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Fusion Hair Extensions: Facts & Fallacies

Karen Marie Shelton - Copyright - All Rights Reserved 
Revised:  04/05/10

Introduction

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Hair extensions have exploded in popularity over the past ten years since I wrote my first hair extension article.

Along the way I have received literally thousands of emails filled with questions about hair extensions that were based on both fact and fallacy.

I have also spent a lot of time talking with celebrity hairdresser Barbara Lhotan who has worked for hair extensions for many years and took some of the very initial Great Lengths hair extension training. 

Barbara continues to utilize Great Lengths systems even many years later due to her appreciation of the quality and consistency of the hair and tools offered by Great Lengths

There are a long list of competitors in the professional hair extension market to the Great Lengths systems.    Some of the competitors are excellent, some may not be as superior.  Keep in mind that the ultimate concern with any professional hair extension application is the skill, expertise and experience of the hair extension pro providing the extension services.

There is also a dizzying array of add-on hair providers in the hair extension market.  However, there is no question that Great Lengths has been a pioneer and is still a leader in the professional hair extension industry.

Great Lengths offers exceptional training in both hot and cold fusion methodologies to licensed hair professional.  The revolutionary company is always leading with new and improved hair extension technologies. 

Fusion Hair Extension Variables

There are many variables to hair extensions which include:

1.  Type of hair added - human, synthetic or mixed
2.  Origin of hair - European or Oriental or other
3.  Method of attachment - traditional glue based fusion, tape, tubes, beads, string, thread or combo.
4.  Placement by licensed hair professional or by Do-It-Yourselfers (DIY) at home
5.  Proper care aftercare methods and use of recommended hair extension wet line products
6.  Longevity of extensions
7.  Wear and tear on natural hair
8.  Methods of removal of extensions

With every single hair extension variable there are rampant facts and fallacies. 

Who is right and who is wrong?  There is no easy answer since a lot of beliefs are based in personal bias. 

Fusion Hair Extension Facts

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Not everyone will agree with my opinions but they are based on years of studying the fusion hair industry, working with hair extension pros and actually assisting in the installation of extensions.

Listed below are the fusion hair extension facts that I believe to be reliable and true.

1.  Fusion Hair Extensions are the most popular form of hair extension.

While fusion hair extensions are extremely popular with the majority of hair extension wearers, it is debatable whether they are indeed the most popular of all types of hair extensions. 

Fusion hair extensions tend to be more widely recognizable than lesser type of extensions such as tape, tubes or beads.  While sew-in weaves are popular with some ethnicities, due to the fusion promoting marketing machines of well-known hair extension "systems", the general hair consumer is more aware of fusion.

2.  Fusion Hair Extensions - Hot or Cold?

The original form of fusion hair extension was what is known as "hot" and involved a form of glue, wax or similar that was fused to the base hair with a hot fusion tool. 

Cold fusion was introduced as an alternative to hot fusion with the idea that cold fusion is a kinder, gentler form of fusing extension hair to base hair. 

Depending on which hair extension expert you speak to, there are a vast number of opinions about which type of fusion is best. 

3.  Fusing Hair Is Installed Only By Individual Strands

Extension hair can be fused either strand by strand or in full wefts.

Fusion Hair Extension Fallacies

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Not everyone will agree with my opinions but they are based on years of studying the fusion hair industry, working with hair extension pros and actually assisting in the installation of extensions. 

Listed below are the fusion hair extension facts that I believe to be reliable and true.

1.  Fusion Hair Extensions are the most popular form of hair extension because they last the longest.

Although fusion hair extensions, with proper installation and maintenance may last up to three months, other types of extensions may also last as long, if not longer than fusion. 

There are many variables which determine the amount of time any type of extensions will survive.   These variables include, but are not limited to:

  • How fast natural hair grows

  • Whether the installed hair slips or falls out

  • If the extension hair is brushed and combed on a daily basis to eliminate natural fallen strands which can cause major tangling

Hair Extensions that are sewn in may actually last longer than fusion, especially if they are tightened during the wearing of the hair.  Hand sewn extensions or extensions applied one strand at a time may last the longest of all types of hair extensions. 

