My hair extension journey had begun about a month before, when I met Lucinda Ellery to discuss her expertise and the possibility of getting gorgeous flowing locks. I’d had the opportunity to quiz her on trichotillomania and what a difference hair can make to women who simply don’t have it, as well as visiting the salon to get a couple of testers and find the perfect blend of hair for me. The day was finally here and I was more excited than a six year old on Christmas morning. I arrived at her West London salon at 9.30am to get washed, set up and full of coffee, taking my position in the chair that I was to inhabit for the next seven hours. Getting hair extensions is a long and detailed process that’s painstakingly created by experts who put you completely at ease; my hairdresser told me she’d been applying extensions in the salon for over six years and could pretty much do it wearing a blindfold if needed. The hair is applied in individual sections that are hand blended together (in my case using three different colours to get the perfect match to my bright red hair,) and applied using what looks like a glue gun – this formula effectively binds the hair together and enables it to hold by creating a ‘rubber band’ around the strands. This not only makes sure the hair is secure, but is much more delicate and comfortable in comparison to the chunky bonds you often get with more mainstream hair extensions. Over the next seven hours, 129 individual sections of hair were attached to my head in lines that started along the base of my skull, gradually reaching the top about an inch from my parting. Each line of bonds is covered with a layer of your own hair so it blends together and conceals anything that may give away your secret, as well as ensuring your own hair doesn’t clash or look obviously layered.
Throughout the seven hours in the chair I was made to feel utterly comfortable and at ease, being fed coffee and snacks throughout the day while I read many magazines. What was utterly inspiring during my day in the salon was the number of women sat around me having similar treatments, but having hardly any hair on their heads – women of all ages came in and confidently sat in the chair to have extensions replaced or added, some to often non-existent wispy pieces of hair that were the result of illness or disorder. I expected them to feel self-conscious or uneasy, but the Lucinda Ellery salon obviously puts them so at ease that they feel comfortable enough to be completely and utterly stripped bare. I found the whole process of getting extensions put in quite therapeutic and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. The length of hair put in was 20 inches, with originally the plan being to chop quite a lot off to leave me with about 16 inches of hair – however, once in the chair with long flowing locks that remind you of The Little Mermaid, it’s hard to part with them. I had a little trim and the hair around my face was shaped to leave it more natural looking and blended with my original style, as well as a little curl being put in to provide volume and full hair-swishing ability. Not only did I feel like a princess, the comments I got immediately after made me feel like one too. Having extensions is fantastic, but hard work and not quite what I expected – you have to use a particular shampoo, conditioner and brush, adjust your styling habits and learn to live with what feels about a tonne of hair on your head. It took me about a week to get used to washing, styling and wearing such a huge amount of additional hair, but now I’ve got the process down I utterly adore my new barnet.
The extensions last up to three months and need to be washed regularly to stop the natural oil your hair produces from causing the bonds to slip. When applying conditioner you have to only coat the lower hair, rather than going anywhere near the root, and use a natural bristle brush so the bonds aren’t broken while brushing from the root down. It takes me now a good hour to dry and style my hair, which is the biggest difference to my routine – being prepared and washing before bed has become my mantra, which is a big change from basically going from bed to door in 45mins. A lot of the hair does malt as you wash, style and brush it, so after a couple of weeks it feels much lighter on your head and easy to manage; for the first few days I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do with this mass of hair I’d suddenly accumulated, and started to regret having it done. However, after a couple of days of learning how to handle it and get into the swing of styling, it becomes as much a part of you as your own hair. (I will be writing another post of my top tips and lessons from having extensions, so stay tuned for that!) The cost of having this done is huge, so it’s a decision that won’t come lightly: my extensions would have set me back £980, which includes the full consultation and support service, as well as a check up and any touch-ups or re-bonding of lost hair that may be required. You may be able to get extensions a lot cheaper elsewhere, but what you get with Lucinda Ellery is the trusted service and support that’s second to none – they make you feel completely at home and welcome you like I’ve never experienced before. The hair is hand blended and matched perfectly, and the overall cost is down to the expertise and time it takes to attach each of the 140 sections applied to an average head. If you’re going to have something done, you may as well do it properly! Lucinda is always personally on hand to answer questions or help you along your journey, especially if you’re visiting for something to re-instate your confidence and provide a new outlook on life. I had hair added purely out of curioisty and for vanity reasons, but Lucinda provides something almost beyond value to hundreds of women every year – their feminity and their confidence. I can’t recommend her and her experts enough.