A Guide to Choosing Hair Extensions

Hair extensions in the market have been increasing in variety with each passing year. They are popular because they provide a way for people to switch up their look from their ordinary hairstyle.

Different styles offer you more or less length, various colors, and textures.

Given how many options there are, choosing the right hair extension can be overwhelming.

While they all look like hair, a closer inspection will reveal a world of differences. There is also the pertinent question of price. The best hair extensions in the market do not come cheap.

So, how do you choose a great hair extension that gives you value for money?

Read on for some factors to consider:

Types of Hair Extensions

Ultimately, the look you hope to achieve will determine the kind of extension you choose. There are three major types:

  • Braids
  • Wigs
  • Weaves

Braids are pretty straightforward in that they can only be used for braiding.

For convenience, some come already braided and are sewn onto cornrows of your own hair. You can opt for straight or curly ones depending on preference and in different colors too.

Wigs are full heads of hair that come already sewn together. You only need to secure them on your hair using pins or their elastic band so that they stay in place.

Weaves, on the other hand, come in a set of pieces. They are installed either by sewing, gluing, or clipping them on. Both options are available in many colors and styles.


The main differentiator of hair extensions lies in their quality. It is usually determined by the kind of material they are made of.

There are two kinds: human hair and synthetic hair.

Human Hair

As the name suggests, these kinds of weaves and wigs are made from actual human hair. They only differ in aspects such as texture and thickness because different ethnicities have different hair types.

The four most popular varieties include:

  • Indian  – bouncy and has a great range of texture.
  • Peruvian – quite soft and can be silky or coarse.
  • Brazilian  – offers sheen, thickness, and durability.
  • Malaysian – thick in density but remains light at the same time.

The hair can further be differentiated into Remy and virgin hair.

Virgin hair is termed as such because it is unprocessed. It would be preferable if you would like to have an entirely natural look.

You can also process, color, and style it just like your own hair.

Remy type of hair is processed to achieve certain textures but is still top quality. It can be used repeatedly for about a year as long as it is cleaned and detangled regularly.

Moreover, it handles all kinds of styling, including heat, without getting damage.

Synthetic Hair

Synthetic hair is made from manufactured fibers that resemble hair. Acrylic, Kanekalon, and Toyokalon are some examples of synthetic hair fibers.

They are widely popular because they are much cheaper than natural hair.

If you are looking for a short term change on a budget, this would be the right choice.

In terms of styling, though, you may be quite limited in how you maintain synthetic weaves. The fibers tend not to tolerate heat well and could, in fact, burn when subjected to it.

Washing them also tends to make them look dull and worn.

If you are looking for a compromise, Kanekalon and Toyokalon may be ideal. They are designed to tolerate moderate heat and are the closest to human hair in terms of quality.

Unlike other synthetic types of hair, they have more wave patterns and sheen.


There is a common joke about how women wearing weaves or wigs keep patting their heads as a way to calm itchiness. Itching can be brought about by heat and having braids on for too long.

Still, you may also be experiencing contact dermatitis.

Synthetic hair extensions, including braids, are coated with alkaline substances to prevent them from turning moldy. Heat and moisture, when they are installed on your head, may have that effect on them.

The problem is, most people develop a terrible rash and itch from the chemical preservatives.

Pre-washing synthetic hair extensions in vinegar, which is acidic, will rinse off the alkaline coating. After properly rinsing and drying them, you can go on and use them as desired.

That said, if you have highly sensitive skin, human hair may be a safer choice for you.


A bad hair day is nothing compared to your wig falling off or being blown off in the middle of the street. The sheer embarrassment of it can be a bit much to bear.

How you style and secure your extension makes all the difference.

Braids and weaves are great options if you want more freedom and relatively long-term service. They are also very versatile when it comes to styling.

Braids can be used for cornrows or let loose in long flowy styles or fashioned into updos.

Weaves are even more convenient as you can have them washed, restyled, and re-installed.

Wigs are ideal for ‘grab and go’ situations when you are in a rush or have not had time for your salon appointment.

Alternatively, whenever you want to simply add a dash of color or get an instant new look, they work perfectly.


You might be surprised at just how much quality hair extensions can cost. The beauty of it is that the selection is so wide there is definitely something for every budget.

Plus, the secret between your extension looking synthetic or natural is having a great stylist. A poor one will still make $1000 worth of hair look like something out of a bird’s nest.

As a general rule, whether you are on natural hair or hair extensions, it is important that you maintain the health of what’s on your head at all times.

Use the right products from authentic hair product suppliers.

Now that you have all the details on the options out there, go on and get that fabulous look!

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