Of course the longer it takes the professional to apply the extensions, the more expensive the final cost.

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2.  The Glue Used in Fusion Hair Extensions Make Extensions Feel Artificial, Tight And Stiff

Although the minority of first time hair extension wearers may find the glue to feel stiff, compared to other methods of hair extension attachment, fusion hair wearers generally feel the glue is unnoticeable after the first day or so after the installation.

When the fusion hair is pre-tipped with the proper amount of glue, the extension bonds are not easily visible and allow the hair to move freely.

3.  Fusion Hair Extensions Are The Most Expensive Type Of Extensions

A lot of factors come into play regarding the final cost of all types of extensions. 

The primary cost of any type of extensions, fusion or other, is the extension hair used and the amount of time required to attach the hair.  Therefore, to say that fusion hair extensions are the most expensive without addressing the type of hair used and the amount of time required is a fallacy.

Fusion hair extensions, both hot and cold, may or may not be the most expensive type of hair extensions available.

This is an ongoing fallacy.  In some cases when add-on hair is hand tied or hand sewn into pre-set braided tracks placed in the hair, the amount of time to complete this process may take much longer than fusion style extending. 

4.  Fusion Hair Extensions Last The Longest

Regardless of the method of fusion hair application, this may or may not be true due again to a number of variable.  Although some hair extension experts may claim that fusion hair can remain securely in place for up to six months, this would be the exception rather than the rule due to a number of factors including how fast the natural hair grows, how secure the glue or bonding material is and whether or not the bonds were properly applied during the initial application.

While some hair extension experts will offer low or no cost ongoing repair and maintenance to help stretch the original fusion application as long as possible, six months is still the exception rather than the rule. 

In most cases fusion extensions, depending on a variety of factors, will last 3-4 months.  If you decide to go to a professional hairdresser for your hair extension application and they make promises of their fusion systems lasting more than 3-4 months, ask them for a written guarantee.

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5.  Fusion Hair Extensions Are The Best Long Term Option

While it's true many hair consumers and professionals prefer fusion style extensions to other methods, this is not 100% true across the board. 

Some professionals and consumers do prefer other methods to the fusion style for a number of reasons which can range from ease of application to potential damage to the natural hair.

Although fans of fusion hair extensions claim that they are the most indistinguishable from your natural hair, this is not necessary the case when compared with hand tied or sewn extension applications which can be virtually invisible.

Although there has been a lot of buzz over fusion, hand tied and sewn extensions have a much longer history than either the original hot fusion. 

Cold fusion was introduced after hot fusion and has both pros and cons.  With every type of hair extension system or methodology the will always be those who love it and those who don't.

6.  Cold Fusion Hair Extensions Are The Least Intrusive To Natural Hair

Cold fusion is a newer methodology utilized in glue style fusing and was designed to be more gentle and less damaging for the hair.

The cold fusion method utilizes a keratin-based polymer to attach the hair to the actual root.

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Cold fusion is more advantageous for fine or thinning hair since it uses no heat and is considered less intrusive.  Cold fusion systems are designed to offer more flexibility over the original hot glue fusion. 

Does it offer a more natural feeling bond?  It depends on the individual.  Some swear by the cold fusion over the hot and others feel there is little difference.

Does cold fusion guarantee a longer life for the fusion extensions? 

Again this is an answer with many variable including the expertise of the hair extension expert, the type and quality of the hair utilized, the natural hair type, texture and condition and the wearer's willingness to maintain and care for their extensions once they have been applied.

Summary

Hair extensions may be attached to your scalp in a variety of ways.  Each of the different methods of adding on hair have advantages and disadvantages.   One of the more popular and common type of hair extensions are the fusion method although there are many other popular methods as well.

Fusion hair extensions may or may not be the best method to select depending on the natural hair length, type, texture and current condition.  It also may depend on budgetary requirements and your lifestyle demands which may or may not make fusion a compatible method for you. 

When applied properly either by a professional or a DIYer, with high quality hair, fusion style extensions may provide a very natural looking type of hair extension system.

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Original Publication Date: 12/31/06 - Revised:  04/05/10

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