Vv Magazine’s Nicki Laborie points out the good and the bad of hair extensions after trying out new high-quality tape extensions…
In this day and age anything is possible to alter a physical feature. You don’t like your lips? Add filler and you’ve got Kylie Jenner’s lips. Lashes not long enough? Get extensions. Too much love around that waistline? Try one of the many fat-sucking treatments available to erase those naughty indulgences. You can even get hair extensions if you’re frustrated with your new short hairdo — you know, the one that you thought you’d love forever but then changed your mind.
This is exactly what happened to me. I cut my hair, loved it for a good year and then realized I was going to have to go through a very “soccer mom” hair phase to grow it out. First world problems I know… so I did it. I got extensions. But extensions are not easy – until you fall in love with how you look.
My hair has always been my best feature. Growing up I had thick, curly hair that did whatever it wanted, but always in the right way. As I’ve aged, the texture has changed and the curls have turned into kinky waves. Then the flat iron came into the mix and my hair slowly became dryer than dry, which is why I realized I needed to do something to save it.
I looked into extensions and discovered that certain options, like bonding with glue or sewing, will actually damage your hair so I quickly dismissed those. They’re also very expensive because every time you need to lift the extensions, you have to pay for new ones. I wanted longevity, so none of these were options.
But the day came when I was utterly sick of my short, dry hair, so on a friend’s recommendation, I went to Cheveux, by Darren Kwik to find out about a type of extension that is hailed for not being bad for your hair, lasting for up to one year, and helping your own hair become stronger.
Using tape rather than glue, this hair is high-quality human hair and can be colour matched easily and be treated exactly like you would your own hair. Sounds great, right? Here’s the rub: every extension situation has its pros and cons, and tape-ins, which I’m quite enjoying at this point, took some serious getting used to.
Things to keep in mind before getting tape extensions…
Don’t expect it to feel like your own hair. While I knew the texture would be somewhat different, it took about one month before I was comfortable with the extensions. I hated seeing the dramatic difference between my own hair and the extensions. I tied it up everyday. That said, after one month, I noticed the hair blending in more naturally and started loving it.
Don’t expect them to be easy to manage. Getting used to having eighty added hairpieces hanging from your scalp is no easy feat. They’re heavy and can at times get tangled. What I learned is brushing your hair (gently) is key – nobody wants dreads developing, because that could result in having to cut the hair.
Keep them away from your conditioner. Washing my hair has become a job I dread because I am always nervous that I’ll get my conditioner on the tape, which creates hair sliders… meaning the extension will slide right out of your hair. But it is important to condition the hair in order to keep it healthy and as long-lasting as possible because the beauty of these extensions is that when you get them “lifted,” you can re-use the same hair. This is a huge bonus financially, but you must take care of them like you would your own hair. Don’t worry, though – you get used to it.
For me the best part of wearing these is that my actual hair is healthy and growing as I use less product and rarely expose it to heat damage from the flat iron. Last month I had the extensions “lifted” and saw that my own hair was growing and no longer looked like dried-out kink. Best of all, these extensions created no hair damage, which is common when using other types. This made me very happy.
The tape extensions did take some getting used to but now that I’ve had them in for five months, the positives are surpassing the negatives and I’m quite pleased that in a few more months, I will have passed the soccer mom phase and hopefully have a healthier head of hair.
After all is said and done, tape extensions are high maintenance and more expensive in the beginning but if you’re looking for longevity in your extension experience, these are the way to go because once you’ve purchased the hair, the replenish process is quick and quite affordable ($50/hr at Cheveux). Overall you can assume an approximate $2300 investment over the course of one year – but hey, who said the price of beauty was cheap?
If you’re interested in tape extensions, I had mine done at Cheveux, by Darren Kwik on Queen West in Toronto. Tell them I sent you 😉
What do you think—would you get extensions? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.