The A – Z of the Hair Extensions Market
From new application methods to need-to-know brands and hot launches, it’s as easy as A, B, C to learn everything there is to know about the lucrative hair extensions market.
A is for Afro Hair
If your clients have Afro hair or frizz-prone hair, a smoothing treatment prior to fitting extensions is ideal. The Nanokeratin Nanosmooth Pure Refortify for Afro and Curly Hair Smoothing Treatment is formulated specifically for Afro and curly hair as a direct replacement to a relaxer. The treatment locks in colour to keep it fresh for as long as the extensions are worn. Win-win!
B is for Balmain
The Balmain Clip-In Weft Ash Tones are the new trend-led shades from Balmain’s Ready-to-Wear Collection. The four fashion shades range from Oslo (light crystal grey), Dublin (medium brown), Moscow (light ash blonde) and Chicago (natural ash blonde). RRP £88.25.
C is for Consultation
A consultation is crucial when offering extension services. Salon owner Junior Green says it is essential to give an honest opinion. “We advise our clients to have a break from extensions and weaves, and to treat their real hair with intense conditioning treatments so it is in peak health before extensions are applied again,” he explains. “Be realistic with your clients. We advise our clients to avoid adding too much volume, as the weight of the extensions can pull too heavily on the real hair and can cause problems, such as traction alopecia.”
D is for Discreet
Barclay Wolf Invisible Tape Extensions scooped the Scottish Look Award for Innovation in Technology in 2016 for being a discreet option for anyone with fine hair. The extensions feature an additional layer of ‘hand-tied’ hair on the outside surface of the tape weft. The extensions are applied as the outer layer of the extension with a standard tape sitting next to the scalp. This makes them virtually undetectable even when a clients’ hair is blown by the wind or when a client wants to have their hair up.
E is for Education
The owner of Lancashire salon Spectrum One, Katy Grimshaw has recently launched the Spectrum One Academy, offering a range of courses focusing on tapes, wefts and i-tip applications as well as an extension refresher course, all designed to complement their range of extensions. Courses are also available at Alan Howard units across the UK. Head to spectrumonehair.com or alanhoward.co.uk/education_hair for more details.
F is for Fuss-free
If you’re looking for an easy way to store extensions in the salon, consider Easiweft’s Hair Extension Holder. The holder is available in white, black, cashmere, teal, pink and grey so stylists can match the holder to their salon’s interior. RRP £19.95
G is for Great Lengths
Great Lengths has launched a bridal range with four looks inspired by Meghan Markle’s style. The textured braid, for example is a delicately crafted and softly sculpted updo weaved with diamonds. The brand conducted research, which found almost 60% of brides see their hair as the most important feature on their wedding day after their dress. Over three quarters (79%) confirmed they would choose to wear hair extensions on their wedding day. The bridal collection features the brand’s GL Tapes Tape-in Hair Extensions.
H is for Human vs Synthetic
Whether to stock natural or synthetic hair is one of the key decisions you need to make when choosing to sell extensions. Prostyles offers both real-looking synthetic fibre as well as European and Asian human hair. Here are the key differences between the brand’s two ranges:
- Available in 36 colours, including pastels, brights and natural tones
- Choose from straight or wavy textures
- Fittings last up to 3 months
- Up to 50% lighter than natural hair
- 100% human hair from high quality Indian Remy and European hair
- Available in over 40 shades with lengths ranging from 14in to 20in.
- Hair is guaranteed to be double drawn with 100% root point correct and cuticle intact.
- Five different fitting methods available to suit a client’s hair type and lasting from six to 10 weeks.
I is for ioLight
The creators of the first portable high-resolution digital microscope, ioLight, are using science to help UK start-up Niche Hair Lab source its hair extensions with close-up videos and images. The company’s Magnificent Mobile Microscope helps to prioritise quality, visual appeal and the longevity of both virgin (uncoloured) and coloured hair extensions.
J is for Journey
Celebrity extension specialist Jay Birmingham says: “It’s crucial to make the client aware of the maintenance and upkeep that is required to keep extensions looking their best.” At his Birmingham-based salon there is a protocol to follow. “We provide clients with an outline of how often they will require a maintenance appointment and provide them with information on the aftercare regime they will need to follow for the duration of their extensions,” he explains.
K is for Kanekalon
Kanekalon hair is synthetic hair that can look, feel and be styled like natural hair. It boasts being more affordable than human hair and is available in bold and natural shades. The fibre is malleable, easy to manipulate and has great hold. This type of extension is often used in braids and cornrows, but it is also popular for avant garde catwalks, on-screen and theatrical creations. This hair is ideal for making padded shapes that form a structured base for updos at weddings, parties and festivals. American Dream offers Kanekalon Brilliant Jumbo Braid, Regular Braid, Afro Kinky and Twin Braid in a broad range of natural and non-natural shades.
L is for Leave-in Spray
Rapunzel of Sweden has launched a Detangling Leave-in Spray for summer that is designed to work with hair extensions. The vanilla blossom scented spray is anti-static and adds moisture, softness and shine. Spray on the lengths of dry or damp hair to reduce frizz. £10.99
M is for Micro Rings
Micro rings are an individual, strand by strand technique, which means you don’t need heat to add extensions to a client’s hair. Angela Mason owns Angela Mason Hair, which is a salon completely dedicated to hair extensions. She says: “We use copper rings that are coloured to match the root and attach the extension to the natural hair strands. It’s a heat-free technique, which lies flat, moves well and is quick to remove.” Angela has launched a training course for all of her extensions applications at her AMAcademy.
