You may have noticed recently that my locks have been a little fuller than usual. That’s because I hopped on the extensions bandwagon to add volume to my ultra fine hair. My hair stylist, Tori O’Connell, recommended I try the tape-in extensions for a few reasons:
- They’re fairly easy to maintain. Don’t wash your hair everyday and take care of your extensions. If you do, they can last you 3 to 6 months, with multiple uses.
- They blend with your regular hair and don’t cause bumps that give away your secret.
- They are not damaging to your hair. This was a big deal for me because if I were to take them out, I don’t want a bunch of my hair damaged or falling out.
- You can easily sleep in them and they won’t hurt your head like other extensions can.
- They will give you the head of hair you’ve always dreamed of.
We used 18″ Babe Tape-Ins in “Marilyn” on my hair. The colors from Babe are so pretty and seamlessly blend in with my color. You can’t even tell the difference between my hair or the extensions because they blend so well. The installation process only took about 30 minutes, which was another selling point for me.
When wearing tape-ins, always use a shampoo and conditioner that are sulfate-free. I had no idea how many hair products contain sulfate until I actually started to look at the ingredients on the bottles.
Products I use to take care of my extensions:
- Shampoo: I use Living Proof Full Shampoo every other day and Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Shampoo once a week. With extensions, you want to wash your hair at least every other day. This has been the biggest challenge for me. I used to wash my hair almost every day because it would get so oily. Now I use dry shampoo on days I don’t wash my hair.
- Conditioner: Like shampoo, I use Living Proof Conditioner every other day and Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Conditioner once a week. I only use conditioner from my shoulders down. You don’t want to get the conditioner or any type of oil product too close to the scalp or near the tape-in adhesive as it can wear it down.
- Leave-In Conditioner: At the ends of my hair, I use It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Plus Keratin to get out any knots or tangles.
- Dry Shampoo: I currently switch between Kenra Platinum Dry Shampoo and Living Proof Perfect hair Day Dry Shampoo. Tori also recommends AG Hair Simply Dry Shampoo. Dry shampoo has been my lifesaver. On the days I don’t wash my hair, dry shampoo keeps it from looking oily and flat.
- Heat Protectant: Prior to blow drying, I spray Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Mist on my hair to a) decrease blow-dry time and b) provide heat protection from damage and breakage.
- Serum: On the ends of my hair, I use Paul Mitchell Smoothing Super Skinny Serum to tame my hair and keep it looking soft and smooth.
- Brush: I’ve been using the Wet Brush for about a year and love it. With my extensions in, I only use it when my hair is dry to get out any tangles.
- Comb: While my hair is wet, I use a Wigo detangling comb.
Before I got extensions, I would go to bed with my hair wet in high bun. With extensions, you never want to go to bed with wet hair. Now I make sure my hair is completely dry before going to bed and always put my hair in a braid so I don’t tangle my hair while I sleep.
So far, I have LOVED wearing extensions. The first week, my head was a little itchy while it was getting used to having these foreign pieces in. I’ve been wearing tape-ins for about a month and love the extra volume and length. One drawback is that if I want to put my hair up in a high pony tail, it takes more effort because I have to make sure none of the tape shows. I bought a hand mirror to give me more visibility on the back of my hair. I haven’t yet mastered it so I wear my hair down most days.
I like to braid my hair while it’s wet and let it air dry to create pretty waves. If I’m going out to dinner or a party, I’ll blow dry my hair and curl it with a 1-inch wand. I was worried that having extensions would add a lot of extra time onto my morning routine, however it only adds about five additional minutes of blow drying now that I have more hair.
Something to consider when thinking about tape-ins: they are not cheap ($300+ for the hair and then the labor you pay for putting them in and taking them out), however, IMO it has been completely worth it. A few less Starbucks and no more shopping to kill time or when I’m bored. Who knows how long I’ll continue to wear them, but in the meantime, I don’t see myself taking them out anytime soon. I finally have the volume I’ve always wanted!
Shop all the products I mentioned above as well as my outfit below.
Location: Union Square, San Francisco and Visions Salon & Spa
Union Square photos via Bradley Wittke Photography.