Hair and beauty experts have long promoted taking fish oil supplements to promote healthy and beautiful hair, nails and skin.
Before HairBoutique.com decided to carry the HairDo line of clip-in hair extensions, Karen Shelton (HB CEO & Founder) and I both wore the synthetic as well as the human hair versions to understand all the pros and cons of the clip-in systems.
Karen and also worked together to test Jon Renau using my own head of hair as the testing ground for the synthetic and human hair clip-ins.
Although Karen has spend the past ten years researching and studying hair extensions, I am relatively new to hair extensions although I do enjoy learning about new hair extension options. Also, I am a better hair model since my hair is slightly below my shoulders but Karen's natural hair extends approximately 5" below her waist and is not ideal for extending.
Recently it was agreed that HairBoutique.com would start a series of evaluations on hair extension systems available in the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) consumer marketplace.
Drafting resident hair professional, Billy J. Johnson, it was agreed that Billy and I would order one of the many DIY hair extension kits on the marketplace. We purchased a DIY hair extension system which is advertised and billed as a system that anyone should be able to do at home by themselves.
To guarantee that everyone on the HairBoutique.com evaluation team remained impartial, the kit was completely paid for by HairBoutique.com funds. The initial order was placed over the web at the kit maker's website on Wednesday, July 18th. Payment was handled through PayPal which caused an initial snafu since PayPal would not accept the credit card for some unknown reason.
An email was dispatched to the kit maker's CustomerCare inquiring about a possible different payment method. The good news was that customer care emailed quickly in response to offer an alternative payment method which would have been through an invoice process. The customer care person was very helpful in trying to arrange payment when the PayPal system misbehaved.
I decided to try again and after a second attempt with the PayPal system I was able to finalize my DIY order on the morning of Thursday, July 19th using the HairBoutique.com credit card.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
After some discussion with Billy it was agreed I should order the DIY hair kit that was based upon 16" of human hair, classified as Remi hair.
I ordered the Dark Blonde/Light Brown color. Also, the kit's adhesive, which adheres the extensions to the natural hair comes in colors which are automatically matched based on the hair extension shade ordered.
Available adhesive colors include gold/blonde, brown and black.
The total amount for the DIY Kit was $219 plus $8.95 for shipping. The only shipping option was through the United States Postal System (USPS).
This caused a slight challenge after the initial order processing since it was impossible to track my package through the USPS system. I was not sure exactly when my kit would arrive.
I received a Ship Email from the DIY Kit's distributor on Tuesday, July 24th letting me know that my DIY Kit had shipped. The kit arrived on Thursday the 26th at the HairBoutique.com warehouse. The guys knew I was waiting anxiously for my kit so they literally walked it directly to my office.
DIY Hair Extension Installation Kit
Billy and I agreed to schedule the DIY kit installation on my shoulder length, layered hair for Saturday, August 4th. That would give Billy and I both time to examine the DIY, read the instruction pamphlet and watch the DVD. It would also give us a better window at the HairBoutique.com offices when most of the staff would be out of the building. The building has a special room in the back of the building equipped with a sink, shower and appropriate accessories for cutting hair and doing various hair related testing.
One of the biggest advantages to the DIY Kit system is the fact that kit comes with everything you need for the installation except scissors. Since the Remi hair included in the kit arrives on an approximate 4 foot span of machine wefted hair, you do need to have good scissors to cut the individual pieces.
Billy provided his professional hair cutting scissors which consisted of Bonika which are Japanese scissors.
includes the following items:
1. Four brightly colored hair clips 2. Pre-tipped hair strands tipped with Keratin Glue 3. 2" Plastic Spatulas for stirring the wax in the melting pot 4. Remi Hair 5. Hair Clips (claw style) for holding hair while applying the extensions. 6. Comb 7. Instruction Brochure 8. Application instruction DVD (part Powerpoint, part voice over, part cartoon).
On Saturday, August 4th Billy and I met at the HairBoutique.com building at 1:00 pm.
Although Karen (Shelton) was in the HairBoutique.com building and available to help, she had minimal participation wanting to let Billy and I test this as a true DIY hair extension process.
It was clear immediately that I would not be able to section my hair by myself or apply the extensions to the back of my head by myself.
