Saturday, June 18, 2011


For the last several months, I've been toying with the idea of doing something different with my hair. The problem is that I didn't want to cut it, dye it, chemically straighten it... nothing. I happen to be incredibly fond of my natural color, length and curliness. As you can imagine, this didn't leave a whole lot of options.

I finally settled on the idea of extensions. So began my search for an inexpensive, styleable, beautifully colored extension or fifty. With the help of some of the ladies on the various makeup groups I'm a part of; I finally stumbled across a site that seemed promising. Sure, the fibers were synthetic, but they were Kanekalon and could be styled at very low temperatures. It was a compromise I was willing to make until I loaded up my cart and was hit with a fifty-seven dollar shipping charge. I promptly emptied the cart and deleted the bookmark before heading to Google to figure out another option.

I came across several YouTube video's, including one by MonroeMisfit Makeup which appealed to me in so many ways I can't even tell you. Let me just say that the girl gets me. Here's a link so you can take a look if you'd like: MonroeMisfit's Extension Tutorial.

I came across several other's, including several very handy tutorials on making your own wefts (the strips of hair you actually use for extentions), but ultimately decided that that process wasn't for me. At least, not right now.

Information in hand, I headed for the nearest beauty supply store to buy my very own supply of human hair, dye, shampoo and clips. I had hoped to get my greedy paws on a weft of 18 (or 20) inch hair, but the longest they carried was 14. Too excited to wait, I bought the hair anyway and raced home to get started, stopping only at another store to pick up some non-latex gloves.

I pulled the hair out of the package and was shocked by how much there was. It doesn't look like much in the small bag, but there was at least 4.5 feet worth of hair. That's a whole lot of extensions!

I will assure you, right now, that I did document the entire process but I accidentally deleted the photos, so you'll just have to trust me. I decided on the number of clips I wanted and what their width should be, measured out the width and cut the piece off.

The entire first part of the process was tricky. It's not easy manipulating a thin strip of hair under the water while shampooing and being careful not to rough up the cuticle too much, but I managed. A quick towel dry later, it was time to apply the dye.

I've done the dye thing before, but it was always on someone else's head. I did the best I could and set them aside to stew. It was clear, after the first rinse, that I had not left the dye on long enough, nor had I applied it well enough. The strands were splotchy and pale. I saturated them the second time, covering the hair one inch at a time until it was practically dripping, set them back in the sack and set them aside again. This time, I let them sit for half an hour before rinsing them. Second time was the charm!

Once they'd dried I quickly flat ironed the whole set, thankful that I'd gotten real human hair which made this possible, before cutting it all down and attaching the clips.

All in all, the process was much easier than I expected. So easy, in fact, that I could make myself a complete set for every day of the month over the course of a weekend. It was also much cheaper than buying the clips somewhere else. At 7 bucks a pop for a 1-inch synthetic strand, I just saved myself a fortune in hair accessories. Let me know if you give it a try!