There are many different ways in which hair extensions are applied to the natural hair. One of the most popular methods currently in use is fusion.
Fusion is the act or process of fusing human, synthetic or a mixture of human, synthetic and/or animal hair to the native hair.
Extension hair is fused to the natural hair through the use of either hot or cold methods. Bottom line, fusion means attaching individual sections of "hair" to the natural hair slightly below the root.
In the early days of hair extensions, only professionals were trained and skilled in the application of fusion.
As the industry matured hair consumers learned to do fusion at home on their own tresses or with the assistance of friends and family. As the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) as home market as matured, more consumer friendly extension products have been created.
Of course as the popularity of fusion hair extensions has exploded a lot of misinformation has followed.
How Long Do Fusion Hair Extensions Last?
Depending on whom you talk to, fusion hair extensions can last from a few days to several months.
The truth? Depending on a variety of factors, fusion hair extensions can last an average of 8-10 weeks.
The factors contributing to the longevity of fusion hair extensions include:
1. Quality of the hair utilized 2. Type of fusion bond applied to hair 3. Thickness of bonds 4. Whether tips are pre-bonded or hand dipped 5. Expertise of person applying the hair 6. Quality of hot fusion or cold fusion tools used 7. Aftercare of the extensions 8. Frequency of touch-up end trims during wear of extensions 9. Speed of root hair growth
Quality Of Hair
Fusion hair extensions will last the longest with the highest quality of human hair. Although it used to be true that the best hair originated in Europe, the tides of hair production have advanced and many types of Asian hair are as superior as European.
Ultimately the quality of the extension hair added through fusion will ultimately influence the length the time the hair will last. The highest quality of hair equals up to 12 weeks. The lowest quality of hair may last only a few weeks before the hair becomes un-wearable. Remember, when it comes to hair, you get what you pay for.
Type of Fusion Bond
Fusion bonds are created from a variety of compositions including, but not limited to, wax, glue Keratin which is designed to be most compatible with the natural composition of human hair. The higher the quality of the fusion bond materials, the longer the bond will maintain in the hair.
Thickness Of Bonds
Although individual fusion strands come pre-tipped and pre-packaged, some bonds are custom cut from long weft strands. When hair is custom cut from wefts it is important to make sure the final fusion strands are neither too thin or too thick.
Some professionals also cut pre-tipped strands in half to achieve a more compatible bond with the hair's natural texture. The more compatible the hair strands bonded to the natural hair, the longer the fusion system will last.
Pre-tipped or Hand Dipped
Fusion hair strands can be ordered pre-dipped with the required adhesive in place or they can be hand dipped. When strands are hand dipped they are dipped one strand at a time into a melting pot that contains the adhesive substance. When the strands are hand dipped they may either come packaged as individual strands or they may require cutting off a main weft.
The advantage to pre-dipped strands is that they usually have the proper amount of adhesive applied and require much less time to fuse to the natural hair. When strands have to be cut from a weft and then dipped into a melting pot before applying it to the natural hair, it takes a lot more time, provides less consistent results and may result in strands falling out after the installation has been completed.
Although pre-dipped fusion strands, are more expensive, in the long run they are the preferred method for fusion extensions by professionals and DIYers. These pre-dipped fusion strands are sometimes referred to as U Tips because they are shaped in the form of a U.
Some DIYers have performed so many fusion hair installations on themselves they have become pros in their own right. However, when in doubt, work with a professional hair extension expert to achieve the very best results. As the hair extension industry has matured, a myriad of hair extension methods have been introduced into the market. Some of these methods include Great Lengths and SoCap, to name a few.
Whether you prefer to develop your own DIY expertise, or work with a pro, do your homework and ask tons of questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to paying money to have your hair extended.
Quality Of Fusion Tools
Not all hot and cold fusion tools are created equally. The higher the quality of the fusion tool, the more successful the attachment of the bonds to the natural hair. Invest in the very tool possible.
Aftercare Of Extensions
Whether you opt for 100% human hair of the finest quality, application by a pro of seasoned DIYer, pre-tipped fusion strands and carefully measured strands, if you don't practice great after-care you will not be able to extend the life of your extensions.
There are some basic rules for proper aftercare of your extensions. Most extension experts advise to wait washing newly installed hair extensions for up to 48 hours. This gives the adhesive the necessary time to completely harden and stablize.
It is also important to avoid using hair care products that will cause rapid destruction of the bonds. Employ proper combing and brushing techniques making sure to anchor the fusion areas when combing or brushing the extension sections. Avoid using hot tools near the bonds which could cause them to soften.
If you follow great aftercare, your fusion hair extensions can easily last 8-12 weeks without a problem.
Frequency Of Touchups
As fusion hair ages from initial installation, the ends may become ragged. It is important to have them regularly trimmed to keep the extension hair soft and less prone to tangling.
Speed Of Root Hair Growth
One of the key reasons that fusion hair extensions need to be replaced is due to the amount of natural hair grows from the roots.
Fusion extensions are the extension method of choice of celebrities, professionals and everyday women. A full head consisting of approximately 100 to 125 individual strands can be applied in approximately 4 hours, if the strands are pre-cut and pre-bonded with adhesive.
In this case the fusion hair can last up to 12 weeks or until the natural hair grows out from the roots to the point that the fusion hair is no longer viable.
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- Revised Publication Date: 04/25/11