As far back as Egyptian times both women and men have worn wigs or hair
pieces according to the diktats of fashion. Wigs, hair switches or
hair pieces have come in and out of fashion in just about every century.
In Georgian times high false wigs were a norm and men also wore bag wigs.
The picture to the right shows the ultimate in hair extensions!
Fake hair for women became frowned upon after 1800 and women wore hair more
naturally. The addition of false hair returned again with the
elaborate Apollo knots of the Romantic era. Later human hair additions
were used so extensively in the mid Victorian era of elaborate hairstyling
that 51,816kgs of (false) human hair were sold in France in
1871 and 102,900kgs in 1873.
the early C20th Edwardian women wore false hair additions to create the
that looked like a woman was wearing a teapot on her head. By the
1920s less hair, rather than more was the
vogue. In the
1940s long natural hair in the mode of Veronica Lake
or Lauren Bacall was one of the few remaining non rationed luxuries a woman
could indulge in
By the 1950s women enjoyed short, but then very sharp bubble cut perms
or new youthful ponytails. The latter graduated into topknot buns and sleek
French pleat twists by the turn of the decade. As the
1960s wore on,
extravagant human hair pieces allowed wearers to have their hair dressed in
coils, or as we think of such styles today, dressed as an updo. Wigs
both blatantly fake and real were commonly worn in the 60s and early 70s. By the
1980s hairpieces and wigs were more or less abandoned by the majority, but
used extensively by famous singers like Tina Turner, Diana Ross and other celebrities.
Then came a new type of hair addition - Extensions. At first,
extensions were worn only by the very wealthy or celebrities who could
afford the then exorbitant cost of laborious all day application.
Goths wore frankly fake clip in dreads. Others followed when they saw what was possible
when hair extensions were applied in a glamorous way. In particular black
women used hair extensions to improve upon hair texture that some found difficult
to tame. It became common to see pop singers sport a wide range of
looks that centred around hair extensions.
One of the most famous wearers of human hair extensions in Great Britain
is Victoria Beckham who must have had dozens of hairstyles based around
her extensions. One day her hair is short - the next day it is long,
one day black the next day striped, the next blonde.
Then a few weeks later it's a different different hair colour and yet another length again.
In the UK it is Mrs.Beckham and her husband (who has also worn hair
extensions) more than anyone else, who put
hair extensions at the forefront of the public's attention. Although both
are in the press much less now, it was Victoria Beckham's constant presence
in female oriented magazines long after her Spice Girls fame as Posh Spice,
that enabled onlookers to see the true potential of hair extensions.
People began to realise that if Victoria Beckham could create a
chameleon like personality, with the very same treatment they could also
change their image. Makeover shows where extensions are applied, cut
and shaped often show such transformations. The message began to sink in
among ordinary people. Extensions are for everyone not just Goths who
wear pink, white, purple or black dreads, but also those who want to appear
Another well known wearer of hair extensions is Jordan who famously wore
on a reality TV show on an island and managed to maintain a certain
appearance and grooming due to the effect plaiting of the hair extensions.
ordinary people certainly consider hair extensions for special events such as
weddings, Christmas and holidays. Some people may even consider extensions for
cosmetic/medical reasons as I did. Or you might simply like to treat
yourself to some as a birthday, Valentine's Day or Christmas gift. Hair
extensions can also be ideal as fancy dress addition to create a totally
different image. See here how to create your own unique fashion trend and
save a bundle of cash by buying loose
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Although people refer to hair extensions that are woven in (sewn in), or
fused to the hair as permanent, it would really be better to call these
methods semi permanent since they are removable and to then call clip in
extensions as temporary extensions.
Basically in the fusion method about 20 to 50 strands of human extension
hair have a warm protein glue applied all around it. Using a clear
plastic template to isolate the portion of natural hair from the rest of the
scalp, the glued extension hair is then attached to a small portion of a
client's hair which is pulled through a hole in the template.
The two lots of hair are rolled together in the fingers until a smooth
protein bond is made. Then work begins on another strand. This is why
it takes so long to do this tedious procedure. However problems can
occur with any fusing method if it is not done on super clean hair that is
free of conditioner. Hair must be clean and free of greasiness or
conditioners. Extension removal is best done in the salon where fusion
remover and tools can be used to first soften then crack the glue bond.
Other methods are similar and use pre tipped hair extension strands.
The pre tipped strands have a protein glue on the end which melts with heat.
These pre tipped extension strands are bonded in much the same way with a
heated hair connector tool that fuses the pre tipped glue onto a selected
strand of the client's natural hair. Some people think this method is
better as being pre-measured less glue is used, so there is less to crack
and chip away leaving hair better bonded.
Mini links or locks are another method and are applied a bit like gimps which are
used to hold beads or pearls on wire floater necklaces. The client's
own hair is pulled through the mini link with a special needle similar to a
knitting machine needle. Then the extension strand is pulled through
the mini link easily. The mini link is then pressed firmly with a
pliers type tool and this locks in the hair into the mini links. No
glue is used, so glue damage is avoided and the links lie flat to the head.
This method is often combined with braided hair extensions.
Shrinkies are applied in a similar way and are either clear
plastic or dark plastic of about 1cm length. Heat is used to tighten
up the shrinkie on the hair and the extension to stop the hair escaping.
They are removed by cutting up the length of the shrinkie.
Cornrows are flat braids or tracks that lay close against the scalp.
They are a form of plaiting, but are best achieved with underhand work to
create a braid rather than overhand work of a typical plait that most of us
know. The underhand plaited braid is firmer and stronger and can be
acquired as a technique with practice.
Cornrows can be used to create styles on their own or can have extension
hair worked into the braid as work progresses. Similar styles were
depicted in wigs in paintings from ancient Egyptian tombs. Black activists
have worn cornrows or braids for many years.
Bo Derek also wore them to great effect in the film 10. Now both black and
white women and men all wear braids with or without the help of extensions.
They stay in the hair for 4 to 6 weeks, but need checking to see that damage
to both the hair and the scalp is kept at a minimum.
The last method I will mention is the use of the wefts as found in clip
in extensions (minus the clips). Either the snap clips can be removed
from clip in extensions or instead buy a 4 foot length of human hair weft
and either cut it to your head shape or have your hairdresser do this for
you. Such wefts can be glued to the hair just below hair partings
using the special glue sold by hair and wig companies. They also sell
the glue remover which is essential to have before you insert the
Obviously there are other methods of extension application and many
hairdressers devise their own intricate combination methods with experience.
But these are the main ways people apply hair extensions. Please note
there may be many more application methods not mentioned here, but this is
simply a summary of methods I discovered in my research on hair extensions.
Read more about my clip in hair extensions here :-
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