Hair extensions can be confusing and overwhelming for newcomers and professionals, alike. So, here are eight of the most important questions answered, you will have about hair extensions that you probably haven’t yet asked.
What are hair extensions?
Hair extensions are methods of adding commercial hair to natural hair. These methods are used to conceal thinning or hair loss in concentrated areas as well used to add volume and length for aesthetic purposes.
How are hair extensions attached?
There are many different methods of attaching the extension hair ranging from fusion-sewing, braiding, gluing, heat clamps, tapes, micro-rings and they can even be clipped in. At Tatiana Karelina our attachment technique of choice is Micro-Rings as well as providing custom bespoke clip-in hairpieces and tapes.
What type of hair is available?
Natural hair extensions come from different regions in the word, and each type has different characteristics to the next based on how they have been treated in the manufacturing process. Russian, European, Brazilian, Indian and Chinese are all examples of types of hair extensions used today.
Russian hair is generally accepted as the gold standard in the hair extension industry as the hair extensions are the purest and silkiest. Russian hair is also the rarest and hardest to find of all-natural hair extensions which is generally reflected in the price.
European hair does not come from Europe. It is a group name for hair which has a very similar basic structure as European hair. In general, this hair type is of a very high quality. However, the method of collection is very essential. When different types of hair are mixed with cuticles aligned in different directions this hair becomes of a much less quality and therefore less expensive. To prevent tangling the cuticles must be removed and the hair is covered by silicon. If collected in the right way with all the cuticles present and in the same direction this hair is considered to be of very good quality and very cost effective.
Chinese hair is the most common hair found in use today, as it's readily available in large quantities and cheap to buy. However, Chinese hair is often very thick and coarse. In order to reduce the thickness and give it a softer and finer texture many hair companies expose the hair to an aggressive acid treatment to strip the cuticle layer. This chemical treatment destroys the cuticle layer, leaving the hair opaque and fragile. The hair is then coloured and covered with a silicone layer, which gives it a simulated healthy look. In the beginning the hair seems shiny and beautiful, but after a few washes the silicone layer starts to wash away and the colour fades leaving the hair with a dull matt appearance.
Synthetic hair is man-made fibre that is made to look like your own hair. It produces a different sheen than human hair, moves differently and therefore does not blend with human hair. New fibres are developed continuously that are better resistant to heat and have an appearance closer to human hair. It comes in a large variety of colours. This hair is the most inexpensive. Sometimes this hair is mixed with human hair and a combination is used for a human hair extension. This, of course is not recommended, as both hair types need different after care.
Why is Russian hair considered to be the best?
Russian hair not only provides an excellent match in terms of thickness and texture for Western women, it is considered to be the best because of the Russian diet. The Russian diet is high in nutrients and vitamins while low in sugar, salt, and processed animal fats. It is exactly this type of diet that helps to promote the growth of soft, luxurious and voluminous hair.
What does the term “Virgin” mean?
Virgin hair is hair that has not been dyed, bleached, permed, or straightened. It is hair that has not been chemically treated one way or another and therefore there is no previous damage to the cuticles. The cuticles protect the hair, so it is important that they are intact.
Will the weight of the micro rings damage my hair?
The short answer is No. For a healthy individual with no hair disease, hair fibre is very incredibly strong, about as strong as a piece of copper wire with the same diameter as the hair. Hair also has elastic properties. It can stretch up to 20% of its original length before breaking when it is dry and when it is wet it may stretch up to 50% before breaking. So why does hair breaks if it is so strong? It depends on the speed at which the pulling force is applied to the hair. If you pull on hair slowly and steadily with gradual increasing force the hair will resist for quite some time before breaking. But if you apply sudden force and yank on the hair it will break. The tensile strength of the hair is reduced, the hair has no time to respond and stretch, which distributes the force over the length of the hair fibre, and the hair just snaps. So, despite the apparent strength of hair, it will break if you brush, comb or pull too vigorously because this applies a sudden force to the hair. This is the reason why the removal of glued extensions damage hair and Micro Rings cannot.
Why does it appear that hair is falling out when extensions are removed?
Your hair sheds on a daily basis as part its natural process. It is normal to lose up to 50 hairs a day! Just because you have extensions in does not mean that this process stops. It continues but since your hair is held together by the extensions the hair is trapped in the installation and, therefore, not falling out into your sink or latching on to your comb or brush. If you are wearing your hair extensions for 8 to 12 weeks that’s between 2,800 and 4,200 hairs shed during this time naturally. The difference is that immediately after removing extensions your hair will look shorter to you, not only because you just removed the hair extensions but because from your perspective a large amount of hair has fallen out suddenly.
I have heard stories of hair extension tangling and matting up. How do I avoid this?
Whenever hair extensions tangle and matte it is almost always a problem of hair quality and how it is collected. All human hair has a cuticle layer similar to fish scales. When some hairs become turned in the opposite direction, they will catch with each another, lock up and cause the hair to mat. When cheap quality hair is collected and processed (normally in a factory in Asia) the hair is almost always tangled and matted. In order to fix this problem, the hair is stripped of its cuticles and then coated with a silicone layer to make it appear shiny. After a few washes the silicone layer comes off and the hair becomes tangled and matted. At Tatiana Karelina tangling and matting is not a problem because we only use high quality, non-processed, cuticle intact Russian hair.