Wearing hair extensions is something that I have been doing for the better part of twelve years now, so it has become like second nature to where even I have a hard time distinguishing the difference between the hair that grows out of my head and that which is fake. There is absolutely no shame in having fake hair, as it is often used by celebrities, models and even stylists to enhance the natural hair. Whether you want to add several extra inches or color without the commitment, there is certainly no shortage of different extensions to select from. Instead of going into a lecture about the pros and cons of these, for the sake of this article I am going to focus on weft hair extensions, otherwise known as a weave.
When buying extensions, it is important that you know what you are looking at, especially since people can be easily confused by what is written on packaging. First and foremost, for this type of extensions you want wefts, which are basically lengths of hair that come in a bundle and are woven together on a track. This typically comes in a length of at least three feet and can either be bonded with glue or sewn in. Secondly, you want to read everything to determine if the hair is right for you. Synthetics are not something I work with when it comes to weave, as I find the hair to be a bit scratchy and it tangles easily. Also stay away from anything with a ‘yaky’ texture if your hair is smooth and straight. Finally, price is always an indication of the quality of the hair, especially when it comes to human. Generally I pay about $40-$60 for a pack of twelve-inch human hair, though this will certainly vary depending on the brand and even location of the store.
Installing a weave can be tricky, particularly if you have never done it before, and so you can always find someone to do it for you. However, I am a huge proponent of DIY and after going to a salon once, gained the knowledge to be able to reproduce the same results at home. For the photos below, I had a very small square of hair at the front of my head – a sort of fringe if you will – and therefore I do not find it difficult to add extensions to this patch. Section hair using a tail comb and starting at the bottom of the head, use clips to keep extra hair out of the way and apply a generous amount of bonding glue to the track of the weft. There should be a small channel where the glue goes, but if you cannot locate it simply bend the hair at the base and look for the short half, as that will be the side you want the glue to be on. Press the weft onto your hair, not your scalp, and hold for ten to fifteen seconds. Give it a quick blast with a warm hair dryer to help it set and repeat until done.
Now the hair is ready to be styled! If you are using human hair, you can use any of the tools or products that you normally would, and that is one of the reason I prefer human over synthetic hair. However, be gentle as excessive force can actually pull the extensions out, and that is pretty darn painful if I do say so myself.
Wet styling is pretty self-explanatory and one of the main components to achieving vintage looks. Wash hair as normal but add a bit more conditioner and don’t worry about rinsing it all out. Though many guides will suggesting using a setting gel, my hair is quite thick and usually needs nothing more but a topcoat of pomade. Adding subtle finger waves to the extensions in the photo above was achieved by making ‘C’ shapes with the comb in extensions that were dripping wed and had a touch of gel in them. The curl should be flat but I was impatient and did not allow it to dry fully; it is the product of some carefully place pincurls. Overall I was pleased with results.
A staple of vintage and pinup styling are rolls, as they are a means of bringing the hair away from the face in a more elegant from than a ponytail. Rolls are created by taking a section of hair and, well, rolling it! They can be big or small and place pretty much anywhere on the head, though typically are used for keeping a heavy fringe off the face. Holes in rolls is a definite pet peeve of mine, as there are a few trick to prevent them, and I feel that nothing ruins a style faster than holes. This is my first attempt at doing a forward roll, which I accomplished by wetting the extensions and installing a roller. After the hair had dried completely, the roller was removed and a few bobby pins were used to keep the extensions in place.
My second attempt at a forward roll I feel was much more successful. This time, after taking the roller out, I backcombed the base of the extensions and then finished with liberal amount of Aqua Net. As can be seen, this roll had much more height and volume, which obviously can be attributed to the teasing. This will be the way I always do it in the future and some day I might actually let my real hair grow long enough to try it out.