Beauty buzz: The 411 on hair extensions

Canadian Living

Beauty buzz: The 411 on hair extensions

Back in May I did something I never thought I'd do in a million years. I got extensions. Not clip-ins, the real deal – fusion. I never thought I'd "go there" because I have extremely thick hair – and lots of it – and the shafts of the hairs themselves are supersized. But something happened. Several months prior to my decision to get extensions a traumatic event happened to my hair – it started falling out in chunks. The ends to the mid-shaft of my hair started breaking off and it kept up for months on end. I was left with a shell of what my hair used to look like, so I was desperate to find a fix. [caption id="attachment_6850" align="aligncenter" width="372" caption=" Model with extensions backstage at Greta Constantine fall/winter 2012."] [/caption]  

A fellow editor who works at Elle Canada had recently visited a salon called Doll Bar Inc. She had gotten So Cap Original fusion extensions and they looked so natural – and insanely gorgeous. After doing some research I decided to schedule a "Beauty Refresh" (a series of hair-based makeovers that runs in our magazine) at the hair-adding salon. Moments after meeting owner Melissa McKenzie and seeing her nimble – and speedy! – fingers working their magic I knew I had found the perfect solution to my depleting mane.

One of the major reasons I decided to go with Doll Bar Inc. was because McKenzie knew everything there was to know about extensions, including how they are sourced, dyed and applied and – most importantly – how to properly maintain and care for them. The woman knew her stuff! Another aspect I liked was that the salon's main mantra is all about maintaining the health of your natural hair, which means you must follow their strict (but necessary) guidelines a.k.a. the commandments of proper maintenance.

[caption id="attachment_6852" align="aligncenter" width="319" caption="Me with my new head of hair."] [/caption]  

Here are some of the hard and fast rules I've learned from the Doll Bar Inc. staff – as well as a few things I've learned since living with extensions myself.

Extension Dos

  • Do brush your hair twice a day close to the scalp to avoid any tangling of the bonds or, even worse, matting. Use a natural bristle brush or a loop brush.
  • Do curl and straighten your hair. Styling tools can be used on fusion hair as long as you avoid contact with the bonds and use a heat protector.
  • Do brush your hair before bed and pull your hair into a loose topknot. This will prevent any pulling and tangling while you sleep.
  • Do buy a silk pillowcase – it can help with breakage.
  • Do visit the salon for monthly checkups.
  • If you tend to have oily hair, do shampoo daily. Your natural oils can make the bonds slip out.
  • If you colour your hair, do it one or two days before you get your extensions. You can still colour your roots after, but be warned, it may loosen the bonds.
  • Before washing your hair, do section it and brush it out to make sure you have no tangles.

Extension Don'ts

  • Don't apply hair masks, deep conditioners or oil treatments too close to the bonds on the hair extensions. This may cause them to slip out. When applying an oil or serum, avoid the fused bonds.
  • Don't get fusion extensions if you are planning on swimming in salt water or chlorinated pools. The chemicals can break down the bonds.
  • Don't scratch your head as this can pull the bonds right out. Press on it instead.
  • Don't let the extensions overstay their welcome. If you wait too long it can be very damaging to your natural hair.
  • Don't ever go to bed with wet hair.
  • Don't let your dog (or cat) lay on your hair while you're sleeping. (This one is a personal don't.)
  • Don't rub or towel dry your hair. Let it air dry as much as possible – about 60 to 70 per cent – before hitting it with a blow dryer.


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Beauty buzz: The 411 on hair extensions