Hair Extensions Gone Wrong
Hair Extensions Gone Wrong
As Told To Karen M. Shelton by Jean X.
Date: 1/30/2001

Introduction

Jean first popped into my view when she posted an agonizing saga of her hair extensions gone wrong on the HairBoutique.com's Hair Talk Board message board.  

As Jean pointed out in her first post, she was the victim of "horrible cap" extensions (see photo to the right).  Her hair extensions actually resulted in a very strange creation where the crown of Jean's hair hung over the extensions so that it looked like she was wearing a wig on top of her hair.  

There was absolutely no blending of the hair extensions with the natural hair.  In fact, Jean reported that the felt like a blob of hair had plopped down on top of her own hair. Sort of like a bird perched on her head. As you can imagine, not a wonderful experience for Jean.

After her initial HairTalk posts Jean and I  corresponded through private email.  Jean discussed at length her frustrations with the disastrous extensions.  As Jean pointed out to me, she was in total despair at the results of her hair extensions.  Jean did not want to go out in public and her self image plummeted.

Jean reported that "the first set of hair extensions she received were done by the only salon in her County that did extensions".  Jean emailed me that "I really think that the lady took a class years ago and never went back to see what improvements have
been made. I can't see going back to her to have it fixed because if she knew how to do it correctly, she would have done it right the first time". 

Jean and I also discussed various options for resolving her problem.  She also shared her ultimate plan to get the original nightmare  fixed. 

As Jean pointed out "I will happily spend more money to have them done over but done right. When you are happy with something you don't mind how much it costs. If the girl who redoes them does it right, I will be happy!"

Just Tease & Curl & No One Will Know

After Jean had her first set of hair extensions applied she knew immediately that something was not right.  Instead of having hair extensions that blended well with her own hair, she had basically a cap of hair perched on top of her own hair.  Sort of like a cap or hair.  Jean was shocked when she got home and realized that she had been the victim of really bad hair extensions.

Jean's first thought was to help other consumers avoid the trauma that she encountered.  Never mind the money that she wasted because she had to find someone else to redo her bad extensions.

Her second thought was to find a salon that could undo the bad extensions and apply good ones.  So Jean went to another place and  was stunned when the very next stylist told me that she applied extensions the same way as Jean's bad extension.  The second stylist she visited told Jean that hers "were done properly!"

Jean told the 2nd stylist "THIS is the best I can expect from extensions?" The second stylist that Jean visited said "Yes, your extensions don't look bad. You just have to learn how to tease and curl your own hair so that it blends." To make matters worse, Jean discovered that the second stylist only charges $250.00.  As Jean pointed out "I could have gotten bad extensions for half the price of $500 that I originally paid!" 

Unfortunately it is very common for shops to vary widely in their charges for hair extensions.  Keep this in mind and take the time to get the best solution for a fair price.

Ultimately Jean had a happy ending.  She found a hair extension expert who removed the first botched "cap" extensions and reapplied good extensions that Jean was happy with ultimately. 

Jean Answers Hair Extension Questions

Jean took a picture of herself and her very first horrible "cap" extensions in her bathroom mirror. Jean gave us permission to "use the picture in showing how NOT to apply extensions". 

Jean decided that the best way to help warn other consumers was to go through a Question and Answer process where it would be easy to explain what happened to Jean and how her extensions were such a disaster.  Jean wants to help other consumers avoid the agony she went through with her extensions.

1.  Why did you decide to get hair extensions initially?

This was the first time I ever tried hair extensions. I decided to get hair extensions because I became impatient waiting for my own hair to grow longer. I had a Dorothy Hamill hairstyle and had been growing it out for about two years. I finally got it to one length and it was only at the bottom of my neck. I wanted to speed things up!  I had heard of celebrities getting hair extensions so that is how I knew that there was such a thing. I figured, how hard could it be?

2.  How did you decide to go to the hair extension person that you choose the first time?  Did you hear about her from
a friend or other source?  Did you find them some other way?

When I looked in the yellow pages of my phone book there was only one salon that mentioned extensions in their advertisement. I didn't know anyone else personally who has had extensions, so there was no one to ask.  Only one hair extension expert was listed so I decided to just go to her.  I was excited about the process and decided to trust that all would end well.

3.  How much time did the hair extension person spend explaining the process to you?  Did you have an initial consultation where you talked about what the hair extension person would do to apply the extensions or did you just do in and have the extensions done at the same time as your first appointment?

They would not tell me the price on the phone. They told me that it depended on how much hair I needed. 

I made an appointment for a free consultation. When I went to the salon, the hair extensions lady asked me how I wanted my hair to look. I replied that I wanted it one length, down to there (I pointed to where my bra starts). She said OK. 

She then took a ring of hair samples and matched one to my own hair color. She left the room and came back with a weft of hair that was light brown. She showed it to me and said that they only use human hair. She held it up to my head and asked if that was the length that I was looking for. 

She said that if I wanted her do my extensions, she could do them right then because she had the time. That is when I asked her the price. She quoted me $500.00 and said that I would have to come back every four to six weeks to have the extensions "re-done". The price for having the hair extensions "re-done" would have been $25.00 per weft. I told her yes, I would like the hair extensions done immediately. I was very excited that she could do them right away since I wasn't expecting to return home with my new hair! 

