What you need to know about human hair extensions

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.

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Bonnie before and after hair extensions.

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.

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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.

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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.

Barefoot Blonde Hair Delivers Pinterest Worthy Extensions UK

— The beauty influencer Amber Fillerup Clark, better known as Barefoot Blonde, has turned her blog into a brand.

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Clip in hair extensions from Barefoot Blonde Hair.

Amber Fillerup Clark, aka Barefoot Blonde, has served up #hairinspo for six years digitally, and now she’s letting her fans act on that inspiration with a new line of hair extensions.

The beauty influencer with a popular blog and 1.3 million Instagram followers is introducing 20 shades of 21-inch, 160-gram clip-in extensions priced at $194.99 each on Nov. 25. The range is the start of a broader brand concentrating on extensions and extension maintenance.

Developed over two years, Fillerup Clark had several objectives in mind when producing Barefoot Blonde Hair’s handmade clip in hair extensions: she sought to make them affordable yet high-quality, look natural, last at least four months to a year and stay put. They contain remy hair, which is considered the best human hair available, and latex-lined clips.

“There are a few things I always hated about the extensions I wore. For instance, if I would go to sleep in them, they would feel ratty when I woke up,” said Fillerup Clark, who’s been using extensions for a decade. “I love that ours stay really silky and soft for a long time as long as you treat them right, just like you would your normal hair.”

To make the extensions appear natural, Barefoot Blonde Hair avoids excessive shine. “A lot of the extensions out there are so shiny. People’s hair isn’t that shiny naturally, and you want them to match your natural texture as much as possible,” explained Fillerup Clark. “When they are too shiny, they look synthetic. I want them to have the right amount of shine.”

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Barefoot Blonde Hair offers clip in hair extensions.

The volume of the hair in the extensions was also important. Most hair extensions uk, Fillerup Clark detailed, tend to be thick on top and thin toward the end. “That isn’t helpful at all because no one needs thickness on top. You mainly need it on bottom,” she said. “So, I wanted to make sure the thickness was there from top to bottom.”

Available only on the web for now, Fillerup Clark is considering retail distribution in the future, but is waiting to be certain her brand and its products are on solid footing before stretching into stores. “We want to have a year of sales, and get an idea of how well they sell and hear customer feedback. I think people are going to love them, but I want to make sure [I know] if people have an issue with packaging or anything else we need to change,” she said. She added a shampoo for women wearing extensions could be in the offing.

Extensions have played a prominent role in Fillerup Clark’s rise. “When I would use clip in hair extensions to make my braids bigger and fuller, my pictures went viral on Pinterest,” she recounted. “People were like, ‘How the heck does she get her braids so big?’ People were interested in the fact my braids looked different, and that’s what started the whole hair phenomenon on my blog.”

Today, Fillerup Clark’s multifaceted blog and social-media feed document her beauty, fashion and lifestyle choices, and feature a multitude of images of her family, including husband David, daughter Rosie and son Atticus. Although it’s catapulted Barefoot Blonde Hair, she doesn’t plan on continuing the online journaling forever.

“I definitely still want to keep blogging for another few years to push the hair extension brand and to build that up more, but, ultimately, I want to be a mom and take care of my kids full-time,” said Fillerup Clark. “Ideally, at some point, I will blog less and less, and just do hair extensions.”

The early response to the extensions has been encouraging. During a three-day pre-sale event in October, the clip-in extensions sold out quickly, and Barefoot Blonde Hair generated nearly $100,000 in retail sales and drew 50,000 unique visitors to its web site. For its first year on the market, Fillerup Clark’s goal for the brand is to register $1 million in retail sales.