time or another in your pageant life, you have worn some form of hair extension. Real or fake, straight or curly, weave or wig. They can be used to add length or thickness, or to completely change your hair with little to no commitment. I'll share with you a little bit of my personal insight on the five biggest extension mistakes, and how to avoid them.
5. Color Crisis
We've all seen it. A girl with extensions whose hair color is noticeably different than the color of the extension. These can be woven in or clipped in, but the effect is still the same. Sometimes it's so much of a difference that you can notice it on your own and other times you walk around an event with mismatched hair, only to realize that your extensions are two shades lighter when you're tagged in a photo on Facebook... which you promptly beg the poster to remove. How can this be avoided, you ask? As was recommended to me by a Sally Beauty employee, purchase extensions to match the lightest color in your hair. It is easier to deposit color onto light strands as opposed to removing color from darker extensions.
4. Texture Terror
One of the main things you want to pay close attention to when buying extensions is the texture. If you will be wearing your hair smooth and straight, I recommend investing in Remy hair extensions. The cuticles are kept intact, and it makes for easier styling and more durability. If you are a woman of color and want a more natural texture, Yaki hair has a closed yet slightly textured cuticle. For those who are wearing a wig or are getting a full head of extensions woven in, I would recommend using Remy hair. If you are getting a partial weave for length or thickness, or clip-in extensions, I recommend choosing the hair that most accurately matches your natural texture.
3. Hair-Care Conundrum
We all wonder how to take care of our extensions. Do I wash them? Can I use hairspray? How should I store them? Brush them? Condition them? Thankfully, trial and error have helped my extensions survive in the pageant world. There are different methods for caring for different styles of extensions, which I'll specifically address.
Weaves: I personally loved it when I had my extensions sewn in. But, I found that my tracks became loose with my daily washing and dried out quickly. Your washing habits will depend on your own body chemistry. You should aim for at least two days between washes, and should have tracks re-sewn every six to eight weeks. I took mine out at ten weeks, and I looked like a matted sheepdog to say the least! When you wash them, only wash very close to the scalp and use only a high-quality moisturizing conditioner on the rest of your hair. I also liked to use an olive-oil based de-tangler to moisturize and eliminate breakage. As for blow-drying, make sure the extensions are at least fifty percent dry and use a boar-bristle round brush to smooth the cuticle and minimize breakage.
You can use lightweight products and hairspray to hold styles without weighting hair down.
These should be washed from once a month to once a week, depending on how often you wear them. By wash, I mean a pea-sized dollop of shampoo for the whole set, and a fifty-cent piece sized dollop of intense moisture and repair deep conditioner, which you should let set for two to three minutes before rinsing. Lay flat or hang to air dry, and use a low-temp heat device to restore the smooth texture. Use a children's de-tangler and a wide-tooth comb to remove knots. Wigs: I personally don't have experience with wigs, but I would care for them in the same manner you would as extensions. You want to limit washes, and be sure to condition it every time it is washed. It should be set on it's form to dry, with the length hanging over the edge of a counter. You may want to use a blow-dryer on a low setting to give body once it is seventy-five percent dry.
2. Battle of the Styles
Hair extensions are more likely to hold styles as opposed to natural hair. Is your hair fine and hard to curl? Use a smaller barrel curling iron on your natural hair in conjunction with a firm-hold hairspray. On the extensions, use the next size larger iron and a lightweight hairspray. As your natural hair begins to fall, it will more readily blend with your extensions. If your hair holds curl better than the extensions, reverse the irons, not the hair spray. The more product you use on the extensions, the more they become weighed down and the less likely they are to hold style.
1. Mullet Mayhem
Bi-level, bye title. We've all seen it. Hey, I've even been a victim of it! This is a prime example of not thinning the top layers of shorter hair when you get a weave or clip-in extensions. You literally have a chunky distinct line where your natural hair stops and the extensions begin to show. It's painful to see and even more painful to walk around with a modified mullet. So how can you avoid this without God Himself making your hair grow six inches overnight so it at least looks like it could be a long layer? Thinning shears. Using thinning shears with thirty to forty teeth (the more teeth, the less hair is removed) can eliminate how harshly the top layer falls without sacrificing length.
Ask your stylist to start halfway down the hair shaft, and make two to three evenly spaced snips. If there is still to harsh of a break, repeat once more slightly above where the first cut was made. When you remove the extensions, the hair will not be as full on the very top layer as it was before, but you will still have the majority of your natural length. I hope this tutorial can help you when wearing extensions, caring for extensions, and choosing the best hair for your lifestyle. My personal favorite has been sewed-in extensions but everyone's hair needs and personal preferences are different. Let me know your favorite kinds of extensions below!
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