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Hair Extensions - Product review

Hairstyles
Clip-in Human Hair Extensions
Consumer Test Product Review
Extensions Before Cutting- Page 1

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

 

Image Planning - Clip-in Human Hair Extensions Consumer Test Product Review - Page 1 Hairstyle Extensions Before Cutting

These pages are about modern human hair clip in extensions.  

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My Search for Human Hair Extensions

My Own Hair 2003 - Picture of Pauline ThomasThis page is about my search for clip-in human hair extensions with a view to using them as a cosmetic and medical solution.  My neck and décolletage is damaged by scarring from both neck surgery and radiotherapy for cancer treatment and I am always on the lookout for methods of disguising this damage. 

It began one day in August 2005 when I keyed in the phrase 'hair piece' into Google.  I'd been growing my hair from a short bob to jaw length for some while.  The short bob cut is shown left and the bob hairstyle below is about the length of my bob in the clip in extensions photos further down this page.  I never seem to grow it much longer than this.My Own Hair 2005 - Picture of Pauline Weston Thomas

In August 2005 I had wondered when I would be able to put my hair up properly into the fashionable French pleat of 2005 or other longer updo hairstyles.  Then I recalled that in the 1970s I had used false hair pieces for coiled updo dressed hairstyles.  Soon a Google link took me to eBay and in no time I forgot about human hair switches.  Within minutes a whole new world related to human hair extensions opened up to me instead.  I discovered hair only needed to be 4 inches in length to use clip in extensions successfully. 

Intrigued by the possibility of actually achieving longer hair I began to investigate hair extension types seriously.

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Hairstyles with Permanent Hair Extensions

For about 2 weeks I found myself searching for detailed information everywhere on hair extensions.  I wanted to know all about the different types of hair, which were the best type of hair extension, which were affordable, did hair extensions damage hair and so on.  I scoured the internet and read through forum posts at hair, beauty and fashion forums everywhere including my own forum

With regard to permanent hair extensions, which in truth can only ever be semi permanent hair extensions (the type supposed to last up to 4 months), a great deal of my research was not favourable.  Messages were full of dire warnings about hair coming out in lumps because of poor extension application, glue clumping or worse than poor application - disastrous hair extension removal. 

I came to one simple conclusion - my choice would be to avoid the permanent hair extensions that last about 4 to 16 weeks.  I quickly learnt that people who wash their hair daily as I do, soon find long term hair extensions shed slowly with each hair shampoo wash.  My hairdresser even told me that all that was often required to remove them was lots of thick hair conditioner to soften the glue bonds and whoosh they'd soon loosen out even without special bond removers.  It seemed even hair washing itself could also be problematic with showering seeming the best method of washing the hair extensions to prevent too much tangling. 

Whichever method permanent extensions are attached, it is best if they are shampooed just twice a week.  I also discovered that with various bonded extensions, wearers were also expected to go back to the hairdresser to have loose extensions reattached as a matter of course at a 'check up' appointment.

According to articles everywhere, how extensions stayed put on an individual head, was certainly dependant on the method and skill of the application.   Even then, there would be a strong chance of shedding with time.  Alarm bells rang for me - maintenance on hair extensions seemed heavy to me.  I drew the conclusion they were not for me.  I also pondered on the fact that I simply might not like wearing them 24/7 especially with the don't wash them daily advice.  Another factor had been that some women - let's take Paris Hilton as an example got hooked on extensions.  Many had to keep using them because they had used extensions too often without resting the scalp and hair.  Then it became more and more difficult to rectify scalp damage without having hair cut pixie short.

My research also suggested that even the most expensive top salon methods of application can still cause some damage to hair.  The wearer is also responsible for looking after the extensions well too.  A scratchy plastic ball end hairbrush should never be used on extensions.  The use of the correct hairbrush such as a Mason Pearson or a paddle brush is important.  The best comb to use is a saw tooth comb rather than a cheap moulded comb, which can catch and break extension hair and your own hair.

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Sleeping on the hair in an awkward way can pull at your own hair, so can leaning back and catching the long hair extensions when driving.  All this can create extra stress and breakage on your own hair.

However they may well be for you for a special event.  Daily wear of them simply does not appeal to me.  Instead I decided to opt for clip-in human hair extensions.  I knew I only wanted to wear the hair extensions for occasional use rather than everyday.  Even clip-in extensions if put in incorrectly or removed without care can also cause a little hair damage too.  But clip in hair extensions may be perfect for photographic makeovers and the like.

