Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Skinny on Hair Extensions

If you've been a friend of mine for awhile - or if you've followed Southern Style for longer than, oh, a week - then you probably know there have been the many hair stage of Zelle. I can't seem to stick with one thing for long when it comes to my hair, but that has less to do with indecisiveness and more to do with the fact that I have naturally fine and thin hair.

I first had hair extensions when I was in college, the summer I competed for Miss North Carolina for the first time. We added very little length but instead just gave my hair more volume than it had on its own. I was hooked. Though I didn't love the actual act of having extensions, I loved that I didn't have to stress as much about doing my hair. 

About 6 months later, I gave my head a break and when back to au natural. But insert 2013, and the extensions were back, as I was headed back to Miss North Carolina. This time, I went for a look that was a lot longer than my natural hair, but thankfully, my stylist was awesome and very few people knew that it wasn't my natural locks that made for long wavy hair. 

I repeated this process a few times off and on, but ultimately had my longest stint with hair extensions for over 2 years. I had them put in in April of 2016 and took them out and cut all my hair in September of 2017.  Of course, I got new extensions every so often and had them moved back up but didn't really give my hair a break until after Stephen and I got married in August of last year.

When I shared a hair curling tutorial on my InstaStories (you can check it out on my beauty highlights), I started receiving the most questions and a lot of people asked for details on what they are like. Here are a few FAQs about the ins and outs of extensions. Of course, please note that I am not a professional stylist, have not tried every kind of hair extension variety out there and this is all based on personal experience. 

What kind of extensions do you have?
I have tried both bonded (glued), clip-ins (not permanent), and tape-ins. I currently have the tape-in version and that is what I have had for the last few times I had hair extensions. For me personally, they work great, but I've heard of others who prefer a newer style that involves tiny beads that hold the extensions in.

How much time does caring for/styling them add to your morning routine?
To be completely honest, not much (except for drying hair). With super short hair, it's easy because I can blow-dry with a round brush and go. Once it gets a little bit longer though, I've found I spent a lot of time on my hair and always ended up just putting it in a ponytail because it got on my nerves. Blow drying my hair with extensions does take longer (I have more hair now!), and of course there is more hair to curl, but I can definitely make my hair last a day or two longer than usual and my curls hold a lot longer. Which means less stress for me when getting ready. 

Are they safe for fine hair?
In my personal opinion, yes! I have very fine hair but had very little damage to my natural hair when we took them out. Again, this is all based on personal experience, but I did receive a lot of compliments after I took them out because of how healthy my hair looked. I did cut at least 4 inches off of my natural hair when I cut it, though.

What is the investment?
This will honestly depend on your stylist and everything you are getting done. The price of the actual extensions that I use ranges from $100 - $150, depending on length - and if you wanted even more than what I have, the price would go up as it comes in packs. Then, it's an additional $100 - $140 to have them put in (and then factor in a hair cut if one is needed). I normally don't color my hair but did get highlights this last time to help blend my extensions as I was using my old set, so that did have to be factored in as well. 

I can't decide if I want to do hair extensions for my wedding. What would you recommend?
If you want a little bit of extra length or fullness, then my recommendation is YES! I absolutely loved having them throughout our engagement. I felt so much more put together than I did before I had them (although I did learn to embrace the short hair cut for a little while). 

Can you style your hair up?
Yes, but it depends on the style. I had my hair styled in an up-do for one of my best friend's weddings and it made the style look fuller. Now, if you like throwing your hair in a top-knot on top of your hair, be prepared that your extensions will in fact show (I save that look for around the house. Sorry, Steve). 
This was the longest my hair was last summer and the length I had my hair going into our wedding. 
This length is the exact same as the first photo in the white dress. It just shows the difference in how it was curled. 
Chop, chop! We cut 4-5 inches off of my natural hair and took out all the extensions for this shoulder length haircut. 
This photo was taken a couple of weeks before Christmas. Not my best work as I was getting ready to have my hair done for a photo shoot. The front started looking thinner as I was growing my hair out. I also had a haircut in early November and we cut an inch or so off. 
They're back! It's amazing how much longer extensions will make your hair look. They're only about 3/4 longer than my natural hair, but because it filled out my hair style, my hair looks considerably longer. 

Have any other questions?! Let me know! I love chatting about this. Check out photos below for a variety of natural and hair extension looks. 
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