This was an initial concern from the beginning but Billy and I decided to play it by ear to see if I might actually install the hair extensions myself.
Billy agreed and we revised our installation plan on the fly to have him do all the installations.
It was decided that Billy would install the DIY extensions for me since he is a hair pro and could section the back of my head much easier than I ever could.
Aroma Of Melting Wax And Related Challenges
Although we started close to 1:00 pm the wax took almost 30 minutes to completely melt. The DIY Kit instructions said "wait until hot" but we were unsure how long we should wait. Therefore, we decided to be "better safe than sorry" and let the wax melt for a full 30 minutes.
While waiting for the wax to completely melt and to partially escape the intense aroma of the melting substance which smelled a little like burning hair to me, Billy and I jetted out to Wendy's to grab some lunch. Billy described the aroma of the melting bonding agent as "a strong fishy smell".
For anyone trying this system Billy and I would suggest you melt the wax bond in an area that is well ventilated. Open some windows or use this in a room that has a lot of air circulation. That would definitely help with any aromas.
Note: Some people using the DIY system may not notice any aroma when melting the wax bond. It might depend on a variety of factors including the heating pot used, room where you were located.
Since Billy and I had never worked with this type of DIY hair extension system or this type of wax adhesive product we freely admit that we may have had some user errors. However, another challenge to us was the liquid consistency of the wax bond. Billy pointed out "he had to constantly stir the melted liquid or it would start to separate". To make sure he had maximum adhesive power Billy would stir the wax before dipping each new strand.
When the liquid started to separate it would be clear on top and murky on the bottom. Karen described the wax bond "as being similar to a Cafe Au Lait" or "hot chocolate". Maybe we did not need to stir as often as we did but Billy and I were concerned about making sure the wax bond was at optimal heat and consistency. We also both appreciated the little stirring spatulas that were very helpful.
Applying The Strands
Following the DIY instructions, Billy started applying the individual sections of hair along the nape of my neck. He also followed the DIY kit's suggested 3-4 ratio which means that for every section of my hair that he sectioned, he cut a strand of DIY hair (from the long hair curtain along the top) to be equal to approximately 2 1/2 - 3" times larger than my natural hair section.
Using the enclosed DIY hair extension kit claw style clips Billy sectioned my hair along the back. To help Billy position the individual strands, I held the target section while he first dipped the newly cut Remi hair and then dipped the tip into the melting pot of wax bonding material.
Once he dipped the hair and had the tip covered with the adhesive mixture, he placed it against my own hair approximately 1/2" below my roots. Billy then pinched the tip of the extension section against my own hair and held it to make sure it adhered completely.
Once the wax bond cooled off to a certain point, Billy used his fingers to roll the newly formed waxy bonds to get them nice and round as well as to make the attachment point less obvious. This was a recommendation in the DIY system instructions.
Throughout the entire application of the strands my role was to hold my natural hair while Billy cut and applied the new strands. I also literally stirred the wax bond pot to make sure that we had the proper consistency.
Billy and I both really liked the DIY Extension Kit. It is definitely affordable for consumers on a budget. The company was helpful and provides good customer service.
When Billy and I compared notes we both agreed that we both liked the DIY Hair Extension System but would probably not be willing to do any type of individual strand application any time soon.
We also agreed that we would like to continue to test different Do-It-Yourself hair extension systems designed specifically for consumers.
Although Billy is a hair professional he is also a consumer and we both have a special interest in being able to provide Hairboutique.com visitors (both consumer and professionals) with our own experiences.
My plan is to continue to wear the DIY Hair extensions as long as possible. I certainly have learned that I enjoy "instant long hair" and have a new understanding of the many DIYers in the hair extension world.
I have been bitten by the hair extension bug and love, love, love the quick transformation. My own hair has never, ever been this long before and I adore the feeling of hair cascading down my back and flipping it around. Now I know why Karen loves her ultra long tresses so much.
I also plan on testing many different hair DIY and professional hair systems over the next coming year. We will test other "kits" as well as have my hair professionally extended to get a clear comparison. I will also test all types of hair from many different hair vendors to give a fair analysis of different extension hair origins.
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- Revised Publication Date: 07/07/10