By Kacey Welch, celebrity stylist, master colorist and extension expert, Jonathan and George Salon in Beverly Hills, CA.
With the right extensions, anyone can pull off having long and voluminous hair. The trick is the right hair, and in most cases, celebrities are using 100% human hair. The hair you buy needs to match you exactly – from the texture, the color, the density. That is the key to assuring that the length and volume you are adding with extensions look like they are real.
The best hair is virgin, Russian hair that has never been processed or colored. That’s not to say that there aren’t less expensive alternatives. You don’t have to be a celebrity to be able to afford great quality hair. The hair itself, depending on the type, can start at $500 per piece for individual extensions, to custom-made wefts that will cost about $600-$700, and tape extensions can range between $250 – $1500. The best stylist will work with you through your lifestyle, your budget and how active you are. While it is a price commitment, there are many options out there.
For a quick change or to add some color or style that is temporary, clip-in extensions can duplicate a look at home. For extensions that I do, everything is custom-made and done in a salon.
Done the right way, any of the types of extensions that I use in the salon look real. If you work with your stylist to match the hair and technique, you will have a look that will have people doing a double take at how amazing your hair looks, whether fuller longer, or both. It’s not just about putting some pieces of hair in your head – you need to make sure that you are also getting the best cut and color as well. The method that I created has the hair that flows like a veil, it prevents that hair from looking stringy or doesn’t match your own hair.
Extensions are priced based on how much you need, and length. It’s a little more cost effective if you need a little fullness but can’t afford super long hair, just to add a little density and volume. It can help ease you into a new style too. I suggest buying clip in extensions for people with thin hair and need a little something for a short amount of time. If you don’t have to wear it in 24/7 you can get away with something with a little less quality. If you want long lasting – think better quality.
For individuals extensions – The hair itself can cost $500-$1000 depending on how much hair is needed. The service itself can range from $1000-$2000 depending on how much time is needed to apply the hair. The application usually takes 2-4 hours. The hair in NOT reusable and needs to be purchased for every application. This process lasts about three months.
For tape extensions, known as Hair Lingerie, the hair is reusable for up to a year. Hair cost depends on the quality and can range between $250-$1500. Service runs usually about $50-$75 per panel, most people to do about 6-10 panels. This process lasts 6-8 weeks. The application takes about 45 minutes.
For my custom made wefts, most hair is about $600-$700, and this again depends on the quality of hair purchased. Some people like to buy hair that is totally virgin, and European, that hair alone can cost upwards of $2000. That hair is reusable and can last usually 1-2 years. Service is about $500 and that lasts about 8-10 weeks. The application is about an hour.
If you are using synthetic extensions, you need to avoid high-heat as they are made of plastic. While it’s an affordable alternative, you are restricted when you try to blow dry, curl or straighten. It’s always best to consult with your stylist to talk about your options and your beauty routine with your hair. I only use real hair, as you can do any styling technique that you would do with your own hair.
A side note is to always keep your hair super clean and tangle free. Deep condition on the ends – avoid root where the application is. Important to use an extension brush specifically for extensions, it keeps away the tangles without breaking the hair. I recommend Mason Pearce and Sheila Stotts hairbrushes.
Good quality shampoo/conditioners such as:
- Kerastase products
- Oribe products
Dry shampoo is also a good option and always be sure to use a paddle brush to comb thoroughly.
Wash hair at night and making sure it’s completely dry, combed and remains tangle free while you sleep – in the morning, style as desired so it’s clean and fully dry. Really invest in a nice haircut so extensions can match the quality. Top quality is the most desired.