If you've been reading this blog for a little while, you'll know that for many years I had very short hair. It was cropped, then bobbed, then cropped again before I finally decided I wanted it long. And I'm far too impatient to wait for something as slow as natural hair growth.
So in June this year, I took the plunge and went for Great Lengths bonded hair extensions (the cost of which was covered by Great Lengths and my salon, Russell Eaton). I wore my first set of extensions until early September - they could've lasted another couple of months, but with an upcoming wedding I wanted my hair looking its best and so had my extensions removed and replaced about a month ago.
Now I'm on my second set, I feel much more qualified to offer advice to anyone considering extensions. They are very pricy (I paid around £600 this time around - ouch) so it's important to really look after them and give them the TLC they need to last longer. Here are my tips for caring for your extensions - whether they're bonded or clip-ins.
A common complaint with hair extensions and long hair in general is dryness - the ends can get very straw-like which causes breakage and nasty split ends. When it comes to caring for my extensions, combatting dry ends is what I focus on.
- Philip Kingsley Elasticizer - this is my Holy Grail haircare product. I know it's been featured by a billion beauty bloggers already, but it really does work. It's a pre-shampoo treatment that you apply to wet hair - I use it every time I wash my hair (3 times a week) and pop a shower cap over the top, washing out after about 5 minutes.
- Kerastase products - Kerastase products are a joy to use. I've tried quite a few things from them and every one has worked wonderfully. At the moment I'm using the Resistance range shampoo in the shower, and the Initialiste Scalp and Hair treatment as a leave-in conditioner a couple of times a week. As I have quite fine hair I avoid the scalp with this one and just apply to the mid-lengths and ends.
- Moroccan Oil Hydrating Conditioner - I tend to chop and change my conditioners as my hair gets used to them very quickly and they soon become ineffective. This Moroccan Oil one has been great, but I've just moved on to Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle and that's also doing a fab job.
- NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil - hair oils are old news now, but this is one of the best. It's quite heavy for fine hair so I keep it for night time and only use on the ends of my hair, but it really does make it super soft and silky.
Hair extensions are prone to matting and tangling, so it's really important to use the right tools to keep your hair knot-free. Because the bonds of extensions create lots of little 'snags' in your hair, you can't just use any old brush - hard plastic bristles are a MASSIVE no (and a seriously painful lesson learnt). I have two brushes for clearing tangles - a black soft plastic bristle brush for wet hair and this natural fibre brush for dry hair. They're both official Great Lengths brushes, so glide over bonds and sort out knots without pulling.
In the next few days I'll share my tips for styling hair extensions and long hair. Got a question? Ask away in the comments and I'll try to help where I can.