Modern Salon Article on Hair Extensions
- In a society obsessed with looks, it is not whether you can afford to invest to expand your salon menu but that you can’t afford not to. Many salons are finding new ways to increase productivity and profits by implementing new services. One of the fastest growing, and most profitable categories, is hair extensions. They increase client retention, put more clients in your chair and significantly increase your average service and retail tickets.
Provide a valuable service.
As professional stylists, clients rely on your expertise, creativity and advice to achieve their ultimate goal of beautiful hair. However, that goal can be limited by the characteristics of the client’s hair—too damaged, too thin, too short. It is your responsibility and duty to deliver the client an excellent end result, both technically and aesthetically. With women and men over the age of 18 reporting thinning hair from causes ranging from diet, medicinal, hormonal and hereditary ailments, being a great hairdresser might not be enough to ensure your clients look and feel their best. It’s time to educate yourself on solutions.
The vast opportunities extensions can offer clients include creating a hair cut, correcting a hair cut, chemical free highlights, covering a scar or alopecia, fixing a fringe, and adding volume, body or length. The bottom line is you’re not selling hair; you’re selling an image. MODERN interviewed the professional beauty industry’s leading hair extension brands and top artists to bring you the tools needed to have a successful career in hair extensions and to convert even the most skeptical of clients. You’ll be ahead of the extension game before they even ask!
MYTH Hair Extensions are painful and uncomfortable.
“Since the inception of hair extension methods, clients have been led to believe that extensions take hours to apply, fall out of the hair easily, and—worst of all, are painful to wear,” says Hotheads Hair Extensions Stylist Aurezu Kuhzarani. “One’s choice to enhance their appearance with hair extensions should never contribute to hair loss or damage. Hotheads’ tape-in method utilizes a medical-grade adhesive that is placed off the scalp and is laid in the natural growth pattern, resulting in a comfortable attachment. Because the tape tabs are so thin, there is no added bulk to the wearer’s hair. Hothead’s tabs are 1 3/8" wide, distributing the weight evenly across a larger section of the guest’s hair. This makes the extensions feel weightless in the hair and ensures that there are no isolated points of tension on the guest’s scalp. With a precise and clean application, the extensions will move in the hair just like a hinge, avoiding unnecessary tension and discomfort."
MYTH Hair extensions are just a trend.
“At a very young age, I fell in love with all the creative outlets of being behind the chair. Color and custom cuts drove me wild,” says Ruben Martinez, international hair artist and Donna Bella Hair educator. “In 2004, I decided to explore the extension craze. As plugged in as I was to our craft and trends evolving, I didn’t want to be left out of the loop. I fell in love with the endless transformations and more importantly the confidence- booster that was undeniably visible in our clients. It’s always so rewarding watching my clients leave the salon swinging and swaying their mane with their heels clickity-clacking like crazy. Simply euphoric! In reflecting on the category of extensions, the more I realize it’s not just a trend or a fad. It’s a commodity. Clients either want what they may not be able to achieve on their own, more of what they have or a varied form of expression without having to chemically treat their own hair. With the category growing 18 percent annually and 59 percent of salons offering some sort of extension service, I’m excited in knowing more artists are embracing this portion of our craft. Providing that “wow” factor for our clients has always been my focus, and since the addition of extensions to my artistic pallet, the possibilities are endless.”
MYTH Hair extensions cannot be worn back-to-back. Hair must have a break in between extension services.
“When hair extensions are properly installed, maintained, and removed, there is no damage to your own hair,” says SHE by SO.CAP. USA National Educator Laura Gambardella. “As a national educator, it is my job to train stylists how to correctly install and remove hair extensions. SHE by SO.CAP.USA’s keratin-tipped bonds have no weight, no traction, move freely and pivot 360 degrees just like natural growing hair. Because it is attached ½-inch from the scalp, no traction or breakage occurs. Keratin bonds grow with hair. Because hair grows at different rates throughout the head, there is no need to take out the extensions, only replace the extensions that have grown out.”
MYTH Hair extensions don’t require maintenance.
“Hair extensions have come a long way since the old days, but that doesn’t mean there is zero maintenance,” says Ron King, celebrity stylist,Invisi-Tab Hair Extensions. “The better quality the hair, the less maintenance clients will have to do. For example, 100-percent virgin European hair is naturally healthier and not processed, clients will spend less time and money on deep conditioners or treatments and won’t have to be as worried about tangles or matting. Stylists should educate their clients on the most basic, but very necessary directions to wearing extensions. With tape-ins like Invisi-Tab, they’ll want to keep the bonds lying flat on the head at all times, which means sleeping with their hair in a low ponytail or loose braid to keep the bonds in place. Hair oils should not be applied directly to the scalp to prevent slippage, and regular hot styling tools should also be fine to use."
MYTH Hair extensions limit active lifestyles.
“Your client’s day starts before 6 a.m. and she moves like she’s shot from a cannon all day long—kids, husband, work, gym, laundry, dinner, and time with friends,” says Karen Houshultz, international educator for Simplicity Hair Extensions. “All that crammed into an average day—not to mention the half-marathon she’s taking on this weekend. Her middle name is ‘outdoor adventure,’ and her ideal vacation would wear out the Energizer Bunny. There is no compromise in lifestyle with hair extensions. Actually, the versatility of hair extensions allows for the most active of women to have great hair whether they’re a marathon runner or a busy mom. A favorite client of mine completed her first Dirty Girl Mud Run. That’s an obstacle filled 5K complete with mud pits and adventure. She forgot she was wearing extensions at all, and even with all that activity they still looked great! With proper placement, even the most elaborate updos are easily managed and extensions are virtually undetectable.”
MYTH Hair extensions will make my clients’ hair look too fake.
