Your Look

Celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham and countless others regularly surprise the world with new and different hairstyles -- changing color, style and even the length of their hair -- over the course of just a couple days. How do they do it?

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What to avoid in hair extensions

Women with long hair extensions

"The most important thing is to avoid extensions and pieces that are heavier than your own hair. If extensions are too heavy, they will damage and break off hair -- so hair needs to be long and healthy enough to withstand the pressure," Pelusi points out.

Inquire as to the possibility of getting a variety of weights, because a single one may not work for everyone. In particular, extensions that do not match your hair are most likely to give you problems. Safieh recommends a type of extensions called Hairdreams, which offer a variety of weights or thicknesses to match your true hair -- as well as the ability to pre-order highlights and lowlights. Hairdreams lasts up to seven months and the hair can be reapplied, which also helps to decrease cumulative costs of new hair and removal.

Certain specialty methods have emerged from certain salons, such as the "Goddess Loc," which have a silicon grip and plastic coating in order to not damage your hair.

Is caring for your extensions going to give you a headache?

Do extensions require a great deal of upkeep and time commitment? "Extensions are not hard to maintain," says Pelusi. "People just need to keep an eye on them -- almost like you would with color or anything else." She says that to allow for an hour at the salon every six weeks.

Jackie Saril agrees. "[Extensions are] so easy! I got the kind with a slight wave so I can let my entire head dry naturally and have some sexy waves, or I can straighten it with a brush and iron," she says.

Caring for your hair extensions

Here are some specific tips to help you care for your extensions:

  • Human hair extensions can be treated as real hair, but more gently.
  • Use a special brush (often a loop brush) made just for extensions, so youd don't damage the new hair or the bond.
  • A gentle shampoo is recommended, and use cool water to help minimize tangles.
  • A light conditioner will help reduce tangling and keep your new hair supple.
  • Sleep with your hair in a ponytail or braid to avoid bed-head and knots.

Would Jackie get extensions again? "Assuming my hair is healthy once these come out, I would do it again in a heartbeat," she says.

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Comments on "The pros and cons of hair extensions"

Gabby February 05, 2014 | 1:18 PM

I have heard a lot of great things on micro loop extensions and have been looking around deciding if I should get them. I do have fine hair, and it is about half way down my back, would this be a good way to go?

Pauly G January 17, 2014 | 6:08 PM

NEVER remove pre bonded or 'glued' in extensions yourself! Get them removed by the trained professional who applied them. No wonder your hair feels thin and damaged. Proper removal is very important to minimalise damage to your own hair!

Kirsty December 16, 2013 | 6:06 PM

Fusion hair extensions are amazing i have had them since i was 14 with regular maintenance and proper care . Girls that i hear complain usually haven't looked after them ,used damaging products or had an un-trained cheapo' instal them . also leaving them longer than 6-8 weeks without maintenance ..that is on you " not the extensions or technician . I am now a mobile service .. I would not do something i did not beleieve in i have Never had a complaint other than then usual first uncomfortable few nights where the bonds need to settle .

Nat October 23, 2013 | 7:38 PM

I had the beaded hair extensions for years and loved them and had no issues. However this year I went from platinum blonde to dark brown and then back again.. My hair is so damaged and broken I hate wearing it out! I would love to get extensions in again, however Im worried that the small amount of crappy hair I do have will break off.. damned if I do, or damned if I dont :-( Help!

ginger September 24, 2013 | 6:05 PM

I am 56 years old...still have a decent figure and face...but my hair was thin and blonde/graying. My stylist suggested extensions and I went for it. OMG! These are better than a boob job. Takes 20 years off an old lady like me. I have the tape in human hair kinda. Kind of a hassle to care for and keep them moisturized since I added about 12 inches to my shoulder length hair...but switched to WEN shampoo and problems stopped. I love these things and will never go without them.

Lisa July 20, 2013 | 9:10 AM

Please check the hair extensions before the hair dresser braid it to your hair. Look out for any split ends or any grey/white hair!! I did mine yesterday; I didn't check the hair extensions beforehand and was so mad when I reach home. I discovered there are split ends and white hairs on my hair extensions!! I am so asking for a refund!!

Laura June 05, 2013 | 11:53 AM

I want extensions but want them to look natural and want get right ones u got fine ish hair just but longer than shoulder length .

Jean May 25, 2013 | 3:01 PM

Ok so I have thinning hair....I am a 25 year old female and the density of my hair has almost halved in the last 5-6 years! when I tie my hair in a pony its not too noticeable but if it is sunny outside everybody points out the fact that my scalp is burning! Its getting to the stage where my hair consumes most of my thoughts throughout the day and has me very depressed. I was hoping if anyone could give me any advice on what would be my best option? I was thinking of getting those keratin bonded extensions -think its fairly new and that they use like a tongs that is heated or a new one that's cool that attaches hair to your own and apparently causes "minimal damage" but I am so petrified that I would end up almost completely bald as a result!! Please help!

