The MANE difference
Updated: Apr 22
So, you’ve been disciplined and consistent with regular trips to your hairdresser; clipping every six weeks and at any sign of dehydration or split ends. You slather a mask on once a week, gobble up your Biotin supplements, in addition to your already balanced diet, yet you are still stuck praying madly to the hair Gods for Rapunzel’s locks.
If you feel like your hair is just NOT growing past a certain point, you may indeed be mad but you are not in fact crazy, it is actually true -- hair can reach a plateau that no magic elixir or potion can solve. The process of the hair follicle can start to grow slower and die more frequently as we age. When hair has died, luckily it sheds and reproduces a new life cycle to start all over.
For some men however, these follicles actually go into a final stage of dying once and for all, that not even Rogaine can resuscitate. For women, who have tried products such as Nioxin or Ovation, this can help to fight premature thinning. But you are just only inviting new baby hairs to grow, not increasing their life cycle- which will not help you create more length.
If once you’ve come to terms with this fact, and still crave a loftier mane, you’re next step is to decide which extensions are right for you. Extensions are a huge commitment on you and your stylist’s part. Beside the initial investment in buying the hair, there are special after care instructions in order to get the maximum wear out of them, that you must adhere to. They can be costly and you’ll need to make sure you get them moved up regularly so the hair doesn’t matt. Unless, dreadlocks were the end goal. I would not suggest getting some types of extensions if they are just for a special event as well as there are some types that I would not guarantee to last 6 weeks.
Broken down by extension type, average price point, popular brands and the good, the bad and the ugly; I bring to you: THE MANE DIFFERENCE!
Fusion- Generally a bonded tip on a small bit of remy hair is essentially melted into your actual hair. Great Lengths is the front-runner of this type of extension. The extension hair is pretty much impossible to re-bond after the extraction so the hair can typically only be used once. The price ranges from $700 for a whole head of hair, but then of course there is still the application which the stylist could charge anywhere from $200-$500.
pros- Great Lengths only uses Indian hair, which is strong, durable and beautiful. It blends well into your own hair and not overly noticeable that you have fake hair. Great Lengths requires your stylist to be certified in order to purchase the hair from their company so you can trust that your hairdresser didn’t just pop into Sally’s and purchase some cheap synthetic hair.
cons- As the most expensive option out there, it also happens to be the least able to reuse. You are going to need to be able afford this every 2-3 months. I would not recommend the bonded extensions if you just plan on having them a few times and then taking them out. They are the most damaging to your hair and you will be disappointed (in my experience) with how much hair has broken off when you get them taken out.
Varying in the quality of hair you get, these are a much more affordable option. This may be a great option for people who are not wanting heat or glue put onto their hair. An extension is applied by using a pulling tool, which pulls the client’s hair through a very small micro bead that is clamped down with pliers. A pack of hair can range from $30-$45, and depending on how much fullness is desired- would require 3-5 packs per head of hair.. Not including what your hairdresser charges for the application. These are able to go 3 months until they are moved up and are supposed to be reusable 1-3 times
like: This is a great starter option to test if you are a good candidate for hair extensions, because they are cheaper and less damaging to your hair.
unlike: I can tell when someone has iTips because they look stringy and scraggly, yes- I have a hawk’s eye towards zeroing in on all things hair, but if you are going to go for longer hair, why not go for fullness too! These have a greater tendency to fall out and when one falls out, there is a very obvious hole. This can be too high maintenance for some people unless their roommate or neighbor is a hair stylist, as you may frequently need an adjustment.
A pre-taped weft of hair is sandwiched on either side of the natural hair.. They generally last 6-12 weeks until a move up is required. The hair can be reused for a year if all after-care instructions are followed carefully. Because they are attached by adhesive, anything too oily or product that contains a lot of alcohol can affect how long these stay attached. Move ups are typically fast and stylists usually charge an average of $200 to install and move up. Hair packs are around $70-$110 depending on desired length and 2-3 packs is a good amount per head. Some of the popular brands that carry tape ins are Babe, Hot Heads and Bellami.
yay: The hair totally stays intact when you remove them versus others that claim to be reusable but fall apart after 1 use. With the average of $500 for an initial application and $200 each time you move them up, they are the most economical.
nay: It is a fine line between sticky and too sticky, while it may seem sensible to have a good strong tape to last the full 6-12 weeks, if it is too strong there can be a giant sticky mess when you take them out. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to wreak too much havoc on the integrity of the hair, it just becomes more time consuming to strip the gunk from the hair to start on a fresh clean palette when applying.
An actual weft of hair is sewn onto a clip and is temporarily clipped into your hair. Perfect to do it yourself at home if you are trying to have length and volume for a special event. Jessica Simpson came out with a line that was very popular a few years back for about $100. Other brands can be as inexpensive as $50.
sweet: All you need to purchase besides the hair are clips and thread. There are some shops that will custom tailor them to your shade of hair and cut them to blend perfectly to your haircut.
sour: Extremely temporary, and I would not recommend use but rather for special occasions only. Since the prices fare so low, it is usually because the hair is synthetic, not real human hair. Because of this, you can not curl them as the will singe.
The Halo is worn by it being placed on your head, with your own hair pulled through and over the invisible wire.
the good: Amazing quick fix for fullness, and great quality hair without wreaking havoc to your natural hair.
the bad: Some clients feel self conscious of the wire moving or becoming visible and are constantly adjusting to make sure it is secure.
A tight cornrow or braid is created to give a base for a weft of hair to be sewn into.
Yup: These are easily maintained as move ups require the least amount of tools. Just a fresh braid, and the sewing supplies. Again depending on the quality of the hair that you purchase will you see the best results.
Nope: This technique is not the best option for fine hair as the weft can be too heavy on the braid and slip out. Thick, coarse hair tends to have better results with keeping these extensions secure.
And finally- the newest and easiest to move up, the hand tied weft.
This technique is similar to a sewn in extension in that it is a sewn in weft but the difference is that instead of being attached to a braid, micro-links are attached on to sections of the natural hair and the weft of hair is sewn on to those.
Winner: These beautiful babes are the trend right now so you'll easily be able to find stylists educated and eager to rope you in as a client. The only bad thing I could say about these is that since they are the hot commodity, they may come with a high sticker price too.
Whichever, extension application you choose to invest in, you can start mentally preparing yourself for the type of care you will need to take going forward. A satin pillowcase for less friction while you sleep, a gentle brush so that you are not loosing the application and dry shampoo will be your new best friends!