A Guide to Getting Hair Extensions for the First Time

“I just want you to look perfect,” Liz Rim, IGK Salon‘s premiere extension stylist laughed, after explaining the process of applying hair extensions to me. I came in for my first experience getting hair extensions, and left with perfectly colored and cut hair to match my new look. Liz hooked me up.

But not every girl has Liz Rim to make sure their endeavor into fake hair goes smoothly. The question is, how much work does it take to get and maintain hair extensions? In the interest of looking perfect, Liz answered all my first-timer questions here.

1. Ombre Extensions 2. Wet Brush Paddle 3. Oribe Clarifying Shampoo 4. Motif Hair Ties 5. Pureology Hydrate Light Conditioner

1. What kind of extensions should I get?

Clip-ins are the most temporary, but can be done at home without the help of a stylist. You can get tape-ins, which are probably the best option, as those are pretty easy to put in, and also stay in — if they’re good quality — for up to 3 months. There’s another option, which are the halo extensions. Those cost about $300, and basically are just kind of like a headband, or elastic, with hair attached that you can place over your head and then take off whenever you don’t want it on. That’s less permanent too, though.

2. How do I buy my extensions?

The first time you get extensions, you’ll buy a full pack of the tape-in extensions, which translates to 1 pack per hair, and 24 pieces of hair throughout your hair. it just depends though, because if you have really thick long hair, you’ll probably need more. I like The Hair Shop extensions, which usually range between $300 and $500 for a full head of 14″ length hair. Also, be careful to consider what kind of hair you’re purchasing. You’ll want 100% human virgin hair, which is different than “remy hair” — if you see that term, you can know that means the extensions were supposedly made from virgin human hair, but also have been treated. Probably with Keratin, to keep the hair in good shape. Go for the virgin hair. 

3. Can I do tape-ins at home?

Not really. You need a little bit of heat and a little bit of knowledge in order to put them in right. It takes about an hour to get them all applied to the hair as well. 

4. What kind of maintenance do hair extensions require?

You have to be careful that you don’t pull the extensions out, so be cautious when styling your hair. Sleep with your extensions in a low, loose ponytail, as to keep them together — do NOT braid your extensions for bedtime. When you’re washing your hair, focus on scrubbing your scalp with shampoo, but be careful not to get too much product on your scalp. If there’s any oil that’s left on the tape-ins, they’ll probably slide out. 

5. What else can I expect?

Normally, your extensions should change in quality over time. The Hair Shop extensions actually have a cool texture to them, they should start getting a bit of texture after you wash your hair a few times. You’ve got to brush your hair constantly as well, because if you get the extensions tangled, they can be really difficult to fix. I had one girl come in with her extensions completely dreaded — the week after her honeymoon in Australia — and it took us 8 hours to get them out! 

6. What are some surprising extension facts?

Something a lot of people do is get extensions to play with color. For example, if you want to experiment with color but your hair is too dead, extensions can be a fun way to try out an ombre look.

7. What products should I use to maintain my extensions?

Clarifying shampoo with pH of 7 and above, and no oil. A piece of hair has are shillings like a house, so the idea is to get your hair clarified as much as possible  (before we apply the extensions even) so the extensions can set. Use conditioner sparingly as well.

Follow Liz Rim on Instagram for a look at all the awesome cuts, colors, and styling she does with IGK Salon. 

Gimme More Beauty

Do You Like?

Some things are only found on Facebook. Don't miss out.