With a great set of hair extensions, it’s easy to change a client’s look in record time. Not so simple is achieving celebrity-worthy locks that are virtually undetectable to the average Jane.
With improved technologies and the options available through extensions, the service has become quicker and easier than ever, and it’s no longer just the domain of Hollywood starlets.
There’s a distinction between good and bad extensions, though. Often that difference is due to installation, not necessarily the extensions themselves. Here’s three mistakes to avoid.
1. A Full Finish
One of the most common mistakes, according to Dee Gauthier, is that stylists don’t put in enough hair. The result? Thin, stringy ends and extensions that don’t blend.“The longer your client wants her extensions, the more you have to match that density throughout the hair,” says Gauthier, a Great Lengths educator and the owner of Little House of Great Lengths, a Toronto salon that specializes in hair extensions. “Always order more hair than you think you need, and always overquote the client slightly, then work downward from there.” She charges clients only for the hair they walk out with, keeping the rest in stock.
Michelle Lomuscio, the soon-to-be owner of a new salon in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and a lead educator for Pure Hair Extensions, agrees that not adding in enough wefts of hair is a challenge. She also advises against extensions for clients with hair that is too short. “If the top layer is not past the occipital bone, I typically won’t recommend putting in extensions longer than past their shoulders,” she says. “If they insist, I have them sign a waiver.”
2. Blending & Texturizing
When it comes to blending the extensions with the hair, both educators say to take your time. “There’s nothing worse than seeing the haircut and then seeing the extensions,” says Gauthier. To avoid seeing the weight line of the natural hair, you might need to consider debulking the natural hair, especially when it’s thick. Lomuscio will also use strong V cutting into the top layer to create the needed texturizing. Gauthier regularly books an extra hour for the cut. “Cutting extensions is very visual,” she says. “Take your time, work in small sections and stand back to look at the hair. If something is too thick, it’s not blended properly.”
3. Getting Experience
A big part of creating a great head of extensions is experience. If you’re newly certified, your best bet is to jump right in however you can. “It’s all about promoting yourself, speaking to prospective clients and posting pictures,” says Lomuscio. “You can’t be shy, you just have to go for it. If you hold yourself back, you’re not going to be as successful as you could be.”
Gauthier agrees. “Your best advertising is a beautiful head of hair. If you do a client with beautiful extensions, she will send her friends,” she says. “Start a Facebook page and an Instagram account. Do befores and afters in real time. If a client is uncomfortable showing her face, ask if you can just show the back of her head. Using social media is the key, along with having a great head of hair walking around.” She recommends lowering your prices to reflect your level of experience and raise them later as you become more adept. “The more you do extensions, the more you learn from your experience,” says Gauthier. “You can only teach someone so much and then they have to fly.”
Does She or Doesn’t She?
Some celebs are pretty obvious when it comes to the great extensions debate. Britney Spears and J.Lo, we’re looking at you. For others, it’s more of a guessing game. Here’s the expert take on who does and who doesn’t.