Which Hair Extension Method Is The Best?

This is a question I get asked a lot during consultations…

Now I want to start off by saying that all the extension methods are good if installed, maintained and removed properly. There is a time and place for every type, but there is one method I will carry on forever. And as a hairstylist and user of hair extensions I have personally tried them all as well as installed, maintained and removed them for my clients. I also have had the chance to get feedback from my client’s as far as their likes and dislikes about each type. But if you have had a consultation with me you already know that there is one method that I tend to push more than the rest of them and in this post I am about to tell you why…

Ladies and gentlemen, the one method that is my favorite is k-tips, hands down! It’s the only method that can be perfectly and personally customized to any client’s density or solution driven installation.

But first, before I go into details about the benefits of k-tips I would like to share my personal experience with each type of extension just so you can get an understanding of what each method is like, especially if you are new to hair extensions!

The very first extensions I ever used were clip-ins, like most women. Clip-ins are great because they tend to be more affordable than the rest of the methods and are a temporary solution to fuller, longer hair. If you learn how to install them right, you can do them yourself without ever making a trip to the salon (although a hairstylist would cut, blend and style it for you). The clips are just like any other hair clip and are comfortable to wear. The only reason why clip-ins aren’t my preferred method is because I wanted something more permanent, something that I didn’t have to spend 30 mins doing every morning. With that said, I only recommend clip-ins for clients who want a quick fix for a special event.

The next type of extension I tried was i-tips and I loved them. I chose this method next because I was afraid to commit to any glue or heat just yet – which is what I always suggest to new clients who fear the same thing. I-tips were barely noticeable in my hair, they gave me 360 degree movement so I could wear my hair up (which I do often), and I even was able to french braid my hair and only some of the beads showed. The beads were comfortable against my head and I could dye my hair with the extension in (and bleach for my blondes).

The downfall? Maintaining the i-tips. With i-tips you have to come back to the salon every 4-6 weeks to have the bead moved up. This didn’t work for me because I didn’t want to 1) pay for maintenance every month and 2) take the time every month to do the maintenance appointment because this girl is busy! Work and mom life does not stop for my hair.

Then I decided to try tape-ins. Honestly, the reason why I decided to do tape-ins next was mainly because one of my hair vendors had a sale for their tapes and I went for it… Tape-ins are great because yes, they are the cheapest option for semi-permanent hair extensions. The hair itself becomes cheaper because it comes in panels which means more coverage which means less packs to buy. Plus the installation price is typically cheaper because it’s the quickest method to install. My experience with tape-ins was fine.

Tape-ins only allow for 180 degree movement (up and down) which means you can’t do a whole lot of up-dos or half-up styling. This also means that you have to be careful when laying your head down on your pillow because if you don’t you could pull the extension in a weird direction and cause tension. And when the tape-ins grow out it’s easier to see than the individual strands because it’s a big panel in your hair. Tape-ins need to be maintained every 4-6 weeks as well but instead of easily moving them up like the beads, they must be taken out, washed, and then reinstalled. This process is more difficult because the tape does leave residue in your hair and is removed with an oil-based solvent, which means you have to wash the hair well before installing again. Overall, if you wear your hair down 90% of the time, are not blonde, and want to save a few bucks – tapes are for you.

Next I tried a sew-in weft, aka a weave. The only reason why I tried this method was literally just to see what it felt like. I only left the weft in my hair for a week because this method works best for those who have thick hair and I have naturally thin hair. Sew-in wefts are great because they give a lot of coverage in just 3 rows. You can also find wefts anywhere since they were basically the first hair extensions invented, which means you can find good deals on the hair as well.

Now the sew-in weft felt a lot like clip-in extensions. It’s one big piece of hair that’s attached with beads and thread instead of a clip. With the weft I was able to do some up-dos and half-dos, and had to wear my hair down most of the time. There was a little tension especially in the first few days just because the foundation of the sew-in weft required more hair to be pulled into the bead so that you can sew into the hair. I found the weft to be itchy at times due to the little hairs that are folded over when sewn into the weft at the top. As a stylist I try to cut the little hairs but you can’t get them all.

And don’t get me started about drying the hair… Hair extensions naturally take longer to blow dry because 1) you have more hair in your head and 2) the hair is processed so it’s chemical makeup has changed slightly compared to your real hair and 3) with a weft, all the hair is bunched together in one tight place which means little hair flow. And that last point brings me to my next con about sew-in wefts… If you do not dry the hair all the way through your weave will start to smell musty! Yes ladies, I would know. Some of you come to get your wefts removed/maintained and when I lift the hair up that smell smacks me in the face… Make sure you are drying all the way!

Sew-in wefts also need to be maintained every 4-6 weeks to prevent it from sagging. All in all, weaves are great for giving you lots of volume and it only takes up 3 sections of your scalp.

Finally, let’s talk about k-tips. I absolutely loved wearing k-tips. They gave me all the benefits of i-tips – 360 degree movement, I could wear my hair up and in french braids (which they were not noticeable at all compared to the beads), they were the most comfortable, the most natural, the most gentle on my real hair, I could dye my hair (you can bleach too but it does weaken the point of attachment which means they are more susceptible of falling out), and best of all – they last a long time (4 to 6 months)! That means in the long run I saved time and money because I didn’t need to go back to maintain them. For me, I was able to keep them in for 6 months (my natural hair growth cycle is on the slower side and my hair color is dark), but I also have an older client who wears them for 8 months (this is because as we get older our natural hair growth cycle slows down).

As a stylist k-tips are my favorite because they work on every hair type (thin, thick, oily, dry, ect) and they are the most customizable. I can cut the extension to any size to fit the client’s hair, and I found that they were the extension least likely to be ripped out. With the i-tips you can snag the bead, sew-ins you can snag the thread or the bead, tape-ins the panel, but with k-tips, because the keratin is rolled around your real hair it’s the hardest to snag. So there you have it ladies, k-tips are my #1 recommended type of extension.

Now I know I did a lot of bashing on the different methods, but I wanted you to know the raw truth about my experience with each type of extension. I want you to remember, none of these methods are damaging to your real hair when properly taken care of. All of them have a time and a place and everyone has their own opinion on which type they like best and why. And not to mention, the benefit outweighs all the cons! Hair extensions enhance your femininity and they make you look damn good! And when you look good you feel good and you do good. So go out there and rock your weave ladies!


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