The choice for a particular set of hair extensions is based on several factors: personal preference, hair type/needs, lifestyle, budget etc. In this article, we compare a few of the different types of hair extensions that are on the market.
Types of Hair Extensions
1. Clip-in Extensions
Advantages: They are relatively cheap compared to the other types of hair extensions ($100+ for Remy hair) and can be done at home. They can be reused as needed. They don’t require much maintenance.
Disadvantages: The clips may feel bulky and bothersome for some, especially for those with fine hair – It might need an adjustment period. Using poor quality clips can cause the tugging at the roots, which can damage the hair follicles. They should be removed at night or during showering to prevent any damage to the hair.
This video shows how the clip ins are placed in hair.
2. Micro loop Extensions
Advantages: They are longer lasting than clip-ins, and can be slept/showered with. They can be reused. They are easy to place and remove. They are generally discrete and great to provide the desired fullness. They cost reasonably if done at home. Maintenance is 6-12 weeks as the clamp loosens or hair grows in. No glue or chemicals needed.
Disadvantages: Takes a long time to do the whole head. You will probably need help to place/remove the extensions. They can be damaging for those with fine hair, or thinning hair as they can pull on the hair too much and cause breakage. They may also not be as discrete for those with short hair.
3. Fusion/bonded Extensions
Advantages: Fusion extensions last the longest (3-6 months). The extensions are literally fused to hair with either hot or cold glue. They require less maintenance. They are great for all hair types and quite popular.
Disadvantages: Fusion extensions tend to be the most expensive ($500 to $4,000) and have the most time-consuming application process (3+ hours). Once removed, you can’t use them again. The heat from the hot glue might cause some damage to the cuticles of your hair. Cold fusion is usually better. Glue remover is required to break the glue.
4. Tape-in Extensions
Advantages: The tape-in application process is much faster (about an hour or less) and more affordable than fusion extensions since they can be done at home. They are great for all hair types. Some brands have lighter (less hair) tresses meant for those with thin hair. They are easy to place, and can be reused as needed. The tape can be trimmed if needed.
Disadvantages: They can get costly ($300 to $2,000) in salons. They require maintenance every 6-8 weeks. Depending on the quality of the extension, the tape can show in short hair, or it can come off. The extension requires a removal solution.
Advantages: Last for a long time. They can be applied in an hour or two. They are quite resilient. They blend very well.
Disadvantages: Weaving extensions are best for African-American hair, which has enough strength and texture to hold the cornrow braid. Cornrow braiding + added weight of the extensions can put a lot of pressure on the hair follicles. Persistent use of this type of extension can lead to breakage or traction alopecia.
6. Circle/Halo Extensions
Advantages: They provide a quick transformation within seconds since they are applied like a hair band. They are easy to place and remove. They are cheap.
Disadvantages: The cheapest ones look fake/too doll like. Best for shoulder to long hair. Not a long term solution.
Long term hair extensions are: Fusion (glue-in), Weave (sewn in), and micro loop (micro ring). These are more labor intensive and need more time to place/remove. They are best done in a salon or by a knowledgeable person. Another variety is the nano loop extensions that use even finer bunches of hair for looping.
Some short term hair extensions are: circle (halo) extensions, clip-in, tape-in. Tape-in extensions can last for 2 months. These 3 types of hair extensions are easily done at home by yourself.