Bohyme Human Remi Hair

I browsed eBay totally bewildered by the volume of hair and hair extensions being sold online.  Gradually I picked up information about the hair sellers.  I could see some sellers should be avoided.  I noticed that some sold blonde hair with dark clips.  How ridiculous I thought later as I soon realised it's hard enough to cover a blonde matched paler weft let alone a dark hairclip in blonde hair.  So avoid sellers who stitch very dark snap clips to blonde hair.  Clip in hair extensions

By this time I knew I only wanted the best quality Bohyme human hair.  If I was going to put these things in my hair the last thing I wanted was for it to look like obviously fake or badly colour matched hair.  I was aware that a perfect match was hard to achieve, but you should expect to get a good near match.

Then I had a lucky breakthrough, one night I noticed that one of the eBay sellers actually lived only a mile from me.  I also noticed she sold Bohyme human remi hair and I had picked up from forums and the like, that the Bohyme prepared brand was well recommended everywhere. 

So I emailed the seller and arranged for a consultation.  She explained that 'Bohyme Remi' is human hair and is cuticle correct and tangle free.  Remi cuticle hair is real human hair of the highest grade available.  Cuticle correct means that the hair scales all lay in the same direction making brushing easier.

To see how this works, take one of your own hairs and run your finger and thumb down one hair from tip to root and then back again from root to tip.   Root to tip feels smoother.  It's important that all the extension hair is attached to the weft from the root end. That way you get a smooth tangle free hair piece and also extra shine as the light reflects better off smoother hair.

Unlike synthetic extension hair, human hair can cope with heat treatment from curling tongs and hair straighteners and can be coloured.  With the correct care, Bohyme human remi hair can also be worn daily for up to 6 months.  It made no difference to my choice, but Bohyme human remi hair is supposed to be the hair type Victoria Beckham wears for her hair extensions.  I agree with my seller that the shine is exceptional, far superior to any hair piece I owned 25 years ago.  I recall they seemed for want of a better phrase rather 'dead' in appearance by comparison to the samples I was shown.

I liked my extension seller.  She explained that she had spent some months trialling different types of hair to find the best before she set up her hair extensions business.  When I had told her my age in an email (I am in my mid fifties) she had been against my having 18 inch hair extensions advising me to consider only 14 inch hair, citing 'mutton dressed as lamb' as a problem.

However, I had a medical cosmetic reason to want at least to try the longer length which you can read about on the next page.  I explained to her about the post radiotherapy red thread veins I hoped to cover on occasion and how I might like to have the hair cut at a salon and she agreed we needed to consider longer hair. 

It also occurred to me that in an age where women who are 65 act like 45, or women who are 50 act like 35, why should we worry about such things.  Unfortunately the media continues to frequently depict women over 50 as decrepit. 

If you are in need of a boost, you might like to treat yourself to some hair extensions as a birthday, Valentine's Day or Christmas gift.  Clip-in extensions can also be ideal as a fancy dress addition to create a totally different image.

Snap Clips

Very strong hair clipKym showed me how clip in hair extensions worked and how the little snap clips functioned.  Clip in hair extensions come as weft pieces of hair of varying widths.  A full head of clip in hair extensions from my seller consisted of 11 pieces.  5 of the larger pieces were about 7 to 8 inches across and each had 3 special snap hair clips like this one.

There are also six side hair extension pieces. The side pieces consist of three left and 3 right pieces. The side pieces are about 2 inches wide and each has its own secure clip in snap grip.  The exceptionally strong snap clips need a lot of pressure to release them so the clip-in hair extensions stay in place securely. 

Also once my seller met me, she felt I could take the longer length and based on that, we worked on 18 inch hair to arrive at a price.  I knew I had quite thick fair hair, but each hair is very fine.  I also discovered I had hair difficult to match colour wise.  My hair is blonde coloured, but this is on top of some grey or white hair and so the grey and white hairs create a very light colour blonde.

It was clear to both of us that to get a good colour match we would need two colours and my seller would have to blend the two colours of Bohyme human hair together.  This involved sewing the wefts carefully together, a task I could easily have done myself, but wanted to experience the sale as you reader would, for my write up here. (For anyone who wants to do their own blended hair extensions, I have read that colour matched upholstery thread is the best for the job.)

Because this would use two lots of hair, this was twice the cost of a normal purchase of a full head of 11 pieces of clip in Bohyme human hair extensions.  There would still be 11 pieces, but these would be the two colours sewn neatly together at the weft edge.

However, the bonus would be that the extra hair would be perfect to fill out my own plentiful fine hair. We chose an 18" length of shade 22 (light ash blonde) and an 18 inch length of shade 613 (palest light blonde) from her selection of colour swatches.  I suggest that you choose hair against your own clean hair as it will be when normally coloured or treated.  Match to the lower ends of your hair where hair is darker.  Then my seller left me to think over if I wanted to go ahead with the order.  The next day I emailed my order to her and paid her invoice in advance.  Hair sellers have to work this way as they have to buy the hair in advance.

