Hair Extension Tips: What I Have Learned
Hair Extension Tips: What I Have Learned
Alice Ridley (as told to Karen Shelton)
Date: 2/1/2002, Revised 12/1/2005

Introduction by Karen Shelton

Alice Ridley has been a tremendous help to HairBoutique.com since I first met her in early 2000.  Alice emailed me that she had decided to fly from her home to Dallas, Texas in order to have a set of hair extensions applied to her hair by a HairBoutique.com hair extension expert.

Alice made her decision to have the hair extension expert add her weaves as a direct result of hair extension information that she gathered from articles and message board comments located at the HairBoutique.com website.  

I was very impressed when Alice offered to share her entire hair extension experience with us so that HairBoutique.com could help more consumers make informed hair extension decisions.   Alice emailed me that she "admires The HairBoutique.com's willingness to share hair care information and hair extension information with our visitors". 

Follow-up With Alice 

Alice had her extensions successfully applied in May of 2000.  She sent me some follow-up emails reported that she very happy with the work that was done.  She also really liked her new hair extensions.

In September of 2000 Alice and I corresponded again about the status of her hair extensions.  They had been removed, as planned.  Everything had gone well with the extensions.  However, extensions have a limited life cycle and once the extensions had met their life span, Alice had them successfully removed.

I asked Alice is she would be willing to answer some common hair extension questions that I receive on a regular basis.  Alice agreed to include a summary of the things she had learned as a direct result of her experiences.  Listed below are the questions that I asked Alice about her hair extension experience with her complete answers. 

Hair Extension Tangles 

HairBoutique.com Question: 

Did you first set of hair extensions tangle or were they hard to comb, style, deal with in general.  (This is a biggie).

Answer From Alice:

The biggest problem I had to deal with was getting used to having such long hair all of a sudden. I was not used to the daily tasks associated with long hair; gentle combing, shampooing properly, conditioning, conditioning, conditioning! 

The hair itself is not really difficult to comb and just about any available detangler/conditioner will prevent snarls and ease combing out your long hair.

Any tips and tricks you find pertaining to long hair also work on extensions, such as combing out hair before you wash it. If you get extensions made of human hair, you can do everything you can do with your own hair as well; hot rollers, hair dryers, curling irons, all can be used on your extensions (although you should use moderation - because they are human hair they will also receive damage like human hair :) 

The main thing is you MUST USE GOOD HAIR! If you use cheap hair, you will have problems with tangles, matting, loss of shine and general nastiness with the hair. This is because cheaper hair is usually submitted to a chemical process to remove the cuticle and then dipped in silicone to replace the shine lost after a cuticle stripping. 

The silicone will eventually wash off in the shampoo and you will get stuck with gnarly, dull hair that is hard to control. If you are unsure of what kind of hair quality you are getting, do some web research, ask what type of hair it is (i.e. European, Indian fallen, etc), ask them who their supplier is, take notes and look up any info you don't understand on the internet.

Hair Extension Removal 

HairBoutique.com Question:

Who removed your hair extensions?  Did you or did you come back to Dallas.

Answer From Alice:

I went back to Dallas to have them removed by the same hair extension expert that put them in.  His removal took approx 4 hours for my very thick hair.  Removal times vary depending on amount of hair you had added.

Hair Extension Damage To Natural Hair 

HairBoutique.com Question:

Did the original extensions damage your hair either while in place or when you had them taken out?

Answer From Alice:

Not at all! Extensions, when done properly, should never damage hair. Through three sets over the past year, my hair has not become damaged. Theoretically, over the course of 10 years or so, the extra weight of hair extensions might cause thinning hair for some women, but I've never heard of it happening. 

I've personally found the braid and weft type extensions are easier on my hair because all it involves is a braid and some thread - there is no attachment chemical needed. They also seem to be faster to apply. But again, this is only my opinion and to my knowledge neither braid and weft nor other types of extensions cause any hair damage, provided they are done properly.

What Happened To The Original Extensions? 

HairBoutique.com Question:

What did you do with the hair from the extensions?  Throw it away, reuse it, save it?

Answer From Alice:

The hair extensions that were used could not be reused so it was thrown away when it was removed from my hair. The braid and sewn weft hair can be used over and over provided you bought good hair to begin with and took care of it. Most people just get fresh hair every time however, since at most places the hair is included in what you pay for service anyway (unless otherwise specified).

Hair Extension Pain/Itching Or Other Problems 

HairBoutique.com Question:

Was there any pain, itching, uncomfortable feeling, headaches or other physical difficulties.

Answer From Alice:

They were weird to sleep on at first, and you might think they are annoying for the first night too. Your head might feel lumpy as you roll around on the pillow, and when you wake up your hair might all be on your face. You will get used to the feeling of extensions within a couple of days; braiding hair into one plait down your back will keep the extensions from getting tangled, snagged, or flopping in your face as you sleep.

My first set of braided and sewn was itchy; I went to another person to have them done and she said the other person must have braided the wefts too tightly. This second set has given me no discomfort whatsoever. That is another key; extensions should not cause discomfort when done correctly. If you have any headaches, itching, or pulling sensation, then they were done improperly and you should find someone else to do them.

Next Hair Extension Steps For Alice

I was very excited to hear from Alice that after having her extensions removed that she was on a new quest to have more hair extensions added to her hair.  

For her repeat trip to the hair extension bar, Alice wanted to try a different method of extensions.  While Alice liked the extensions and the work that the hair extension expert did for her, she wanted to experiment and just try other methods.  

After some intensive research Alice decided to fly to an extension expert in Ohio and have a completely different method of extensions added. The report of her experiences with the new method will be published in a future article by Alice here at HairBoutique.com. Alice is also doing research on buying her own extensions and has promised to include that information as well.

Thanks to Alice for being the HairBoutique.com's hair extension experimenter.  Stay tuned for her next adventure.  

For a list of hair extension experts that we have heard good things about refer to our list by clicking on the hotspot.  If you know of a great hair extension expert please email us with the details and we will add them to our lists.

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