What Are the Different Types of Hair Extensions?

Tape-ins, clip-ins, weave, pre-bonded, fusion, micro-link, ah! What does it all mean? What does it all mean? Don’t be overwhelmed Luxy friends, we’ve got you covered! Although Luxy Hair Extensions are 100% remy human hair clip-ins, hair extensions are not limited to this kind and we think it’s important to know what the different types are.

There are so many different types of hair extensions out there, so this blog post will help to provide clarity and help you make the best choice for your hair. So, sit back, tie your hair back and let’s get right into it!

Real Human Hair Extensions VS. Synthetic Hair Extensions

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Before getting into the different types of hair extension applications, the first thing you need to to know about hair extensions is that they come in real human hair extensions and synthetic hair extensions. So, what is the difference between them?

How Hair Extensions Are Made

Human hair extensions are exactly what they sound like. They are made out of real, human hair from top to bottom, collected from a donor. Remy hair means all the cuticles are intact, running in the same direction at the time of collection. This allows for almost no tangling and ensures that the cuticles flow in the same direction from root to tip.

Synthetic hair on the other hand, is made out of various synthetic, blended fibres, and contains no human hair. These fibres are usually very fine, plastic fibres that are manufactured to imitate real hair.

Look & Feel

Both real and synthetic extensions come in many styles, colours and different forms of application. The quality of synthetic fibres can vary, but they are generally stiff and move differently from human hair, so they don’t blend as well with your natural hair. They sometimes have a wiry or coarse feel to the touch. Real hair looks and feels real (because it is, of course!) and therefore blends more naturally with your hair.  

Coloring & Styling

With synthetic hair, you cannot colour the hair as most dyes contain ammonia or bleach which would simply destroy the synthetic hair. Additionally, you cannot style synthetic hair the same way as your real hair because the heat can damage them. So you can’t use things like curling irons, straighteners or a blow dryer on synthetic hair as it will melt/severely damage them. Other factors such as sun, friction or harsh hair products can also damage synthetic hair extensions. Real hair extensions on the other hand can be treated just like your own hair – there are no limits! You can colour & style them any way you like.

Quality & How Long Hair Extensions Last

Synthetic hair is cheaper than real hair, but of course with that, comes a trade off. Because they’re made out of synthetic fibres, they do not last as long as human hair as they can easily be damaged by the above-mentioned factors (such as sun, heat, etc.). Generally, they last for a few months, whereas real extensions can last upwards of one year if they are well taken care of. Remy human hair lasts for about one year on average.

So, in summary, real hair can be treated and styled just like your own hair, and will look and feel the most natural. It will blend easily with your hair and last much longer than synthetic hair. Although they are cheaper than real hair, synthetic hair does not look as natural, cannot be styled with heating tools and do not last as long as real hair.

Now that we’ve gotten real vs. synthetic out of the way, let’s get into the different types of extension applications!

1. Tape-In Hair Extensions

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What Are They?

Tape hair extensions are exactly what they sound like! The extensions are pre-taped and then taped/glued together on either side of your own hair. Typically a hairdresser would apply tape-ins for you because you need to align them to the roots and they are applied with a heated tool that heats up the glue. Additionally, you would need to have them removed (with glue remover) and then reinstalled. Naturally, when you apply heat to your roots and any adhesive product such as tape or glue, this can damage your hair. This process usually takes approximately 40 minutes – 1hr to apply and if the extensions are in good condition, they can be re-used.

Treatment

You have to be very careful with using conditioners or hair products because this can cause the tape to come loose or slip off. This is a very common issue with tape-ins, where the hair simply slides off. Because of this, hairdressers usually recommend you use special shampoo/conditioner and styling products that are less harsh and not as oily to ensure the glue sticks to your hair. You can style them any way you want because they are made with human hair, but need to watch out for the roots where the glue/tape is.

How Long Do They Last?

Tape-ins’ are considered semi-permanent. Typically, they last 4-8 weeks before you need to remove and re-apply them, but just like any other hair it depends on how well you take care of them and it also depends on your hair growth.

2. Sew-In Hair Extensions/Weaves

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Image Source: divasdenhairsalon.com & Liliana Hair Extensions

What Are They?

Weave hair is applied by braiding the natural hair into a corn row first, and then the extensions are attached using a needle and thread, and threaded into the braid/corn row. Weave hair extension are predominantly used for people with thicker hair because of the way they are applied and require more hair to mask. Generally speaking, the weave application is a very long process (usually several hours) and are applied tightly which often puts a strain on the scalp and therefor feel very heavy and uncomfortable. This is also the reason why it doesn’t work well with thin or lighter hair. This method is also applied by a hairdresser as it is a very technical and difficult application that needs to be sewn-in by a professional. (Note: sew-ins are also known as “tracking” when using a wig, which is also sewn into the corn row the same way but the hair comes attached to a separate piece.) This type of hair extensions is the most painful/uncomfortable but it’s popular because it’s the most permanent type and most seamless because it’s literally sewn into your own hair and cannot come off.

Treatment

If you have a weave, you need to moisturize the scalp, the nape and edges of the hair at least once a week and ensure you are using deep conditioning products. Another popular recommendation for people with weaves is to wash with a special protein product to minimize the damage and effects of making your hair weak. When it comes to styling, the same rules apply for real hair vs. synthetic hair but usually weaves come in real hair because of how long they are kept in.

How Long Do They Last?