She told me to go back out to the waiting area and have some coffee and read a magazine because she had to color the hair wefts to match my own color. It felt like 25-30 minutes that I waited. I didn't mind at all though because I was so excited about getting long hair. When she called me back to her styling chair, she just started sectioning my hair. 

4.  Did any of the hair extension people you visited (first, second or final hair extension person) show you a book of other clients and their hair?

No. Noone showed me any pictures of extensions they had done. There were no pictures anywhere in my view. The first hair extension lady did not take any before and after pictures of me either.

5.  How long did the entire process take?  Did it take a few hours, longer, shorter?

I walked in at 1 pm and I got into my car to leave at 4 pm. So it took three hours from the beginning until the end of the first process.

6.  Did the hair extension person explain everything that they were doing as they did it?

No. The first extension lady did not volunteer any information about what she was doing. Out of curiosity, I would ask what she was doing at times and she would then tell me. She didn't seem to mind when I asked her. 

She did tell me, without my asking, that I could color/shampoo/blow dry/curl with hot rollers and cut the extensions. She told me to treat them like my very own hair because the extensions, according to her, were human hair extensions. So basically I was told that whatever I do to my own hair, keep doing with the extensions in. 

The stylist stressed that I had to come back in four to six weeks to have the extensions redone.  She also warned me that if I waited longer than 4-6 weeks, my hair would be all matted and then it would cost more money than the $25.00 per weft.  She told me that this was because it would take her longer to work on me. 

She told me that when I got home, if I felt the extensions were too tight and they hurt, I should dab ambusol (the toothache medicine) on the wefts with a cotton ball. The ambusol would numb my scalp and then I wouldn't feel the tightness.

7.  Did either the first or second hair extension person ONLY do extensions or are they regular stylists who also do extensions?

I would say that the lady who did my first extensions was a stylist because her station had all the regular equipment on it. Her children's pictures were on the table and she talked about them so it was her permanent station. 

I believe that the second lady that actually fixed my original extensions only did hair extension removal and new add-on extensions. She had on a lab coat and she had her own room with a dentists chair in it. The receptionist told me that in addition to extensions she also removed hair.

8.  What specific things would you tell people to beware of?  Besides the problem of your real hair hanging over the top of the fake hair, what else would you warn them about?

That is a hard one. There are so many things that I learned.  If I had asked for photos of previous clients with the first extension expert I would have noticed that her extensions looked like "caps".  If I had gotten a list of customers to call, one of them might have advised me about what I was getting into.

Also, I should have taken more time before deciding to go ahead with the process.  I was so excited about getting long hair quickly that I jumped into the whole process without really taking the time to consider all the possibilities.  I just hoped that things would turn out right and they didn't.

After I got home and realized my hair extensions were a disaster I should have asked for my money back or asked that the extensions be fixed to my satisfaction.  I am not sure that could have happened since the first stylist who did my cap extensions seemed to think that she was doing a great job for my hair. 

It is also important to ask lots of questions.  I should have asked how long she had been doing extensions, how often she did them, if she went to school for courses on the latest techniques.

I should have also surfed the Web to get information on hair extensions so I would have been better prepared for what to expect. I should have also asked how long it would take.  Based on everything I know now, it should have taken a lot longer than 3 hours.  That should have been a tip off.

9.  Did you notice any lingering aroma from the extensions?  Some people point out that the extensions have an unusually strong aroma because they are dyed and the hair is not real.  I am not sure if this is something that is a concern or not.

No. There was no aroma from the extensions. Not when she was doing them and not as the days went on. I did not notice any unusual aroma from the hair or the dye or anything else.

10.  Did either of the hair extension people give you a list of products you should use on your extensions?

No.  They did not give me a list of products. I was told to use whatever I had already been using.  I was told to treat my extensions as if they were your real hair.

11.  Did they tell you how long the extensions would last?

There was no mention of my having to buy new hair at some point in the future. The only maintenance mentioned was four to six weeks or else they said that my own hair would mat.

After reading about the salon where Adrian the Dreamweaver works and hearing about how he applies extensions I realized that the time I spent was too short for a good extension job. As the article points out, Adrian applies extensions piece by piece and it takes hours.  It looks very real when he is finished. It also costs thousands of dollars.  In some cases as much as $5,000.  So definitely a major undertaking and definitely nothing like what I experienced.

I really want to help people and I worry so much that they will have the same experiences that you just had and have paid a lot of money with unsatisfactory results.

Summary

The moral to this story is simple, buyer beware.  If a stylist tells you that you can get 100% human hair extensions for $250 or even $500, beware.  

It is rare that high quality human hair extensions cost less than $2,000 $2,500 when applied by an expert.  Yes you can buy your own hair for less but when you buy it from the extension expert you may pay more.  A lot depends on the length and texture of the human hair but it is impossible to believe that human hair extensions would be available for a mere $250.

Do your homework.  If you go to a stylist who is the only hair extension expert listed in the Yellow Pages you may be asking for trouble.  Take the time to call around and get references.   

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