Extension Creativity

Need to correct a haircut? No problem. How about some chemical-free highlights? Consider it done. As one of the most profitable categories in professional beauty, hair extensions provide a variety of unique, money-making opportunities for stylists. MODERN interviewed the professional beauty industry’s leading hair extension brands and top artists to share all the ways in which extensions benefit your clients, your salon and your paycheck.


Creating Fullness


“I have been a hairdresser for 30-plus years,” says Vikki Parman, co-owner, CEO and national education director  of Di Biase Hair Extensions USA. “Of all the ways to dress the hair, nothing has ever touched my heart and moved me more than giving hair back to women suffering from post-cancer treatments or hormonal hair loss. Di Biase trims the bond to even finer proportions, often very thin, in order to correctly match the density of the client’s hair. Through experience and education, the stylist can create a look that is consistent with the client’s natural hairstyle using extensions that are virtually undetectable under normal conditions. Every salon has clients who have thinning  hair concerns. Imagine the impact on lives if hair extension specialists everywhere took it upon themselves to help those clients in need.”


“Clients who have thinning hair want a solution but are usually resistant to traditional hair pieces that require their hair to be worn in one particular style that is dictated by the hairpiece, not their natural  hair,” says Danielle Keasling of Karma Salon in Bluffton, South  Carolina. “Clip-in extensions  can often be ideal. Key for ensuring that  clip-ins are the right solution is making sure the density of the extension is not too thick or heavy for the client’s natural hair. If it is too thick, it will not look natural and will pull on already-fragile hair. Choose a clip-in with silicone- backed clips to prevent damaging hair and to prevent slippage in thin hair. The weft must be very thin to be undetectable and to mold to the head, such as the Fineline technology used in HairUWear Pro clip-in extensions. Show the client where and how to place the extensions and cut the extensions to blend with the client’s hairstyle so that they look like themselves, only better.”


Adding Volume and Texture


"Always use some of the guest’s natural texture when going from straight to curly or vice versa,” says Tina McIntosh, national educator for UltraTress. “Apply strands of the natural texture with the desired texture to create a transition or bridge area in the style. The consistency of UltraTress’s remy hair extensions introduces fullness and texture to any hair type. Select the texture the guest is looking for, and the transformation is immediate. For clients desiring a quick hair makeover, apply hair two levels lighter or darker to the interior to create invisible highlights or lowlights. The UltraTress process is only an additional 15-30 minutes at the back end of a finishing service, and the results keep on giving. The guest gets answers to their questions in real time, and you build loyalty by providing those answers.”


“For women with finer or thinning hair, extensions can be great because they bulk up the hair and give more volume and density, which makes the hair look and feel thicker,” says Tabatha Coffey, celebrity stylist and brand ambassador for LuxHair How. “If women have finer hair, it can be more fragile, so explore the best option so there isn’t undue stress put on the hair. I find most clients want versatility from their extensions, and being able to create a variety of textures is important. Blending the extensions to a client’s natural texture will create the most natural and versatile results, so making sure heat appliances can be used is important, as is a great cut to not only blend but to create texture.”


For Special Occasions


“From dressed upsweeps to loosely braided looks, the correct hair extensions play as important a role in salon styling as they do on the runway and red carpet, and virgin European hair is an essential,” says Ron King, creative director  of Invisi-Tab Hair Extensions. “Some remy hair extensions can look ‘noodley’ and separate or stand out when you try to blend them. Or the texture can fall out of a style easily if it is curled or waved with the rest of the hair. Invisi-Tab’s virgin European hair texture blends and works especially well for all kinds of looks, including updos, and can take color and highlights. And they don’t need as much product when styling because this hair naturally holds a style or curl longer.”


“So.Cap. USA extensions have been very successful in making curled looks and updos look fuller and sexy for any special event,” says Sabrina DeVivo, a stylist for 25 years specializing in hair extensions for SHE by So.Cap.USA. “A great trick to hide the extension bond on a ponytail or updo is to pinch hair together on each side of a keratin extension to cover it. You can also tease hair before putting extensions in the client’s hair. The keratin- tipped bonds have no weight, no traction, move freely and pivot 360 degrees just like naturally growing hair. Because it is attached ½-inch from the scalp, no traction or breakage occurs. The extensions are human hair, so they can be curled and hold up beautifully.”


Adding Color


“Some clients have hair conditions that will not react favorably to chemical color processes, such as dry, damaged hair,” says Hairdreams Ambassador Sonya Dove. “In this situation, Hairdreams Laserbeamer Nano would be the ideal system to add natural-looking hair strands replacing permanent chemical coloring. Hairdreams hair strands perform double duty by helping to thicken hair and add more fullness and volume. Additionally, many people with light-blonde hair want to add lowlights for dimension. Darkening light blonde hair generally washes it out, creating a muddy color effect. It’s best to use Hairdreams Laserbeamer Nano to add darker shades sporadically throughout the hair for overall lowlights. For dark brunettes looking for an ombre style, Hairdreams Laserbeamer Nano would be the ideal choice as well. The ends of hair are very dry already, and bleaching them to get the lighter ombré effect will only dry out the ends more. Hairdreams Quikkies are another option for adding color to hair. They are tap-in hair strands that are great for temporary flashes of bright, trendy color or accenting a hair style—for example adding a flash of light strands to a pixie cut where the front part of the hair is longer than the back and the sides.”



