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Hair Extensions: How to Get a Thick, Lustrous, Natural-Looking Mane
A huge number of celebrities use hair extensions to augment their own lovely locks--- and why wouldn’t they? You don’t have to be Beyonce (or use her stylist!) to rock a thick, lustrous style with the help of extensions.
You’ve got Q’s? We’ve got A’s. We’ve put together some of our favorite recommendations for achieving a next level look that’s full, luxurious and natural-looking. Whether clipped in, taped, or bonded, there are so many great options to fit your lifestyle and up your mane game.
Let’s get down to the skinny on thick, lustrous hair!
Which Extensions Should I Buy to Get The Most Natural Look?
We’ve all seen her. That girl whose extensions are so obviously fake, it begs the question, why wear them at all? There are a number of factors that can contribute to stringy, flat, artificial looking hair. Two of the worst offenders are synthetic extensions and extensions made from poor quality, chemically treated human hair.
The evils of cheap, synthetic extensions are so obvious so if you’re even considering buying the low rent version, don’t. Save your money and work with what you’ve already got.
Go Au Naturel
So, yes, human hair is the way to go if you want the most natural look. But even though human hair is far superior to synthetic, not all human hair is created equal. (If you doubt us, just take a look at the multitude of price points within the industry--- as with just about everything else in life, you get what you pay for.)
Best Of The Best
For the thickest, most radiant, most natural looking hair, Remy extensions are your best bet. Why? They’re sourced from the highest quality human hair available, and they come with the cuticles still intact. That means the natural direction of the cuticle is preserved so that each strand flows in the same direction as its neighbor.
These extensions move more naturally. They are silkier, softer, and less prone to tangles. And you’ll want to be sure these top-quality extensions are made from Virgin Indian Hair, which means they’ve never been treated with harsh chemicals. Indian hair is naturally thick and shiny and offers multiple textures for the most natural look.
How Can I Use Product To Pump Up the Volume?
A casual stroll down the beauty aisle of any big-box store is proof enough of how many products are available to help you achieve thick, healthy-looking hair. A common question is, “Can I use these products on my extensions?” The short answer is yes. You can use the same products as you would with your natural hair--- with a few caveats.
Read the Labels
Knowing which products to use is as important as knowing how to use them. Avoid products with sulfates (see below) and alcohol, since both can dry out your hair and trade full for frizz and luxurious for limp in no time flat.
Whether it’s your own hair or your extensions, dry hair is prone to breakage which can lead to dull, tired looking hair. Extensions are even more vulnerable to breakage since they’re not attached to the scalp and don’t benefit from the natural oils and nutrients like your hair does. That’s why moisturizing is everything.
Moisturize to Volumize
Aside from avoiding products laden with sulfates and alcohol, using a light, high-quality moisturizer is key if you want to keep your locks looking full and luxurious.
If you’re wearing clip in hair extensions, you can apply product all the way up to the clip itself— but be careful if you’re wearing permanent extensions. Only apply product to the ends of your extensions, working your way up to the mid-lengths and avoiding the scalp and areas close to the bonds so you don’t weaken the glue that attaches them.
How Can I Use Styling & Tools to Create Lustre and Volume?
We understand that to get the look you’re after, it’s not just about adding length (though that’s a fabulous option, too), it’s about adding fullness and volume without compromising the authentic look of natural hair. Luckily, with a few pro styling tools and tips, you can have it all!
The most basic of tools you’ll want in your amped up arsenal is a good brush.
Stylists recommend using a soft boar bristle brush for the best results. And make sure you clean your brushes often since dust and product can settle in the bristles and transfer to your hair, dulling its shine and weighing it down with old product.
Brush often but always brush gently, holding at the extension’s attachment point and working your way down the length of your hair.
Take a Whirl With a Different Curl
Another basic tool to have at the ready is a good curling iron. Stylists know they can create a vast number of different styles using a variety of techniques like spiral wrapping, flat wrapping, or even a combination of the two. Whether tight spirals or beachy waves, a curl is a girl’s best friend for creating a style with structure and volume.
Adding irons with different barrel sizes can open up even more possibilities for creating natural looking textures with a beautiful bounce.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
If you’ve been a little over enthusiastic with product and now your hair looks weighed down rather than lifted up, there’s an easy fix. Stylists recommend misting hair with water and using a boar bristle brush to break up and distribute the product evenly. Using a blow dryer can help since the heat further breaks down product.
But Wait! There’s More!
Use a couple light spritzes of hairspray before using a flat iron (not too hot though!) to add texture, volume and lift to straight hair. Then set your style with the cool air setting on your blow dryer.
If you’re more of a low-tech maven, try braiding wet hair at night before bed for bouncy waves in the morning.
Use a double ponytail for a longer, fuller look. Take the hair at the crown of your head and pull it into a ponytail, then gather the rest of your hair just beneath it in a second bunch and let the top flow over it creating the illusion of one ponytail. And boom! You’ve got a ponytail game to rival Blake Lively’s!
If you’re using clips, try this trick: flip your hair over and try fastening the clips themselves upside down which adds lift and volume even before you hit the curling iron.
No matter if you’re headed to the office or out on the town, you want hair that looks gorgeous and healthy and on trend. With top quality extensions sourced from virgin human hair, and with the right products, tools, and techniques, you can achieve Beyonce-level fabulousness without singing a single note!
Bio: Author Mariam Kathet is a blogger and infopreneur who writes on various topics, including proper care for hair extensions. At present, she works on behalf of Perfect Locks.