N is for Nano Weft
Grid Lock Nano Weft is an innovation in hair extensions that is exclusively available from Hair Development. Strictly for the professional, the Nano Weft extension is flat and requires no heat, glue, tape or resin. Each weft has three nano connection points to distribute the weight evenly and it has unique links that are curved on every edge to avoid damage to the natural hair. It can be fitted in 45 minutes and boasts being reusable for up to a year.
O is for Organic
BIO A+O.E is a hair range that was created specifically for use with extensions. The brand only uses natural active ingredients in its products and it has both organic and vegan certifications. The formulation is key part of the brand’s philosophy and even features in its name. BIO A means bio acqua (organic water), the vegetable water obtained by distilling plants with natural properties and O.E. stands for organic essence oil, which is extracted during the distillation process. It is also the only range to be endorsed by the Great Lengths extensions brand.
P is for Plastic
Extensions brand Cold Hair uses a plastic applicator to ensure every bond is an equal and safe distance from the scalp. Cold Hair guarantees comfort and less stress from the very first moment of application due to its lightweight supple bond. This makes wearing hair up much easier and comfortable and it is almost undetectable to the touch.
Q is for Quality
For a lot of salons, it’s essential to work with brands that reflect the ethos and ethics of the company. “At Russell Eaton we choose to work with Great Lengths as the brand’s ethics match with ours,” explains creative director Rob Eaton. “We use Great Lengths 100% Natural Human Hair Extensions which are 100% ethically sourced. The extensions are also developed and tested by the Great Lengths trichologist so our clients have complete confidence in the products that we are working with.”
R is for Recycling
Remi Cachet has teamed up with US charity Matter of Trust for its Clean Wave campaign. Remi Cachet stylists can return their client’s used extensions to its head office. The used extensions are shipped to the US and the Matter of Trust charity recycles the hair. The charity will either turn the hair extensions into ‘hair mats’ or ‘hair sandbags’ which help to protect the environment from oil spills around the world. Smart stuff!
S is for Sway
Happy first birthday to Sway Hair Extensions, which was launched last year by director Tom Clark who has a wealth of industry experience and insight. The brand guarantees healthy virgin hair that is ethically sourced from India. All of the hair has also undergone an additional manufacturing process to ensure it is double drawn and shorter hairs are carefully removed by hand.
T is for Turbo Dry
Easilocks has developed the Hair Hero Turbo Dry hair dryer, which is designed to be used with its extensions range. Easilocks founder Shane O’Sullivan explains: “Our clients told us their hair extensions take a little longer to dry than natural hair. We want to make living with extensions as easy and low maintenance as possible. The hair dryer is light and the professional motor means hair dries quickly and with minimal damage to the natural hair and extensions.”
U is for Unique Bonding
Racoon International prides itself on its unique bonding technique. The brand creates extremely small bonds (about the size of an uncooked grain of rice) for its Luxe Bond Extension System. The composition of Racoon’s bonding agent is a top company secret but it is formulated to be strong and durable yet easy to remove with a mixture of resins such as pine kernel and peach stone extracts. The bonds can be used on fine, sparse and delicate hair that is growing back after chemotherapy.
V is for Visible Roots
Hairdreams has introduced a range called Root Shadows, which features real hair strands that have been specially designed for hair contouring. The skilled placement of hair strands with different root colours will allow your client’s facial structure to be perfectly contoured. The strands are available in four different lengths from 30cm to 60cm with multiple two-tone colour combinations available and varying root lengths.
W is for Weave
Nikki Alonzi, CrownCouture’s hair extensions specialist, has created her own technique called cali weave. She says it’s a version of the braidless weave where weft hair is sewn on to a foundation of rings that are applied to the natural hair. “It offers quick application time, easy removal, no heat, glue or damaging chemicals, an even distribution of weight and can last up to eight to 10 weeks before maintenance is required,” she explains.
X is for Xpress
Vixen & Blush Invisible Tape Hair Extensions can be fitted during a lunch hour as an ‘express’ service. This makes the extensions ideal for clients who only have limited time available. The hair features an invisible seam, which means the hair sprouts directly from the root of the extensions, so the tape isn’t visible. The Invisible Tape Hair Extensions are available in a range of multi-tonal shades and are 16in long.
Y is for Yaki
“Yaki hair is virgin human hair that has been treated to mimic the look and texture of blow-dried Afro hair,” explains Natasha John Lewis from My Hair Bar. “It has a slight kink to it, the hair is low in lustre, but it’s soft to the touch. When Yaki hair is straightened or pressed with heated styling tools, it mimics the sleek look of relaxed Afro hair. I’ve made wigs using Yaki hair for my clients, and they love it because it feels more natural looking than super-straight extensions. Clients also love to add Yaki tracks to their natural hair because it blends in effortlessly.”
Z is for Zen hair
Zen Hair has released a nine-piece Clip-In Extension Set that is made from the finest quality virgin remy hair. Zen’s Clip-In Extensions are double-drawn and fortified with a keratin deep-conditioning process that will stay soft and shiny, even after extensive washing and styling. The set is perfect for retailing in the salon and offering to clients for daily or occasional use.
This article first appeared in the July 2018 issue of Hairdressers Journal