What Is the Best Hair Extension Method?
The first question that clients ask me is, “What is the best hair extension method?” It is a simple question, but it has a complex answer. My answer begins with a consultation and examination of the client's natural hair and scalp. Today, the internet offers a wealth of information.
I tell my students and clients that the only universal answer when talking about hair extensions is to always use premium, 100% human hair. Only 100% human hair extensions provide the best application and are healthier for the natural hair and scalp.
The first thing a hair extension stylist needs to find out is why the client wants hair extensions; is it purely cosmetic, or are there underlying reasons such as thinning, brittle hair? In my experience, 80% of clients want hair extensions because they don’t have the hair volume for the look they want. Sometimes it is because of bad haircuts, chemical damage from salon services or medical reasons. Simply put they don’t like the way their hair looks, and it is creating a self-esteem problem. Fair enough, but now you need to go a bit deeper to the "root cause" of their problem.
The Three Ls of a Successful Hair Extension Service Consultation: Look, Listen, and Learn.
Use this formula to create a plan, and to help you decide on recommendations and methods for this client. And remember: there is no shame in recommending your client sees a dermatologist or MD before proceeding. If their hair, roots and scalp are not right for a hair extension, tell them why.
- Encourage the client to discuss their reasons for getting hair extensions. Be honest with your answers.
- Don’t look at the client as just a sale. Each client can be a long-term contract.
- Recommend the right hair extension method for them based on your exam and consultation, not based on priced. Sometimes a less expensive hair extension method may be best based on their lifestyle, hair volume or scalp. It may also mean you'll see them in your chair more often.
- Conversely, if you oversell and it damages their hair, scalp or roots, you may never see them again.
If your client says they have had a poor experience with hair extensions in the past, it can help to find out why. They may fall into these categories:
Inexperienced Stylists—Unfortunately, some stylists who are applying hair extensions have not received sufficient education and training and clients may have had improperly applied extensions, resulting in hair damage.
Or the stylist may not have enough understanding to know that not every person’s hair and scalp can support the weight and application of hair extensions. Heavy adhesives, hair binding, and root stress can cause long lasting damage.
DIY Hair Extensions –In my experience, I have had to correct damage done by clients who had their hair extensions properly applied by a professional but somehow got it in their head that they could remove them by themselves. Professional hair extension stylists should only remove hair extensions.
Hair Extension Maintenance
Hair extensions are not permanent; they require at least monthly visits with the stylist for a checkup and adjustments. I instruct my students that on the monthly visits they should:
- Review daily maintenance with the clients
- Check the scalp
- Check for shedding
- Check the hair roots
The professional hair extension technician will recommend that hair extensions be redone and reapplied to accommodate root growth of the natural hair. The longevity of a hair extension is not the same for everyone.
I teach that the hair extension professional must learn techniques that will serve the client. This means becoming an expert in healthy hair extension applications that doesn’t damage the hair, roots, and scalp of the client.
Always do your best work with honesty and integrity and you will grow your career and reputation as a hair extension professional.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in November 2022.
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