Hair Extension Hell and the Art of Hair Maintenance

Hair extensions are not something for the faint of heart in this business. They are nothing but pure maintenance. Not just for the client but also for the stylist putting them in. They are extremely time consuming and putting them on a client can be back breaking work. Sometimes I wish that my clients would just learn to love their little tiny skinny hair and cut it short. When are pixies going to make a come back???

I know I’m whining a bit here but I actually don’t mind hair extension jobs as long as I know that the person getting them realizes what a huge responsibility having someone else’s hair on their head is and what a financial burden they can be. I make all my clients sign waivers stating that they understand this because there is nothing worse than having a client call you at 3AM crying that she pulled half her extensions out because they were in a wad in the back of her head and she has a porno to shoot in the morning. (This has happened to me but that is a whole other blog…) Of course most women that have extensions are not porn stars. Thank God. Still, they have no idea how to take care of their own hair let alone Harshita’s, who gave her hair up for the Great Buddha and 300 Rupees.

A friend who wanted hair extensions for her wedding...

There are several different types of hair extensions and several companies that sell them. Because I work mainly on Caucasian women I am going to focus on extensions for Caucasian hair. If anyone, of any other persuasion wishes to help me out here, go for it! I love a good critique. Personally, I prefer Indian hair and will only buy Indian hair. A lot of companies use Asian hair and hair from various other sources but I feel that Asian hair is much more coarse and less pliable. Its processing takes longer and the hair ends up looking frayed faster than Indian hair. Indian hair has a finer quality to it and most women who get extensions have shitty fine hair and need a softer extension. Plus, I think Indian hair colors better because it is finer. Indian women have a tendency to take better care of their hair because it is being sacrificed to the gods, I guess? I am not in any way picking on Asian women and their practices, this is just my preference.

After hair extensions...

Keratin Bonds are hair that has a pre-glued tip on it and is fastened to the hair by a heating element. iLinks are hair that has a hard round tip that is pushed through a metal fastener and the fastener is pinched onto your hair and the tip of the extension at the base of the scalp. Skin wefts are strips of hair that have tape at their base. These are sandwiched onto a thin strip of your hair and then sometimes slightly heated with a flat iron for a longer lasting extension. These are less permanent and easier to take out. I always recommend skin wefts for someone who just isn’t quite sure about the whole “fake hair” commitment. They are also a lot less expensive in the beginning.

Did I mention that extensions are expensive?

My prices start at $500 and go up to around $1600 for a virgin head of extensions and I’m reasonable. If you live anywhere near the Beverly Hills area expect to pay $1600 and up for a head of faux hair. To have them taken out and replaced I charge around $100 an hour and that is not with the cost of the hair. It’s seriously back breaking work and if you let your hair get ratty it takes twice as long to get those little suckers out. It’s also very time consuming. I virgin head of extensions takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. Taking them out and replacing them anywhere from 3 to 8 hours. It all depends on how well you take care of your extensions and when you look at the cost of them, it’s wise to do what your stylist says and take really good care of Harshitas’ hair!

If you are seriously interested in having Harshita’s hair mixed in with yours she would like it if you wouldn’t mind taking as good care of it as she did when it was on her head. After all it took her a long time to grow her hair out, so you can now wear it. You will have to really take the time out everyday to maintain your new hair. I always recommend using a sulfate free shampoo and a hydrating conditioner. I like Pureology or Kevin Murphey. Sure they’re expensive shampoos but you just spent a lot of money on that hair! Always, Always shampoo only your head and then only condition the bottom of your hair. This keep the bonds from breaking down and the shaft of the hair soft and pliable. Since your extensions aren’t attached to your head they aren’t getting the proper oils that flow down from your scalp. Try not to wash your hair everyday but if you must remember that one rule. I also recommend a hair oil on the ends of the hair after washing. I prefer Icon Oil but something like Argan Oil or Moroccan Oil works well too. Most Indian women put coconut oil on their hair to keep it shiny and healthy, millions of Indian women can’t be wrong here! Also, try to blow dry them and flat iron as little as possible. All that heat is damaging, not only to the extensions but to your hair too. And, at night put your hair in a loose braid with a soft elastic at the bottom, this helps keep it from getting too tangled.

And last but not least, my favorite maintenance advice… My all time favorite thing to tell a woman who has just gotten a new head of hair; or has come in with her hair so matted and dreaded that she can no long comb the shit, is to stay off her back! Seriously…! There are two ultimate demons for women with extensions; meth amphetamines and sex. Meth is obvious, but for those of you who don’t get it, once a woman snorts, smokes or shoots meth, she starts picking. Picking at her face, her nails and her hair and out come the bonds attached to the hair which means she starts making herself bald on top of it all. Copulation and hair extensions don’t go well together, either, but they go hand in hand. Men love beautiful long hair. When they see a sexy head of hair they will usually do anything to get a woman in the sack. And where do most women end up in the sack? On the bottom! With their head tilted back in ectasy they rub , rub, rub those little bonds right into the shitty polyester 100 thread count pillow and right into a dread lock the size of Texas. Whether you are in a loving committed relationship or just screwing around with any old Joe, if you don’t find a way to get on top a little more often, then you are going to have problems. Try doggy style or get sideways but for God’s sake try something besides Missionary.

Hair extensions can be a wonderful addition to your beauty repertoire if you are willing to take the time that they require to keep them healthy and beautiful. They aren’t for every lady out there. They are expensive and time consuming and can really do a lot of damage to your real hair follicles when not taken care of properly. I always say that knowledge is power. If I have offended my readers sensibilities I refuse to apologize. These are things women need to know before spending all that money and time getting something they just can’t take care of.

At least with children you know they’ll eventually get old enough to feed themselves…