There are many different ways to wear hair extensions, each has a different purpose and has advantages and disadvantages. Many people think weaves are limited but with all of the various methods to install and wear extensions, they are anything but! Here are the most popular methods of installing weaves:
Use of special rubber adhesive to attach wefts to your hair. This used to be a common method of adding length, volume and/or color temporarily but the potentially damaging effects of the adhesive have made its use somewhat obsolete. However, the more hair-friendly use of bonding is the quick weave method where the person’s real hair is wrapped and molded around their head, covered with a nylon cap then tracks are glued onto the cap.
The more modern and less damaging alternative to bonding, clip-ins are wefts of different lengths that have wig clips attached which can be clipped into the hair. The clips are removed easily and great for special occasions.
A person’s real hair is cornrowed and the wefted hair is attached to the braids using weaving thread. This style can last up to 12 weeks with proper care and maintenance. Another advantage is that the real hair is protected from styling, manipulation, and the environment which facilitates growth and length retention. You can either braid all of your hair (full) or leave a section out to comb over the tracks to blend in with the extensions (partial).
A variation of the sew-in weave, the net weave also involves braiding the real hair as a base and then a weaving cap or net is sewn to the perimeter braids. Wefted hair is then sewn onto the net but not the real hair. Net weaves have the same advantages as the sew in, but also place less tension and stress on the real hair and are much faster to remove since you only have to detach the perimeter. The trade-off is that net weaves may be less secure than traditional sew ins but they can last anywhere from 8-10 weeks.
Use of either glue or a specialized polymer to attach hair very small sections of extension hair to the root of your real hair. This process is long and involved, and may take anywhere from 10-16 hours. When attaching with glue, a hot glue gun is used where as the newer polymer uses keratin tipped extensions to affix the hair. Fusion is arguably the most versatile way to wear weave because your hair can be parted in a variety of ways and pulled up, down and back without being concerned about covering a track. As your hair grows, the attachment site grows lower and therefore fusion weaves only last up to 8 weeks before they are hanging too far away from the roots to be healthy for the hair or stay attached securely. Fusion weaves should be removed by a professional.
Microloop weaves also use small sections of extension hair like fusion, but without the glue or keratin tip. To attach a small section of the person’s real hair is pulled through a small plastic loop with the extension hair is positioned on top of the real hair. To hold the extension in place the loop is pushed flat with tiny crimping pliers. Gives a similarly natural look as does fusion weaves. This style can last up to 12 weeks and should be removed by a professional.
Probably the newest way to wear hair extensions – at least to the general public – u part wigs are units that have wefted hair sewn onto a wig base of some sort with a “u” shaped area left open. Your hair is prepared the same way it would be for a sew-in weave installation, with a section of your hair left out in the place you select (middle or side) and the unit is clipped onto the braids. You may then style your “leave out” to cover the exposed wefts of the wig the same way you would with a sew in weave. There are also various types of u-part units, included ones in which the shape of the edge of the wig left for exposure isn’t always a ‘u’ – it may be a half circle, v, or l shaped area depending on how you plan to style it. Some units do not have clips and are made to be sewn down such as the 10 Minute Hollywood Sew In. This is a quite popular choice because the wigs/units are installed much faster than a traditional sew-in weave and can be removed easier and faster as well.
As you can see, there are several options for adding a bit of length, volume or color to your hair via hair extensions. Discuss with your stylist which technique will work best for you and your lifestyle and have fun rocking your “enhanced” look!