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Hair Extension Methods: Pros & Cons

Hair extensions styled at the beach

If you’ve been dreaming of waking up to long, full and flowing hair, then it’s time to consider hair extensions. But with lots of different hair extension methods available at Additional Lengths, we want you to make the best choices when it comes to your hair. Check out our definitive guide to the pros and cons of different hair extension methods and make a well-informed choice that’s perfectly suited to your hair’s needs.

What is the safest hair extension method?

All hair extension methods are safe when carried out by professionals, but if you’re nervous about trying them, why not wear some temporary hair extensions first as a starting point? Temporary clip-in hair extensions are wefts attached to clips that provide an easy and instant transformation. A perfect choice for thickening out your hair for a night out or a special occasion, they’re also a great option if you want to try out a new hairstyle without even having a haircut! Clip-in hair extensions are easy to use, don’t require professional application and if worn frequently and cared for properly, should last up to 12 months. With less frequent wearing, such as for nights out or special occasions look after them properly and they’ll last even longer!

What is the least damaging hair extension method?

With semi-permanent or permanent hair extensions, lack of correct aftercare can cause damage, but you can prevent this altogether if you take proper care of your natural and extension hair. We’re now going to look at each permanent hair extension method in turn alongside the pros and cons of each, so you can decide on the right choice for your hair.

Tape-In Hair Extensions

Tape-in hair extensions are semi-permanent and are used to give instant volume and length to hair. Great for long, thick locks and everyday styling, they’re taped-in using polyurethane tape, and each extension is sandwiched in between layers of your hair for a flawless, natural finish.

Pros of tape-in hair extensions

Tape-in hair extensions are quick to attach (usually taking around 30-90mins) but, unlike clip-in hair extensions, should last up to 6 weeks with the correct care. They’re easily applied and, because they don’t need heat, cause minimal damage to your hair. Giving hair a natural look, they lay flat to the head and, because they are spread out, don’t cause head strain. Tape-in hair extensions can be reused for up to 8 weeks after being removed with a solvent once the new tape has been applied.

Cons of tape-in hair extensions

For the first 48 hours after application, the tape needs to cure, so bathing, showering or any high-intensity exercise that could cause you to sweat isn’t advisable. You should avoid oil and oil-based hair products as they could cause your extensions to slip. Tape-in hair extensions should be avoided if you swim regularly, as the chemicals in the pool could weaken the tape, and you may find it quite tricky to comfortably tie-up your hair.

Weave-in weft hair extensions

Weave-in weft hair extensions are more permanent and, unlike tape-in extensions, don’t require glueing. The hair is parted across the head and the weft is either sewn onto a plait track or, more commonly, is attached to a track made of rings. The hair is passed through rings in the weft by a loop wand, and each ring is secured to the natural hair, for a more concealed and natural track.  This hair extension method is perfect for thicker hair that can easily conceal the tracks. A weft usually takes 2-3 hours to apply and can last up to three months.

Pros of weave-in extensions

Weave-in hair extensions provide a great way to add natural-looking volume to thick hair. No heat or glue is applied using this method, minimising damage and allowing oils and serums to be used frequently, without any problems. Weave-in extensions are great for adding length to short, thick hair.

Cons of weave-in extensions

Weaves aren’t advisable for finer hair as rows can be visible. There is also a link to traction alopecia if incorrectly fitted, or if you are already experiencing hair loss. These also need to be carefully removed by a professional.

Hot Fusion Hair Extensions

Having hot fusion hair extensions attached is quite a long, intricate process requiring a well-trained professional stylist, which can take up to 8 hours. A Keratin u-tip or flat-tip bond is attached to each section and then bonded close to the root of the hair using a heat tool. With proper application and aftercare, these extensions can last around 4-6 months.

Pros of hot fusion extensions

Hot fusion hair extensions  can last up to six months with the right maintenance. The Keratin used in the application process dries transparent, allowing the extensions to blend well with your hair for the perfect, natural look.

Cons of hot fusion extensions

The process of hot fusion extensions must be completed by a professional. Also, it’s worth noting that they also take much longer to remove than any other method and often need to be removed with pliers.

Cold Fusion hair extensions 

Like hot fusion, this hair extension method uses pre-tipped Keratin-based polymer extensions attached to the hair’s root with a special tool. There is no heat used in this application method, which takes a slightly less time of around 4-6 hours for extensions that last up to 3 months.

Pros to cold fusion extensions

The no-heat application in this method reduces the risk of hair damage, and because the extensions are attached close to the roots, they create a natural blend, perfect for fine hair.

Cons to cold fusion extensions

In this method, the hair isn’t always reusable. A major plus of Remi-Cachet however is that the hair can be re-tipped giving it an approximate lifespan of twelve months, so there’s no need to buy new! The main con with cold fusion extensions is that they take a long time to remove.

Micro-ring extensions

Micro-ring hair extensions are small bundles of hair looped through small sections of natural hair and secured by a band, clamped together with pliers. For some other options,  Nano-tip and ultra-tip extensions work in exactly the same way, but fit completely flat to the head for an unbelievably natural blend. This hair extension method takes around 2-5 hours for application and can last up to 3 months.

Pros to micro-ring extensions

As no heat is used in this method, the hair is subjected to minimal damage, and the extensions can be both easily adjusted and reused. A popular choice, these extensions blend seamlessly with natural hair and are easy to wash and care for.

Cons to micro-ring extensions

This method is not recommended for fine hair as it can cause strain and discomfort to the scalp. During the clamping process, natural hair can face some minimal damage. It’s also difficult to style these extensions into a high ponytail if the extensions aren’t applied correctly.

Which hair extension method is best?

So there you have it, our definitive guide to choosing the best hair extensions for your hair! There’s no right or wrong answer, but by reading through some of these pros and cons, we hope that you’ll be able to make an informed decision and a confident choice when it comes to choosing the best hair extension method for your own hair. For more information, you may also like our ultimate guide to a hair extension consultation and our find a stylist map for more advice from a trusted stylist near you.

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