How Do Hair Extensions Work?

How Do Hair Extensions Work (5)

Most of us would kill for some long luscious, thick locks, but to achieve that, you need to eliminate all harmful styling tools, especially those that use heat. 

What’s worse is that some people just aren’t blessed with thick, smooth hair, and no matter what you do, you just can’t magically transform your limp locks into that wonderful hair you see on all the magazines and TV shows. 

Hair extensions could be the answer to all of your problems. You may have discarded using these, after hearing horror stories about bald spots and glue mishaps, but fear not, my loves!

As the hair extension industry has gained popularity, there are a variety of methods available now, and several of them do not damage your hair, as long as you look after them properly! 

This article is going to cover what hair extension applying methods are available, and whether they are known for causing damage or not. 

Clip-In Hair Extensions 

How Do Hair Extensions Work?

Clip-in hair extensions are a popular and damage-free (if used correctly) way of having your dream hair. They are stress-free because they can be easily clipped in yourself, and then taken out to give your hair a break. 

This method is perfect for those who would like to have some thick long hair for a night on the town, but then would like to return to their cute lightweight short hair the next day. 

It is important to do your research before purchasing, and ensure you are getting the highest quality hair you can afford.

Some clip-in extensions are made with synthetic hair, but this does not look very natural, and they are not as easy to style. 

It is critical to purchase some that are made with natural human hair, as this will look the most natural on you. 

Clip-ins do add some weight and pressure to your natural locks, but that is why it is important to never sleep with them on and ensure to take breaks when wearing them.

As long as you are not using them every single second of the day, and you are taking care of your natural hair, you should not see any damage. 

Check out these Goo Goo hair extensions that use natural human hair, and can be styled without any issues.  

Tape-In Hair Extensions 

How Do Hair Extensions Work?

Tape-In hair extensions are a semi-permanent form of extensions, lasting for around 6 weeks. They must be applied by a professional, and they are beneficial for those looking to add volume to their hair. 

The extensions come in wefts of hair, with double-sided tape on the base. Your natural hair is then sandwiched between two wefts of hair extensions.

The process takes around an hour and will give you extra thickness and length to your natural hair. They can be left in for around 6 weeks before your next maintenance appointment.

Regular maintenance involves re-applying the hair with the same method, ensuring that the hair extensions are not pulling at your roots for too long. 

There are mixed reviews on whether this method will cause damage to your hair, but regular maintenance, and ensuring that they are being applied correctly by an experienced professional will minimize these risks. 

Weave Extensions

How Do Hair Extensions Work?

This is another method that can last from 6 to 8 weeks. Your natural hair is braided to your scalp, and the hair extensions are sewn into the braid.

This is a lengthy process and can strain your scalp, so it is a method that is recommended for those with exceptionally thick and tough hair. 

Keratin Bond Extensions 

How Do Hair Extensions Work?

Keratin bond extensions can last longer than the above methods. They can be left in for around 3 months, depending on the growth rate of your own hair. 

These extensions come in the form of small strands, with small beads of keratin adhesive at the tips, resembling shoelace tips.

These extensions are applied one by one to your own hair, using a similar amount of strands as the extensions.

They will be placed around half an inch away from your roots, and are applied in rows, similar to when you are getting highlights. 

The extensionist will color-match your hair, using blends of different colors if necessary. 

While the process can take anywhere from two to three hours, the extensions will look as if you’ve grown the hair yourself, so it’s definitely worth the hours!

These extensions aren’t low-maintenance, but ensuring you look after them will guarantee you will not damage your own hair.

You must make sure to comb through the hair each day and night, ensuring the keratin bonds have not been tangled together. 

Related: How To Detangle Matted Hair

You must also attend regular maintenance appointments, where your extensions will be taken out, your hair will be brushed, and they will be re-applied half an inch away from your roots.

It is important to note, that sometimes harsh chemicals need to be used to dissolve the adhesive that is keeping the extensions attached to your hair.

If this is something you do not feel comfortable with, then the next method we are about to discuss may be the best one for you. 

These extensions are on the pricier side, but if having extensions in for an extended period of time is important to you, then it is vital you are paying for a good quality set of hair and a highly experienced professional. 

Micro/Nano Ring Extensions

How Do Hair Extensions Work?

Micro-ring extensions, are similar to keratin bonds, except there is no heat or adhesive used. The extensions come in strands with a similar shoelace tip to the keratin bonds, but they have a small ring at the top. 

The ring is looped through your hair and then clamped down with a small bead. This method has been praised for its damage-free properties, as there is no heat or harsh chemicals used in your hair.

That being said, in order for no damage to be caused to your natural hair, they must be fitted by an experienced professional, and you must go for regular maintenance appointments. 

 Depending on the growth of your hair, you should go back to your salon every 10 weeks at the most, and there they will use little hair pliers to remove the bead from the extension, brush your hair out, and then re-apply it half an inch from your root.

As your hair grows, the rings and beads with the extension grow with it, moving further down your hair.

The further down it goes, the more pulling and tugging is caused, so regular appointments will prevent this from reaching a point where it is pulling too much on your hair. 

You should be able to live your normal life with these extensions, but if you use sunbeds and saunas often, be sure to wrap your head in a towel as the heat could deteriorate the rings and beads.

You should also always be sure to dry the base of your hair extensions, as the rings and beads could wear away if they are left wet. The same goes for the keratin bonded extensions. 

As well as with the previous keratin extensions mentioned, you should try and avoid swimming when you can, as chlorine and saltwater can cause discoloration to the hair, and could deteriorate the bonds, beads, and rings. 

If you are going to be swimming with your extensions, try not getting your hair wet, or braiding your hair and rinsing it with fresh water when you’re back on dry land.

Things To Look Out For 

The first thing you should do once you’ve decided you’d like to get some hair extensions is decide on a method. Once you have done this, there are a few things you should take into consideration. 

Deciding On A Hair Type

The first rule of thumb is that you should always choose natural human hair. Avoid synthetic hair as it looks fake. 

There are different types of hair that different salons will use. Many use Russian hair, which is a finer, and straighter option. Other popular hair types are Indian and Brazilian hair.

These are thicker and have a natural wave to them.  The best way to decide is to take a look at your natural hair and see which hair type resembles it the most.

The professionals at the salon can also help you with this. 

If you’ve got very curly hair, you can find some extensions that will suit yours, there are some salons that specialize in that type of hair, so after some research, you should find one.

If your hair is very curly but also thick and coarse, then maybe the weave method would suit you best. 

Color Matching

If you are purchasing your own clip-in extensions, ensuring that you are able to match the color of your hair can be tricky, but as these are temporary, it isn’t the end of the world if the color isn’t perfect. 

When it comes to the more permanent hair extension types, be sure to color match with a professional.

Many salons will have you come in for a consultation and color match anyway, so they can order your hair, while others have a hefty stock available.

This is very important, and skilled professionals will be able to match your hair perfectly, blending different shades together if necessary. 


As we have stated earlier, the price really matters when it comes to hair extensions, even if you are purchasing clip-ins. 

Extensions are not cheap, and if you find yourself coming across a salon offering micro-ring extensions for as little as $40, you should look the other way.

It is worth spending more money on extensions in order to ensure you are receiving quality hair and quality service. This will reassure you that your hair is in safe hands. 

Final Thoughts 

Hair extensions can give you the hair you’ve always dreamed of.

With a good amount of research, you can find the perfect method that suits your hair best, and as long as you treat them like the prized possession they are, you should experience no damage to your own hair!