Oz Beauty Expert, Bonnie Gillies opens her little black beauty book and answers every question you’ve ever had about hair extensions… but were too afraid to ask.
After 2 years of patiently waiting for my hair to grow back I finally have great looking, long luscious hair.
But there’s a secret I’m going to let you in on, at least 50% of it is fake.
You’ve probably all heard about my pastel pink hair disaster and how it ruined my hair… and for 2 years since then, I’ve been waiting patiently for my hair to grow back. The last 6 months my hair has all finally reached shoulder length and is now looking much better, but it’s safe to say for a good 18 months I had really shitty hair.
To cut a long story short, my hair all snapped off in a matter of months as a result of heavy bleaching, so for a couple of years I’ve been growing it all back.
The thing is, no one ever knew what a state my hair was actually in. Although my hair was about 3 inches long all over, and looking terribly mullet-esque, I had it perfectly disguised with a head full of strategically placed extensions.
My hairdresser worked some serious magic, and kept my hair looking in reasonable condition (when it actually wasn’t) by giving me a head full of tape-in extensions to make it look longer, and thicker.
I used to wonder what came over Britney Spears that time she shaved off her hair…bBut now I know, because I’ve been there.
Severe chemically damaged hair…
And there’s nothing you can do to stop it snapping off.
Without my hairdresser I believe 100% that I would have done a Britney and shaved it all off!
But the point of my story is about the cheap human hair extensions and how they enabled me to completely disguise my terribly damaged hair.
Hair extensions when used in the right way can make your hair look and feel amazing.
They can disguise damage, disguise scarring or thinning, or they can just be used to have luscious hair.
Hair extensions do get a bit of a bad rap sometimes. We’ve all seen those girls who clearly have shoulder length hair and have wacked in extensions down to their waist with no effort, blending or colour matching. The result looks very artificial.
Hair extensions should be custom fit every time, no matter whether they’re clip-ins, tape-ins, or bonded extensions. This means they need to be coloured to match your hair, applied, then cut and blended into your natural hair style.
Because of my work as a hair and make-up artist in the fashion and film industry, I can also tell you that nearly every star you see on TV has a head full of extensions. Even the ones you’d never expect! A good set of extensions should be completely natural looking and discreet.
Over the last 2 years I like to think I’ve become a bit of an expert when it comes to hair extensions. I’ve used them all… clip-ins, hair pieces, fake ponytails, tape-ins and I currently have a head full of bonded extensions, and this is what you need to know if you’re considering a set.
Tape-in hair extensions
As I mentioned I had a head full of tape-in extensions for at least 18 months. Tape-ins use a glue tape to bond them to the roots of your hair. They are semi-permanent, they look great, and are reasonably priced. They last about 8 weeks before they can be removed and re-applied. You get at least 6 months use out of one set of tape-ins.
The only down side of tape extensions is that it’s really hard to tie your hair back in to a ponytail without them poking out. Each tape extension is about 2 inches wide and taped to the roots of your hair.
Tape-ins must be colour matched and cut to suit your style.
I wore Show Pony tape-in extensions for nearly 2 years. They were great, they didn’t damage my hair, and they were extremely good quality.
How many you need depends on how much thickness you already have. I only ever had a half head of tape-in extensions at any one time.
Show Pony tape-ins cost around $450 for a half head and $900 for a full head. They can be reused multiple times which is great for the bank balance!
In Sydney Juliana Marcs salon in Double Bay stocks Show Pony.
Clip-in hair extensions
Clip-ins are non-permanent, you wear them once and take them out at the end of the day.
For me when I needed a more permanent solution clip-ins weren’t the best option. They are however a great solution for anyone who wants to bust out some glam locks for the occasional party or event.
Clip-ins also need to be colour matched and cut to suit your hair otherwise you run the risk of them looking unnatural.
Quality is paramount when purchasing clip-in extensions, avoid buying cheap ones off ebay and opt for a reputable brand of high quality hair. A good set should cost roughly around the $300 mark.
Clips-ins can be easily washed, and they can be coloured if you decide to change your hair colour.
I recommend clip-ins from Hair Secrets, I’ve had a set from them for the past few years and they are amazing quality, the best I’ve seen.
Bonded hair extensions
Although now days my hair is in very good condition and is naturally shiny and healthy at shoulder length, I have Great Lengths bonded extensions in…. And I bloody LOVE them! \
They give me 2 inches of extra length and a whole lot of extra volume.
I don’t need extensions anymore, but I’ve come this far and I felt like having long luscious hair for a change… It’s been ages, so why not!
They instantly made me feel like a movie star.
Bonded hair extensions do have a reputation for damaging the hair, so it was with careful consideration that I chose to use Great Lengths. Great Lengths use a keratin bond to adhere the extensions to the hair. Keratin is the same substance your hair is actually made from, so it’s very gentle and doesn’t damage the hair at all, even when being removed.
The best thing about bonded extensions is that the bonds are tiny, and barely visible. You can easily tie your hair up in a ponytail without them being seen.
They last 3-4 months before it’s recommended they be removed and replaced.
Bonded hair extensions are by far my favourite type of extension, because of how invisible and versatile they are. I really struggled not being able to put my hair in a high pony when I had tape extensions, but with these it’s fine!
A full set of Great Lengths Extensions will cost anywhere from $950- $1500.
In Sydney Bauhaus Hair in Waterloo stock Great Lengths extensions.