Expect to pay a few hundred pounds for 2 shades of Bohyme human remi hair stitched together, or a little less for Indian human remi hair.  You will of course pay less if you just have an 11 piece set in one colour or a half set. 

About a week later she delivered the clip-in extensions and she put them in for me for the first time.  We had a good laugh as they felt so strange to me.

Tips for Inserting the Clip-in Hair Extensions

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Before fitting the clip-in extensions to my head, my seller used heated hair straighteners to straighten the curving bump out of my bobbed hair.  It is essential to do this hair straightening at the hair ends if you want a reasonable blend of the natural hair with the hair extensions.  You can use hair straighteners or curling tongs just pulled straight through the hair to flatten it.  GHD straighteners are much favoured by those who like to straighten their hair. 

Below is the result of how the 18 inch clip-in hair extensions looked on me after she inserted them. The 18" hair extensions were attached without cutting.  They had no trimming at this time when my seller attached the hair.  The hair though is thinned to a taper at the ends so they can be used as they come.  Read more about inserting the clip in hair extensions on the next page. The page also shows photos of the extensions when trimmed and applied by my hairdresser.

18" Clip-in Hair Extensions Without Trimming

Photos - Wearing the Untrimmed Hair Extensions

Pauline Weston Thomas wearing 18" Clip-in Hair Extensions without trimming - hair spread Pauline Weston Thomas wearing 18" Clip-in Hair Extensions -  hair sideswept and untrimmed.

Photographs of Pauline Weston Thomas taken 1 September 2005 before the hair extensions were cut.  No make up has been applied to the neck and décolletage radiotherapy induced red thread veins or surgery neck scarring, which is mainly covered by the hair extensions.

See more photos of the cut hair extensions on this page

The clip-in hair extensions use very strong snap hair clips that grip the hair fiercely.   I have since attached the clip-in human hair extensions myself many times and have been able to achieve similar results.

I think they do feel quite odd when first put in and I believe you should allow one hour for this.  It takes me about 15 to 20 minutes to put them in carefully and on occasion reposition some wefts of hair.  But it takes about another 40 minutes before they feel as if they have settled to the head.  I believe the warmth of the head makes them drop into position more naturally after at least half an hour or so.

  Styling clip-in hair extensions to one side.

I've found that I can do a finished style much better by returning to the hair after about an hour of them being on my warm head.  It's at that point the hair feels more like my own hair and I've become used to its extra weight.  Then I might finish the styling and use some hairspray when the hair is arranged as I like it.

Hair extensions tucked out of the way behind ears.So do allow plenty of time to feel accustomed to the new hair extensions.  I have also found my colour match is good, but is superior in artificial light, so I prefer to wear them in the evening.  I also don't like wearing them on windy days as they can fly about!  If you are not used to long hair, do dress before applying the extensions as they can get in the way!  You may especially find it useful to put your bra on first otherwise extra long hair can get tangled in it!  These are factors people don't even think about.

However you must try opening and closing the special snap clips several times to get the knack for using them.  Don't ever try to simply pull the clip-in extensions out WITHOUT releasing the clip fully.  Extraction of the clip-in extensions is quite pain free as long as you snap the clip open first. 

When wearing clip in extensions, whatever you do please don't yank at them as then you would pull out some of your own hair.   Leaning on them in a slouched way can also cause problems too.  Removal is very easy, but usually is best done with firm pressure on both ends of the snap clips using both thumbs and index fingers.

Very strong hair clip

Like most hair extension sellers, my seller showed instructions for using the extensions at her website.  She also provided an instruction and hair extension care leaflet. I feel I personally benefited from having mine initially selected, custom made and fitted.

Sites selling Raquel Welch clip in human hair extensions, also have clear picture instructions explaining attachment to the head.  I think if I had not bought mine locally I would have considered the Raquel Welch ones.  There are several types of Raquel Welch clip-in extensions from curly to straight styles and all are easily available at global websites.  However the hair colour match may be crucial to you so whoever you purchase from do make sure they are willing to match the hair carefully.   I was also impressed by the Lucinda Ellery approach as she specialises in medical solutions to hair loss as well as cosmetic work.

You can read more tips and instructions to insert clip in hair extensions on this page where you will also find photos of me when the hair extensions had been trimmed by my hairdresser.

See more pictures like this of the hair after cutting on the next page

Footnote 2:- My hair extensions were obtained in 2005, but by late 2009 I noticed that seller's website was a dead link which is why I make no reference to her actual name or company name.

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Read more about my clip in hair extensions here :-

clip-in extensions  after cutting  plus methods of hair extensions.

 

Page added November 12 2005.

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