Alexandra May 15, 2013 | 7:45 PM


Jackie May 04, 2013 | 12:02 AM

I had fine hair and also decided I wanted long thick hair, so I took the plunge 4months ago and had bonded Remy hair extensions it. I have to say I read review after review and consulted a local mobile technician several times prior to having them in. They were great, long awaited look I always wanted especially in the morning I just brushed them and off to work I would go. I recently had them removed and my hair feels fine again, is that because I was so used to having thick hair, or do you lose some of your own hair when having them removed? I am thinking of having them re done..Does anyone have any comments?

Lorraine April 27, 2013 | 3:03 PM

Do not get the glue-in ones if you want extensions as a solution to thin hair! I spent hundreds on getting them done and after just 2 weeks got them taken out as I could feel the strain they were having on my hair. After just 2 weeks my hair is noticably even thinner than it was before. I think if you have thick hair it's fine but if your hair is fine like mine then fusion extensions are sadly not the solution :( saying that I've never had problems with clip-ins I just find them a hassle and the concept a bit strange (as do lots of guys!)

Lucinda Turner-Brown April 11, 2013 | 1:59 PM

Hi everyone, I am an extensionist who has fitted all types of systems. Just a few tips on what to ask when you are visiting an extensionist. Make sure that they give a full free consultation. Any extensionist worth their salt will provide this service for you. Make sure that they ask about your health. Some medical conditions and certain drugs can cause hair loss. As I said earlier, I have fitted all hair extension systems and it all depends on your hair type as to which system you should have. Have you tried shrinkies? This is a hot fusion method that is safer than fusion bonds> It uses a small plastic tube that slides on the hair. The tube is then heated and the extension is place in the tube. The tube shrinks and traps the extension to your hair. These are really easy to remove and shouldn't cause damage to your hair. Please don't have fusion bonds as they can cause real damage. I have a salon in the Mansfield area Notts. I also have a "clinic" where I remove extensions for people and correct poor extensions. If you would post a comment about any problems or questions please do so, I will be happy to help. Lucinda xxxxxx

nikayla sides March 24, 2013 | 4:30 PM

i think that they are graet

Keri February 16, 2013 | 12:25 PM

I started off with clip in hair extensions... Annoying to put in as I wore them all time.. I then tried glue in hair extensions but I would recommend!! It ruins your hair badly... Lose your own hair... And for one.. You put loads of conditioner on to get the glue to slide out And half the time it doesn't work so your sat in bath for 2hours getting the glue out -_- .. Today... I've had my 22" hair extensions weaves in... They see more natural nd real... Hurts head a little as they have to put right small French plats into your hair... But in total should last 2months... So I shall see if they're any good ;-) x

Conklin January 11, 2013 | 7:05 PM

I just started getting hair extensions in October. They took away 10 years of my face and gave me a complete different look. I have waivy straight hair and first got hispanic hair which is great for curl but takes a lot of work. I just go them replaced with straight wavy and is so beautiful. Make sure you get your hair from a reputable place that can match it before your hairstylist puts it on. The secoond time I got them tighten I colored my roots before, it seemed to damage some of the thread use to tighten them. If you have loose curly hair, straight waivy is the way to go. It's beautiful.

donna January 02, 2013 | 4:55 PM

i have the tapped in version. Never had so many compliments in my life- looks amazing cost 500.00 plus tip only took an hour. It has taken 10 years off may age never knew how much thin dry hair ages you. HOWEVER, scalp hurts, itches only slightly but feels too weighty for me. I have a sensitive scalp though. Praying i don't get bald spots and would be devastated. May take them out early from what i have read. if you have a tough head and have the $$$ so worth it.

Mercedes December 31, 2012 | 10:25 AM

I've had clip in's and they didn't do anything to my hair. the only problem I had was that my hair was very damaged at the ends so it was hard to blend my hair with the extensions. My sister had the braid in ones and when she took them out her hair was really thin and damaged, so I'd go with the clip in's.

diane December 27, 2012 | 4:35 PM

I have been tossing around the idea of getting extensions for awhile now. My head was shaved for a surgery two years ago and it has taken forever to grow my hair back in . As it stands, I have very healthy shoulder length hair with no color on it. My fear is that extensions will ruin the good hair I have worked two years to have. I have fine hair though, so volume is an issue. I will NOT sacrifice the quality of my hair to correct this though. After reading these comments I am worried about trying any extensions.

lesley December 18, 2012 | 11:30 AM

I got the pre bonded hair extensions 8 weeks ago. I removed them last night to find my hair so badly damaged and thin I am devastated! Don't get them they completely ruin your hair! Clip in all the way guys Xx

andrea November 04, 2012 | 1:48 AM

As a hairstylist for 15+ years I have applied nearly all types of extensions. The sew in and beaded types are the most effective. Everyone's hair is different, a trained stylist should apply. Also, he/she should talk about expectations. Extensions are not a license to ignore your natural hair.

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