Since super WAG Victoria Beckham stepped out with hair extensions all those years ago, the world has gone a little doolally for super long and healthy-looking hair. Although bobs, choppy shoulder-length hair and retro pixie cuts are definitely hot right now, there’s something a little special about long flowing hair that appeals to our inner barbie princess. I’ve never been able to grow my hair long, it breaking off or looking tatty before it gets to a reasonable length – I just don’t have the patience to stick with it or let my hair look rubbish for six months while it grows out. I dabbled with hair extensions about 18 months ago ahead of a particularly busy wedding season and had a mixed experience; this time around I’ve opted for a much lighter and less damaging version that’s also a lot more reasonably priced. (Read my experience with Kapello here.) However, there are still lots of things you need to think about before you take the plunge and attach a load of someone else’s hair to your head… Here are five things I would seriously consider before getting hair extensions.
1. The Ongoing Cost
You may save up your pennies and visit the hairdresser bouncing with glee, but this happiness will soon fade when you realise hair extensions cost a small fortune in upkeep. Like a boob job (where nobody tells you the implants only last a number of years and will have to be replaced throughout your lifetime,) hair extensions need to be removed and replaced every 2-4 months. The cost is almost the same as having a whole new set fitted (depending upon the type and your hairdreser,) so it’s worth having a chat about the maintenance costs before you make a decision. Extensions are lovely, but they grow out with your hair and need to be re-fixed into place so they don’t look haggered and unnatural. Saving up the once won’t give you the long-lasting look you desire.
2. The Morning Routine
The one thing I didn’t take into consideration when I had my first set of extensions fitted was the additional time it would take in the morning to get ready. I was used to jumping in the shower, drying and styling my hair within thirty minutes, so it’s no surprise the hour long blow-dry session came as quite a shock the first time I was left alone to style my hair. It felt like I’d just given birth and someone handed me over a gurling baby… “What the hell am I doing?” I shouted to myself! Extensions take a long time to wash, condition, brush, dry and style so it’s not realistic to go through the process before work. I’ve become an expert at making a blowdry last three to four days, rely heavily on pins and dry shampoo and (almost) plan my week around my hair. It sounds silly, but expecting your hair to look fabulous every day isn’t realistic – unless you want to be an hour late for work.
3. The Practicality
Another mistake I made the first time around was getting carried away with the length. As soon as the extensions went in and I felt like a mermaid, I wanted to keep as much of the length as possible. However, when you’re left in the bathroom alone and have to wash the damn stuff with only one pair of hands, you’ll soon be wishing you opted for a more practical length. I’ve had my extensions cut twice since having them put in, ensuring they remain at a length that’s both manageable and practical – although I’d love hair down to my bum, the 45mins less in bed really isn’t worth it. Don’t be afraid of getting them a little shorter than you think you want, or returning to the hairdresser for a trim a week or two later.
4. The Wardrobe
We all buy clothes to suit our look, and subconsciously to suit our hairstyle too. It’s amazing the difference having long hair makes to the clothes that look good (and awful) on you, especially as the hair hits your body at a much lower point. Oodles of curls may look fabulous, but they cover detailing on tops and hide delicate jewellery; high necks can look to conservative, while busy patterns make it look like there’s too much going on. The length of your hair also makes the length of your skirts and dresses look different, so make sure you opt for something that will suit your existing style or you have the budget to buy into a new one. My longer hair no longer suits a lot of my mid-length dresses, but looks fab with something longer – it’s about playing around and ensuring you look and feel great.
5. The Makeup
In a similar way to how longer hair impacts on your wardrobe, it also has a huge impact on your makeup. When I had shorter hair I preferred to wear a smokey eye and nude lip; however, with more length I feel like my lips disappear and my eyes look overdone when next to a perfectly coiffed set of curls. With my extensions I prefer to keep the eye simpler, opting for only a flick of liner, and focus on a pop of colour on the lip. For some reason red lipstick looks awesome with longer hair and makes me feel like a vintage screen goddess. It’s worth playing around with your makeup at home and figuring out what works best for you and your new barnet.
Would you ever consider hair extensions? Is there anything you’d recommend those looking into it think about first?