O's Guide to Hair Extensions
Who They're Good For: Those with fine or thinning hair.
Who Should Avoid Them: Anyone whose hair is very dry or damaged.
What They Are: Most salons offer Great Lengths extensions. Each one comes as a 100-strand lock of human hair secured at the top with a keratin protein polymer cap. In the salon, each cap is bonded to your own hair, near your scalp, with a tonglike tool. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, you'll need 50 to 100 pieces.
How Long the Process Takes: Two to four hours.
Maintenance: "Shampoo and condition with silicone-free products, because silicone can make extensions slip off," says hairstylist Ryan Trygstad, at Sally Hershberger Downtown in New York City. Deep-condition the ends, but avoid getting conditioner on the bonds. Also, extensions tangle easily; brush them gently at least twice a day with a boar-bristle paddle brush. You might want to schedule a two-month follow-up appointment so your stylist can replace any extensions that have fallen out.
How Long They Last: Four months (at which point it'll be easy to see where the extensions are attached to your real hair). Your stylist will use an alcohol-based solution to dissolve the bonds and then gently pull off each extension.
Price: $1,500 to $2,600 (depending on volume of natural hair).
Coming Soon! Great Lengths has created the Multi-Sonic method, which will allow stylists to attach five 100-strand locks at once, cutting the total process time in half. The system should be available in Great Lengths–certified salons by midyear.
Next: You should avoid a weave if...