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A client sits down in your chair and complains of thinning hair. She’s ready to rectify the situation immediately, and asks you about extensions.

Your salon offers extension services, but are they the right choice for thinning hair? The answer depends on the client. Before you can determine if extensions are right for her, you must do a thorough consultation.

The Consultation

During the consultation, there are a few factors you’ll want to determine:

• Has your client experienced a hormonal change recently?

• Does she have a genetic disposition to thinning hair?

• What products does she use? Does she color her hair?

• Is her texture fine/thin or is she actually losing hair?

Once you have a full picture of her hair history, you’ll want to assess the client’s hair yourself. Is it dry and brittle? Does she have a lot of breakage? Is it significantly thinner than the last time you saw her? Can you see her scalp? Has she tried anything new, like a Keratin straightening treatment?

Finally, talk about solutions and find out which ones your client is interested in pursuing. Does she want to stick with thickening products? Use a natural supplement? Try a different haircut? Add extensions? Thoroughly explain the cost and maintenance involved in anything you suggest before you move forward with a solution.

Sheila Zaricor-Wilson, President of Intercoiffure America/Canada says proceed with caution when recommending extensions. “When I have a thinning hair client, I totally discourage her from extensions until her hair is healthier and she is on a regimen to build her hair strength internally and externally. Instead, I suggest toppers or hair pieces until her hair is strong enough for extensions.”

The Regimen

For stronger, healthier hair, you can suggest a supplement like Nutrafol, which is designed for improved hair health. These botanical supplements are physician-formulated with natural ingredients clinically shown to improve hair growth in as few as two salon visits (3-6 months) —without a prescription.

Regular hair cuts and professional products will also help keep the hair and scalp healthy. But it’s important your client understands it will take time to make her hair stronger.

“It’s a journey, and the client has to know it’s not an overnight fix,” Zaricor-Wilson says. “She has to learn how to handle her hair as it is. Manipulations with scalp treatments help, and sometimes extensions get in the way.”

Once a client has gotten her hair to optimal strength and health, it may be time to revisit the extensions conversation. However, she should stay on her regimen of Nutrafol and professional beauty products for stronger, healthier hair.