“This myth exists because the only extensions most people notice are the extensions that look fake,” says Helena R. Gibson, national educator forUltratress Extensions and Gemtress Hair Replacement. “There are many women with hair extensions that go unnoticed. Their hair is only noted as thick and long to the casual observer. First, I like to decide on the type of application. Then determine hair texture: silky and straight, full and wavy, or relaxed and textured. Matching the texture of the extensions with the clients existing hair will make the blending and maintenance for the client much easier. Also, make sure you added enough hair. Surprisingly, a client with thick hair who wants it longer will need more packages of hair than someone with thin hair. The most important part of great-looking hair extensions is the cut. The blending makes all the difference. You have to make sure to blend in the cut for a seamless look. Watch out for clients with damaged hair or hair thinning on the top of their head. They may do better with a wig or a top-of-the-head hair enhancer. Adding extensions to this client will not look natural and could possibly further damage the client’s existing hair.”
MYT Hair extensions cannot be used on thinning hair.
“False! Many of our clients are looking for thinning hair solutions,” says Jason Lumsdem, vice president of global for HairUWear. “Based on their specific needs and desires, HairUWear offers clip-in extensions that you pop in and out for special occasions. Also, a significant percentage of our Great Lengths clients use extensions for volume, and not necessarily for length. Many of our clients go into salons with our clip-in extensions to have them professionally shaped, colored and applied by their regular stylist. For women with significant hair loss, HairUWear has fashionable wigs from Raquel Welch. This contemporary collection of high-quality wigs offers the latest hairstyle trends as well as true innovation in terms of fit and comfort.”
MYTH Hair extensions are difficult to blend with colored hair.
“I try to have the client commit to a color for at least six months. What is important when choosing extensions is to talk to the client in-depth about her hair color and making sure that she is not going to change the color often,” explains Sonya Dove,Hairdreams ambassador. “If they are constantly changing their hair color, then it can be a bit more challenging, but still possible. I choose the extensions color based on the client’s own hair color—whether it is their natural shade or a colored shade. I usually will match the color to the hair slightly below the top area of the head. The uppermost top area of the hair will change and lighten due to sun exposure, so I look at the color slightly below the top area where the hair color is deeper and richer.
MYTH Hair extensions can be maintained with traditional styling aids.
“Because most hair additions have been chemically treated before the addition is produced, it is imperative to keep the hair in optimum condition to achieve the longevity and beauty of the piece, as well as prevent any tangling of the hair itself,” says Karla Buongiorno, consultant and representative for My Crowning Glory. The main concern is keeping the cuticle intact. In the manufacturing of these additions, the cuticle is the area that is most affected. Many products do not address these concerns, and therefore can shorten the life and beauty of the addition. These extension-specific products address the cuticle strength, seal in moisture, and protect the hair from any heat tools and styling aids as well as control and prevent tangling, thus assuring the best results.”
MYTH Extensions are too costly for my clients.
“Years ago, it was true that hair extensions were expensive. Stylists charged $3,000 to $8,000 for a full head of hair extensions,” says Vikki Parman, co-founder of Di Biase Hair Extensions USA. “As they grew more popular, the price for salon hair extensions has drastically reduced. A partial to a full head of extensions may only cost a client from $500 to $2,000, which is much more affordable. It’s important to remember that as hair extensionists, we are providing a valuable service. Work and communicate with your clients. Find out if they will need a full head of extensions or if they will only need the application on the sides or top. Instead of having your clients pay for a full head extension service all up front, you can add volume, length or highlights over several installations. That way, you will also keep them as a happy client by having them return on a regular basis for your services. Plus, this reduces the sticker shock for clients. Another factor to consider is reusability. Tape-in hair extensions can be reused two to three times.”
MYTH Hair extensions won’t last long enough to make the investment worth it.
“Extensions are a two-way street,” says Ryan Nickulas, owner of Ryan Darius Salon and a Platinum Seamless certified artist. “If hair extensions are applied correctly in a professional setting and the client plays by the rules, all will be well. I always tell my clients to treat their hair like a new designer handbag: Clean it properly, don’t push it to the limit, and it will last. Hair is your best accessory—not to mention the first thing people will notice about you!”
MYTH Hair extensions don’t work with natural texture.
“For curly clients, placing the extensions using horizontal partings will always create length and weight throughout the head,” says Josif Wittnik, owner of The Salon Professional Academy in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Global Best Beautyrepresentative. “As clients desire a more organic textured look, it is necessary for you to prepare the extensions prior to application for a natural blend with their hair. Try an overnight air neutralizing technique to texturize the extensions prior to application. What a chemical neutralizer does in five minutes, air neutralizing does overnight, leaving the hair chemically untouched. The result is less damage to your clients’ extensions prior to application— and always use one size larger perm rod as your desired result.”
MYTH Hair extensions are just for female clients.
“Women across the world pride themselves on their beautiful extensions,” says Darren Brokaw, Great Lengths USA creative director. “But what many people don’t know is that extensions can be used on men too! We are seeing that more and more men are seeking non-invasive solutions for longer and fuller hair. Great Lengths offers a high-quality alternative for those wanting a small change or significant transformation.”
MYTH Hair extensions require too much commitment.
“Temporary extensions are great to consider, especially for special occasions,” says Kimberly Clarke, Halo-Couture Extensions planner and sales. “Temporary extensions like Halo-Couture are fast, easy and effective to give your clients the voluminous, sexy hair she desires. Whether it be up, down, or a simple sophisticated braid to the side, the extension piece goes on in a matter of seconds by positioning it on your client’s head like a halo. Then pull some of the natural hair over the top to conceal the ‘miracle wire’ and lock it securely into place. There are no bonds, clips or glue.”