Here’s my biggest beauty secret—I’ve been wearing tape-in extensions for years. I just can’t part with the long, silky, voluminous results (can you blame me?). And while I’ve tested several different types of hair and worked with many different hairstylists, it wasn’t until recently that I went shopping for the actual hair myself (which is quite a feat for someone who can barely buy a T-shirt without a ten-minute-long debate). The Hair Shop in New York City was like walking into a dream—and every bit as overwhelming as you might imagine. It’s stocked wall-to-wall with the most beautiful hair on the planet, nary a frizz or split end in sight (see images below). Luckily, I had the privilege of having hairstylist Matt Fugate of the Sally Hershberger Downtown salon at my side to guide me through the process. But in case your hairstylist-BFF can’t join you to shop, here’s everything you need to know before purchasing your own hair extensions.
• Color match in person. “Don’t send selfies,” says Fugate. “There are 100 different kinds of blondes, so the consultations are very important,” he adds.
• Blend a few colors. “When I’m putting in blonde extensions, I’ll use three or four different tones, and when I’m putting them in darker shades [of hair], I’ll use about two or three. It looks more natural, even if the difference between the colors are barely noticeable,” says Fugate.
• Go ombré. Not full-on ombré, just a subtle gradation from top to bottom to mimic the way your hair color looks as it grows. “As your hair grows out, the ends will look lighter than the roots,” says Fugate. “Placed on the underlayers of your hair, ombré extensions will mimic that effect in the most natural way possible.”
• Consider texture. Extensions come in nearly every texture and thickness, so take that into consideration when making your purchase. “Do you want your hair to look smooth most of the time? Then get extensions that are straighter than your natural hair texture to make styling them easier.”
• Ask questions.” It’s true—knowledge is power! If you’re going by yourself, make sure to ask tons of questions. Don’t be afraid to be a pest to the people at the shop.” says Fugate.
• Reuse them. “If maintained properly, tape-in extensions can be reused up to three times,” says Emily Rodriguez of the Hair Shop. (Note: each use will last you about eight to ten weeks.) The original tape bonds can be dissolved with a remover (which costs less than $10), and the tape itself can be replaced by using a roll of special extension double-sided tape ($6). “We typically advise customers to have their hairdresser assist with the removal and retaping process,” says Rodriguez.
Happy hair days!
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