Recommended time is 6-8 weeks, especially if you are trying to grow your own hair. The maximum amount of time you should have a weave in your hair is 4 months if you have a full weave but it will affect your real hair so you should always ask the hairdresser that is applying the weave.

3. Fusion & Pre-Bonded Hair Extensions

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Image Source: freeindex.co.uk & docg.com

What Are They?

Fusion hair extensions (also known as bonding or pre-ponded) are bonded to natural hair using different adhesives such as glue. Applying pre-bonded hair extensions take approximately 3-4 hours to apply and are also applied by a hairdresser. Fusion extensions might not be suitable for all clients especially if you have damaged hair as this type of application is very damaging to your natural hair. (So often times you will have a hairdresser tell you not to do this method.) The application involves a machine that looks like a hot glue gun, which essentially glues the hair to individual strands of the natural hair (pictured above). For the pre-bonded hair extensions, it’s a slightly different method where you use a heat clamp to melt the glue to the natural hair.

Treatment

Fusion/ pre-ponded application is manageable and treated the same way as your real hair. You can use the same products you would normally use however they need re-positioning every 2–3 months as the natural hair grows. Additionally, due to the numerous chemicals in the glue, this method can cause hair loss, breakage, and scalp irritation.

How Long Do They Last?

They are considered semi-permanent as they stay in your hair for up to 4 months. However, like all other types, this varies based on your own hair type/growth.

4. Micro-Link Hair Extensions

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Image Source: cchairextensions.com

What Are They?

Micro link hair extensions are also known as micro bead or micro- loop hair extensions too, so not to worry if you hear these different names. These hair extensions are applied by looping the extensions through the natural hair. You then clamp it down with a special tool/clamp, heat, and a metal bead (or ring). They are fixed to small sections of natural hair and tightened with this special tool/clamp. Once again, this method can be very damaging because the heat from applying the metal rings causes the hair to burn and break. This method also takes approximately 3 hours to apply.

Treatment

You can wash them the same way you would your real hair and use the same styling products. Similar to fusion, they need re-positioning every 2-3 months as the natural hair grows and the micro-beads move away from the scalp. Once again because of the bead/ring, the heat and the clamp tool, this method is also very damaging to the hair.

How Long Do They Last?

Same as Fusion extensions, considered semi-permanent and they generally last up to 4 months as well.

5. Wigs & Hair Pieces

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Image Source: allurehair.co.uk & ebay.ca

What Are They?

Wigs and hair pieces come in different forms and are applied to hair topically. With long full wigs, they are made to cover your entire head (which is why it used to be called “head covering”) and it essentially completely covers your head and acts as a replacement for your own hair (meaning it is not blended with your own hair). This is used for many different reasons (like if your hair is too short or if you are balding and cannot incorporate your own hair) but the purpose is to cover your whole head.
The hair pieces are a little different, and they often come in the shape of a bun, ponytail or hair tie so you can just put it on top of your own hair. Again, could be used because the area is balding and you need to place hair on top, or just to add a different look to your hair or create a different hairstyle. This also includes the extensions that are called “lace fronts” or “netting”; these are just methods for how the wigs are made.

Treatment

These pieces can be a little challenging to wash, and depending on whether they are real or synthetic you have to be very careful. The other issue is the full headpieces are usually attached to either a plastic or other material (which it is sewn onto) and depending on the quality of this base, you have to modify the way you wash and treat the hair.  

How Long Do They Last?

It depends on whether they are real or synthetic and once again the way you take care of them greatly affects this as well. Typically, real human full wigs can last for up to one year if you take good care of them. The smaller pieces are usually synthetic and typically don’t last more than one month of use.

6. Clip-in Hair Extensions

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What Are They?

Clip-in wefts, also known as clip-in hair extensions, come in a strand of contoured pieces, some long, and some can be cut shorter, with clips that are sewn into the strand. The clips are sewn-into the hair before receiving them, making it ready to use, and easy to simply “clip” the pieces to your natural hair, all on your own! The clip is a snap open/snap shut method (see here for how to clip them in). This method is the least permanent style of extensions because you can quickly remove them and put them back on whenever you want. Unlike some of the other hair extension applications mentioned above, clip-ins usually take 5-15 minutes to put on. (Practice makes perfect!) Clip-in hair extensions are also the least damaging because they don’t involve any chemicals, heat, or other methods mentioned above – they simply clip onto your hair so there is zero damage! This is one of the many reasons why it’s one of the most popular hair extension methods.

Treatment

The same synthetic vs. real hair rules apply when it comes to treatment of clip in hair extensions just as with any hair extensions. We’ll focus more on the real hair extensions since that’s what we recommend! See here for step by step instructions and tips on how to wash and care for your clip-in hair extensions! But simply put, they are very low maintenance and we only recommend you wash them every 15-20 wears or if there is a lot of product on them. Just like your natural hair, you simply brush, shampoo and condition the hair and then let them air dry! Finally, you style your clip-ins the same way you would style your own natural hair. You can color them, and use curling or straightening irons; everything goes! (Be sure to check out the rest of the blog for different styling tips!)

How Long Do They Last?

Once again, this depends on how well you take care of them, what products you use and how often you wear them. With proper care and regular wear, clip-ins last anywhere from 6 months to one year and sometimes even longer. See here for Care, Tips & Tricks.

There you have it! That was different types of hair extensions explained in one place. What’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments below! If you have any additional questions, we’d love to hear from you and help as well.

Written By: Sandrine Mickail

Posted by
Luxy Hair

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