When I first started investigating hair extensions, also called weaves by many, I was fascinated and mystified with how they seemed to be mysteriously installed. At first it just didn’t seem possible to “get away with” attaching all of that new hair to my own hair. After my first installation I was out a few hundred dollars, but the mystery was solved. This discovered Hollywood celebrity secret was just one part of the puzzle. I later learned about all of the other kinds of installation methods, their advantages and disadvantages, and which ones were best for different styles, conditions, and hair types. In this article I will focus on the different types of installation methods of extensions for hair, but I won’t dive deep into how to put hair extensions in.
Fusion Hair Extensions
Let’s start with my first personal experience with extensions for hair: Fusion. Fusion hair extensions sounds like a really cool name, but a more simple, more descriptive, and less cool-sounding name would be “hot glue” or more accurately “hot hair extensions glue”. Yes, I said hot glue, like the kind you put in an electric hot glue gun. However, there is one big difference between fusion hot glue and the hot glue you can buy at Dollar Tree; fusion hot glue is Keratin based. This makes all the difference. The fusion glue is more gentle on your hair then regular hot glue and it can also be molded at lower temperatures and removed more easily. Fusion can be applied using a techniques based on hot glue guns, specialty heating appliances, heated pots, and pre-bonded hair strands. It is generally applied attaching strands (or groupings) of hair extensions to strands of the recipient’s hair. The smaller the groupings, usually, the more natural the results.
Tracks, Braids, and Hair Weave Extensions
My next first-hand experience with hair extensions installation methods was with braiding and weaving. I believe this is the oldest method of integrating extensions for hair. This method consists of first braiding the hair tightly against the scalp usually in a pattern that represents the desired flow of the hair extensions. These braids are called tracks and they can be very similar to “cornrows”. With the braids firmly in place, the hair extensions, still on their weft (a very firm seam that holds most hair extensions together), and sewn, stitched, or woven to the braids. Yes, they actually sewn hair extensions right to your own hair. This is where the name “weave” or “hair weave extensions” comes from.
Linkies or MicroRings or MicroLinks
I think this was the third method that I experimented with. To me this seems like the most obvious and straight-forward installation method. Take a strand and grouping of the recipient’s hair. Get a strand or grouping of hair extensions. Slip both into a small metal ring (the hard part). Clamp down on the ring and you are done! Its almost like a hair extensions method of stapling the hair together. Weave Staples! I claim rights to this new name. Actually, this method can be called by many names and most of those names come from the various manufacturers of the metal rings and clamping devices, but the most popular are Linkies, MicroRings, and MicroLinks. Perhaps you picked up from my tone that I am not a big fan of this seemingly popular hair weave extensions installation method.
Shrinkies are a newer method of installing extensions for hair. They can also be called Keratin Shrinkies or Adhesive-Lined Shrinkies. In my opinion this can be a more refined method then fusion and MicroRings/Linkies. In fact, it is pretty much a combination of the two methods. The installation method begins the same as with MicroRings. The Shrinkie is a short tube of keratin-based adhesive. Therefore the Shrinkie can be threaded through the hair extension and then through the targeted hair of the recipient. Once in place the specialized heating and compression device is used to simultaneously squeeze and melt the Shrinkie.
Hair Bonding or Bonding Hair Extensions or Bonded Hair Extensions
This is the hair extensions installation method that I am currently using. This method of bonding hair extensions can be called “cold fusion”. Now again this name sounds much more interesting that the reality. To do this method one uses a specialized hair extensions glue to achieve the hair bonding. There are three kinds of popular adhesive products on the market: Liquid Gold (my current preference), a latex-based glue, and bonding tape. Liquid Gold has a consistency of nail polish and the latex-based glue is quite watery. Both of them are applied along the roots of the targeted spot on the recipients head (close to the scalp as always) and then the hair extensions, still on the weft, are placed immediately on top of the hair bonding glue.
Clip Extensions, Hair Extension Clip, Clip in Hair Extensions, or Clip on Hair Extensions
This method is perhaps one of the easiest to do and understand. Clip extensions are also the most temporary (unless the clips are sewn or bonded in). The hair extension clip comes in many styles and functions, but in all cases the clips are attached, usually sewn, to the hair extension, which is usually still on its tract or weft. The hair extensions clip is placed discreetly in the recipient’s hair, close to the scalp and usually on or near the crown of the head. Clip human hair extensions with a compact and well-fastening clip are the most desirable among this genre and method.
The above six different hair extensions installation methods represent most of the systems of installing hair extensions. New products and methods are always coming out, but most of them are either a refinement or spin on one of these 6 methods, a combination of some of them, or just something really scary and terrible. In my experience these 6 methods all have merit. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Certain conditions, hair types, and hair styles work better with certain methods, but this is a good intro for now. We’ll discuss these methods is greater detail separately.