I have a love hate relationship with my hair. I love my hair longer but hate having to do anything other than hop out of the shower. I like it shorter in the summer - easier to surf and swim and do all those things that I want to do. When it's long it gets so curly, thick and heavy that I inevitably have a freak out moment and cut it shorter. Truth be told I don't like my own hair longer than chin length - wait didn't I just say I love it long? Clearly when it comes to my hair I am schizophrenic but it's okay because I have learned to embrace the art and joy of hair extensions.I, at one point, was a weave snob. I would judge you for no reason other than you were wearing a weave and I would judge you while wearing my acrylic nails, so wrong I know. I live in LA a land where everyone I know White, Black and Asian has at one point or is currently sporting some type of extensions - for my friends it's an accessory! Sometimes I just want to rock a different style without spending countless hours coloring it or straightening it or perming it into a style, that in the end, will just end up damaging my actual hair. That's what makes extensions so much fun! To me it's the opportunity to try out new styles, colors and stuff that I would not be able to do in my everyday "hair" life.
I also love the change different hair has on my dancing. When my hair is shorter I am definitely spunkier...more of a "I could kick your ass and very well might just for the hell of it" girl vs. my longer hair persona...the one that slinks across the floor and whips it around. Much like music, different hair produces different moods.
Living in LA extensions are really easy to come by. In fact navigating through the various types, amounts and versions can actually put one into a tail spin, just like a Cheesecake Factory menu there is way too much to choose from. Let's take a look at a few of the most popular types of extensions and my new favorite just for fun type - feathers!!!!
1.) Individual bonds: Keratin and nylons tabs melted onto the hair using a hot iron. Some top brand names are Hairdreams and Great Lengths. 1a.) Microtubes, which are tiny metal tubes that clamp the extension onto the hair. A top brand name is Hairlocs.
2.) Weaves: A stylist makes several small, tight braids along your scalp, then uses a curved needle and cotton, nylon, or silk thread to secure a weft (a line of extensions that are machine-stitched at the top, like a curtain of hair) to the braid. For a full weave, all your hair is pulled into braids before the wefts are sewn on.
3.) Interlock and/or Tree Braids: Interlocking is the art form of braiding your natural hair in cornrows & at the same time adding and releasing loose strands of hair (there are two types: cornrow based & individual based).
4.) Clip Ins: Extensions attached to a clip are a great alternative for someone who wants to take them off at night and not pay an arm and a leg. You can find them for sale at beauty supply stores as well as online. They are also really easy and cheap to make. You Tube has numerous tutorials! Here is a great DIY clip in extension video (however don't go to Sally's to buy your supplies, hair is much cheaper with many more options in beauty supply stores that service ethnic hair).
5.) Feather Extensions: Feathers you can blow dry and curl like actual hair PLUS they come in crazy fun colors. Feather Locks are my favorite but there are multiple companies that sell them and you can Google for salons in your area that install them. Also for all of you DIYers I have seen multiple vendors on Etsy selling them as well.
POST INSTALL HAIR CARE:
After your weave/extensions are completed, it's important to know how to handle their maintenance. When done by a professional, the average hair weave--whether heat-bonded, braided or sewn into natural hair-lasts about 6-12 weeks. During this time, you should wash your extensions/hair at least once a week. Extension/weave hair is especially prone to becoming brittle and dry because it is not attached to the scalp and therefore doesn’t receive much if any of the scalps naturally nourishing oils. Use gentle products to clean your hair and make sure you keep your hair moisturized with a deep conditioner. Wash hair gently and de-tangle with a wide toothed comb from the ends up. Also make sure to dry completely because wet extensions can grow and house bacteria. After about 6- 8 weeks, it will be time to return to your stylist and have your extensions tightened and/or removed.
In the end it's all about having fun with your hair, finding something that pleases and excites you. Try out a new color or a crazy new style. Go longer or if you have long hair, go shorter, mix it up...grab your pole and then just like Willow whip your hair back and forth!