“In Las Vegas, anything goes when it comes to hair,” says Victoria Casciola, Hotheads Hair Extensions master educator and extensions specialist based in Las Vegas. “Once I started offering extensions, it took my business to the next level. Most of the time, people just think of length when they begin to talk extensions, and there are just so many other uses for them when you get creative. I began creating my ombre and drastic color service requests with extensions to maintain the integrity of my clients’ hair and give them options without commitment. I found I could completely change someone’s color in less than 30 minutes by adding a couple pieces, and this created an entry point for guests to get familiar with the service without feeling intimidated." 


Adding Bangs


The 16-inch, 100-percent remy Human Hair 5-piece Extension Kit by Hairdo gives you the freedom to create a variety of different looks by using as many or as few of the clip-in extension pieces as you like,” says Kristina Barricelli, a stylist at New York City’s Gemini 14 Salon. “A stylist can even create a natural-looking side swept bang by cutting one of the two 4-inch pieces included in the kit. Clip in the extension at an angle just behind the hairline of side-parted hair to camouflage the clips, then trim to desired length, tapering to blend with client’s natural hair.”


I use clip-in bangs as a great way to try a new hairstyle without commitment,” says Nona Pitts, Cinderella Hair Extensions celebrity stylist and owner of Salon 5150 in Brea, California. “Cutting  a fringe can be a big commitment because hair takes a while to grow out. You may be stuck with bangs or some long, inconvenient version of them for many months. That awkward growing-out stage of a fringe can be brutal. Once a month at Salon 5150, we have a night of education for our guests. One was called Fringe Benefits, which included a fun night of educating our guests on the many ways of using clip-in bangs. We created unique looks such as high buns with fringe, or a pin-up look with a Bettie Page fringe. Fringe Benefits also look great with hair down. I use clip-in bangs on my celebrity clients to change their looks for a role, magazine covers or a red-carpet event.”


Adding Length


Thanks to Hollywood, the lob, or long bob, has become a huge trend,” says salon owner and celebrity stylist Ryan Nickulas of Ryan Darius Salon. “The problem  is that many women end up missing the versatility and look of longer hair, and they find themselves sitting in my chair and craving length again. Camouflaging  a lob is a tricky process, but not impossible. The secret is a flawless color match and undetectable attachments. Platinum Seamless Hair Extensions are my go-to for the fix because they come in a range of 52 shades in both straight and body wave. Another added benefit of using extensions is obtaining thicker, fuller, luscious locks, which are often difficult to replicate with your real hair alone. No matter how you decide to style them, adding extensions is always sure to enhance your look. Extensions allow clients to grow out their natural hair underneath without having to show the awkward in-between length. They can also be a great way to add color to hair without damaging it, cover up any split ends and help look younger.”


“When it comes to choosing the right extension for your client, a consultation is very important,” says Halo Couture stylist Tiffany Hoover. “The desired length, fullness, overall look and lifestyle of the client will impact the type and amount of extensions needed. Some clients may want an extension without the long-term commitment, and others will want a more long-wear method. Some women may want the extra volume if they have thin or fine hair, others want the length either momentarily for a different look or during that awkward grow-out stage. When it comes to assuring your client of a natural blend, giving them realistic results is a must. The natural length of hair will determine the length of the extension that would be best suited for the most natural look.”


Creating a Walk-In Extension Bar


“To create a walk-in extension bar, begin with a dedicated extension area—this can be done by converting an open station or even using a portion of your reception area,” says Nanci Lee of B2V Salon in West Hollywood, California, who uses Great Lengths extensions. “Then create a service menu of finished looks that includes lengthening, volumizing, dimensional color and a haircut change. I always recommend that salons offer more than one extension method. Starting with temporary systems like clip-ins and including more permanent systems such as tape-ins and bonded will cover the majority of client needs and accommodate the variety of price points desired to capture extension clients. Then promote, promote, promote! Hold an in-salon event during key event seasons such as prom and wedding so that you launch your extension bar with a special focus.”


“The walk-in hair extension bar is a great addition to your salon menu,” says UltraTress National Educator Tina McIntosh. “This consumer-driven idea of hair on-the-go is easy to create. Start by stocking your salon with inventory of hair. Select popular colors that will blend well with today’s hair color trends. Place a few Simplicity hair extensions in your technician’s hair so that the guest can see, feel and touch it. Remember—one to four looks can be enhanced in a single box of hair, so a few will get you started. Display the Simplicity color rings and before-and-after images near your chair to spark the conversation. Educate the guest during the blowdry. Ask if they have had experience with hair extensions. Surprisingly, many have. Use the blowdry time to answer questions the guest may have. Lastly, ask for the opportunity. ‘I have some beautiful hair in your color. It would fill in your sides and really make a difference. Let me show it to you.’ Once the hair is in their hands, go over the cost and maintenance routine. These techniques can be accomplished in 10-30 minutes at the end of a regularly scheduled visit. Plan ahead, plant the seed and ask for the opportunity to give your guest what they really want—namely, some extra hair.”

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