What it’s Like Getting Hair Extensions from Locks & Mane

Locks & Mane Queen St. West (Image: Instagram/@locksandmane)

Locks & Mane Queen St. West (Image: Instagram/@locksandmane)

Tired of short hair? We hear ya! Vv Magazine’s Ama Scriver set out on a quest for longer locks and found herself at the Toronto-based hair extension bar, Locks & Mane. Read on for her full experience including prices and before and after photos. 

I’ve been growing out my hair for what seems like an eternity now and it’s still not nearly the length that I want it to be. All I’ve wanted for so long is long, luscious Kardashian-like hair, but from watching the show I have come to realize that most of them wear hair extensions and wigs – none of it is real. I guess the best way is to fake it until you make it.

Recently, I started looking into extensions to compensate for my hair and what I found out in my research was [spoiler alert] a lot of people do it, they just don’t talk about it. I found this odd, but the reason for secrecy being that getting hair extensions has a stigma and misconceptions attached to them. This is why I thought my visit to Locks & Mane (and this post) would be important. It would help people understand and realize what exactly getting hair extensions was all about.

Inside Locks & Mane (Image: Facebook/Locks & Mane Hair Extension Bar)

Inside Locks & Mane (Image: Facebook/Locks & Mane Hair Extension Bar)

The first Locks & Mane location opened in July 2015 on Queen Street West by three business partners (Jennifer Parrott, Vanja Bannan, and Katherine Hague) who wanted to introduce a concept of fast & affordable extensions. When I went in for my appointment, I walked into their space, which is gorgeous and inviting. I did a lot of research prior to attending my appointment and the beauty bar offers two types of semi-permanent extension: The Luscious Locks and The Mane Attraction plus a clip-in option. The difference between the two (The Luscious Lock and The Mane Attraction) is the volume of hair you get. With The Luscious Locks, you’ll get a regular volume installation (16”, 110 grams of hair – $195) and with the Mane Attraction, you’ll get double the volume (16” – 220 grams of hair – $395). For my first time, I went for a regular volume as I knew I had thick hair to begin with.

First and foremost, before my hair extensions appointment, I had to re-dye my hair from it’s blue-green color to a regular and basic dark brown. I talked to Katherine Hague, co-owner of Locks & Mane about the versatility of extensions and she explains, “Hair extensions don’t need to be the same color as your roots. They only need to blend with the tips of your hair, whether it’s your natural color or not.” Since the extensions are 100% human hair, should I want to re-dye them with my colourist back to a blue-green color, the option is totally there. Instead, I thought it would be interesting to be basic for awhile. It felt odd, but my extension stylist was able to find me a match and she worked on my hair and started placing the extensions in quickly.

Before and after hair extensions

Before and after hair extensions

Okay, so how does the process work exactly. Well, Locks & Mane use a process using microbeads. The beads attach to the extension piece in your natural hair, using no glue or sewing meaning that your hair is not damaged. The bead is then shut on your natural hair and the extension. It’s fairly painless and no fuss, no muss. It can cause your scalp to be a bit itchy after it’s done because there is a foreign object attached to it, but regardless, pretty painless and awesome. Hague of Locks & Mane explains, “There are a lot of horror stories out there regarding extensions and we think that makes people wary of trying them. At Locks & Mane, our mission is to make high-quality extensions fast, affordable, and damage-free. We want to remove this stigma once and for all.”

Jennifer Rose Mabel, who was my extensions stylist, was awesome and walked me through the entire process making sure I knew what she was doing to my hair and when. I didn’t feel uncomfortable at any point in time and when I walked out of the salon that day, I was actually in a little bit of disbelief that my hair was so fabulous. I realized it wasn’t much longer than my hair was before but the volume on it was incredible and the process was actually incredibly quick, which was shocking. Best part: the extensions can last you for up to three months. You just have to come in for semi-regular tightening, which costs $40.

Before and after hair extensions

Before and after hair extensions

Okay, so here is the low and dirty stuff that people won’t tell you. I’ve had my extensions in for just over a week and I’m still deciding if I love or hate them. I absolutely love the look of them but now I find myself brushing my hair obsessively for fear of it getting knotted. My friends tell me this is a thing that folks with long hair experience. I’m trying not to be obsessive about it but sometimes, it’s hard not to be. Secondly, I know it’s in my hair but I feel like my hair looks fake. I’ve had friends touch, play and look at my hair and everyone says it doesn’t. Again – it’s all in my head but I’m trying not to think too much about it. Would I recommend getting extensions to other folks? Absolutely! I think everyone should try getting them once, just to see what it feels like. For me personally, I think having extensions in have been transformational and fun! Perhaps they will invoke something else in you.

If you want to look into getting your own extensions, book a consultation at Locks & Mane’s main location on Queen West or visit one of their pop-up bars in Hudson’s Bay locations across Canada.

RELATED LINK: What it’s like Getting Your Eyebrows Tattooed On 

Have you ever gotten hair extensions before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe

Ama Scriver

Ama Scriver

Amanda (Ama) Scriver is a passionate storyteller, community builder and a loud and proud feminist and body image activist. She freelances for several publications including Foodism, Paste Magazine and BizBash. In her off time, she lives for coffee, trashy reality television, hip hop and all things drag. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram via @amascriver on at her website AmaScriver.com
Ama Scriver